One argument that appears to be having a revival despite being abandoned long ago due to it’s absurdity is Aquinas’ argument from first cause.
It starts with the premise that it is impossible for something to cause itself, because it would have to exist before it caused itself and that it is impossible.
It is also impossible for there to be an infinite chain of causes because that would result in infinite regress (i.e. y caused x, so what caused y? z caused y, so what caused z? ad infinitum).
Therefore, there must be a first cause, itself uncaused.
Theists extrapolate from this that if there is an uncaused first cause then because it created conditions which resulted in, eventually us, then it must have done so intentionally and therefore it cares about us and is a ‘personal’ god.
Positing an omnipotent being like this appears to the rational mind to be adding an unnecessary complication. But for the sake of argument lets hypothesize that Aquinas had it right and there needs to be an uncaused first instance.
We could already have this without having to go up a metaphysical level to ‘god’..
We have the universe.
The laws of quantum mechanics as we understand them and observe their impact on measurements of the observable universe allow for the creation of matter, time and space to be uncaused in a conventional sense.
So the argument stands as an argument not for god. But for a godless universe, or at the very least a universe where a god has absolutely nothing to do.
A god with nothing to do is not really worth worshipping for anything even if one hypothetically exists.
The theistic conclusion of the argument from previous irrational extrapolation is still used though. This is known as the teleological argument and has been refuted long ago, many times, in many ways.
We could go into the wastefulness of the cosmological evidence if it were all for just us. We could go into the biological evidence that if we were designed then we were designed competently or that given evolution requires no intervention, we again end up with a description of a god with nothing to do.. But I like the simplicity of the watchmaker analogy.
It goes something like this: if an uneducated aboriginal person with no concept of complex mechanisms finds a pocket watch whilst walking through the wilderness, he knows it is something different.. It’s not a fruit or a rock or a person. He may not be able to decipher its function but nevertheless he can ascertain that it was made to a design in turn created by a mind.
This analogy is then used by theists to describe how, if we are complex mechanisms then we must have been designed, if trees are complex systems they must have been designed, if weather systems are complex systems they must have been designed, and so on and so forth. As I say we could go into redundancies very easily, but the key answer to the argument is in the argument itself: The aboriginal person differentiated between the watch and everything else around it because it was different, it wasn’t created by nature. If you make this distinction and then imply that the natural things were also designed then the initial argument becomes illogical. You may as well say anything just as ludicrous:
This soap is made from something different to my bathtub. Therefore my bathtub is also made of soap.
I truly fail to comprehend the thinking that lead these philosophers to the conclusions they draw and quite frankly I’m starting to think that people who can’t see the inherent logical inconsistencies are imbecilic.
Please prove me wrong, I implore you, show me you can achieve a raising of consciousness and witness the stupidity of the theistic world view given the insurmountable evidence to the contrary.