One unfortunate feature of recent philosophy of religion has been a tendency to treat arguments for the existence of God in isolation from each other. There can, of course, be no objection to considering each argument initially, for the sake of simplicity of exposition, in isolation from others. But clearly the arguments may back each other up or alternitavely weaken each other, and we need to consider whether or not they do. Sometimes, however, philosophers consider the arguments for the existence of God in isolation from each other, reasoning as follows: the cosmological argument does not prove the consclusion, the teleological argument does not prove the conclusion, etc., etc., therefore the arguments do not prove the conclusion. But this ‘divide and rule’ technique with the arguments is inadmissible. Even if the only kind of good argument was a valid deductive argument from premisses known to be true, it would be inadmissable. An argument from p to r may be invalid: another argument from q to r may be invalid. But, if you run the arguments together, you could well get a valid deductive argument; the arguments from p to q to r may be valid. The argument from ‘all students have long hair’ to ‘Smith has long hair’ is invalid, and so is the argument from ‘Smith is a student’ to ‘Smith has long hair’; but the argument from ‘all students have long hair and Smith is a student’ to ‘Smith has long hair’ is valid.
That arguments may support and weaken each other is even more evident, when we are dealing with inductive arguments. That Smith has blood on his hands hardly makes it probable that Smith murdered Mrs Jones, nor (by itself) does the fact that Smith stood to gain from Mrs Jones death, nor (by itself) does the fact that Smith was near the scene of the murder at the time of its being committed, but all these phenomena together (perhaps with other phenomena as well) may indeed make the conclusion probable.
- Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, toinen editio, 2004, s. 12
Muuten, jos hyväksymmekin Aristoteelis-Tomistisen metafysiikan (aktuaalisuus ja potentiaalisuus, essenssi ja eksistenssi, finaaliset ja formaalit syyt), niin meillä voi sittenkin olla käsissämme päteviä deduktiivisia argumentteja Jumalan olemassaolon puolesta. Mutta tästä lisää kunhan jatkan kirjoittamista Tuomas Akvinolaisesta.