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October 09, 1960 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1960-10-09
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- ~- -~ -~ -~

The Jurisdictions of Faith and Reason

A

STUDY

Continued from Page Six
positions, not of things. The truth
of logically necessary propositions
depends only on our symbolism,
on the relation of concepts. No
existential proposition can be
logically necessary. The concept
of logically necessary being is self-
contradictory, like the concept of
a round square."
Concerning the Teleological
argument, Smart notes that the
problem of the existence -of evil
presents an irreconcilable diffi-
culty to one who wishes to argue
rationally from the world as we
find it to the existence of a beno-
velent God.
FINALLY, although Smart does
not explicitly attack the Moral
argument, perhaps we can con-
struct a refutation of the argu-
ment by assuming the sort of
approach that has been taken to
the other problems of Natural
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Theology by the school of con-
temporaries of which Smart is
our representative. The construc-
tion of the argument will be quite
important for this article, for it
will make explicit the manner
in which (or the point of view
from which) a school- of current
criticism levels its charges. Once
this has been accomplished, the
obj ect of this article will unfold.
This article is an attempt to at-
tack the entire enterprise of
Natural Theology, and to criticize
the contemporary school (repre-
sented by Smart) who also object
to Natural Theology. I hope to
argue that not only has Natural
Theology approached the heart of
religion in an unsatisfactory
manner, but also that the critics
of Natural Theology have attempt-
ed ,their criticism upon the same
grounds (from which Natural
Theology proceeded) and hence
are subject to like criticism. There
is, I shall contend that Natural
Theology represents but one con-
sideration of what is essential to,
(constitutes the essence of) reli-
gion. It may be criticized by in-
dicating that there are other
considerations as to what is es-
sential to religion; noting that the
entire approach or essence of
Natural Theology is inappropriate.
Rather than trying to reason
against Natural Theology, as does
Smart, by indicating that its argu-

Does Religious Doctrine
Make Suspension of Reason

five pair of socks, and a plastic
raincoat.
It also showed in his fear of
suspicion by his own government,-
fear of being seen with Americans.
In early days of the Russian
state, the church was the chief
motivating power. Now it is sub-
tly discouraged by the party as
the "opiate of the masses."
We met a young Komsomolite
in a Jewish synagogue in Lenin-
grad.
"I don't believe in God," he
explained. "I gust wanted to be
with the people,"

POLITICAL ideology plays only
a small part in the life of the
average Russian. He, like the
American, is largely concerned
with making a living for himself
and his family. Examples run from
the women working in the streets
to border patrol officials.
Or, second. only to their work,
comes the native Russian love of
culture. 'Perhaps there more so
than in America, as the Bolshoi
Theatre often plays host to the
very poorest of this "classless so-
ciety."

'Z
toi
a
by
Eig
bee
the
larj
con
frie
ica
lieu

-

Necessary for Belief?

-l

ments are, in some manner, in-'
valid (ie, that the reasoning,
language and argumentation itj
employs is unsound) I shall sug-
gest that its very nature is an;
inappropriate and unfruitful way
in which to discuss the basic
elements of religion.
LET US NOW return to the
Moral argument, and con-
struct a type of criticism of it of
which Smart might approve. God's'
existence is necessary, the Moral
argument claims, for the objec-;
tivity of morality. Now the phrase
"objectively valid," it may be
argued, can be predicated of a
statement when the assertion
made by that statement denotes
something existing independent of
mind such that its existence may
be checked and tested by all in-
quirers. Whatever is objective be-
longs to nature or to the sensible
world independent of what is per-
sonal or private in our apprehen-
sions or feelings. Now "morality,"
our argument may note, has no
existence apart from the human
mind, it is not a part of the sen-
sible world, it may not be discov-
ered by any empirical tests. Any
statement which predicates any-
thing of "morality" cannot be an
objectively valid statement. To
predicate "objective validity" of
morality is an invalid procedure,
such a statement can itself never
be objectively valid.
Second, the objective validity of
something (X) may be established
by applying certain empirical tests
directly to (X) (to the conditions
denoted in the statement contain-
ing X and a predicate). To assert
that the statement "X stands in
a certain relation (R) to Y" is an
objectively valid statement is to
assert that X R Y meets the em-
pirical tests noted above to con-
stitute the meaning of "objectively
valid." Then, to assert that mor-
alitY stands in a certain relation
to God .(receives its objective
validity from God) is an objec-
tively valid statement, must mean
that M R G may be verified as
mentioned above. M R G can
"never receive such verification

THIRD, to assert that a propo-
sition is true because it has
some sort of authority behind it
(other than the authority of ob-
jective validity) is only to request
acceptance of the assertion on
the grounds that one may be pun-
ished if he does not. Acceptance
on the grounds of sanction is quite
different from acceptance of a
proposition on the grounds of rea-
son and empirical verification.
The Moral argument embodies im-
plicit sanctions, not reason, and
hence must be rejected.
What we have done with the
moral argument is to reject it
since it has no rational basis and
because predicating objective va-
lidity of a subject of which such

predication is not logically possi-
ble. Are these criteria for rejection
not the same sort which were used
by Smart in his rejection of the
Ontological, Cosmological and
Teleological arguments? If we re-
member, the Ontological argument
"failed" since it was analyzed to
be a ?eductio-ad-absurdum argu-
ment, but it argues to a proposi-
tion whose denial does not, in
fact, involve a contradiction. In
general terms, it was rejected on
logical grounds. The Cosmological
argument "fell" because it em-
ployed the concept of a "logically
necessary being" and such a con-
cept, it was shown, is self-contra-
dictory. The Cosmological argu-
Continued on Page Eleven

Continued from Page Tao
least "oohs" and "ahs" over the
beauty and wonders of his mother-
land.
O R THERE was a 20-year-old
English major at the Univer-
sity of Moscow. He spent a large
part of each touring day with the
four Americans in our predomi-
nantly Austrian group so he could
perfect his English and be just
plain friendly.
Until one of his fellow student
guides gave him a sharp dressing
out in Russian one day for the
attention he was showing the
Americans. The student's duty to
the party and ambition got the
best of him-not another word
was exchanged.
On the other hand, Communist
leanings give way to capitalistic
scheming when some Russians are
offered the opportunity to make
an American dollar.
"Hey, got any greenbacks you
want to exchange?" were the first
words spoken to us upon arrival
in Moscow. Two teenagers were
offering 30 more rubles to the
dollar than the official border rate
(10 to $1) and would even cash
travelers' checks.
Some of those capitalists in
Russian clothing had more social-
ist-oriented motives, though, it
seems. Both the dollars and rubles

of two Americans who attempted
to change money unofficially on
the streets were confiscated by
the teenagers they were dealing
with--government agents.
Inherent Russian characteristics
were evident in the majority of
people with whom this student
came in contact, though.
ROZHYE, a 21-year-old drama
student and member of the
Komsomol, approached us in Mos-
cow's large GUM Department
Store with the question: "To you
trust in God?"
He proudly bought each of us
four Americans a record of the
stirring Russian national anthem
and praised his "good Communist
government."
But the Russian in him showed
when he invited us home to his
one-room flat and traded "two
precious ancient ikons" for two
wash and wear American shirts,
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;AN DAILY MAGAZINE SUNDAY,. OCTOBER 9, 1960

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