Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bill Vallicella on why Russell's Teapot leaks

This also might explain why the Flying Spaghetti Monster has so much trouble flying.


One Brow said...

Vallicella has closed comments for this topic on his blog, so I will leave a link for my response on your blog. :)

Joe said...

Vallicella: "Now it seems to me that both (S) and (W) are plainly false: we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Here Alvin Plantinga sketches about two dozen theistic arguments. Atheists will not find them compelling, of course, but that is irrelevant. The issue is whether a reasoned case can be made for theism, and the answer is in the affirmative. Belief in God and in Russell's teapot are therefore not on a par since there are no empirical or theoretical reasons for believing in his teapot."

One Brow: "This is an interesting standard of evidence: it doesn't matter if the arguments are compelling or not, they just have to exist and be made into a reasoned case. It occurs to me that this is not a difficult thing to accomplish for the Russell's teapot (the Teapot); I can make a reasoned case, that almost no one will find compelling, for it's existence. First is the evidence I have already presented, which we might call the Argument from Compulsion: when I stop performing acts of worship to the Teapot, I have physical symptoms. Then there is the Argument from Dominant Language: of all the Western European countries, it is England whose language has become the commercial language of the world, because they are known for drinking tea, and the Teapot has rewarded them for it. I will end this list with the Argument from Antioxidants: the Teapot wishes to encourage our worship, and so has made our worship healthy for us."

You are switching out what he said. He said the arguments are not compelling "to the atheist." You then make it sound like he is saying the argument doesn't need to be compelling to anyone.

The arguments Vallicella refers to are compelling to some theists. If they were not compelling to anyone then it would be like your teapot argument. In the end if you want to address the reasonableness of the belief in God you have to weigh the arguments pro and con.

I think the teapot analogy may describe how some atheists or agnostics view God. But that’s because they view all the reasons to believe in God as no more compelling than a reason to believe in a celestial teapot. It’s a description of their view not really an argument.