Five Arguments For and Against the Existence of God and Their Equivalents Concerning Jamie Moyer as a Hall of Famer

jamie moyer and god

One thing that is true about the blogosphere, and one of its greatest things overall, is the fact that you can find a list for just about any topic.  This is the parlance of Listverse, which is honestly one of the best sites anywhere. This is why we here at Dubsism have a long history of comparing an incredible non-sports entry from Listverse and comparing it to something from the sporting world.

Another thing which is true about the blogosphere is that it is the express train from the sublime to the ridiculous. That brings us to our Jamie Moyer for the Hall of Fame campaign.  Now that the clock for Moyer’s eligibility for induction into Cooperstown is ticking, it is time for one of those comparisons so that you can decide where on that spectrum this campaign resides.

moyerometer 052812

As you contemplate what is likely the last Dubsism Moyer-o-Meter, peruse this list about arguments on the existence of God, and see how they really do compare favorably to the debate as Moyer as a Hall of Famer.

1) The Ontological Argument

 First formulated by St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, then taken up by Alvin Plantinga. “God exists, provided that it is logically possible for him to exist.” This argument is quite brazen in its simplicity, requiring not only a belief in God, but a belief in the necessity of God. If you believe he is necessary, then you must believe he exists.

The Counter Argument:

Criticism typically deals with the Ontological Argument committing a “bare assertion fallacy,” which means it asserts qualities inherent solely to an unproven statement, without any support for those qualities. It is also criticized as a circular argument, revolving from a premise to a conclusion which relies on the premise, which relies on the conclusion.

How This Applies To Moyer:

This argument really touches on a theme you will see throughout this piece.  A major component of Moyer’s appeal while he was in the twilight of his career and compiling career numbers –  that like it or not – were putting him in the same territory as Hall of Fame pitchers. In other words, when you boil off all the high-brow philosophy verbage, the Ontological Argument means that Jamie Moyer existed as a 49-year old pitcher remaining competitive in Major League Baseball because it was not only logical for him to exist, it was practical as well.

2) The Moral Argument

 

This argument is very old, and states that God must exist for the following reason:

  1. An aspect of morality is observed.
  2. Belief in God is a better explanation for this morality than any alternative.
  3. Belief in God is thus preferable to disbelief in God.

The Counter Argument:

This argument is technically valid, provided that the three constituents are accepted, and most critics refuse to accept the first. Morality, they argue, is not universal.  Murder was perfectly fine for the soldiers of the First Crusade, who slaughtered every man, woman, and child in Jerusalem in 1099. Thomas Hobbes argued that morality is based on the society around it, and is thus not objective.

How This Applies To Moyer:

It’s easy to get lost in the “Alanis Morrisette” level irony in applying what may be the oldest argument on this list to the oldest pitcher to notch a Major League win. What gets lost in that approach is there was throughout this campaign a schism on the very concept. Without any analytical thought, mention Moyer being potentially enshrined in the Hall of Fame led to an immediate and empassioned “yes” or “no.”

Now, we get that applying a deep topic such as the subjectivity or objectivity of morality to the granting of baseball immortality is a loose connection at best, but there’s absolutely no denying that the acceptance of Moyer as a Hall of Famer boils down to believing that a soft-tossing left-hander whose career numbers are a result of longevity more than dominance is worthy of enshrinement.

3) The Argument from Degree

 

This is one of St. Thomas Aquinas’s “Five Proofs of God,” and still causes debate among the two sides. Here is Aquinas’s statement of it, which I have translated from Latin, for a sense of thoroughness:

The fourth proof originates from the degrees discovered in things. For there is discovered greater and lesser degrees of goodness, truth, nobility, and others. But “more” or “less” are terms spoken concerning various things that approach in diverse manners toward something that is the “greatest,” just as in the case of “hotter” approaching nearer the “greatest” heat. There exists, therefore, something “truest,” and “best,” and “noblest,” which, in consequence, is the “greatest” being. For those things which are the greatest truths are the greatest beings, as is stated in Metaphysics Bk. II. Furthermore, that which is the greatest in its way, is, in another way, the cause of all things belonging to it; thus fire, which is the greatest heat, is the cause of all heat, as is said in the same book (cf. Plato and Aristotle). Therefore, there exists something that is the cause of the existence of all things, and of goodness, and of every perfection whatever. We call this “God.”

The Counter Argument:

The most prevalent criticism of this argument considers that we do not have to believe in an object of a greater degree in order to believe in an object of a lesser degree. Richard Dawkins, the most famous, or infamous, Atheist around these days, argues that just because we come across a “smelly” object, does not require that we believe that we believe in a “preeminently peerless stinker,” in his words.

How This Applies To Moyer:

Here’s where you can get into the “numbers” based argument, because what St. Thomas Aquinas is really saying is that in any spectrum, there is a point at which we draw a line. There is no better example of that than baseball’s Hall of Fame. First, there is the sheer nature of the “numbers” argument. Hall of Fame voting has always been cast in the light of “magic numbers;” we all know such standards as 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.  The trouble stems from the fact that:

  1. Those standards are not absolute, which is why it took so long for both Don Sutton and Bert Blyleven to be inducted.
  2. Those standards were set in a different era; Greg Maddux may very well be the last 300-game winner we see as long as baseball continues it’s love with the five-man rotation.

Even more specifically, the “numbers” argument is a “top-down” argument, in much the same way as Thomas Aquinas’ “greatest heat” construct. This is because it is the “greatest” that we use to set the standards; 70 years after his death, Babe Ruth is the standard we use for sluggers. The same applies to moundsmen and such immortals as Cy Young and Walter Johnson.

There’s more on “numbers” in the next argument.

4) The Argument from Reason

 

One of my favorites, with very intricate abstraction. C. S. Lewis (who wrote “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”) came up with this. It begins as an argument from design, and then continues into something new. Very basically, it argues that God must exist, because, in Lewis’s words:

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

The Counter Argument:

It sounds powerful, and the final judgment on it is still out there. But its primary weak point is that, in the strictest sense, it is not a proof of God’s existence because it requires the assumption that human minds can assess the truth or falsehood of a claim, and it requires that human minds can be convinced by argumentation.

But in order to reject the assumption that human minds can assess the truth or falsehood of a claim, a human mind must assume that this claim is true or false, which immediately proves that human minds can assess the truth or falsehood of a claim.

But none of this has anything to do with God’s existence. Thus, the argument is better treated as a disproof of naturalistic materialism. However, given that most Atheists use naturalistic materialism as the foundation of Atheism, is is a very viable argument.

How This Applies To Moyer:

This construct shares the inherent weakness in C.S. Lewis’ argument. The entire “numbers” argument is predicated on human judgement, which means that if we as humans cannot trust our own judgement, then what the fuck does any of this matter? In other words, this can easily be a wonderfully constructed argument that won’t make a goddamn bit of difference.

With that last sentence, we may have just penned the penultimate definition of philosophy.

5) The Cosmological Argument

 

Thomas Aquinas’s most famous proof of God refuses to go away. You’ve probably already heard of it in some form. It was around before Aquinas, at least as early as Plato and Aristotle, and in basic terms, it goes like this:

1. Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
2. Nothing finite and contingent can cause itself.
3. A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
4. Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.

This is especially impressive in that it was theorized by the Ancient Greeks, at a time when the Universe was not known to have had an origin. Today, we call this “the Big Bang,” and the argument has changed to this form:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The Universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

The Counter Argument:

Sequentially speaking, these three points are true. But the second point requires the Universe to have had a cause, and we still aren’t sure it did. “The Big Bang” is the most prevalent astrophysical theory today, but it has its detractors, most arguing that because the mathematics that leads back to a big bang do not function at the point immediately prior to the big bang, those mathematics were invalid to begin with.

Better than this, however, is the argument that this proof of God commits the logical fallacy called “infinite regression.” If the Universe had a first cause, what caused that first cause? Criticism declares that it is unfair to argue for every thing’s cause, and then argue for the sole exception of a “First Cause,” which did not have a cause.

How This Applies To Moyer:

This is all about the creation of our “Moyer for the Hall of Fame” campaign, because it surely had a cause. The progression works like this:

  1. The driving force behind this blog is a guy who is in his late 40’s.
  2. Jamie Moyer was competing in Major League Baseball in his late 40’s.
  3. Generally, being in your late 40’s means an end to your competitive athletic days.
  4. Guys in their late 40’s everywhere were living vicariously through Jamie Moyer, and this campaign was a celebration of that.

If that isn’t a cause, then we simply do not know what one is.

Now, it’s time for you to decide…

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4 responses

  1. While I realize this is a semi-joking, semi-serious piece…the fact that Moyer was able to pitch — and pitch effectively — into his late 40’s is the biggest reason that he should be in the Hall of Fame

    1. Think of it this way. It is very possible that Moyer’s career totals in wins and strikeouts may very well be just about where the new “magic numbers” for pitchers end up.

  2. I saved this post for Easter to read. Now I don’t have to go to church today… which is a good thing because I’m Jewish and the walls would probably bleed anyway from my sinning, heathen ways.

    I do, however, feel suddenly pious. I thank you, Mr. Moyer.

    Oh, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to wear when announcing him at his Hall of Fame induction.

    After all, he’d have you, more than anyone else, to thank.

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