Natural-law argument

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m (The existence of laws implies a law-giver moved to Natural-law argument: Broader and more correct terminology, based on reading Bertrand Russell)
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"There are [[law]]s of nature. But the existence of laws implies a law-giver. Someone must have set up these laws. We'll call the law-giver [[God]]."
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The '''natural-law argument''' states that because there are consistent and predictable natural [[law]]s in the [[universe]], there must be a law-giver who set those laws in motion. That law-giver is assumed to be [[God]].
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==Counter-apologetics==
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===Equivocation===
  
==Counter-Arguments==
 
 
This argument relies on [[equivocation]] between two meanings of the word "law".
 
This argument relies on [[equivocation]] between two meanings of the word "law".
  
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Natural laws, on the other hand, are ''descriptive'': they describe how some aspect of the universe behaves. For instance, Newton's law of motion "F=ma" describes how solid objects behave when acted upon by a force. If a person or object breaks a physical law, then it is the law that is in error, since it obviously does not adequately describe what it seeks to describe.
 
Natural laws, on the other hand, are ''descriptive'': they describe how some aspect of the universe behaves. For instance, Newton's law of motion "F=ma" describes how solid objects behave when acted upon by a force. If a person or object breaks a physical law, then it is the law that is in error, since it obviously does not adequately describe what it seeks to describe.
  
Furthermore, even if we grant the existence of a lawgiver god, it does not follow that that god is the one the apologist has in mind. It could just as easily be the [[Flying spaghetti monster]] as [[Yahweh]].
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===Natural laws by convention===
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[[Bertrand Russell]] wrote:
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{{quote-source|We now find that a great many things we thought were Natural Laws are really human conventions. You know that even in the remotest depth of stellar space there are still three feet to a yard. That is, no doubt, a very remarkable fact, but you would hardly call it a law of nature.|Why I Am Not A Christian}}
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===Presumed identity of the law-giver===
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Even if we grant the existence of a lawgiver god, it does not follow that that god is the one the apologist has in mind. It could just as easily be the [[Flying spaghetti monster]] as [[Yahweh]].
  
 
[[Category:Arguments]]
 
[[Category:Arguments]]
 
[[Category:Arguments for the existence of God]]
 
[[Category:Arguments for the existence of God]]
 
[[Category:Anthropic arguments]]
 
[[Category:Anthropic arguments]]

Revision as of 16:19, 11 November 2006

The natural-law argument states that because there are consistent and predictable natural laws in the universe, there must be a law-giver who set those laws in motion. That law-giver is assumed to be God.

Contents

Counter-apologetics

Equivocation

This argument relies on equivocation between two meanings of the word "law".

Legislative laws, such as "Do not murder" or "No littering" are prescriptive: they are established to demarcate acceptable and unacceptable behavior. If a person breaks such a law, he or she has committed a crime, and may be subject to punishment.

Natural laws, on the other hand, are descriptive: they describe how some aspect of the universe behaves. For instance, Newton's law of motion "F=ma" describes how solid objects behave when acted upon by a force. If a person or object breaks a physical law, then it is the law that is in error, since it obviously does not adequately describe what it seeks to describe.

Natural laws by convention

Bertrand Russell wrote:

"We now find that a great many things we thought were Natural Laws are really human conventions. You know that even in the remotest depth of stellar space there are still three feet to a yard. That is, no doubt, a very remarkable fact, but you would hardly call it a law of nature."

— Why I Am Not A Christian

Presumed identity of the law-giver

Even if we grant the existence of a lawgiver god, it does not follow that that god is the one the apologist has in mind. It could just as easily be the Flying spaghetti monster as Yahweh.

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