I think, therefore, I am. But am I intelligent? Can we consider intelligence to be objective? Let’s review some additional ontological and noological (mind) arguments for theism. The explanation for abstract universals that only dwell in the cognitive domain remains problematic for naturalists.
Intelligibility of the World
1) There is no plausible naturalistic aetiology (the philosophy or study of causation) of the intelligibility intuition, such that we have the instinct because it’s true.
2) If (1) naturalists ought to withhold either the intelligibility intuition or naturalism.
3) One should not withhold the intelligibility intuition.
4) So, naturalists ought to withhold their belief in naturalism.
5) There are plausible theistic aetiologies of the intelligibility intuition, such that we have the instinct because it’s true.
6) So, the intelligibility intuition is evidence for theism over naturalism.
● Christophe de Ray, “A New Epistemological Case for Theism,” Religious Studies (2021).
● Robert Koons, “The General Argument from Intuition,” in Walls and Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God (Oxford, 2018), pp. 238-257.
Argument from Reason (Ontological, Noological)
1) Reason involves intentionality and mental causation.
2) Intentionality and mental causation can only have a personal explanation.
3) So, reason can only have a personal explanation.
4) If reason can have only a personal explanation, the best answer is theistic.
5) So, the best explanation of reason is theistic.
● James Ross, “Immaterial Aspects of Thought,” The Journal of Philosophy 89 (1992), pp. 136-150.
● William Hasker, The Emergent Self (Cornell, 1999).
● William Hasker, “What is Naturalism? And Should We Be Naturalists?” Philosophia Christi 15/1 (2013), pp. 21-34.
● Victor Reppert, “The Argument from Reason,” in Craig and Moreland (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
(Blackwell, 2009), ch. 6.
● Stuart Goetz, “The Argument from Reason,” Philosophia Christi 15/1 (2013), pp. 47-62.
The Naturalness of Theistic Belief (Ontological, Noological)
SD = Disposition to form beliefs in supernatural agency.
T = Theism
N = Naturalism
1) Pr(SD|T) >> Pr(SD|N).
2) If Pr(SD|T) >> Pr(SD|N), then SD conﬁrms T over N.
3) So, SD conﬁrms T over N.
● Matthew Braddock, “An Evidential Argument for Theism from Cognitive Science of Religion,” in van Eyghen et al. (eds.), New Developments in the Cognitive Science of Religion: The Rationality of Religious Belief (Springer, 2018), pp. 71-98.
● Justin Barrett, Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (AltaMira Press, 2004).
● Justin Barrett, Born Believers (Free Press, 2012).
1) We have strongly certain beliefs about (and knowledge of) mathematical objects.
2) If S knows p, there is a causal explanation connecting the knower to the object known.
3) So, there is a causal explanation connecting us and mathematical objects.
4) Only a God-like being can causally explain our strongly certain beliefs about mathematical objects.
5) So, a God-like being exists.
● Katherine Rogers, “Evidence for God from Certainty,” Faith and Philosophy 25/1 (2008), pp. 31-46.
Knowledge as Proper Function (Ontological Noological Arguments)
1) We know.
2) We can know only if our cognitive faculties function correctly.
3) Our cognitive faculties have a proper function only if they are designed.
4) So, our cognitive faculties are designed.
5) If our cognitive faculties are designed, then probably, God exists.
6) So, probably, God exists.
● Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function (Oxford, 1993).
● Kenny Boyce and Andrew Moon, “In Defense of Proper Functionalism: Cognitive Science Takes on Swampman,” Synthese
193/9 (2016), pp. 2987-3001.
● Tyler McNabb, Religious Epistemology (Cambridge, 2018).
● Justin Barrett, “The Argument from Positive Epistemic Status,” in Walls and Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God (Oxford, 2018), pp. 159-169.
Epistemic Probability (Ontological Noological Arguments)
1) The best account of epistemic probability concerns what is permissible for a person with properly functioning cognitive faculties to believe in the circumstances they’re in.
2) Our cognitive faculties have a proper function only if they are designed.
3) So, our cognitive faculties are designed.
4) If our cognitive faculties are designed, then probably, God exists.
5) So, probably, God exists.
● Ruchard Otte, “A Theistic Conception of Probability,” in Beaty (ed.), Christian Theism and the Problems of Philosophy (Notre Dame, 1990), pp. 92-117.
Reliability of our Cognitive Faculties (Noological)
R = Our cognitive faculties are generally reliable.
T = Theism
N = Naturalism
1) Pr(R|T) >> really low.
2) Pr(R|N) = really low.
3) So, Pr(R|T) >> Pr(R|N).
4) If Pr(R|T) >> Pr(R|N), then R conﬁrms T over N.
5) So, R conﬁrms T over N.
● Alexander Arnold, “The Argument from the Conﬂuence of Proper Function and Reliability,” in Walls and Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God (Oxford, 2018), pp. 170-183.
● Jim Slagle, The Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism: Context Exposition, and Repercussions (Bloomsbury, 2021).
Radical skepticism about the external world is that we cannot have accurate knowledge about the physical world outside of our minds. If true, that idea would block the truth-seekers attempt to understand God based on God’s revelation in the physical world. We can, however, examine four types of radical skepticism concerning the external world—funky/pop skepticism, sensory skepticism, Kantian skepticism, and linguistic skepticism— and show that they fail. Link to Full Article
1) If realism is true, but God does not exist, radical skepticism is valid.
2) Radical skepticism is false.
3) So, either realism is false, or God exists (1, 2)
4) Realism is true.
5) So, God exists. (3, 4)
● Alvin Plantinga, “How to be an Anti-Realist,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association 56/1 (1982), pp. 47-70.
● Michael Rea, “Theism and Epistemic Truth-Equivalences,” Nous 34/2 (2000), pp. 291-301.
● Michael Dummett, Thought and Reality (Oxford, 2006).
● W. J. Mander, “On Arguing for the Existence of God as a Synthesis between Realism and Anti-Realism,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74/1 (2013), pp. 99-115.
1) Everything has an intrinsic, non-relational quality. (Everything is distinct in properties)
2) Only conscious states have intrinsic, non-relational qualities.
3) So, everything has a conscious quality.
4) The best explanation of how everything can have a conscious quality is that everything is (at least partly) constituted by God’s mind.
5) So, probably, God exists.
● George Berkeley, Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous.
● Robert Adams, “Idealism Vindicated,” in Van Inwagen and Zimmerman (eds.), Persons: Human and Divine (Oxford, 2007), ch. 1.
● Hugh Hunter, “George Berkeley’s Proof for the Existence of God,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78/2 (2015), pp. 183-193).
● James Spiegel, “Idealism and the Reasonableness of Theistic Belief,” in Cowan and Spiegel (eds.), Idealism and Christian
Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2016), ch. 1.
Modal Epistemic Argument (Noological)
1) For any proposition p, if p is possibly true, then p is knowable.
2) The proposition ‘God does not exist’ is not knowable.
3) Therefore, the proposition ‘God does not exist’ is not possibly true.
4) So, the proposition ‘God exists’ is necessarily true.
● Emanuel Rutten, “A Modal-Epistemic Argument for the Existence of God,” Faith and Philosophy 31/4 (2014), pp. 386–400.
The next post will begin to cover the linguistic arguments.
See also: Spiritual Warfare and Is There a Necessary Being?