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Patrick Coffin Show: Can You Prove God Exists? —Dr. Edward Feser

November 26, AD2017

patrick coffinThe Patrick Coffin Show

The Patrick Coffin Show podcast features weekly interviews with A-list influencers and outliers in the effort to recover the Judeo-Christian roots of the culture. Patrick is the Canadian-born former host of Catholic Answers Live, and he has raving fans around the world. He injects these fascinating interviews with his own distinctive blend of depth and levity. If you’re tired of politically correct mediaspeak, you want to see God back in the public square, and you’re not allergic to having a laugh, this is the place to be.

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that the number of atheists has doubled in the United States. Atheism is definitely on the rise.

Is God’s existence a matter of faith only? Is there a way we can come to a certain knowledge of God apart from the Bible or the Church’s teaching?

If you have friends or family who say they stopped believing in God, this is the interview to share with them. Philosopher and writer Dr. Edward Feser is the author of The Last Superstition, Aquinas, and other books of philosophy. This special episode of The Patrick Coffin Show taped before a live audience at St.John the Baptist church in Costa Mesa, CA.  (N.B. since Catholics may ask: before I speak or do a show in a church, I speak with the pastor beforehand and request that the Host is removed and placed in repose in a nearby chapel, which was done in this case. I explained this to the audience before the actual broadcast went live.)

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The right questions to ask atheists
  • That there are strong reasons for believing in God apart from divine revelation
  • Science itself cannot disprove God
  • How to really listen to the atheist objection and provide a great answer in reply

Dr. Feser is the man that professor emeritus of Oxford, Dr. Richard Dawkins, does not want to debate. You can see why in this lively exchange. Feser is sharp, clear, funny, and engages the issues in a way that resonates with young people especially.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Other recommended resources:

 

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

The Patrick Coffin Show podcast features weekly interviews with A-list influencers and outliers in the effort to recover the Judeo-Christian roots of the culture. Patrick is the Canadian-born former host of “Catholic Answers Live,” and he has raving fans around the world. He injects these fascinating interviews with his own distinctive blend of depth and levity. If you’re tired of politically correct mediaspeak, you want to see God back in the public square, and you’re not allergic to having a laugh, this is the place to be.

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  • In this podcast, Edward Feser stresses the need to understand the arguments of others with whom one disagrees. Nevertheless, this is the primary mistake he made in his book, “The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism”. In the podcast, Feser distinguishes deductive reasoning from inductive reasoning, calling the latter probabilistic. His error is implicitly equating probabilistic, which in this context refers to human certitude, with mathematical probability. Thus, he is unable to recognize Richard Dawkins’ argument that the solution to mathematical improbability is gradualism, a solution, which is inapplicable to the improbability of God. It would have been cogent to dismiss Dawkins’ argument because one cannot draw a philosophical conclusion from a mathematical argument. Instead, Feser simply fails to address Dawkins’ argument because he fails to perceive the two disparate meanings of the word, probability. It is no excuse that Dawkins is guilty of the same equivocation.

    • Randal Agostini

      Is this argument equivocation?

    • You be the judge. In the “The Last Superstition” (p 81f), Feser ranks three fields of knowledge according to human certitude. In the top rank is mathematics, which deductively reaches necessary conclusions from indubitable premises. In the middle rank is philosophy, which deductively reaches necessary conclusions from general principles. In the lowest rank is science, which inductively reaches probabilistic conclusions from empirical premises. In “The God Delusion” in the chapter, “Why there almost certainly is no God” and elsewhere, Dawkins presents a mathematic solution to the mathematical ‘problem of improbability’. Feser does not address Dawkins’ argument within mathematics, i.e. within rank one. In his book (p 110f), as his critique of Dawkins, Feser indicates that Dawkins’ argument, at best, is probabilistic because it addresses the properties of complex beings. In contrast, God is not probabilistic. God is concluded to be simple and to exist based on Aquinas’ philosophical argument of rank two of human certitude.

    • Major Marco

      Three names come to mind; Kurt Godel and Benzmuller and Paleo and their work on St. Anselm’s “Ontological Proof of God”.

    • Ontological arguments for the existence of God suffer from a categorical error. They begin with a definition of God. That is philosophically impossible, as is evident from the conclusion of valid arguments: Therefore, there must exist a being, beyond human experience and ken, whose essence and existence are identical. This being we call God. Also, the very meaning of necessary existence at the level of existence is an inference drawn from this conclusion.

      Even stipulating the logical validity of the computer assisted analysis you cite, it is based on at least two erroneous definitions, (1) ‘An essence of an individual is a property possessed by it’ and (2) ‘Necessary existence of an individ(ual) is the necessary exemplification of all its essences’.

    • Major Marco

      Einstein agreed with Godel. Them I know. Who the are you?

    • My hope is that what I write is evaluated on its own merit. Consequently, my bios at CatholicStand.com and at Theyhavenowine.wordpress.com are intentionally minimal. Philosophy depends entirely upon our (as in thine and mine) common experience and mathematics nearly so.

    • Major Marco

      Your writing has been evaluated and found wanting.