Mccloskey Response Paper

Topics: God, Theology, Cosmological argument Pages: 6 (2064 words) Published: August 21, 2010

In his article, On Being an Atheist, H.J. McCloskey tried to show that atheism is a more reasonable and comfortable belief than that of Christianity.   McCloskey argued against the three theistic proofs, which are the cosmological argument, the teleological argument and the argument from design.   He pointed out the existence of evil in the world that God made.   He also pointed out that it is irrational to live by faith. According to McCloskey, proofs do not necessarily play a vital role in the belief of God.  Page 62 of the article states that "most theists do not come to believe in God as a basis for religious belief, but come to religion as a result of other reasons and factors."  However, he feels that as far as proofs serve theists, the three most commonly accepted are the cosmological, the teleological, and the argument from design.  It is important to note that he considers these arguments as reasons to "move ordinary theists to their theism." (McCloskey 1968) This is not necessary the case and contradicts the former statement that most theists do not hold to these proofs.  As such, the attempt to dispute these arguments as a reason not to believe in God is almost not worth attempting.  If theists do not generally hold to these proofs as reasons for faith, then why bother trying to dispute them to theists?  Continuing to do so seems as though he is motivated to prove a point few are not interested in disputing, and thus is purposely trying to set up theist belief as ridiculous; in other words, he is looking to pick to a fight.  This is not an intellectual objective article.  Bias necessarily forfeits intellectual objectivity.

McCloskey argued that the cosmological argument was an argument from the existence of the world, as we know it.   He stated that believing in an uncaused first cause of the universe is a problem because nothing about our universe forces us to that conclusion. The cause-effect rationalization understands a relation between things that are in existence, will come into existence, and pass out of existence.  If God, or something else (a power, force, whatever) were part of the frame of causation already in motion, then it would belong to that which is caused by something else.  The uncaused cause holds to that which is outside the framework of causation.  Most philosophers hold that this first cause cannot be caused for the reason that it is outside causation.  Something would need to set forth in motion the ring of causality.  If the premise stands, then such a first cause would have to exist necessarily, otherwise it would have been caused.   This necessity is one of causal relation, as long as the premise is accepted.  

As regards the cosmological argument itself, McCloskey states that "all we entitled to infer is the existence of a cause commensurate with the effect to be explained, the universe, and this does not entitle us to postulate an all-powerful, all-perfect, uncaused cause." (p.63)  This is indeed true, there is no reason to necessarily infer a God person, however; the inference is of the nature that suggests (hence the term infer) a cause of such magnitude that it is practically God-like.   Moreover, his words do not disprove the rational of a God.  Entitlement not to call this cause "God" is neither entitlement to deny calling this cause or considering this cause to be "God."

McCloskey grouped the teleological argument and the argument from design together and summarily rejected them both by suggesting that mankind does not yet have a full understanding about creation.   He offers the theory of evolution as the explanation of many examples of creation that would have once been explained by the teleological and argument from design. The objections in this section are based on his want for "indisputable" proofs (p.64) of design in the same manner as there are supposedly indisputable proofs for evolution.  The primary difficulty of evolution is that is has no proof of the...
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