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Georgia Lofts

Georgia Lofts

Email: georgialofts@gmail.com

Total Article : 115

About Me:I am a second year student studying BioMedical Science. I am interested in a wide range of topics but particularly like to focus on Biology, Art and Philosophy.

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Donovan Review Part 4

Donovan Review Part 4

If we agree that intuition may be faulty and cannot be used as the basis for knowledge-claims about God and our world, there would be several implications. Firstly, person intuition of God would be discredited, however Swinburne maintains that ‘an omnipotent and perfectly good God would want to interact with his creatures out of love for them.’ If we dismiss personal experiences, what kind of God are we left with? Ayer refused to accept that any intuitive knowledge was meaningful. Ayer believed we can trust our intuition in everyday life for things we observe that are objects, e.g a ‘yellow patch’ that can be verified as there is empirical evidence (verification principle). God is non-empirical, thus Ayer asserts ‘the notion of a person whose essential attributes are non-empirical is not an intelligible notion at all.’ However Copplestone says ‘the principle of verification cannot be verified by its own criteria, and therefore must be seen as meaningless.’ If the principle itself cannot follow its own criteria, how can the criteria be correct for defining meaningful statements? Dawkins agrees with Ayer and argues religious belief is out of date. His beliefs address the theory of natural selection, which creates the ‘illusion’ of design, which is misinterpreted by believers. He uses the word ‘memes’ to describe units of cultural inheritance of religious belief and claims religion is a virus infecting the mind. Additionally, Hitchens feels that organised religion is ‘the main source of hatred in the world.’ He believes it is a solipsistic delusion; people can be convinced wrong actions can get them into heaven.

Taking a full rejection of religion like Ayer does has implications as it means the foundations of religious belief is consequently destroyed. Religion doesn’t just influence believers, but holds importance in morality, and the British Justice system. Without religion, laws and legal rights put in place would need to be re-evaluated and some people would be in search for a new meaning to life. Donovan’s middle position of avoiding the ‘all or nothing’ approach too has implications. We must have multiple arguments and justifications to prove God exists to form a more conclusive argument. However Flew criticises Swinburne’s attempt to provide a cumulative case using the leaky bucket analogy. Flew stated that arguments for God make a bucket, but the flaws but holes in it, it is pointless trying to fill up the bucket with holes in it.

Donovan’s arguments has implications of strengthening agnosticism, since it allows that religious experiences are meaningful but do not provide definitive evidence. Thus religious encounters may have subjective meaning. This relates to Wittgenstein coming to the proposition that ‘the meaning (of language) is in its use.’ The context of ‘form of life’ gives meaning to symbolism e.g. the communion is meaningful to those in that ‘form of life,’ anyone outside who tries to impose its own ‘grammar’ (e.g. the scientist who wants to test the communion wine for blood) cannot understand the significance to a believer as this is ‘a blunder too big.’ It seems wrong to assume that words must all hold the same meaning, likewise it seems wrong to assume no one can talk of God significantly. But to persuade others of our experiences, it would be necessary to have some supporting arguments or evidence.

To conclude, I agree with Donovan as it is not right to completely reject claims of having a RE and more evidence is needed to support such an argument. Donovan implies that we should have a balanced, critical view of the world and our experiences. Personal intuition is not itself knowledge but could fit with knowledge claims.

 

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