Q&A: What are the Weak Spots in Apologetic Arguments?
by Max Andrews
I am currently a college student with a strong interest in apologetics. I’ve seen that, by and large, the arguments that apologists use seem to have shown themselves logically sound and hard to disprove despite decades or centuries of them being around. So the theist’s arguments seem to have many strong points. What would be considered the “weak spots” of the apologetic arguments? What arguments might the skeptic use that have the most potential to show that theism is false and that God does not exist?
Thank you. (Shawn)
This is a very interesting question since it seems to me that I’d have to be showing those at the table what my hand is. There are few weak spots in apologetic arguments and I think the two I see most concerning are 1) poor methodology and 2) theoretical implications for parts of the arguments/defense.
Let’s first look at some poor methodology. Most arguments you’ll find in the deductive, inductive, or abductive form. I’m a staunch proponent of abductive arguments. Here’s an example of William Lane Craig’s fine-tuning argument.
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In a correct deductive argument if the premises are true the conclusion is true regardless of whether or no further evidence is considered. There must be a reasonable connection or relationship between the conditions in a deductive argument (in the instance of implication). Consider the argument, as modus ponens, that if the moon’s core is made of cheese then my desk is made out of mahogany. What relationship do these two conditions have? The truth-value is valid (F-T-T). However, I recognize that this is merely a preference, which is, at times, convenient. When making a novel explanans and prediction the relationship between the conditions may not be epistemically evident.
There are generally three options, which are often considered as an explanation for the fine-tuning data: chance, necessity, a combination of chance and necessity, or a fine-tuner. One immediate problem in implementing explanatory options in a deductive manner is that the first premise may be false wherein it may be lacking in options and the argument still is valid. When these options are used in a [strict] deductive argument it may appear as:
- The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
- It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
- Therefore, it is due to design.
From the very onset of the argument it may be unsound. Perhaps there are more options to be considered in premise 1…
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