December 4, 2007

An Example of Bertrand Russell’s Argument against the Existence of God

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today I would like to introduce one of Bertrand Russell’s approaches to argue against the existence of God. Although I do not fully support his idea, as I think the existence of God is not something for you to prove but something you choose to believe in or not. Thus I totally respect anyone's beliefs. Moreover there exists some minor defects in this argument, according to my understanding of it. But still, Russell is one of the wisest minds in the twentieth century, so I would really love to share this brilliant argument with you all.

The argument which Bertrand Russell argued against is called the Natural-law Argument:

People observed the planets going around the sun according to the law of gravitation, and they thought that God had given a behest to these planets to move in that particular fashion, and that was why they did so.

First of all, as we know, the law of gravitation changed to a more complicated one from Isaac Newton to Einstein. And with the advancements in observatory technology, we may one day find that the rules needed to describe the motion of planets are just too complicated and then we come to a point where there is simply no rule applicable to explain it in some organized manner. Then it’s like what we found in the motion of electrons rounding a nucleus. Actually a great many things we though were natural laws are really human conventions.

There is also the confusion between natural and human laws. Human laws are behests commanding you to behave a certain way, but natural laws are a description of how things do in fact behave, and being a mere description of what they in fact do, you cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to do that. Even supposing that there were, then why did God issue just those natural laws and no others?

If you say that he did it simply from his own good pleasure without any reason, you then find that there is something which is not subject to law, and so your train of natural law is interrupted. If you say God gave these specific laws in order to create the best universe -- if there were a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary.

These are my interpretation of a slice of Bertrand Russell’s argument. If you would like to find more I encourage you to read “Why I am not a Christian” by Russell. You will find something you need there. Thank you.



  1. now i no why u could get full mark in the integrated writing...haha...