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(08-09-2012, 04:11 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: [ -> ]I think Grasshopper is right. The five ways are coming from completely different assumptions. I doubt they'd convince the average atheist. Of course, there is also some debate about whether or not St. Thomas even meant the five ways to really be independent proofs of the existence of God.

Although I do accept that Aquinas' five proofs are logically sound, I will admit that they are rhetorically lacking, at least from my experiences with agnostic and atheist friends.

Out of curiosity, are there any proofs that you consider better--whether logically or rhetorically--than Aquinas'?
I'm not interested in calling people names because their beliefs happen to differ from mine. I respect Alvin Plantinga as a philosopher, just as I respect Plato and Aristotle (who really were "heathens" by our standards) and Nietzsche (an atheist) -- and Aquinas, for that matter. I am intellectually interested in their opinions and how they express them, whether or not I happen to agree with them. I guess that attitude is frowned on here, so I will respectfully bow out of this discussion.
"From Atheism to Catholicism: How Scientists and Philosophers Led Me to Truth" - Kevin Vost
This helped lead me out of atheism.
The Last Superstition:  A Refutation of the New Atheism by the wonderful young Thomist, Edward Feser: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Superstition-Refutation-Atheism/dp/1587314525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344617347&sr=8-1&keywords=the+last+superstition

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* New Atheists Richards Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. “Their books stand out for their manifest ignorance” of the Western religious tradition, he says, “and for the breathtaking shallowness of their philosophical analysis of religious matters.” Far better than such no-quarters rhetoric, however, are the review of pre-Aristotelian philosophy and the summary of Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomas Aquinas’ refinements of Aristotle that make up the heart, soul, and bulk of the book. Feser chooses to argue from Aristotle because he was not arguing from any religious perspective and because Aristotle’s logic, his rationality, hasn’t been improved upon or refuted by modern philosophy. Aristotle’s proof that there is a prime mover or pure being—God—remains solid. Ignoramuses like the four horsemen of the apostasy, whose factual errors, half-truths, and mischaracterization Feser highlights with contemptuous glee, “refute” Aristotle only by changing the playing field from metaphysics to science, from philosophical realism to materialism. With energy and humor as well as transparent exposition, Feser reestablishes the unassailable superiority of classical philosophy. --Ray Olson

Former hi profile Atheist:

[Image: 51gmTz6nGiL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-stic..._OU01_.jpg]
(08-10-2012, 12:51 PM)jbd Wrote: [ -> ]The Last Superstition:  A Refutation of the New Atheism by the wonderful young Thomist, Edward Feser: 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Superstition-Refutation-Atheism/dp/1587314525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344617347&sr=8-1&keywords=the+last+superstition

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* New Atheists Richards Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris get their comeuppance from philosopher Feser in the spirit with which they abuse believers. “Their books stand out for their manifest ignorance” of the Western religious tradition, he says, “and for the breathtaking shallowness of their philosophical analysis of religious matters.” Far better than such no-quarters rhetoric, however, are the review of pre-Aristotelian philosophy and the summary of Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomas Aquinas’ refinements of Aristotle that make up the heart, soul, and bulk of the book. Feser chooses to argue from Aristotle because he was not arguing from any religious perspective and because Aristotle’s logic, his rationality, hasn’t been improved upon or refuted by modern philosophy. Aristotle’s proof that there is a prime mover or pure being—God—remains solid. Ignoramuses like the four horsemen of the apostasy, whose factual errors, half-truths, and mischaracterization Feser highlights with contemptuous glee, “refute” Aristotle only by changing the playing field from metaphysics to science, from philosophical realism to materialism. With energy and humor as well as transparent exposition, Feser reestablishes the unassailable superiority of classical philosophy. --Ray Olson

My husband didn't like this book because of the way it puts down atheists. But he is much nicer than I am.  It is one of my favourite books.  :grin:
(08-09-2012, 03:58 PM)Atomagenesis Wrote: [ -> ]I respectfully disagree with you as much as my being can possibly muster. St. Thomas's 5 ways are perfect, and it doesn't matter if modern man is entrenched in modern philosophy, that's exactly why St. Thomas's 5 proofs are important because they bring one back to the level of reality outside of one's self and truth in that reality, such as 2+2=4.

One of the great things about The Last Superstition is that it gives modern readers the background to understand why St. Thomas is right.
(08-09-2012, 05:06 PM)Resurrexi Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-09-2012, 04:11 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: [ -> ]I think Grasshopper is right. The five ways are coming from completely different assumptions. I doubt they'd convince the average atheist. Of course, there is also some debate about whether or not St. Thomas even meant the five ways to really be independent proofs of the existence of God.

Although I do accept that Aquinas' five proofs are logically sound, I will admit that they are rhetorically lacking, at least from my experiences with agnostic and atheist friends.

Out of curiosity, are there any proofs that you consider better--whether logically or rhetorically--than Aquinas'?

To be fair, I believe the version of the five ways presented in the Summa Theologiae is highly condensed. I want to say that he presents an expanded version of at least some of the arguments in the Summa Contra Gentiles. Anyway, I can't really think of any more convincing proofs that I've read, though there don't actually seem to be many that are not some version of one of the five ways or a variant of St. Anselm's ontological argument.
This was discussed a couple of years ago in this thread. Some suggestions made in that thread were made in this one, some weren't. Hope you find what it is you're looking for.  :)

http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...752.0.html 
Try this from Walter Farrell's, O.P., A Companion to the Summa, Vol. 1:

http://www.catholicprimer.org/farrell/compfram.htm

Quote:Walter Farrell, O.P., A Companion to the Summa, volume 1

CHAPTER II -- HE WHO IS
(Q. 2)
1. Beginners and the beginning:
  (a) The mystery and difficulty of beginnings.
  (b) Difficulty for beginners.
  © Reasons for a beginning:
(1) Their modernity:
a. Objections against them.
b. Their perennial strength.
(2) Their completeness.
2. Preliminary notions to proof of the beginning:
  (a) Potentiality and actuality.
  (b) Change: potential, process and product.
  © Limitations of proofs of existence.
3. The five proofs:
  (a) From passivity -- motion.
  (b) From activity -- causality.
  © From defectibility -- contingency.
  (d) From perfection -- participation.
  (e) From order -- finality.
4. Characteristics of the proofs:
  (a) A posteriori arguments.
  (b) Not cumulative but independently sufficient.
  © Strictly limited to the evidence.
  (d) Foundations of the deductive tract
            on the nature of God.
Conclusion:
1. Significance of the proofs.
2. Real mystery of beginnings.
3. Allegedly non-mysterious substitutes.

Try to gauge the premises the atheist is working under. Will the atheist readily accept material you give him? Is the atheist honest?
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