Geoffrey Berg, an unknown author with credentials he is deliberately concealing, has written a book entitled The Six Ways of Atheism: New Logical Disproofs of the Existence of God. Berg touts the book as definitively disproving the existence of God, and containing arguments completely original to him.
As it happens, neither is true. None of the arguments are original to him, but are reformulated from existing arguments used by atheistic philosophers. And, not surprisingly, the book does not definitively disprove God.
Well, to be fair, it disproves a contingent, created God who is a constituent of the universe right along side us. But no one argues that.
I’ll only take one example from the book here to show what I mean. I’m going to use the disproof that Berg thinks is the ultimate, bulletproof, ironclad argument against God. In fact, after defending it he says:
What is beyond doubt is that I have now provided absolute and indubitable disproof of the existence of a monotheistic God which no objection can overcome. Therefore, like it or not, make of it what you will, monotheism is wrong and atheism is right! (143)
He calls this proof his favorite (97) and even mailed a copy of the proof with a summary of its defense to professors at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge challenging them to rebut it if they can. That is how proud he is of it. It’s a shame how easy it is to dismantle, but such is the simple-mindedness of many of the opponents of Christian theism.
Here’s the proof he touts as the best of his six:
- An uncertain God is a contradiction in terms.
- Everything in the universe must be fundamentally uncertain about its own relationship to the universe as a whole because there is no way of attaining such certainty.
- Therefore even an entity with all God’s other qualities cannot have the final quality of certain knowledge concerning its own relationship to the universe as a whole.
- Therefore God cannot exist because even any potential God cannot know for sure that it is God.
Why is this so bad? Because God created the universe. A creator always knows its relationship to its own creation. Therefore, God may possess a certainty that none of us have since God created the thing about which we are uncertain.
Of course, Berg probably won’t think so. So I thought I’d provide some examples.
Let’s say a computer circuit was sentient. Once installed in a machine, it can only see a limited part of the computer, and it can only process data that the operating system sends it. It has a fundamental uncertainty about its place in the whole, and has no way to attain any such certainty since it is denied access to most of the data the computer processes and it can’t leave its post to explore the rest of the machine.
Now contrast that with the guy who built this same computer, and who installed the sentient circuit. If anyone knows the layout of the machine, the machine’s purpose, the purpose of the individual circuits, and moreover his relationship to the machine it is this guy. By virtue of being the builder, he knows what the individual circuits could never know.
A more human example would be my kids. While my wife and I know with certainty where these angels came from — being present at their lives from pregnancy, birth, midnight feedings, liquefied poop in diapers, and all the other joys of parenting — the kids themselves will have a fundamental uncertainty. Especially given how unlike us these two can be. Mom and Dad raised me, they’ll think, but are they really my parents? Did they really adopt us?
Doesn’t everyone wonder about that at some point? Haven’t we all thought, These can’t be my parents! Well, only your parents will know for certain because only they were there for everything.
As the ultimate creator of life, the universe, and everything, God knows his relationship to it with certainty; the same way the engineer knows the computer better than a sentient circuit.
The final bit of irony is that Berg touts this as the one proof that attacks God on the level of God, not the human level (97). Quite the contrary — this proof assumes God has a very human hang up that he could not possibly possess because he created the universe rather than being a mere resident. And so this, like the other proofs Berg offers, fails epically.
My other rebuttals to Berg’s work:
- Aggregate of Qualities Argument
- Man-God Comprehension Gulf Argument
- God Has No Explanatory Value Argument
- This is Not the Best Possible World Argument
- Some of God’s Defining Qualities Cannot Exist Argument
I’ll answer all eleven God “fallacies” someday soon.