Evidence for God: The Argument from Cactiby Don Lacey on Jul. 30, 2012, under Art & Culture, Atheism, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Creationism, Critical Thinking, Education, Environment, Ethics, Freethought, God & Bible, Logic, Materialism, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Sanity, Skepticism
Frequent contributor, Jim Wilson has some thoughts about the beautiful Sonoran Desert and how the saguaro cactus doesn’t prove God’s existence:
When I moved first moved to the beautiful Sonoran Desert, I was struck by the unique beauty of the place. My previous homes had been in flatter, wetter parts of the country and the Tucson area greatly captured my imagination. Early on I drove into the foothills north of town and took some pictures of the unique views including one of me standing under an enormous saguaro cactus. It must have been tall as two story building. I sent these photographs to many of my friends and family; some had not realized that I had moved to a new part of the country.
Sometime later in a conversation with a very Christian family member, these photographs came up. This individual asked after seeing something like that giant cactus how could I not believe in God?
I had to admit this was a new one. I was familiar with the argument from trees, ad arborum, but I had never heard this variant—the argumentum ad cacti!
Most of us are familiar with the argumentum ad arborum. It is strangely one of the most commonly used arguments for the existence of God. Formally it states: Trees exist, therefore God exists. In everyday conversation, it is more likely to be presented as: Of course God, exists! Just look at the trees! It very much parallels the related arguments from birds, from sunsets, from Van Halen, and of course the truly inventive argument from oatmeal.
There is something missing in the argument from trees and the parallels mentioned above. Namely, there is nothing linking its premise “trees exist” to the conclusion “God exists.”It is a non sequitur and a total non-starter. There needs to be some steps added to the middle for it to make any sense. Unfortunately, there are no additional premises that can salvage this argument.
Here is a challenge. See if you can post a logically valid argument, in the comments that starts with the premise: “Trees/and/or/cacti exist” and ends with: “Therefore God exists.”
We have completely valid naturalistic explanations for the evolution and diversification of trees that in no way requires a god. In fact, as our understanding of the world has progressed gods are called on to explain less and less. Zeus is no longer called on to explain lightening and demons are no longer the source of disease.
It amazes me how many believers think they have some argument that can prove the existence of a god or their God specifically as if there is some combination of words that could only be uttered in a universe where God exists. The most brilliant religious minds have for centuries posited arguments for the existence of God and one does not have to Google very long to discover that there are flaws in all of them.
If there was some argument or piece of evidence that proved beyond a doubt that a god, any god, existed we would all know about it. The Catholic Church and every other multi-million dollar religious outfit would latch onto it and be pumping it out to the masses ad nauseam. It would be a major story in every media outlet and we would all know about it and be talking about it. It would be the biggest story in human history. We would know that we were not alone in the universe.
Of course, this has never happened. Not a single piece of evidence has ever been presented that proves the existence of God. That, of course, is why all the world’s religions insist their teaching be taken on faith. If there is God apparently he does not want any incontrovertible proof left around and is not so sloppy as to let some Creationist spot his finger prints. Some believe that there is a conspiracy that silences the proof of God, and that the devil is in on it but it’s lame to blame a boogie man for a failure to make a good case.