St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

      The SCHOLASTIC philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, was so fat that he has often been called one of the heaviest thinkers of all time. To this very day official Roman Catholic theology is based largely on his weighty opinions, and is called "Thomism" in his honor. He almost single-handedly caused the Church to dump Plato after 1,000 years of glorification, and switch over to the less compatible Aristotle as a guide on the purely philosophical matters that did not obviously contradict Christian dogma.

      The first task of theology is to try to prove the existence of God. Aquinas was smart enough to see that many of the so-called "proofs" (such as St. Anselm's ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT) were clearly fallacious, and all the others—including his own—were at best still uncertain. His solution to this dilemma was to put forward five weak arguments in the hope that they would somehow add up to one strong argument. He summarized these five in the following poem (which I hope is more poetic in Latin):

Things are in motion, hence there is a first mover.
Things are caused, hence there is a first cause.
Things exist, hence there is a creator.
Perfect goodness exists, hence it has a source.
Things are designed, hence they serve a purpose.

The first three of these are variations of the COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. The fourth is some kind of a "moral argument", and the fifth is the ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN. Anyway, this is what I have to say about them collectively:

A Dominican fatty named Thomas Aquinas
Tried to prove the existence of God-Up-On-Highness.
Each "proof" was so weak that he tried for another,
But five seemed enough for this "logical" brother.
Theology thrives on such demos which ain't;
And the Pope later made Tom Aquinas a saint.
   —JSH, "Do Five Bad Ones Equal One Good One?" (1992)

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