Free McCloskey's Critique of Theistic Arguments Essay Sample

A critical reading of McCloskey’s article, “On Being Atheist” reveals that he has referred to the arguments, used by theists in attempting to offer the rationale for their belief in God’s existence, as proofs. He says, however, that the proofs can not hold any logical reason as to the existence of God, and presses that they should be dropped. In the view of approaching arguments, McCloskey has done well in his presentation and assertion. He takes into consideration all aspects of approaching an argument. Nevertheless, he has not exploited every factor that surrounds approaches to arguments, as only a few have been brought out clearly. Based on some research, it is noted that the best ways of approaching an argument is through the use of a multifaceted approach. Firstly, for an argument to be taken as a true belief, it has to be supported by statistics or facts. Secondly, the speaker must attempt to understand the perceptions of his opponents. To the listeners of the argument, the argument must ensure that they laugh at the opponents’ assertions. Finally, there is need to draw reference to what scientists and researchers say.

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Based on the above techniques used to approach arguments, it is evident that McCloskey has been extensive though not exhaustive. He has facts that support his argument for referring to the theists’ arguments for God’s existence as proofs since he uses the scientific and research evidence of evolution in the incidence of cosmological argument. In addition, the author of the article has a good grasp of what theists perceive in their arguments. McCloskey for more than one in incidence makes us laugh from the manner he ridicules the assertions and basis of the theists’ argument. For instance, he says it is absurd for one of the theists to presume that Jesus is the supreme tranquilizer and better for one’s nerves than any known tonic.

McCloskey’s postulation of the mere existence of the world as being not enough reason for believing that God exists is well responded to by Evans’ discussion of the non-temporal form of the argument. In this discussion, Evans has founded the argument on the two premises of the cosmological argument to explain the existence of God as necessary and, therefore, uncaused. This is argued on the basis of contingency and time, as major premises of the cosmological argument. When the universe and God are taken in terms of the cosmological argument, it is argued that everything that has a beginning must have a cause. Evans bases his argument on the temporal cosmological argument, in which case it has been asserted that there is evidence of the universe beginning to exist at some point in time. Based on this, since the universe has a point of beginning in time, it must have been caused. In addition, the discussion postulates that the universe is contingent and, therefore, there is the need for explanation of its existence. This refers to the reason for its existence, which must have been caused by something that is not contingent,  that what does not require and explanation of which is God. As such, the cosmological argument based on the contingency and time factor explains why God is uncaused and is all powerful. He caused everything that has time and is believed not to have existed before. The universe itself has a beginning yet God has no beginning. According to the cosmological argument, everything that exists has a cause, which, therefore, is God.

According to McCloskey, for a form of truth to hold, there is need to have a genuine indisputable example of design and purpose. This standard of indisputability can be considered as irrational based on the teleological argument for the evidence of the existence of God. The bottom line in this form of argument is that there is no incidence of a design being indisputable. This is well illustrated in the designs that human beings make. They end up at some point being faulty. This does not necessarily imply that the person, who designed the artifact or machine is faulty. Just like the teleological argument puts this, the most important issue is to seek for consistency, unity, and pattern. This relational argument gives enough reason as to why there is a supernatural being called God. A close look at the universe reveals consistent artifacts of what human beings make. The universe is one complete and complex unity that has different parts working together to attain a single objective of sustaining life, for instance.

Evans has drawn a good reference to the analogy argument of the watchmaker that was proposed by William Paley. In this argument, he says that in case a person found a watch in an empty field, there will be a deduction that the watch was designed and not just happened by chance. This is similar to the reference of the universe and life itself, there must have been a designer since the life forms perform in a perfect manner. Take for instance, the eye; it is an example of design and a fantastic development. This is in line with the number of parts that converge to work though the parts cannot deliver at individual level. This gives reason as to why the design cannot be genuinely undisputable. It is only after the coming together of these different parts that the eye can see. Therefore, just like Paley argues out, human artifacts are a product of intelligent design yet the universe looks like human work. This supports the premise that the universe is a work of intelligent design. The difference comes in when we look at the complexity of the universe drawing the attention to the fact that it must have been designed by a complex being, which in this case is God.

It is not factual that evolution has displaced the need for a designer. This is evident when we take, for instance, the individual parts or organs of the human body. Evolutionists postulate that human beings evolved from simple cells. However, they have no explanation as to why the individual human organs require different parts to come together so that they function as one entity. Evolution cannot account for this complex harmonious occurrences, and, hence, the need for a supernatural being as the cause of everything. This heightens the argument that proof needs indisputable design for it to hold as being fallacious.

Looking at McCloskey’s article, it is evident that he cannot not see the link between having an all knowing and all powerful God in the presence of evil in the world. It is true, this is a question of logical problem, as well as the evidential problem. This is because the proposition and its premises offer a logical contradiction. However, a closed look at Evans’ discussion on the issue of free will theodicy, a better answer can be found at this level. Evans draws reference to Plantinga’s Free Will Defense, in which case it is proposed that there is a possibility of having a good God with evil existing at the same time. According to this theodicy, God knows well there is evil and allows this to happen to human being because of free will. This can be supported in the response that God allows people to have free will and, hence, choose to do either good or evil.

According to Plantinga, it would not have been possible for God to eliminate the little evil in the world without affecting the greater good of creation, in which a man has a free will. Just like evidential problem of evil argument posits, evil exists in the world and, therefore, rule out the possibility of God being in existence. This may be fallacious according to Evans since God allows a level of evil to occur as opposed to the greater good, in which individuals are closely bound to. This is for the sake of privation, just as mentioned in McCloskey’s article. Evil, therefore, exists as a result of free will, which in turn can be presupposed as being libertarianism. This asserts that an individual is free with respect to a specific act only if that individual is not only free to act, but also can refrain from the action. This has an implication that this person’s actions are not dependent on any casual force from outside. As such, it is possible to have God in existence even if evil exists in the world.

McCloskey in his final paragraph has concluded that it is better for a man to be an atheist than believe that God exists yet suffer from the evil of the world. He regards atheist as more comforting. However, this can be well countered by what William Lane Craig discusses in his article, “The Absurdity of Life without God”. In this article, Craig uses Blaise Pascal’s argument in one of his articles that were not published till his death. Pascal looked at the human life from both sides of a coin. This led to his comparison of the human life as an enigma. It is true that man is both, great and miserable. He struggles to find meaning in life using sense and reason. The two ultimately make man more miserable. According to Craig, man even fails to understand why he is in this universe. This implies that life becomes meaningless when a person holds the belief that God does not exist. In the first place, atheism causes discomfort, especially at a point an individual has no sense of the destiny. There is no life after death, and it is all likened to falling into a deep endless ditch.

However, theists believe that there is eternal life after death, and this gives them meaning to lead a virtuous life not to risk having eternal condemnation. According to Craig, Pascal calls for a pragmatic decision making process so that those who believe in God may hold onto the faith to acquire eternal happiness as opposed to the atheists. Evil, as noted, exists concurrently with God since God has given humankind the free will to choose between what is good and evil for purposes of privation. As a result, it can be concluded that there is a lot more comfort with theism as opposed to the assertion by McCloskey.


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