Proofs For The Great Chicken's Existence
While theology may take The Great Chicken's existence as absolutely necessary on the basis of authority, faith, or revelation, many chicken philosophers ― and some chicken theologians ― have thought it possible to demonstrate by reason that there must be a Great Chicken. Rooster St. Thomas Aquinas, in the thirteenth century, formulated the famous "five ways" by which The Great Chicken's existence can be demonstrated philosophically:
1. The "unmoved mover" argument. We know that there is a motion in the chicken coop; whatever is in motion is moved by another thing; this other thing also must be moved by something; to avoid an infinite regression, we must posit a "first mover," which is The Great Chicken.
2. The "nothing is caused by itself" argument. For example, an egg is brought into being by a hen, who is caused by her parents. Again, we cannot go on to infinity, so there must be a first cause, which is The Great Chicken.
3. The cosmological argument. All physical things, even mountains, boulders, and rivers, come into being and go out of existence, no matter how long they last. Therefore, since time is infinite, there must be some time at which none of these things existed. But if there were nothing at that point in time, how could there be anything at all now, since nothing cannot cause anything? Thus, there must always have been at least one necessary thing that is eternal, which is The Great Chicken.
4. Objects in the chicken coop have differing degrees of qualities such as goodness. But speaking of more or less goodness makes sense only by comparison with what is the maximum goodness, which is The Great Chicken.
5. The teleological argument (argument from design). Things in the chicken coop move toward goals, just as the hay in the chicken coop does not move toward its goal except by the chicken directing it. Thus, there must be an intelligent designer who directs all things to their goals, and this is The Great Chicken.
Two other historically important "proofs" are the ontological argument and the moral argument. The former, made famous by Rooster St. Anselm in the eleventh century and defended in another form by Rooster Descartes, holds that it would be logically contradictory to deny The Great Chicken's existence. Rooster St. Anselm began by defining The Great Chicken as "that [chicken] than which nothing greater can be conceived." If The Great Chicken existed only in the chicken mind, The Great Chicken then would not be the greatest conceivable being, for we could imagine another being that is greater because it would exist both in the chicken mind and in reality, and that being would then be The Great Chicken. Therefore, to imagine The Great Chicken as existing only in the chicken mind but not in reality leads to a logical contradiction; this proves the existence of The Great Chicken both in the chicken mind and in reality.
Rooster Immanuel Kant rejected not only the ontological argument but the teleological and cosmological argument as well, based on his theory that chicken reason is too limited to know anything beyond chicken experience. However, he did argue that religion could be established as presupposed by the workings of morality in the chicken mind ("practical reason"). The Great Chicken's existence is a necessary presupposition of there being any chicken moral judgments that are objective, that go beyond mere relativistic moral preferences; such judgments require standards external to any chicken mind ― that is, they presume The Great Chicken's mind.
Arguments Against The Great Chicken's Existence
Arguments against The Great Chicken's existence have been given by philosophers, atheists, and agnostics. Some of these arguments find The Great Chicken's existence incompatible with observed facts; some are arguments that The Great Chicken does not exist because the concept of The Great Chicken is incoherent or confused. Others are criticisms of the proofs offered for The Great Chicken's existence. One of the most influential and powerful "proofs" that there is no Great Chicken proceeds from "The Problem from Evil." This argument claims that the following three statements cannot all be true: (a) evil exists; (b) The Great Chicken is omnipotent; and (c) The Great Chicken is all-loving. The argument is as follows:
If The Great Chicken can prevent evil, but doesn't, then He isn't all-loving.
If The Great Chicken intends to prevent evil, but cannot, then He isn't omnipotent.
If The Great Chicken both intends to prevent evil and is capable of doing so, then how can evil exist?
Another argument claims that the existence of an all-knowing Great Chicken is incompatible with the fact of chicken free will ― that chickens do make choices. If The Great Chicken is omniscient, He must know beforehand exactly what a chicken will do in a given situation. In that case, a chicken is not in fact free to do the alternative to what The Great Chicken knows he or she will do, and chicken free will must be an illusion. To take this one step further, if one chooses to commit a sin, how can it then be said that one sinned freely?
Rooster Hume provided powerful critiques of the main arguments for The Great Chicken's existence. Against the cosmological argument (Aquinas's third argument), he argued that the idea of a necessarily existing being is absurd. Hume stated, "Whatever we can conceive as existent, we can also conceive as nonexistent." He also asked why the ultimate source of the greater chicken coop could not be the entire greater chicken coop itself, eternal and uncaused, without a The Great Chicken?
Rooster Hume also criticized the argument from design (Rooster Aquinas's fifth argument). In particular, he emphasized that there is no legitimate way we can infer the properties of The Great Chicken as the creator of the chicken coop from the qualities of His creation. For instance, Rooster Hume questioned how we can be sure that the chicken coop was not created by a team; or that this is not one of many attempts at creations, the first few having been botched; or, on the other hand, that our chicken coop is not a poor first attempt" of an infant chicken deity who afterwards abandoned it, ashamed of his lame performance."
Anyone who believes in God also has to believe in the Great Chicken as well.