The Boot Protest

Brother Jed Smock is one of those campus preachers who goes around to different college campuses to “spread the love” by talking about how homosexuals are sinners. You know the type.

He probably does more for the cause of atheism than Christianity, though… it helps that he brings out our creativity.

Case in point, a few months ago, when he was at the University of Arizona with his partner-in-crime Sister Cindy, this was the response from the school’s Secular Student Alliance affiliate:

During Jed’s recent solo appearance at the University of Oregon, the members of the Alliance of Happy Atheists took a slightly different approach.

On Day One of Jed’s two-day preach-a-thon, members of the group stood right behind him holding atheist-friendly signs:

Those signs read:

“Knowledge is Power”
“Trust Yourself”
“Atheists ♥ You”
“Don’t believe in god? You’re not alone”
“AHA!: A Community of Atheists”

According to Jed, they “were not particularly vocal or argumentative” but they clearly had an effect on him, judging by his thrilled reaction in the image.

On the Second Day, the group members one-upped themselves.

First, some background:

During one of their meetings earlier this school year, attendees were given a task by AHA board members Shireen Noroozi and Shannon McCormick: They had to create their own religion, complete with a unique mythology, a deity to worship, prayers to say, etc. To help facilitate this, the leaders gave each group a random household object to base their new religion around.

Greg Gant‘s group received a boot.

Here’s how it played out, in Greg’s own words:

When it came time to explain to the larger group what our religion was about, Tony Dundon wanted to preach (in a passionate faux southern Baptist manner) about “The Boot.” So when it came to our turn to present, we let Tony go for it.

Tony was quite hysterical as a southern Baptist minister, and exceptionally clever, responding to questions on the fly. Someone would shout a question like, “What about Uggs?” and Tony would rant about the deception of the false boots that were unable to protect one’s feet from the wetness, and that the truth path was only found in the footwear that was capable of keeping your feet dry.

Needless to say, he had the audience cracking up.

So, when Brother Jed made his appearance, Tony set up shop right next to him and began preaching about The Boot.

Who would get more followers, Tony or Jed?

Tony, of course :)

… Tony preached the way of the boot, and its great protection against the evil wetness. It was very clear that Tony was drawing an audience, as students passing by stopped to witness Tony preach, and Jed drew only glances. Those remembered Jed, offered praise to Tony, there were more than a handful of students who laughed and offered support.

… some non-members played along asking Tony questions about the ways of the Boot. One person shouted, “How do you start on the path of the boot?” and Tony retorted, “You start one foot at time!”

Ultimately, Jed realized he couldn’t compete:

Brilliant :)

Greg mentioned that the only thing Brother Jed managed to say to Tony this whole time was a hearty, “You’re all going to hell!”

The only thing to make this even better is hearing about the experience from Brother Jed’s perspective, courtesy of his Facebook note:

At 1:50 a dozen or so atheists gathered close to where I was preaching. Their leader held up an old rubber boot and mockingly encouraged his fellow infidels to worship the boot. These God haters would respond by saying, “Amen.” After about 10 minutes of this distraction I stopped preaching since I did not have an audience. The boot preacher went on and on blaspheming salvation, church, prayer, etc.

God will get the last laugh…

Wow. Boots really *do* have magical powers!

What a wonderful way to counter Jed: Combatting his hatred with hilarity.

  • Bob

    For over a decade I walked the true path. I have calves with cut and definition that a personal trainer looked upon with envy. But now, my boots are cracked and no longer proof against the dampness. My faith must be weak, I am unworthy!

    (It must have been during the winter when I sinned and indulged in the warmth of Bearclaws …)

  • Sarah TX.

    Oh man, so awesome. I’ve always wished I had the power of extemporaneous humor like “Brother Tony” – it truly is a gift.

  • Greg

    Oh dear, Brother Jed sounds a bit offended(!) … ;)

    Ridicule is often the best weapon against absurdities and hate. At least when ideas and actions are being ridiculed rather than people – then I go a bit cooler on the whole ridicule thing.

  • JulietEcho

    Tony sounds quite clever – too bad there’s not video; it could land him a gig on the Daily Show or some other venue that values good on-the-fly humor.

    Jed clearly blasphemed the boot in his facebook post! “Old” rubber boot? It looked in prime condition to me! Besides, how does a mortal like him presume to judge what elements make up the boot? The boot is comprised of mysterious substances, and it’s heresy to presume it’s something as common as rubber!

  • Ubi Dubium

    RAmen, Brother Tony, RAmen.

  • Eliza

    I’ve worn boots from the fashion hiking boots at Target in fifth grade to goth monstrocities in high school and have completely ruined my gait. I put pressure on my heels, not toes like most women, and can’t even walk in flip flops. This path is as physically dangerous as the Quiverfulls.

  • Christi

    Wow! I wish Brother Tony could come preach the ways of the boot at my campus!

  • ckitching

    God will get the last laugh…

    Feel that Christian love!

  • Nerdette

    I love it when their own absurd concepts are flung back into their face. I’ve always known Uggs are blasphemous – now I why!

    (Also, click to enlarge didn’t work for me.)

  • http://www.dankoleary.com Dan

    Preach on brother! This is hilarious. Gotta love a good troll.

  • littlejohn

    So you’re saying it’s a combat boot?

  • leanne

    Absolutely hilarious. Great work to Tony! Who says atheists are too serious/militant..

  • DataJack

    Great job, an excellent endorsement for freedom of expression. This is the way to beat these hate-filled little creatures. We need brother Tony at the next WBC rally :)

  • http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/ Andrew Hall

    I can feeeel the power of the boot flowing through the computer screen!

  • plutosdad

    Do not believe the boot, instead walk the path of the Vibram 5 Finger! The boot wants to make you weak, while the Vibram wants to make you strong!

  • Gabriel

    This was wonderfully done. I hope that more and more people look to this as an effective way to protest the hate and lies spread by people like Jed or the WBC.

  • BobtheRobot

    This reminds me of something I once read in a thread that discussed how good and evil were subjective as well as stupid when applied to certain things. (Like for example saying homosexuality is evil.)

    “…and let me tell you a tale.

    At the very dawn of time it twas vegetables and not fruits that tasted delicious.
    The noble and righteous veggies also grew upon trees and were the delight of many an animal that partook of them.

    Yet it was not to be, for a dark all consuming jealousy began to grow in the hearts of fruits.
    And so The Pineapple Lord rallied all of fruitdom to his banner promising them eternal tastiness if they would but strike down there veggie cousins.

    This event is known as The Souring and great was the suffering inflicted upon cabbages and their like. In the end the vegetables were spared but were forever banished from the trees and their wondrous flavors stolen from them.

    And lo, each night at dinner time, in homage to their suffering we partake of vegetables.”

  • Jessy

    Brother Jed lives in my town(Columbia, MO) and when I was going to school at the university of MO he was a regular speaker. He always draws a big crowd. One semester I always had a break around lunch and I would spend it watching him. One philosophy student would always buy him a latte at the library when he started for the day. I have talked to him several times. It is all an act for him. He is actually very intelligent but he feels this “act” is the best way to get people to pay attention to him. In a way I guess he is right, he does get a lot of attention. It is all about saving the highest number of souls. He is very honest about his belief. He really feels everyone who isn’t a christian is going to hell and is doing anything he can to stop it. Disturbing as he can be, I think he is much more “real” than a lot of Christians. At least he is honest about his belief.

  • Angie

    In other words, Tony gave Jed the boot!

    (cue snare drum)

  • Andrew

    My computer has started to follow the evil path. I suppose it just needs a reboot.

    @Jessy, that’s very interesting. But I have to question his act, because there’s enough fire-and-brimstone preachers out there that turn off many people to Christianity. What makes him think that it will be effective? There are far fewer preachers that accept people’s doubts and evangelize in a loving manner.

  • Pete Knight

    This is great, and it proves once again that humour and ridicule are the best ways to deal with religious loonies. Jen McCreight’s boobquake raised more awareness and laughs than ranting will ever do.

    Well done guys!

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Iason Ouabache

    Wow. Brother Tony is full of MITTENS and WIN!

  • scmike

    Well, at least Tony’s not an atheist. :D

  • Hybrid

    Save your sole, you don’t want to be left in the muck when the rubber hits the road!

    God will get the last laugh…

    What a nice man! I can hear the thoughts so clearly:

    Come on God, let’s get out of here… you can burn and torture them once they’re dead, then they’ll really regret making fun of me …whoops… I mean you!!

  • Jude

    According to Jed, they “were not particularly vocal or argumentative” but they clearly had an effect on him, judging by his thrilled reaction in the image.

    Hrummph, that link is only accessible for people with a Facebook account. Any chance of providing an alternate link for us afacebookists?

    Pretty please?

  • littlejohn

    Personally, I worship a shoe. Naturally, I talk in tongues. But as long as I don’t act like a heel, my sole is safe.
    I’ll be here all week folks.

  • plutosdad

    In my religion puns are a mortal sin!

  • godfree

    This reminds me of Monte Python & The Holy Grail.Only it wasn’t a boot, it was a shoe. Love the concept of ridiculing the ridiculous

  • Greg

    But you don’t threaten people who don’t follow your religion, right plutosdad? Just checking.

    Because if not, then buckle up, and expect to be socked by some arch tongue-tying puns, laced with sole destroying wit. But don’t worry – humour is very heeling.

    :P

  • SpencerDub

    But don’t worry – humour is very heeling.

    Oh goodness, some of those puns could have used some polish. You sure you’re not getting lace-y, Greg? Your message seemed to flip-flop between threat and reassurance.

    Really, I want to avoid a toe-to-toe confrontation of wits here. I know it’s not likely that you’ll be suede by my views, but if you keep insolently punning like this, I’ll have to ask you to stuff a sock in it.

    Shoo!

    ;)

  • justice has no god

    @Spence:

    lulz my friend, lulz. Well done.

  • Christoph K

    I hope someone filmed this.
    Something like that should get plenty of views on youtube.

  • http://happyatheists.com slickninja

    My one regret is that I didn’t have a video camera. Tony went on for 45 minutes with boot metaphors.

    If you guys want to see more of the pictures just check
    http://www.happyatheists.com/boot/lowrez/

    It was beautiful, and thanks again Hemant for posting the article.

  • matt

    Is there any video or audio of Tony’s preaching? Sounds like it was hilarious.

  • Dan W

    Nice! Ridicule seems to be the best way to respond to preachers like Brother Jed.

  • Frodis

    In the past… I was a jogger. Nay, I say unto you, a RUNNER, even! On weekends, I could often be seen cross-training. But I have seen the error of my ways and am now treading the path of righteousness and have begun the 12 steps to enlightenment. — Taken from the gospel according to Galoshes 2:8EE

  • http://onefuriousllama.wordpress.com/ Shawn

    I love eeeeet! Wish is could be there to see this ART being performed.

  • Spook

    I like it! I’m almost sad that we don’t have nutty preachers on my campus, this could be fun.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    If Jed wants to understand atheists he shoudl walk a mile in our boots. :-}

  • Roll

    No video in the age of YouTube scuks.

    Long live the boot!

  • dartigen

    This is the best way to fight bigotry – with maximum ridiculousity.

    Unfortunately, I can’t top the Way of the Boot…though there’s some Linux enthusiasts on campus who’d have you believe that Microsoft is more evil than Hitler and its products more useless than a chocolate hammer in ten seconds. Maybe we can begin the Church of Tux?

  • mamelouk

    Can we have a transcription of the preach please? :)

  • Greg

    Bravo SpencerDub! I must admit after that display I’m feeling a bit downtrodden. Your punnery was quite a feet – in fact, if there were awards for this kind of thing you’d be a shoe-in. Mind, that would just have been the first step on your journey!

    And I think I’d better stop here, I’m running out of words – unless I become a Wrangler over the use of brand names…

    dartigen – I think those Linux enthusiasts might seriously mean it, I’ve met my fair share of them… ;)

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    When I was in college 20+ years ago, I started a loose group called, oddly enough, AHA!. It stood for the American Hecklers Association. We sat around and heckled Jed Smock when he visited our university. I’ll bet if I looked around in my barn, I could find some old 5.25″ floppy disks with the AHA! newsletter. Of course, I no longer have a floppy drive that will read said disks.

  • Marc

    Can we get Tony to follow Fred Phelps’ nutjobs around the US?

  • Peter

    it wasn’t a boot, it was a shoe.

    BLASPHEMER! It was a SANDAL!

  • SpencerDub

    And I think I’d better stop here, I’m running out of words – unless I become a Wrangler over the use of brand names…

    Adidas been done here today– a great one, in fact. Our great puns demonstrated we’re far beyond the ASICS of punnery. We were no mere Skechers; our wit was well developed and supported, and Eckos of our accomplishments will ring for eons.

    Thank you for taking the time to Converse with me, Greg!

  • mirele

    Wow. Brother Jed and Sister Cindy, boy does that bring back memories. They’ve been doing this shtick for over 30 years! I wonder if Cindy preaches about being a disco queen still.

  • DSimon

    This is how it began:

    At the beginning, the Finn descended from the sky, in a wreath of glory and a halo of POSIX-compatibility. And he saw Minix, and that it was good. But not great.

    So the Finn readjusted his glasses that he might See the Truth, whereupon he raised his mighty fingers to the Keyboard and began to Code the Holy Code!

    And it was glorious! Oh, the heavenly compilation! Oh, the wonderful, ephemeral joy of that fateful day when floppy drive support became stable! For that was truly the beginning of the Age of the Blessed Kernel.

    But, there was another. A man, or so he appeared in his earthly guise; his true nature was that of a snarling coyote, a hissing snake, a hippopotamus with a bad attitude. Those who fell victim to his evil will referred to him as the Gates To Heaven, but they did not realize to what tortorous realm of pain, suffering, and poor stability testing his path actually led. His hapless followers were guided witlessly through his passages of malice, his doorways of malevolance, and finally his Windows of pure evil! And they were lost.

    The Finn, seeing this, restrained himself from exercising his mighty omnipotence to crush the one known as Gates. For the Finn was, at his very heart, a gentle Designer, and he saw fit only to create, not to destroy.

    As his Chosen Developers, it falls to us to rescue those who are lost to the Gates from their fate. They may at times appear to resent our mocking, our proselytising, our constant attempts to get them to install Ubuntu on their laptops… but blame them not. They cannot truly understand that which they cannot see; they cannot grasp the Full Grace of the One True Operating System until they have touched its blessed Command Shell for themselves.

    unworthyone@mortal.realm:~$ sudo amen

  • Wheezy

    @ DSimon,

    That was beautiful, man. Beautiful. How about a couple of lines about the arrival of the Holy GNOME?

  • Justice Has No God
  • TychaBrahe

    I can’t believe these people are still at it. They were preaching at USC back in the early ’80s.

    Ah, to be young and foolish, up to my eyeballs in calculus and materials science homework, and called a slut in front of Tommy Trojan. Good times, folks, good times.

  • empirecookie

    brilliant!

  • scmike

    Anyone else see the irony in a group of atheists posting comment after comment in celebration of the fact that one of their own had to abandon his atheism in order to even attempt to compete with the Christian claim? Anyone?

  • Baconsbud

    scmike you are really reaching with this comment. Have you ever heard of satire? I doubt you have since you think this is serious. What does it say about religious belief when someone can say the same thing about a boot that is suppose to be about a superior being.

  • scmike

    Baconsbud,

    You said: “”What does it say about religious belief when someone can say the same thing about a boot that is suppose to be about a superior being.””

    The fact is, people can SAY what they want to about anything. The question is whether or not they can PROVE their claim after the fact. I submit to you that Biblical Christianity is provable after the fact, as ONLY the Christian worldview can give us the necessary preconditions for proving anything.

    Now, of course I know that Tony was being satirical (read: obnoxious), however his need to appeal to a made-up deity in order to attempt to compete with the Christian worldview only serves to indicate the intellectual bankruptcy of atheism. It’s just too bad that no one present challenged him by asking the right questions.

  • Baconsbud

    scmike lets see the proof. I’m talking about actual proof not this I know because I feel it or anything else that can’t be tested. I can prove that that boot is the true god using the same methods used by most religions. I can’t back it up with evidence but who cares about evidence when faith is always right.

  • scmike

    Baconsbud,

    You said: “”scmike lets see the proof. I’m talking about actual proof not this I know because I feel it or anything else that can’t be tested.””

    That’s just it B., the very concept of proof presupposes the existence of the Christian God, as ‘proof’ requires knowledge, truth, and abstract, universal, invariant laws of logic and reason. None of these concepts can be accounted for outside of the Christian worldview.

    If you dispute this, feel free to tell how any of the above make sense in your worldview.

    You said: “”I can prove that that boot is the true god using the same methods used by most religions.””

    Guess we can determine that when (read: if) you tell how it is possible to prove ANYTHING in your worldview.

    You said: “”I can’t back it up with evidence but who cares about evidence when faith is always right.””

    You see, that’s the problem with you atheists, you prefer to live by blind faith. ;)

  • Greg

    scmike – I’ll admit, I’m a little wary of answering your post, because this kind of thing tends to take time and effort, and you’ll excuse me if the fact that most of the time – if not all – I’ve seen questions like this, the questioner doesn’t actually want to hear/read the answer, makes me a little wary. So I’ll try (and probably fail) to keep it brief.

    That’s just it B., the very concept of proof presupposes the existence of the Christian God, as ‘proof’ requires knowledge, truth, and abstract, universal, invariant laws of logic and reason. None of these concepts can be accounted for outside of the Christian worldview.

    If you dispute this, feel free to tell how any of the above make sense in your worldview.

    First off – atheism isn’t a worldview. Atheists are merely people who don’t believe god exists. This is important – because one atheist’s ‘worldview’ could (and almost certainly will) differ (sometimes quite violently) from another’s. Just to make that clear, because what I say, other atheists may disagree with.

    You claim that only the existence of a Christian god accounts for proof. This is rather a big claim, for in it you are claiming that the Islamic god, for example cannot account for these things. Given that Islam (and also Judaism) is an Abrahamic faith – I would love to see you back this claim up. And that is also ignoring all the other gods out there.

    Apart from this, however, I would suggest that if the Christian god exists, then logic by definition cannot exist. This is because the Christian god is claimed to be omnipotent.

    Omnipotence – or having unlimited power – is incompatible with any other trait, for all these traits impose limits upon the being. E.g. a god which was omni-benevolent could not do an evil action, which means it could not have unlimited power. A god which existed alongside logic could not do an illogical action, which means it could not have unlimited power.

    In short, not only have you a lot of work to do in showing that the Christian god is the only one that can account for these things, you also have to show that the Christian god can account for these things and that it can coexist with these things!

    As I said, there is no such thing as an atheist worldview – however I fail to see how any of the things you mentioned require a god to provide them. Perhaps you can enlighten me there, for I fail to see how a god has any bearing on the matter.

    Knowledge and truth, for example, merely require consciousness.

    Logic is a human created field of study, based upon properties of existence. (A is not ‘not A’. Either A or ‘not A’ must be true. Both A and ‘not A’ cannot be true at the same time – all these are observations about existence).

    Why shouldn’t they exist without a god?!

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  • http://truthspew.wordpress.com Tony P

    Now that is the way to shut down the Christian bigots.

    Next time the Phelps goons come to my city (They’re bound to do so, since we’re just THAT close to marriage equality here!) I’ll probably take up the mantle of the Boot!

  • Loren Petrich

    scmike’s argument is sometimes called presuppositionalism or the transcendental argument.

    I’ve seen various rebuttals in various places. For my part, it seems to me to be a hollow assertion. One could construct similar arguments for the existence of some other religions’s gods. Like how reasoning implies the existence of Allah.

  • scmike

    Greg,

    You said: “”scmike – I’ll admit, I’m a little wary of answering your post, because this kind of thing tends to take time and effort, and you’ll excuse me if the fact that most of the time – if not all – I’ve seen questions like this, the questioner doesn’t actually want to hear/read the answer, makes me a little wary. So I’ll try (and probably fail) to keep it brief.””

    No problem. Rest assured though, I am genuinely interested in your responses and look forward to hearing….er, seeing what you have to say. :)

    I said: “That’s just it B., the very concept of proof presupposes the existence of the Christian God, as ‘proof’ requires knowledge, truth, and abstract, universal, invariant laws of logic and reason. None of these concepts can be accounted for outside of the Christian worldview.

    If you dispute this, feel free to tell how any of the above make sense in your worldview.”

    You said: “”First off – atheism isn’t a worldview. Atheists are merely people who don’t believe god exists. This is important – because one atheist’s ‘worldview’ could (and almost certainly will) differ (sometimes quite violently) from another’s. Just to make that clear, because what I say, other atheists may disagree with.””

    Perhaps we should begin by clarifying this point. A worldview is merely the system of foundational presuppositions (assumptions) that one employs in their observations and interpretations of the world around them, and we all have them (like it or not).

    As a Christian, I hold God and His Word to be the foundation of my reasoning while you, as an atheist, do not. Hence, I view the world (my worldview), with God and His Word as my ultimate standard, while you do not (your worldview). While it’s true that specific beliefs may differ from one atheist to another, NO atheist professes God to be the creator of the universe and the foundation of their reasoning (else they would not be an atheist). From here on out, when I refer to your atheistic worldview, I am referring to that particular set of presuppositions through which you view the world and evaluate evidence.

    Now that we’ve cleared that up, the question then becomes: which of our worldviews is logically defensible after the fact? I submit to you that Christianity is and can be defended logically while atheism ends in absurdity, as NONE of the preconditions of intelligibility (knowledge, truth, logic, morality, etc.) can be logically accounted for in an atheistic worldview. In other words, in order for your worldview to be true, it would necessarily have to be false, which makes it an irrational and illogical position.

    You said: “”You claim that only the existence of a Christian god accounts for proof. This is rather a big claim, for in it you are claiming that the Islamic god, for example cannot account for these things. Given that Islam (and also Judaism) is an Abrahamic faith – I would love to see you back this claim up. And that is also ignoring all the other gods out there.””

    I am happy to back this claim up for you. Tell me which of the aforementioned religions and gods you believe to be true, and I will gladly show you how and why they fail. Otherwise, let’s stick to debating the positions that we each actually hold to, please.

    You said: “”Apart from this, however, I would suggest that if the Christian god exists, then logic by definition cannot exist. This is because the Christian god is claimed to be omnipotent.””

    The problem with your ‘suggestion’ is that in order for you to know that something ‘cannot be’, you would have to have universal knowledge or access to it. How is that possible in your worldview?

    You said: “”Omnipotence – or having unlimited power – is incompatible with any other trait, for all these traits impose limits upon the being. E.g. a god which was omni-benevolent could not do an evil action, which means it could not have unlimited power. A god which existed alongside logic could not do an illogical action, which means it could not have unlimited power.””

    Again though, absent universal knowledge, you have no way of justifying your claims of what ‘cannot be’.

    Besides, you and I seem to be in disagreement with regards to the meaning of ‘omnipotent’. Omnipotence simply means ‘all powerful’ and does not include the ability to do the logically impossible, as logic is a reflection of the very absolute character and nature of God.

    God cannot contradict His own character, as then he would be able to be both ‘God’ and ‘not God’ at the same time and in the same way, which means He could also be both omnipotent and not omnipotent as well (which is absurd, of course).

    It’s also important to note that the ability to contradict oneself is not a ‘power’, but a weakness and is necessarily precluded from the scope of omnipotence by definition.

    As for omnibenevolence, ‘good’ is that which comports with the absolute character and nature of God. Since God is the very standard of ‘good’, He cannot do evil, as this would require Him to contradict His character, which, again, is not possible.

    You said: “”In short, not only have you a lot of work to do in showing that the Christian god is the only one that can account for these things, you also have to show that the Christian god can account for these things and that it can coexist with these things!””

    What you may not realize Greg, is that saying I ‘have’ to do something with regards to this discussion is an appeal to an absolute standard of argumentation that you have not yet accounted for.

    Ignoring that fact (for the moment), I will tell you how absolute, immaterial, universal entities (such as laws of logic) comport with God: they are a reflection of His absolute, immaterial, universal character and nature. That is, they are aspects of who He is and how He thinks, and are prescriptions of how God expects us to think and reason, being made in his image.

    You said: “”Knowledge and truth, for example, merely require consciousness.””

    How do you know THAT to be true?

    You said: “”Logic is a human created field of study, based upon properties of existence. (A is not ‘not A’. Either A or ‘not A’ must be true. Both A and ‘not A’ cannot be true at the same time – all these are observations about existence).””

    I have a couple of challenges to your claim:

    1) Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE man was present to create the laws of logic?

    2) Where have you observed that ‘A’ CANNOT be ‘not A’ at the same time and in the same way?

    Thanks in advance for your forthcoming responses. :)

  • scmike

    Loren Petrich,

    You said: “”One could construct similar arguments for the existence of some other religions’s gods. Like how reasoning implies the existence of Allah.””

    Hi Loren. Is this your claim for how you account for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic and reasoning in your worldview? If so, I will be glad to formulate a response. If not, please posit your competing account so we can compare. Thanks.

  • Greg

    Right, before I go any further, I want to make a few things clear – just to try to avoid the kind of misunderstandings that are common in text conversations. If I say something which sounds offensive, it is not intentional – but it can be easy for the tone of the text to be misunderstood. If I say I am unconvinced by something, then it truly is that I am unconvinced by something rather than just trying to win the argument – after all if there is a god, heaven, hell, et al then it is truly in my best interest to know it!!

    Okay, scmike, I’m not sure you understand my point about worldviews – you seem to suggest that there are only two types of worldview, one with god, and one without. Now if I said something along the lines of:

    “There are two types of worldviews, one grounded in solipsism, and one not grounded thusly”, you would rightly think I was talking nonsense. All the non-solipsistic worldviews cannot be grouped together as one – well not particularly meaningfully, anyway.

    An atheist worldview is simply one in which a theistic god does not exist. Buddhism, for example, is an atheistic worldview – but my worldview has little in common with Buddhism.

    I submit to you that Christianity is and can be defended logically while atheism ends in absurdity, as NONE of the preconditions of intelligibility (knowledge, truth, logic, morality, etc.) can be logically accounted for in an atheistic worldview. In other words, in order for your worldview to be true, it would necessarily have to be false, which makes it an irrational and illogical position.

    There is something I immediately have to pick you up on here. You say none of these things can be logically accounted for in an atheistic worldview. Even if this were true, that does not mean theism is correct. It merely means that (at least at the moment) we are unable to account for it. There is nothing wrong with the answer ‘I don’t know’ to a question. It is far better than claiming to know by making something up.

    Before man understood how birds fly, which of the following was the better answer to the question?

    “God makes it happen.”

    or

    “I don’t know.”

    I am happy to back this claim up for you. Tell me which of the aforementioned religions and gods you believe to be true, and I will gladly show you how and why they fail. Otherwise, let’s stick to debating the positions that we each actually hold to, please.

    Whoa! You can’t wriggle out of this like that I’m afraid. This is a position you are holding to! You made the following claim:

    …the very concept of proof presupposes the existence of the Christian God, as ‘proof’ requires knowledge, truth, and abstract, universal, invariant laws of logic and reason. None of these concepts can be accounted for outside of the Christian worldview.

    You have claimed that no worldview other than the Christian one accounts for these things. That means that the burden of proof is upon you to show this is the case. Either back up the claim, or drop it.

    Obviously I don’t believe any theistic worldview is true – I’m an atheist – however I am not claiming they are true – you are claiming not only that they are false but also that they cannot account for certain things, even if they were true.

    The reason I mentioned the other two Abrahamic religions, was because essentially their god is the same god as yours, and yet you claim that their god can not account for logic.

    Incidentally, not only do you have to show that current and past worldviews do not account for logic etc. you also have to show that the infinite amount of possible future ones do not account for it either.

    The problem with your ’suggestion’ is that in order for you to know that something ‘cannot be’, you would have to have universal knowledge or access to it. How is that possible in your worldview?

    Do you need to know all possible numbers (an infinite amount) in order to know that 2 + 2 is not equal to 5?

    Besides, you and I seem to be in disagreement with regards to the meaning of ‘omnipotent’. Omnipotence simply means ‘all powerful’ and does not include the ability to do the logically impossible, as logic is a reflection of the very absolute character and nature of God.

    It makes no difference whether you say ‘has unlimited power’, or ‘all powerful’ – when you dig deeper they are synonymous. If a being is all powerful, it would have to be more powerful than logic – otherwise logic is more powerful and thus the being is not ‘all powerful’. If a being is not constrained by logic, then it has unlimited power.

    You claim that being all powerful does not contain being able to contradict logic. I’m sorry, but to me that just makes no sense. Something is all powerful or it is not all powerful. You can’t be all powerful only on Tuesdays, or all powerful except when you see the colour pink, or all powerful apart from whenever you face that one guy over there, or all poweful other than when it comes to logic.

    You also claimed that contradicting itself would be a weakness rather than a power – which seems to me rather an unsubstantiated claim. Says who? I happen to wholeheartedly disagree.

    Incidentally – you claim logic is merely an aspect of God’s character – this sets my alarm bells ringing:

    If this argument is intended to prove god’s existence, then you are begging the question. In order to grant this claim I have to assume a number of things:

    1) It is possible for logic to be a characteristic of a being.

    2) Logic is a property of a being.

    3) That being exists.

    In other words, the premise depends on the truth of the very matter in question. Or the logical fallacy of begging the question.

    If, however, the argument is not whether or not god exists, but rather whether or not the Christian worldview can account for these things, than I say:

    This is a very interesting theoretical discussion, but before I can allow it to be actually true, you must first prove god exists as anything other than a concept.

    The same arguments also apply to the rest of what you say in this section – and the next.

    You said: “”Knowledge and truth, for example, merely require consciousness.””

    How do you know THAT to be true?

    Um – by definition?

    Although after I wrote the last message, I did wish I could go back and edit the truth part out of it – truth as we understand it is determined by logic, and as such, any discussion about it can be contained in the argument for logic.

    I may be wrong, but what you seem to be doing here is arguing against epistemology through the infinite regress argument.

    The problem for you, if you want to go this route, is that it applies as equally to the existence of a theistic god as it does to knowledge (because the truth value of whether or not a theistic god exists is part of epistemology).

    What you may not realize Greg, is that saying I ‘have’ to do something with regards to this discussion is an appeal to an absolute standard of argumentation that you have not yet accounted for.

    Again, not being able to account for something does not mean it is not there. But anyway – what I am appealing to is the man made subject of logic, so I can account for it. ;) Speaking of which… :)

    I have a couple of challenges to your claim:

    1) Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE man was present to create the laws of logic?

    2) Where have you observed that ‘A’ CANNOT be ‘not A’ at the same time and in the same way?

    1) No it couldn’t – perhaps I didn’t describe this well enough previously. What you are doing is equating our laws of logic with the properties of existence. They aren’t the same, but it’s just a very subtle difference.

    The axioms we have based logic on are properties of existence – if something exists it comports by these rules. We have noticed this, and, in our efforts to understand the world we have created a system to explain how things work.

    Logic is this system created to describe the world around us. It is conceivable that our observations are wrong and if so, logic would not accurately describe existence. (It would, however, remain internally consistent.) But the fact that our field of logic was wrong would not change anything about what the properties of existence actually are.

    I hope that makes it a bit clearer.

    If it did, then you’ll see that essentially, the argument from the existence of logic is actually an argument from design – it is a claim that something must have made the properties of existence. (Which is interesting, because if you think about it, whatever made existence could not, itself, exist! It would have to wait until existence er- existed before it could exist itself.)

    As for 2) I’m not completely sure what you are getting at. Are you asking where I have observed that a ‘cup’ is not a ‘table’? If so, then the answer is every time I have seen a cup.

    Thanks in advance for your forthcoming responses.

    Hope you still think that when you’ve seen the length of the responses! lol

  • Audball C. Audball

    All very interesting, to be sure. But to get back to Tony and the Boot:

    I would like a picture of all of the participants, so would you mind lining up, tall ones in back, and say, “CHEESE!”

    rotflmfao!!!

  • scmike

    Greg,

    Hope you don’t mind, but I think I’ll adopt your format in formulating my responses from here on out, as it makes the posts much easier to read.

    Right, before I go any further, I want to make a few things clear – just to try to avoid the kind of misunderstandings that are common in text conversations. If I say something which sounds offensive, it is not intentional – but it can be easy for the tone of the text to be misunderstood.

    I appreciate you saying that Greg. I’ve noticed the same thing when it comes to these type of ‘anonymous’ discussions’. I hope that you will afford me the same courtesy as well. :)

    If I say I am unconvinced by something, then it truly is that I am unconvinced by something rather than just trying to win the argument – after all if there is a god, heaven, hell, et al then it is truly in my best interest to know it!!

    Looks like I am going to be the first to run the risk of being offensive. I hope you do not take what I am about to say that way, but it is crucial that I state my position clearly.

    It is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people through natural and special revelation so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to logic, morality, salvation, etc. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth of his existence to avoid accountability to Him.

    Therefore, my purpose in this discussion is not to persuade you of God’s existence, but to simply (and hopefully gently) expose the inconsistencies within your worldview, in hopes that you will come to see the folly of denying the God who gave you life and find repentance through Jesus Christ.

    Okay, scmike, I’m not sure you understand my point about worldviews – you seem to suggest that there are only two types of worldview, one with god, and one without.

    That’s right. One either acknowledges God to be the foundation of their reasoning or they do not. I trust that it is plain which position we each hold.

    There is something I immediately have to pick you up on here. You say none of these things can be logically accounted for in an atheistic worldview. Even if this were true, that does not mean theism is correct.

    I agree. My argument is not that Christianity is correct BECAUSE atheism cannot account for the preconditions of intelligibility, my argument is that Christianity is correct AND atheism cannot account for them.

    It merely means that (at least at the moment) we are unable to account for it. There is nothing wrong with the answer ‘I don’t know’ to a question. It is far better than claiming to know by making something up.

    That’s like saying if I say the answer to 2 +2 is ‘4’ and you say it is ‘?’, then you somehow hold an intellectually superior position to mine. The number 4 is the only possible answer to this problem (in base 10 mathematics), by the impossibility of the contrary.

    Now, one may wish to arbitrarily dismiss this answer and sit around waiting for someone to come up with an answer that better suits them, but they would do so with zero foundation in rationality or logic. Wouldn’t you agree?

    I said: “I am happy to back this claim up for you. Tell me which of the aforementioned religions and gods you believe to be true, and I will gladly show you how and why they fail. Otherwise, let’s stick to debating the positions that we each actually hold to, please.”

    You replied:

    Whoa! You can’t wriggle out of this like that I’m afraid. This is a position you are holding to! You made the following claim:

    …the very concept of proof presupposes the existence of the Christian God, as ‘proof’ requires knowledge, truth, and abstract, universal, invariant laws of logic and reason. None of these concepts can be accounted for outside of the Christian worldview.

    You have claimed that no worldview other than the Christian one accounts for these things. That means that the burden of proof is upon you to show this is the case. Either back up the claim, or drop it.

    Obviously I don’t believe any theistic worldview is true – I’m an atheist – however I am not claiming they are true – you are claiming not only that they are false but also that they cannot account for certain things, even if they were true.

    The reason I mentioned the other two Abrahamic religions, was because essentially their god is the same god as yours, and yet you claim that their god can not account for logic.

    Incidentally, not only do you have to show that current and past worldviews do not account for logic etc. you also have to show that the infinite amount of possible future ones do not account for it either.

    Well, let’s take one worldview at a time Greg. Since I am debating you, it only makes sense for me to evaluate yours. If there are any others following along with this discussion who hold to any of those other worldviews, I will gladly engage them. I just do not have time to refute positions that neither of us hold to be true, as you could just continue positing worldviews ad infinitum and once refuted, you’d be able to say, ‘well I didn’t believe any of those anyway’. Sorry, not interested.

    I said: “The problem with your ’suggestion’ is that in order for you to know that something ‘cannot be’, you would have to have universal knowledge or access to it. How is that possible in your worldview?

    You responded:

    Do you need to know all possible numbers (an infinite amount) in order to know that 2 + 2 is not equal to 5?

    No, but you would have to have universal knowledge or access to it in order to know that 2 + 2 CANNOT ever equal 5 anywhere in the universe. How do you claim to know that?

    It makes no difference whether you say ‘has unlimited power’, or ‘all powerful’ – when you dig deeper they are synonymous. If a being is all powerful, it would have to be more powerful than logic – otherwise logic is more powerful and thus the being is not ‘all powerful’. If a being is not constrained by logic, then it has unlimited power.

    You claim that being all powerful does not contain being able to contradict logic. I’m sorry, but to me that just makes no sense. Something is all powerful or it is not all powerful. You can’t be all powerful only on Tuesdays, or all powerful except when you see the colour pink, or all powerful apart from whenever you face that one guy over there, or all poweful other than when it comes to logic.

    You seem to have misunderstood the argument. Logic is a reflection of God’s absolute character and nature. Since logic is an aspect of who God is, He cannot be illogical as this would require Him to contradict His own character and nature, in which case He could then be both God and ‘not God’.

    You seem to be arguing that if God cannot also be ‘not God’, then He therefore cannot be God. How does that follow?

    You also claimed that contradicting itself would be a weakness rather than a power – which seems to me rather an unsubstantiated claim. Says who? I happen to wholeheartedly disagree.

    Feel free to make your case. How is the ability to be both God and ‘not God’ at the same time and in the same way a strength instead of a weakness (especially when ‘not God’ is necessarily a lesser state than God).

    Incidentally – you claim logic is merely an aspect of God’s character – this sets my alarm bells ringing:

    If this argument is intended to prove god’s existence, then you are begging the question. In order to grant this claim I have to assume a number of things:

    Actually Greg, you’re right. You do have to assume a number of things in order to level this argument against mine. Not the least of which, you are assuming an absolute standard of logic which you feel necessarily applies to my argument by which you accuse me of question begging. What I would like to know is:

    1) What is that standard?

    2) How do you account for that standard in your worldview?

    3) Why does that standard NECESSARILY apply to ANY argument?

    1) It is possible for logic to be a characteristic of a being.

    2) Logic is a property of a being.

    3) That being exists.

    In other words, the premise depends on the truth of the very matter in question. Or the logical fallacy of begging the question.

    The argument in its correct form is more like this:

    P1 God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic (by the impossibility of the contrary).

    P2 Absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist.

    C Therefore, God exists.

    Now, I know you will no doubt have a problem with P1, but tell me this: do you have a problem with this argument?:

    P1 All men are mortal.

    P2 Socrates is a man.

    C Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    If, however, the argument is not whether or not god exists, but rather whether or not the Christian worldview can account for these things, than I say:

    This is a very interesting theoretical discussion, but before I can allow it to be actually true, you must first prove god exists as anything other than a concept.

    Hold on a minute there. Just because you are unwilling to accept my proof, does not mean that I have not presented any. I mentioned to you earlier that the very concept of proof assumes the existence of God, as the necessary preconditions for proof cannot be accounted for apart from Him.

    Now, you may disagree with this claim, or even find it uncompelling, but that has nothing to do with the truth value of the claim. An argument need not be persuasive in order to be valid.

    I am curious though, is it your position that ALL claims must be proven in order to be true? If the answer is ‘yes’, where is the proof to back up THAT claim by which you accept it as true?

    You said:

    Knowledge and truth, for example, merely require consciousness.

    I then asked: How do you know THAT to be true?

    You replied:

    Um – by definition?

    How do you know that the definition is universally true?

    Although after I wrote the last message, I did wish I could go back and edit the truth part out of it – truth as we understand it is determined by logic, and as such, any discussion about it can be contained in the argument for logic.

    I take it you mean that truth is based upon our perceptions of reality? If so, WHOSE perceptions of reality? I’m sure you’d agree that not all perceptions are valid, no? If multiple people have conflicting perceptions of reality, how do you know whose is correct? As a matter of fact, how do you know that your own senses and reasoning are valid?

    I would also counter this argument by asking: Is it absolutely true that all truth is determined by logic? If so, where did you observe THAT?

    I may be wrong, but what you seem to be doing here is arguing against epistemology through the infinite regress argument.

    The problem for you, if you want to go this route, is that it applies as equally to the existence of a theistic god as it does to knowledge (because the truth value of whether or not a theistic god exists is part of epistemology).

    What I am arguing is that since both knowledge and truth are certain by definition, the only possible way that anyone can know anything for certain is if it is revealed to them by a Being who knows everything. It is my position that God has revealed some things to us so that we can know them for certain (like, for instance, the fact that He exists).

    What I would like to know is: how is it possible for you to know anything for certain in a worldview which denies God? You see, we both claim to know things, Greg. I am interested in seeing your justification for the things you claim to know.

    I said: “I have a couple of challenges to your claim:

    1) Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE man was present to create the laws of logic?

    2) Where have you observed that ‘A’ CANNOT be ‘not A’ at the same time and in the same way?”

    You replied

    1) No it couldn’t –

    Then laws of logic clearly could not have been created by man if the law of non-contradiction applied before men were present to create it (which was my point).

    My question is: how do you account for prescribed laws of logic (which are abstract, universal, invariant) in a universe without God?

    What you are doing is equating our laws of logic with the properties of existence. They aren’t the same, but it’s just a very subtle difference.

    The axioms we have based logic on are properties of existence – if something exists it comports by these rules. We have noticed this, and, in our efforts to understand the world we have created a system to explain how things work.

    The problem is, if laws of logic are based upon our observations of the universe, then they become contingent upon those observations and lose their universality. If that is the case, on what basis do you apply them to unobserved phenomena, such as future events, or even this very discussion?

    You see, if laws of logic are merely contingent, you would have no basis for expecting these laws to hold 1 second from now, nor could you know that they haven’t changed already due to some past unobserved event.

    Logic is this system created to describe the world around us.

    How can logic be a description of the world around us when we use logic to interpret our observations of the world around us?

    It is conceivable that our observations are wrong and if so, logic would not accurately describe existence. (It would, however, remain internally consistent.) But the fact that our field of logic was wrong would not change anything about what the properties of existence actually are.

    The problem is, you are assuming that the logic and reasoning you used to form this conclusion are valid at the outset. How do you presume to know that?

    I hope that makes it a bit clearer. If it did, then you’ll see that essentially, the argument from the existence of logic is actually an argument from design – it is a claim that something must have made the properties of existence.
    (Which is interesting, because if you think about it, whatever made existence could not, itself, exist! It would have to wait until existence er- existed before it could exist itself.)

    Again though, you must assume that your reasoning and the logic you used to reach this conclusion are valid a priori. What is you justification for assuming that?

    You see, my argument is not that God created logic or existence, but that God (who exists eternally and is abstract, universal, and invariant) is the necessary precondition for abstract, universal, invariant laws of logic and reason in that they reflect His thinking and are a prescribed standard of how He expects us to think and reason being made in His image.

    As for 2) I’m not completely sure what you are getting at. Are you asking where I have observed that a ‘cup’ is not a ‘table’? If so, then the answer is every time I have seen a cup.

    That’s not what I’m asking. You’re telling me what you HAVE observed in the past. I want to know how you know that a ‘cup’ CANNOT be ‘a table’ in the future. Where have you observed that this CANNOT be?

    Hope you still think that when you’ve seen the length of the responses! lol

    Pot meet kettle–kettle, pot! :D

  • Greg

    It is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people through natural and special revelation so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to logic, morality, salvation, etc. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth of his existence to avoid accountability to Him.

    Therefore, my purpose in this discussion is not to persuade you of God’s existence, but to simply (and hopefully gently) expose the inconsistencies within your worldview, in hopes that you will come to see the folly of denying the God who gave you life and find repentance through Jesus Christ.

    Right. Just a few of many questions to illustrate why I don’t find this persuasive. (Incidentally, no chance of me taking offence! ;))

    What about natives of tribes deep in a jungle that have never come across Christianity before? What about people alive before Christianity? What about people alive a hundred or two years ago after Christianity formed as a religion, but in areas of the world Christians had never even dreamed existed? Why did some people get to observe miracles, and some didn’t? Am I somehow not deserving of equal opportunity of persuasion as those who got to see Jesus walk, talk, and perform miracles?

    I know that the Christian worldview clearly states that those who do not believe in god are going to hell. Why on earth would I, then, try to claim your god does not exist in order to avoid accountability? Not believing in god is the single worst thing I can do – it guarantees that I would be tortured for eternity regardless of any actions I take! If I knew your god existed, it would be – frankly – insane to pretend that it didn’t. Especially as I also know that this god is omnipotent, and knows that I know it exists.

    There is no reason you should know this about me – but for much of my life I considered myself a Christian. There were many times immediately after I stopped believing that I implored the Christian god to show me that it existed. Were these the actions of someone surpressing the truth of that god’s existence?

    That’s right. One either acknowledges God to be the foundation of their reasoning or they do not. I trust that it is plain which position we each hold.

    You seem to have completely missed the point I was trying to make when I mentioned the worldview with solipsism and the worldview without. My point is that any ‘atheistic’ worldview can be worlds apart from any other ‘atheistic’ worldview. You could believe in magic pixies which created everything, and you would still be an atheist (if a rather silly and irrational one in my view!). Because the only thing atheistic worldviews have in common is that their holders do not believe in a god, it is virtually impossible to address them as one group. Even if you ‘disproved’ my worldview, you would not disprove atheism as a world view.

    That’s like saying if I say the answer to 2 +2 is ‘4’ and you say it is ‘?’, then you somehow hold an intellectually superior position to mine. The number 4 is the only possible answer to this problem (in base 10 mathematics), by the impossibility of the contrary.

    Now, one may wish to arbitrarily dismiss this answer and sit around waiting for someone to come up with an answer that better suits them, but they would do so with zero foundation in rationality or logic. Wouldn’t you agree?

    The first problem with this analogy is that in order for it to work, we have to have absolute knowledge of how the universe works – in other words be omniscient. Another problem is that we aren’t saying 2 + 2 = ? – we are saying doing something to two somethings (which may or may not have the same value) = 4

    Here’s an analogy I think is a bit better:

    You are out walking, and see a tree on fire. You wonder how the fire started. You decide that it was god.

    Was this a sensible and rational thing for you to do?

    There are an infinite possible amount of other options out there – maybe someone lit it with a match, or two pieces of flint? Maybe the tree was struck by lightning? If you were able to discount the lightning theory, does that then mean god did it is true?

    As for me? I see the same fire, and I am unconvinced by your explanation of ‘god did it’. In fact, I find it implausible.

    Well, let’s take one worldview at a time Greg. Since I am debating you, it only makes sense for me to evaluate yours. If there are any others following along with this discussion who hold to any of those other worldviews, I will gladly engage them. I just do not have time to refute positions that neither of us hold to be true, as you could just continue positing worldviews ad infinitum and once refuted, you’d be able to say, ‘well I didn’t believe any of those anyway’. Sorry, not interested.

    Then you must change your claim accordingly to reflect your position. My point is exactly that in order to combat your claim as you have stated it I am perfectly entitled to “continue positing worldviews ad infinitum”. In fact I do not have the burden to come up with any claim at all – you have the burden to come up with them and then shoot them down. Given that that is an infinite amount, your claim as currently stated is completely unsupportable. Again, that is my point. You’d better change your claim to something like:

    The Christian worldview can account for X, Y, and Z.

    We can argue that claim if you like, but I am not willing to argue against you with your original claim unless you are willing to back it up – you are asserting a positive claim, you have the burden of proof.

    In fact, I think it is important to state that I am not even making the claim that my worldview is true. It is the best possible world view I am currently able to come up with, but I do not claim to have all the answers, and I also allow that some of my answers may be wrong.

    No, but you would have to have universal knowledge or access to it in order to know that 2 + 2 CANNOT ever equal 5 anywhere in the universe. How do you claim to know that?

    Er – because it is very basic maths. I must admit I’m not sure how to answer this – because it sounds like I have to explain maths. That isn’t meant nastily, but I am genuinely at a loss as to what to say.

    When there are rules in a field, then you can say categorically, with absolute certainty, that if something breaks those rules then it is not valid in that field. 2 + 2 equalling 5 would break the laws of mathematics – I don’t know how else to put it.

    You seem to have misunderstood the argument. Logic is a reflection of God’s absolute character and nature. Since logic is an aspect of who God is, He cannot be illogical as this would require Him to contradict His own character and nature, in which case He could then be both God and ‘not God’.

    You seem to be arguing that if God cannot also be ‘not God’, then He therefore cannot be God. How does that follow?

    To take the last bit first – that is one reason why I do not believe omnipotence is possible alongside logic. If logic does not exist, then of course god can be both god and not good – we would need logic in order to say that he couldn’t be!

    To deal with the rest of it – no, I haven’t misunderstood the argument – what I am saying is that logic can not be a reflection of god’s character if god is omnipotent. Logic demands it! Hence the claim that logic is a part of god’s character and that god is omnipotent can be dismissed as impossible – just like if I said that there exists a sheep that is both white, and not white.

    Feel free to make your case. How is the ability to be both God and ‘not God’ at the same time and in the same way a strength instead of a weakness (especially when ‘not God’ is necessarily a lesser state than God).

    Sure. If god is able to be both god and not god at the same time, then god is not bound by logic. If god is not bound by logic, then god can do literally anything.

    Which is more powerful: a god that can do literally anything whatsoever, or a god that can not do literally anything whatsoever?

    Actually Greg, you’re right. You do have to assume a number of things in order to level this argument against mine. Not the least of which, you are assuming an absolute standard of logic which you feel necessarily applies to my argument by which you accuse me of question begging. What I would like to know is:

    1) What is that standard?

    2) How do you account for that standard in your worldview?

    3) Why does that standard NECESSARILY apply to ANY argument?

    There are a few ways I could respond. Perhaps the easiest is to reply that I am arguing ad arguendo as regards the laws of logic. Or, if you prefer:

    I am using the laws of logic which you claim that your god provided. If your god exists then any argument made complying with these laws must be valid – claiming that my argument is invalid would be to deny logic exists, and hence your god could not exist.

    :P

    The argument in its correct form is more like this:

    P1 God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic (by the impossibility of the contrary).

    P2 Absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist.

    C Therefore, God exists.

    Now, I know you will no doubt have a problem with P1, but tell me this: do you have a problem with this argument?:

    P1 All men are mortal.

    P2 Socrates is a man.

    C Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    First off – I wasn’t stating your argument – I was trying to show that in order for your argument to prove your conclusion, I had to first assume your conclusion.

    Anyway – I disagree with both of your premises in the first argument, but have no problems with the second argument.

    I do not accept that absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist. Please prove it.

    Okay – I’m going to screech to a halt now, because from your next statement I don’t think you understand what I was getting at in my last message.

    What I was trying to say was that there are two possible ways of viewing your argument – either as an effort to prove your god’s existence, or as an effort to prove that the Christian worldview was possible. Now, as said above, the first way would have necessitated my assuming your conclusion in order to prove it. The second way would only argue for your worldview being internally consistent, and would not have anything to say as to whether god actually existed or not.

    I am curious though, is it your position that ALL claims must be proven in order to be true? If the answer is ‘yes’, where is the proof to back up THAT claim by which you accept it as true?

    The next bit of your message also relates to this, so I’ll try to save space and nip it in the bud here, because it’s a bit of a red herring. (I tried to before, but obviously failed.)

    My position is that all claims must be proven in order to be accepted as true. This can be done by applying the axioms of logic as stated in a previous post. Those axioms tell us that something can either be true or not true, and give us the foundation to find out which it is.

    It is also rather a pragmatic decision to demand proof for the things I believe in: if I didn’t, then I would be forced to believe in both A and ~A at the same time, which is clearly unworkable.

    (Example: without demanding proof for the question of whether or not god exists, I would have to believe both that god existed, and the counter claim that god did not exist.)

    This is why I previously mentioned the infinite regress argument as regards epistomology (the idea that things can be known) – which is a whole other hotly contested philosophical argument in itself.

    Thankfully, however, it shouldn’t be necessary to go into it, because both of us ‘suffer’ from the same problem such as it is. I can also cause an infinite regress as regards your claims about god. This is because you are contesting epistomology as a whole, and whether or not god exists is contained within epistomology. Basically, unless you grant epistomology, you can’t make any claim about god.

    What I am arguing is that since both knowledge and truth are certain by definition, the only possible way that anyone can know anything for certain is if it is revealed to them by a Being who knows everything. It is my position that God has revealed some things to us so that we can know them for certain (like, for instance, the fact that He exists).

    But how does the being that knows everything know everything without it being revealed to it? If the only way anything can have knowledge is by having that knowledge revealed to them, then whatever did the revealing must also have had it revealed to them.

    If you claim that god does not need to have knowledge revealed to it, then your premise is false.

    (Incidentally, I do not grant your premise.)

    What I would like to know is: how is it possible for you to know anything for certain in a worldview which denies God? You see, we both claim to know things, Greg. I am interested in seeing your justification for the things you claim to know.

    You seem to be operating under the assumption that because we as a race have created words to describe ideas, that these ideas are somehow manifest. Knowledge is simply a word that describes the sum total of what we have learnt through our perceptions – there is no ‘entity’ floating out there in the physical or metaphysical realm corresponding to the entirety of knowledge, just like there is no ‘entity’ corresponding to ‘love’ or ‘sport’ or ‘nouns’ out there either.

    Can I know anything for certain? Well, it’s a complicated question – it must be said that strictly I never actually claim to. I can make absolute claims about logic because it is a closed system. We have strict rules governing how it works, and if something does not comport with those rules, then we know that it is not logically true. But even here, to be intellectually honest, I have to insert the caveat: if I understand logic correctly then ‘X’.

    However, life, and existence, is not a closed system (at least from my point of view, because I am part of it). I am not in a position to know all the rules for our existence. This doesn’t mean I can’t weigh up all the odds, and come to a decision – but it does have the happy side effect of forcing me to always allow that I might be wrong.

    This is why as an atheist, I do not say god does not exist – I merely say that I do not believe god exists. I may make other statemements like: if logic holds, then this god, or that god, can not exist. (I may occasionally use short hand and say “I believe (say) Yahweh does not exist”)

    Then laws of logic clearly could not have been created by man if the law of non-contradiction applied before men were present to create it (which was my point).

    My question is: how do you account for prescribed laws of logic (which are abstract, universal, invariant) in a universe without God?

    Then, to be blunt, you didn’t read the rest of what I wrote.

    The problem is, if laws of logic are based upon our observations of the universe, then they become contingent upon those observations and lose their universality. If that is the case, on what basis do you apply them to unobserved phenomena, such as future events, or even this very discussion?

    You see, if laws of logic are merely contingent, you would have no basis for expecting these laws to hold 1 second from now, nor could you know that they haven’t changed already due to some past unobserved event.

    I see from this quote and others that my effort to make a distinction between the laws of logic (a human created field) and the attributes of existence failed.

    Can I say that the attributes of existence have remained constant since time began with 100% surety? No. Can I say that the likelihood of these attributes of existence having remained the same is massive? Yes. Have I seen any reason to believe that they do change? No.

    Am I always willing to change my point of view if evidence warrants it? Yes.

    Here’s the thing – you don’t need to know something is true with 100% certainty in order to use it. Do you know precisely how your computer works? This actually would be an adequate response to the rest of what you said, I think, so I’ll try to save space again!

    How can logic be a description of the world around us when we use logic to interpret our observations of the world around us?

    Well, if logic was not a description of the world, then we could not use it to interpret our observations of the world around us!

    It’s important to remember that just because we codified logic, does not in anyway mean that natural thought processes could not have complied with the future codes. Just like gravity existed before we codified our understanding of it.

    Eesh – this took a really long time to write. Maybe it would be quicker to write a book? lol

    Incidentally, my apologies to Audball C. Audball. :)

  • Greg

    Hmm – The above post took me a very long time to write last night, and I think not only is it getting unwieldy, but also there are problems with it that we should pick up on now. I’m going to try to deal with a few of those things:

    This, as I see it is the essence of your argument:

    P1. Logic exists.

    P2. The Christian worldview accounts for logic.

    P3. No other worldview can possibly account for the existence of logic.

    C The Christian worldview is correct and true.

    Now – I have already said I consider P3 completely unprovable, and you have picked up on reasons why that is so. There is an infinite amount of possible things that you have to disprove in order for it to be the case. Let’s ignore it for the moment. Let’s also ignore P1 (which I also disagree with – with your definition of logic, at least).

    Now, when we are arguing about P2, telling me that I can’t account for logic is completely irrelevant. In order for us to be arguing P2, then either you have proven P1, or else I have granted it for the purposes of our discussion. That being the case, I have no need to account for them in my ‘worldview’.

    Anyway, if there is indeed objective universal laws of logic, then, whether or not I can account for them, if my argument is logical it is still valid. It isn’t as if we both have different versions of logic – any argument I can make logically is equally valid in your worldview as it is in my mine.

    All of the above premises seem to have been mixed together, making it all very confused, and much of the argument rather futile, so may I suggest you ignore most of my last post and we concentrate on just one of your premises? I’d suggest P1 or P2, because P3, as I said, is unsupportable. (Although if I understand your argument correctly (above) and you admit P3 is not true then your argument fails, and I’m not sure why we’d continue to argue then! :)).

    Oh there was one more thing that worried me overnight – this quote:

    It is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people through natural and special revelation so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to logic, morality, salvation, etc. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth of his existence to avoid accountability to Him.

    Therefore, my purpose in this discussion is not to persuade you of God’s existence, but to simply (and hopefully gently) expose the inconsistencies within your worldview, in hopes that you will come to see the folly of denying the God who gave you life and find repentance through Jesus Christ.

    Now, the reason this worries me, is that it sounds as if you are not at all open to changing your mind. (I might have completely misread it – as said before, that happens on the net.)

    You see, my purpose in this discussion – any discussion – is to put forward arguments as to what I believe, and then correcting anything which can be shown to be wrong. I don’t see any point in taking part in a discussion unless both people have a similar attitude (otherwise it is just preaching at each other by one or both).

    This is the kind of thing I was getting at when I talked about the questioner not being interested in the answer earlier – they already know they are right, so they can immediately discount the answer given as being wrong.

    I’m constantly aware of myself (and constantly trying to stop myself!) risking doing it, so I’m not judging you here, I’m just concerned that the discussion is going to be rather pointless and unrewarding.

    Hopefully this post will at the very least let us concentrate on one area rather than the unmanageable amount we currently have going. Given I posted it at one or two in the morning, I can’t guarantee I was thinking straight in my last post either, although I think I was!

  • scmike

    Greg,

    Thank you for your response. Regarding your comments:

    Right. Just a few of many questions to illustrate why I don’t find this persuasive. (Incidentally, no chance of me taking offence! )

    What about natives of tribes deep in a jungle that have never come across Christianity before? What about people alive before Christianity? What about people alive a hundred or two years ago after Christianity formed as a religion, but in areas of the world Christians had never even dreamed existed?

    Good questions. Perhaps this will help:

    Rom 1:18-20

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    God has revealed Himself to all men (from Adam and Eve all the way up to those presently inhabiting the earth), so that we can know for certain who He is. No one who stands before God will be excused for suppressing this truth.

    If I may ask, why is that important to you?

    Why did some people get to observe miracles, and some didn’t? Am I somehow not deserving of equal opportunity of persuasion as those who got to see Jesus walk, talk, and perform miracles?

    Perhaps you’re forgetting that it was many of the ones who saw Jesus walk, talk, and do miracles who called for and saw to his crucifiction? Why do you think they were not convinced, Greg? Truth does not equal persuasion. Consider the following story:

    “Once their was a young man who wholeheartedly believed he was dead. His family tried desperately for years to convince him otherwise, but to no avail. Finally, at their wits end and as a last resort, they brought him to a well known physician in their town to see if he could offer any hope.

    After quite a bit of back and forth with no progress, the physician had an idea. He asked the young man, “son, do dead men bleed?” The question perplexed the young man, and after much deliberation, he responded: “well, when someone is dead, there is no heartbeat to force the blood through the body, and therefore no blood pressure to push the blood out of the body, so no, dead men do not bleed.” Upon hearing this, the physician produced a needle and pricked the young man’s index finger. Startled, the boy grasped his throbbing finger, and as he watched the blood begin to ooze out of his wound, he exclaimed with amazement: “well, what do you know–dead men DO bleed after all!”

    You see, It is impossible to convince someone of anything if they do not wish to be convinced of it, as all facts and evidence are subject to the presuppositions held by the one examining them and will be interpreted thusly. One does not reason their way to God being the foundation of their reasoning. This only comes through submission to the truth that they already know.

    I know that the Christian worldview clearly states that those who do not believe in god are going to hell.

    Actually, it states clearly that ALL people know that God exists. It is the suppression of this truth which ultimately condemns one to Hell.

    Why on earth would I, then, try to claim your god does not exist in order to avoid accountability? Not believing in god is the single worst thing I can do – it guarantees that I would be tortured for eternity regardless of any actions I take!

    People have all sorts of reasons for suppressing the truth Greg, and I suspect you have yours too. Usually, at the top of the list is a desire to be one’s own god rather than to submit to God.

    If I knew your god existed, it would be – frankly – insane to pretend that it didn’t. Especially as I also know that this god is omnipotent, and knows that I know it exists.

    That is why the Bible refers to those who deny God as ‘fools’. Please understand that this is not name calling, but the right description of one who refuses to acknowledge the truth despite knowing that it is so.

    There is no reason you should know this about me – but for much of my life I considered myself a Christian. There were many times immediately after I stopped believing that I implored the Christian god to show me that it existed. Were these the actions of someone surpressing the truth of that god’s existence?

    Greg, let me say that I appreciate your openness and willingness to share this with me. It is refreshing to be able to have a discussion like this with someone like yourself who is both cordial and courteous in the exchange.

    Please allow me to gently correct you here though. A Christian is someone who has submitted themselves to God and holds Him and His Word as their ultimate authority. If you reasoned to the conclusion that God does not exist, then, I am sorry to say that He could not have been your ultimate authority. May I recommend sincere repentance and trust in Jesus Christ?

    Also, if I may ask, during this time in your life when you professed Christianity, did you actually know the Lord?

    I said: “That’s right. One either acknowledges God to be the foundation of their reasoning or they do not. I trust that it is plain which position we each hold.”

    You said:

    You seem to have completely missed the point I was trying to make when I mentioned the worldview with solipsism and the worldview without. My point is that any ‘atheistic’ worldview can be worlds apart from any other ‘atheistic’ worldview. You could believe in magic pixies which created everything, and you would still be an atheist (if a rather silly and irrational one in my view!). Because the only thing atheistic worldviews have in common is that their holders do not believe in a god, it is virtually impossible to address them as one group. Even if you ‘disproved’ my worldview, you would not disprove atheism as a world view.

    No, I understood your point. Again, when I refer to an atheistic worldview, I am simply referring to the foundational belief that God does not exist as the creator of the universe and is not the foundation for logic and reason. Though there are variations of atheism, this is the common foundational presupposition held by all atheists, by definition.

    I said: “That’s like saying if I say the answer to 2 +2 is ‘4’ and you say it is ‘?’, then you somehow hold an intellectually superior position to mine. The number 4 is the only possible answer to this problem (in base 10 mathematics), by the impossibility of the contrary.

    Now, one may wish to arbitrarily dismiss this answer and sit around waiting for someone to come up with an answer that better suits them, but they would do so with zero foundation in rationality or logic. Wouldn’t you agree?

    You replied:

    The first problem with this analogy is that in order for it to work, we have to have absolute knowledge of how the universe works – in other words be omniscient.

    Now you’re getting it!! The fact is, in order to know anything with certainty (including the claim you just made), one would have to be omniscient or have revelation from One who is.

    As I have mentioned previously, it is my position that God (who is omniscient) has revealed some things to us so that we can know them with certainty. Surely you’d admit that it is possible that an omniscient, omnipotent God could do this, no?

    Another problem is that we aren’t saying 2 + 2 = ? – we are saying doing something to two somethings (which may or may not have the same value) = 4

    Here’s an analogy I think is a bit better:

    You are out walking, and see a tree on fire. You wonder how the fire started. You decide that it was god.

    Was this a sensible and rational thing for you to do?

    There are an infinite possible amount of other options out there – maybe someone lit it with a match, or two pieces of flint? Maybe the tree was struck by lightning? If you were able to discount the lightning theory, does that then mean god did it is true?

    The difference is, in your scenario there are many possible explanations for the fire. I have yet to hear even one competing account for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities (such as axioms and laws of logic) in an atheistic worldview.

    With respect Greg, you have even gone so far as to deny that these are even characteristics of the laws of logic. However, if laws of logic are not absolute, then you have no reason to expect that they have not changed or will not change at any moment (after all, on what basis would one proceed with the assumption that laws which have been experienced to be true in one realm would be true in an as yet unexperienced realm?). If they are not immaterial, then where in the universe are they? If they are not universal, then they do not necessarily apply to this discussion or ANY discussion, and anyone is free to create their own laws of logic.

    While you may profess to believe this, you do not live that way.

    As for me? I see the same fire, and I am unconvinced by your explanation of ‘god did it’. In fact, I find it implausible.

    But, where is your competing claim? You may not like mine, and even disagree with it, but without a competing claim of your own, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    You have appealed to axioms and laws of logic repeatedly throughout this discussion. How do these concepts mesh with an atheistic worldview? How do you reconcile variance and invariance with regards to the universe? In other words, why do some things change (such as history and science) while others do not (such as axioms and laws of logic, mathematics, etc.)?

    I said: “Well, let’s take one worldview at a time Greg. Since I am debating you, it only makes sense for me to evaluate yours. If there are any others following along with this discussion who hold to any of those other worldviews, I will gladly engage them. I just do not have time to refute positions that neither of us hold to be true, as you could just continue positing worldviews ad infinitum and once refuted, you’d be able to say, ‘well I didn’t believe any of those anyway’. Sorry, not interested.”

    Then you must change your claim accordingly to reflect your position. My point is exactly that in order to combat your claim as you have stated it I am perfectly entitled to “continue positing worldviews ad infinitum”. In fact I do not have the burden to come up with any claim at all – you have the burden to come up with them and then shoot them down.

    Given that that is an infinite amount, your claim as currently stated is completely unsupportable. Again, that is my point.

    You’d better change your claim to something like:

    The Christian worldview can account for X, Y, and Z.

    We can argue that claim if you like, but I am not willing to argue against you with your original claim unless you are willing to back it up – you are asserting a positive claim, you have the burden of proof..

    But all of this is contingent upon whether or not you can account for a logical standard by which I ‘must’ do these things in your worldview. You see, if you cannot account for the very standard of logic you are holding my arguments to, your arguments against my claim, as well as your demands of me are without merit. How do you account for that standard Greg, and why does it necessarily apply to my arguments (or does it)?

    In fact, I think it is important to state that I am not even making the claim that my worldview is true. It is the best possible world view I am currently able to come up with, but I do not claim to have all the answers, and I also allow that some of my answers may be wrong.

    If may be so bold Greg, it’s not that atheism is the best possible worldview that you can come up with, it’s that atheism allows those who espouse it to live under the pretence of autonomous reasoning which many find very appealing. You see, there are ramifications that come with acknowledging the truth of God’s existence that most people simply do not want to deal with.

    The problem with atheism though, is that it is impossible to be consistent with such a position. For instance, an atheist has no logical justification for assuming the reliability of their senses and reasoning or the uniformity of nature (induction) which makes it possible to even understand the world around us.

    When an atheist assumes these things, they are actually abandoning their atheism and borrowing from the Christian worldview, as only Christianity gives us justification for assuming the reliability of our senses and reasoning and expecting that nature will be uniform, per God’s Divine revelation.

    You will no doubt disagree with this claim, but I think now is as good a time as any to ask on what basis you, as an atheist, proceed with the assumption that your senses and reasoning are reliable and on what basis you assume the uniformity of nature (or do you assume these things at all)?

    I said: “No, but you would have to have universal knowledge or access to it in order to know that 2 + 2 CANNOT ever equal 5 anywhere in the universe. How do you claim to know that?”

    Er – because it is very basic maths. I must admit I’m not sure how to answer this – because it sounds like I have to explain maths. That isn’t meant nastily, but I am genuinely at a loss as to what to say.

    When there are rules in a field, then you can say categorically, with absolute certainty, that if something breaks those rules then it is not valid in that field. 2 + 2 equalling 5 would break the laws of mathematics – I don’t know how else to put it.

    What I want to know is:

    1) Why should the laws of mathematics absolutely not be violated in your worldview?

    2) Why can violations of these laws absolutely not be valid?

    3) How do you account for the existence of absolute standards in your worldview since you could never observe an absolute?

    I said: “You seem to have misunderstood the argument. Logic is a reflection of God’s absolute character and nature. Since logic is an aspect of who God is, He cannot be illogical as this would require Him to contradict His own character and nature, in which case He could then be both God and ‘not God’.

    You seem to be arguing that if God cannot also be ‘not God’, then He therefore cannot be God. How does that follow?”

    To take the last bit first – that is one reason why I do not believe omnipotence is possible alongside logic. If logic does not exist, then of course god can be both god and not good – we would need logic in order to say that he couldn’t be!

    We seem to be talking past each other here Greg. You are arguing that omnipotence and logic (which are both characteristics of God) cannot co-exist, therefore logic exists apart from God. The problem is, apart from omniscience (which is one of the aspects of the God you are trying to disprove) you could not know this to be true, as the refutation of your claim could lie in that which you do not know. In essence, the only way you could know this to be true is to be god yourself, in which case god would exist alongside logic (unless of course, you are making these claims absent logic, which would make them (and you) illogical).

    Besides, you still haven’t shown how the non-existence of God accounts for the existence of absolute laws of logic. As of now, you are trying to use logic to disprove the only possible source of logic, which is self-refuting.

    To deal with the rest of it – no, I haven’t misunderstood the argument – what I am saying is that logic can not be a reflection of god’s character if god is omnipotent. Logic demands it!

    But, that claim is easily reversible. I can just as easily say that logic must be a reflection of God’s character if God is omnipotent. Logic demands it!

    Plus, I can offer proof to support my claim: the impossibility of the contrary. Where is the justification for your claim? How do you know for certain it is true?

    Hence the claim that logic is a part of god’s character and that god is omnipotent can be dismissed as impossible – just like if I said that there exists a sheep that is both white, and not white.

    Sure, you are free to dismiss both of these claims if you like, but you must do so with no logical justification, as you could never know that either claim is impossible based on your limited experiences and observations of the universe. That is the crux of the issue here Greg. How can someone know anything to be true in an atheistic universe?

    I said: “Feel free to make your case. How is the ability to be both God and ‘not God’ at the same time and in the same way a strength instead of a weakness (especially when ‘not God’ is necessarily a lesser state than God).”

    Sure. If god is able to be both god and not god at the same time, then god is not bound by logic. If god is not bound by logic, then god can do literally anything.

    Uh, not if He’s ‘not God’. How can a Being which is non-omniscient and non-omnipotent do ‘literally anything’?

    I said: “Actually Greg, you’re right. You do have to assume a number of things in order to level this argument against mine. Not the least of which, you are assuming an absolute standard of logic which you feel necessarily applies to my argument by which you accuse me of question begging. What I would like to know is:

    1) What is that standard?

    2) How do you account for that standard in your worldview?

    3) Why does that standard NECESSARILY apply to ANY argument?”

    There are a few ways I could respond. Perhaps the easiest is to reply that I am arguing ad arguendo as regards the laws of logic. Or, if you prefer:

    I am using the laws of logic which you claim that your god provided. If your god exists then any argument made complying with these laws must be valid – claiming that my argument is invalid would be to deny logic exists, and hence your god could not exist.

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You are using absolute laws of logic and reason which can only be accounted for in the Christian worldview to try and disprove the Christian worldview? I guess I don’t need to tell you what that does to your position do I?

    I said: “The argument in its correct form is more like this:

    P1 God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic (by the impossibility of the contrary).

    P2 Absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist.

    C Therefore, God exists.

    Now, I know you will no doubt have a problem with P1, but tell me this: do you have a problem with this argument?:

    P1 All men are mortal.

    P2 Socrates is a man.

    C Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

    You replied:

    First off – I wasn’t stating your argument – I was trying to show that in order for your argument to prove your conclusion, I had to first assume your conclusion.

    Anyway – I disagree with both of your premises in the first argument,

    I thought you would. What is your logical justification for rejecting my premises?

    but have no problems with the second argument.

    Didn’t think you would. The problem is, P1 is unprovable and clearly begs the question. It is irrational for you to accept the faulty Socrates argument, which clearly violates the laws of logic and then arbitrarily reject my argument which soundly accounts for the very laws of logic you wish to implore against it. Especially when you have no competing claim and hold to a contrary worldview.

    I do not accept that absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist. Please prove it.

    Acknowledgment of same is self-refuting.

    I asked: “I am curious though, is it your position that ALL claims must be proven in order to be true? If the answer is ‘yes’, where is the proof to back up THAT claim by which you accept it as true?”

    You replied:

    The next bit of your message also relates to this, so I’ll try to save space and nip it in the bud here, because it’s a bit of a red herring. (I tried to before, but obviously failed.)

    My position is that all claims must be proven in order to be accepted as true.

    Please provide the proof to substantiate this claim. When and where have you examined ‘ALL’ claims?

    This can be done by applying the axioms of logic as stated in a previous post. Those axioms tell us that something can either be true or not true, and give us the foundation to find out which it is.

    However, in order to do this, you first have to assume that the axioms you are using are valid, and that they are, in fact, axioms. I’m sure you’d agree that not all posited axioms are valid, no (else you would not be arguing against mine)? So, how do you know that your axioms are valid and that they will continue to be so in the future? How do you account for abstract, universal, invariant entities such as axioms in your worldview?

    It is also rather a pragmatic decision to demand proof for the things I believe in: if I didn’t, then I would be forced to believe in both A and ~A at the same time, which is clearly unworkable.

    Again though, why can ‘A’ not be ‘not A’ in your worldview? What absolutely forbids this?

    (Example: without demanding proof for the question of whether or not god exists, I would have to believe both that god existed, and the counter claim that god did not exist.)

    Unless, of course, you already knew God existed, but were suppressing that truth (as your appeal to the concept of proof would indicate, as that concept cannot be accounted for apart from God).

    This is why I previously mentioned the infinite regress argument as regards epistomology (the idea that things can be known) – which is a whole other hotly contested philosophical argument in itself.

    Thankfully, however, it shouldn’t be necessary to go into it, because both of us ’suffer’ from the same problem such as it is. I can also cause an infinite regress as regards your claims about god. This is because you are contesting epistomology as a whole, and whether or not god exists is contained within epistomology. Basically, unless you grant epistomology, you can’t make any claim about god.

    Actually, you would first have to know that epistomology is a valid means of arriving at truth BEFORE using it. How do you presume to know that?

    I said: “What I am arguing is that since both knowledge and truth are certain by definition, the only possible way that anyone can know anything for certain is if it is revealed to them by a Being who knows everything. It is my position that God has revealed some things to us so that we can know them for certain (like, for instance, the fact that He exists).”

    You replied:

    But how does the being that knows everything know everything without it being revealed to it?

    By the impossibility of the contrary. If knowledge could be imparted to an omniscient being, then the being would not omniscient (i.e. posessing infinite knowledge).

    If the only way anything can have knowledge is by having that knowledge revealed to them, then whatever did the revealing must also have had it revealed to them.

    Do you know this? If so, who revealed it to you?

    If you claim that god does not need to have knowledge revealed to it, then your premise is false.

    Not hardly, as my premise was that the only way that anyone who is non-omniscient could know anything with certainty is if it is revealed to them by a Being posessing omniscience. You have either misunderstood or misrepresented my claim.

    (Incidentally, I do not grant your premise.)

    Are you certain of this? If so, how?

    I said: “What I would like to know is: how is it possible for you to know anything for certain in a worldview which denies God? You see, we both claim to know things, Greg. I am interested in seeing your justification for the things you claim to know.”

    You replied:

    Can I know anything for certain? Well, it’s a complicated question – it must be said that strictly I never actually claim to.

    Are you certain of that?

    I can make absolute claims about logic Icause it is a closed system. We have strict rules governing how it works, and if something does not comport with those rules, then we know that it is not logically true. But even here, to be intellectually honest, I have to insert the caveat: if I understand logic correctly then ‘X’.

    However, life, and existence, is not a closed system (at least from my point of view, because I am part of it). I am not in a position to know all the rules for our existence. This doesn’t mean I can’t weigh up all the odds, and come to a decision – but it does have the happy side effect of forcing me to always allow that I might be wrong.

    This is why as an atheist, I do not say god does not exist – I merely say that I do not believe god exists. I may make other statemements like: if logic holds, then this god, or that god, can not exist. (I may occasionally use short hand and say “I believe (say) Yahweh does not exist”)

    Whew! You sure make a lot of knowledge claims for someone who can’t know anything for certain. :)

    Let me ask you this: are certain of anything that you have said above, or could it all be false (in which case I just wasted a WHOLE lot of time)?

    I said: “Then laws of logic clearly could not have been created by man if the law of non-contradiction applied before men were present to create it (which was my point).

    My question is: how do you account for prescribed laws of logic (which are abstract, universal, invariant) in a universe without God?”

    Then, to be blunt, you didn’t read the rest of what I wrote.

    Sure I did. You appealed to axiomatic properties of the universe. I want to know how any axioms comport with your worldview and how you account for the prescribed laws that govern the universe. When you say that a ‘rule’ cannot be violated that is a prescription not a description.

    Also, is it your position that anything is possible in the universe, or that only certain things are possible?

    I said: “The problem is, if laws of logic are based upon our observations of the universe, then they become contingent upon those observations and lose their universality. If that is the case, on what basis do you apply them to unobserved phenomena, such as future events, or even this very discussion?

    You see, if laws of logic are merely contingent, you would have no basis for expecting these laws to hold 1 second from now, nor could you know that they haven’t changed already due to some past unobserved event.”

    I see from this quote and others that my effort to make a distinction between the laws of logic (a human created field) and the attributes of existence failed.

    Can I say that the attributes of existence have remained constant since time began with 100% surety? No. Can I say that the likelihood of these attributes of existence having remained the same is massive? Yes. Have I seen any reason to believe that they do change? No.

    I have some challenges to this claim, as well:

    1) How do you know that the senses, memory, and reasoning you used to reach the above conclusion are valid?

    2) On what basis do you expect that the future will most likely resemble the past?

    3) How do you know any of these things for certain?

    Am I always willing to change my point of view if evidence warrants it? Yes.

    How would you know if the attributes of existence changed, absent an unchanging standard by which to gauge this?

    Here’s the thing – you don’t need to know something is true with 100% certainty in order to use it.

    Are you 100% certain of that? If so, how? If not, it is merely a baseless assertion with no rational foundation.

    Do you know precisely how your computer works?

    No, but what would you think of someone who denied the existence of computers, while using one all the while. Surely it would be appropriate to ask them how they account for the computer they are using if they do not believe in computers, no?

    You see, you deny the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities while appealing to them over and over again in this very post. Surely it’s appropriate for me to call you to task for those inconsistencies in your worldview. Wouldn’t you agree?

    I asked: “How can logic be a description of the world around us when we use logic to interpret our observations of the world around us?”

    You said:

    Well, if logic was not a description of the world, then we could not use it to interpret our observations of the world around us!

    Did you use logic to come to this conclusion? If so, what was the description of reality that tells you what we COULD not do in the future? How do you know that your reasoning about this is valid at the outset?

    Moreover, if laws of logic are merely descriptions of the world around us, how do you explain the fact that the physical world is constantly changing while the laws of logic do not?

    Eesh – this took a really long time to write. Maybe it would be quicker to write a book? lol

    Trust me, I feel your pain Greg! :D

    However, I do appreciate and look forward to your responses (feel free to take your time, as I know how it is to feel rushed to put forth a response).

  • scmike

    Greg,

    My response was nearly completed when I saw your amended post, so I went ahead and submitted it for you to review. If you don’t mind, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to read and address my challenges while I formulate my response to your newest post. Indeed, I will try to keep it concise. :D

    Thanks in advance,

    Mike

  • Greg

    Okay, I am rather frustrated, and I feel that my second comment actually pre-empted most of your message in an attempt to prevent this happening, but I will at least reply to some of your message.

    First, however, I just want to make this clear, because it is irritating me:

    Claiming that I cannot account for ‘X’ is not a good argument (and frankly makes it harder for me to take you or your arguments seriously) when ‘X’ is something that must be assumed in order to have the argument in the first place.

    You want me to grant you that logic exists in order for you to make your argument, which I have, and yet are refusing to grant it to me in discussions relating to that argument.

    You have not proven that logic exists.

    I could go through every single thing you say, and reply with that (or something similar) to each one, as you have started to do to me, with just as much, if not more justifiability. I, at least, have clearly defined what I consider the laws of logic to be, what the field of logic is, and how we came about the axioms.

    Doing that however, would be childish.

    There is a second thing that is annoying me too:

    You are the one that has made the claims here – and yet you are spending all your time trying to destroy claims of mine (claims I haven’t made). You are claiming that logic exists and the Christian world view not only accounts for logic, but is the only possible worldview that can account for logic – therefore god exists. Thus far you have given me zero reasons to believe any of those three claims.

    Indeed, almost all we seem to be discussing is that my beliefs do not with 100% absolute certainty account for logic. A claim I have never – ever – made!

    Good questions. Perhaps this will help: (bible quotes removed to save space)

    If I may ask, why is that important to you?

    Okay – I want to introduce you to something called the Star Trek rule. (A rule coined by Russell Glasser who cohosts a TV phone in show in Texas called ‘The Atheist Experience’.)

    The rule is this:

    Before quoting the Bible to atheists, always ask yourself whether the same statement would be just as effective in your mind if you were quoting Captain Kirk.

    (Note that the word ‘Bible’ and ‘atheists’ could be replaced by the name of any ‘authoritative’ source and any group of people that do not accept that source as being true.)

    The point of this rule is that if whatever is being said is not as effective no matter who says it, then you are appealing to authority – and, in the case of the Bible – an authority I don’t believe even exists let alone accept.

    Bible quotes hold no more weight with me than quotes from Harry Potter. Actually, I suppose given I’m a Harry Potter fan… ;) Right: Bible quotes hold no more weight with me than quotes from the Koran, or quotes from War and Peace, or Shakespeare. If any of the quotes have merit in and of themselves, then good, otherwise I just discard them.

    As for why it is important to me – it’s because I believe in fairness for all, and just treatment for all.

    Perhaps you’re forgetting that it was many of the ones who saw Jesus walk, talk, and do miracles who called for and saw to his crucifiction? Why do you think they were not convinced, Greg?

    Why do I think they weren’t convinced? Because I don’t think the events ever happened. But this is rather irrelevant.

    I am saying that witnessing miracles would make my belief in god a lot more likely. Your belief system says people have witnessed miracles previously. Whether or not these people were persuaded by the miracles – they had a better chance than I do to believe in your god.

    You see, It is impossible to convince someone of anything if they do not wish to be convinced of it, as all facts and evidence are subject to the presuppositions held by the one examining them and will be interpreted thusly.

    I agree. Interestingly, however, I am the only one who has clearly said in our discussion that I am open to changing my mind.

    Actually, it states clearly that ALL people know that God exists. It is the suppression of this truth which ultimately condemns one to Hell.

    Hmm – I happen to know a tremendous amount of Christians who would disagree with you. But this is rather irrelevant to the point I was making, so I’ll grant you it.

    People have all sorts of reasons for suppressing the truth Greg, and I suspect you have yours too. Usually, at the top of the list is a desire to be one’s own god rather than to submit to God.

    That is why the Bible refers to those who deny God as ‘fools’. Please understand that this is not name calling, but the right description of one who refuses to acknowledge the truth despite knowing that it is so.

    Right – I have a big problem here.

    If we are going to converse on a subject, you will have to do me the courtesy of accepting that when I speak I am telling the truth. Otherwise there is no point in our talking: anything I say that you disagree with, you can just claim to yourself that I am lying. Currently you have the unwaveable assumption that a god exists, and that I know it but am pretending not to.

    This is a perfect example of what I mentioned at the start of the conversation, and again in my last message – you are showing yourself to have no interest in reading the answers to your questions. If you don’t accept that I am being honest, then there is no point in asking the questions.

    Please allow me to gently correct you here though. A Christian is someone who has submitted themselves to God and holds Him and His Word as their ultimate authority. If you reasoned to the conclusion that God does not exist, then, I am sorry to say that He could not have been your ultimate authority. May I recommend sincere repentance and trust in Jesus Christ?

    This reasoning doesn’t actually follow, but I think I can fill in the missing assumptions to make it do so, and answer anyway. It is something I often come across when talking with evangelical Christians.

    I think what you are arguing for is an example of the No-True-Scotsman fallacy. Rather than trying to deny a counterexample, or dropping the original claim, you are trying to redefine the definition of Christianity to make it exclude the counterexample. There is nothing in the definition of Christianity that means if you stop being a Christian then you were never a Christian to begin with. Indeed, in this case, if it did, then it would be impossible to call yourself a Christian, for to do so you would have to know with 100% certainty that you would never renounce Christianity in the future.

    Wikipaedia has an adequate explanation of the fallacy if you are unfamiliar with the term.

    Also, if I may ask, during this time in your life when you professed Christianity, did you actually know the Lord?

    I thought I did. Obviously now I don’t, because now I am virtually certain that the Christian god not only does not exist, but cannot exist…

    Though there are variations of atheism, this is the common foundational presupposition held by all atheists, by definition.

    Actually, by definition, atheists don’t have a common foundational presupposition. An atheist is someone who does not believe in god.

    A lack of a presupposition is not a presupposition.

    Now you’re getting it!! The fact is, in order to know anything with certainty (including the claim you just made), one would have to be omniscient or have revelation from One who is.

    As I have mentioned previously, it is my position that God (who is omniscient) has revealed some things to us so that we can know them with certainty. Surely you’d admit that it is possible that an omniscient, omnipotent God could do this, no?

    No – you don’t seem to be understanding what I am saying at all – it is as if because you are already absolutely certain in your mind that you are right, you cannot try to see what I am arguing for.

    The reason, I was saying, that your analogy does not work, is that it presupposes that we already know how the universe works. That presupposition is the problem with the analogy, in order for the analogy to work we would have to have be omnisicient!

    Incidentally, I do not think it is possible that an omniscient and omnipotent god could do those things, because not only are both ‘omni’ terms mutually exclusive, they are also both internally inconsistent, thus an omnisicient and omnipotent god cannot exist.

    The difference is, in your scenario there are many possible explanations for the fire. I have yet to hear even one competing account for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities (such as axioms and laws of logic) in an atheistic worldview.

    I have yet to hear a compelling argument that these absolute, immaterial, universal entities even exist, let alone one compelling account for them. However, I felt this analogy was the best that could be come up with.

    With respect Greg, you have even gone so far as to deny that these are even characteristics of the laws of logic. However, if laws of logic are not absolute, then you have no reason to expect that they have not changed or will not change at any moment (after all, on what basis would one proceed with the assumption that laws which have been experienced to be true in one realm would be true in an as yet unexperienced realm?). If they are not immaterial, then where in the universe are they? If they are not universal, then they do not necessarily apply to this discussion or ANY discussion, and anyone is free to create their own laws of logic.

    *Hits head against wall*.

    Sorry, but I am really getting frustrated.

    I don’t know how else I can put it to try to get you to understand my position. (Note, not to try to get you to agree with my position, but just to understand it)

    I do not believe laws of logic exist in the form that you claim they take.

    I do believe laws of logic exist as a codified field of science.

    These laws of logic have three foundational axioms, taken from core properties we have observed about existence.

    There is no guarantee that these are correct, because they are based upon inductive reasoning.

    If we observe something in the future that contradicts these observations, then the field of logic will not be an accurate representation of the attributes of existence.

    It is conceivable even if logic is proven to be incorrect, that we continue to use it, because of its utility value.

    But, where is your competing claim? You may not like mine, and even disagree with it, but without a competing claim of your own, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    That is clearly incorrect. This is akin to someone saying thousands of years ago:

    I believe the world is flat; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    Or:

    I believe that humans will never travel in the air; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    Or:

    I believe that magical fairies fly around us, keeping our feet stuck to the ground and preventing us from floating upwards; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    Or:

    I believe that a seizure is caused by that person being possessed by a spirit; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    I could go on, but hopefully I have made my point.

    Okay, the vast majority of what is left I dealt with in my amended post and the start of this – claiming I cannot account for the laws of logic is not an argument, and helps you in no way when we are discussing a matter which merely discussing presupposes the existence of laws of logic. If logic does not exist, then your claim is flat out wrong, and thus we would not even be discussing it.

    Plus, I can offer proof to support my claim: the impossibility of the contrary. Where is the justification for your claim? How do you know for certain it is true?

    Pardon – are you saying you have switched to my position and now accept that god cannot exist because of the impossibility of the contrary?

    Okay – that mild sarcasm was perhaps uncalled for – although, actually, I’m not sure it was, because all through the discussion I have consistently said your god cannot exist because that concept of god is logically contradictory and thus cannot manifest. I’m starting to feel you are not even trying to understand my arguments.

    You, however, are yet to offer me any proof that logic must exist in the form you claim it takes.

    Not only that – and this is quite important – nothing you have yet said about your god, and its qualities, is uniquely Christian, or even theistic. So far the best you are arguing for is a deistic god – and depending on your definition of atheism, deism can be part of atheism. (If atheism is the broadest definition: not theism; then deism must be atheistic, because it is not theistic. Granted, most people that identify as atheists are not deists, and most deists would not identify as atheists, but this goes back to the matter of ‘atheistic worldviews’.)

    Uh, not if He’s ‘not God’. How can a Being which is non-omniscient and non-omnipotent do ‘literally anything’?

    You missed the point I was making. In order to make this claim you have to apply logic – if god is not bound by logic, and can do literally anything, then you cannot make any logical claim about it. You are trying to apply logic to something which by definition cannot have logic applied to.

    “P1 All men are mortal.

    P2 Socrates is a man.

    C Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

    The problem is, P1 is unprovable and clearly begs the question.

    Not at all – if I were operating from a pure 100% amount of knowledge needed to make a claim then it would be unprovable, but pragmatic demands mean that I am willing to accept the inductive reasoning that tells us all men are mortal – every single thing we know about man suggests that man is mortal. Granted, there is a miniscule amount of doubt there, like there is about everything, but to give credence to that negligible percentage is to leave ourselves in a state of philosophical skepticism – meaning among other things that you cannot accept any argument for a god as true.

    P1, in the other argument, however, doesn’t have a single shred of evidence or reasoning – inductive or otherwise – to suggest it even might plausibly be true, let alone that it is true. You can’t compare the two.

    I do not accept that absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist. Please prove it.

    Acknowledgment of same is self-refuting.

    Nope – you are falling into the mistake that I am denying logic exists – I clearly am not. I am denying that your claims about logic are true, which is completely different.

    The next big chunk is about epistomology – and again, you do not understand what I am saying, and much of your argumentation was dealt with in my previous post about logic. Honestly I don’t want to get into it, because you’re actually arguing against your own argument as a whole.

    Briefly:

    The infinite regress problem states that if eveything requires a reason to accept it as true, then we have an infinite regress of supporting reasons, and thus can never get back to an original reason to ground the series with. There are three responses generally given to it – if you are interested in it, I suggest you search for ‘regress problem’ in google, and see what you get.

    But this is going off on a tangent, because as I have already said, the argument is attacking epistomology as a whole, and the truth value of god is part of epistomology. Hence if you prove epistomology false, you have no justification for believing in god.

    Right: Your original claim:

    “…the only possible way that anyone can know anything for certain is if it is revealed to them by a Being who knows everything.”

    Not hardly, as my premise was that the only way that anyone who is non-omniscient could know anything with certainty is if it is revealed to them by a Being posessing omniscience. You have either misunderstood or misrepresented my claim.

    Ah – you didn’t mention that an omnisicient being exists, and does not have to have knowledge revealed to it. Well, firstly you’d have to prove that the omniscient being existed before I could accept it. Then you’d still have to prove that the only way knowledge could be gained would be by it being revealed by the omniscient being.

    Well, here is as good a place as any to point out why omniscience is logically impossible.

    If a being is omniscient, it must know the truth value of the following question:

    “Am I omniscient?”

    If the being answers no, then it is not omniscient.

    If the being answers yes, then that only tells us that it thinks it is omnisicent – it could be mistaken.

    A being that believes itself to be omniscient, but isn’t would answer yes. A being that believes itself to be omnisicient and is would also answer yes.

    There is no way for the omnisicient being to know which of those two it is.

    Thus the truth value of the question can never be known, and omniscience cannot exist.

    Let me ask you this: are certain of anything that you have said above, or could it all be false (in which case I just wasted a WHOLE lot of time)?

    I am as certain as I can reasonably be. As I said previously, I am not so arrogant as to not admit the possibility that I may be mistaken. Anyone who refuses to entertain the possibility of being wrong has no business taking part in a discussion of any kind, for they are not intellectually honest.

    If the participants in a conversation are both unwilling to admit they may be wrong, then no matter how long or persuasively they talk, neither will ever change their opinions, and the conversation would be utterly pointless and futile.

    You see, you deny the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities while appealing to them over and over again in this very post. Surely it’s appropriate for me to call you to task for those inconsistencies in your worldview. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Oh, come on, please.

    At no time in this conversation have I appealed to absolute, immaterial, universal entities of any sort whatsoever.

    I have appealed to the laws of logic, which, although being absolute, are not immaterial (which is a pretty meaningless description to me, the only type of existence we know of is a material existence – if it is immaterial, then by definition it doesn’t exist), are not universal (in the sense you seem to mean it, anyway) and are not entities.

    Just because we agree upon logic as having the same axioms, and also agree that it is the best system by which to have a discussion, and come to conclusions, does not mean that I hold the same beliefs about them as you do.

    You have made claims about logic which I do not accept, and yet you are trying to use these unaccepted claims to show that your argument is true. First back up your claims about logic:

    Show me that there exists ‘absolute, immaterial, universal entities’ corresponding to logic. Do this without merely referencing to other unproven claims (e.g. that god exists) – because doing so merely means that you have to prove that unproven claim too.

    Otherwise you are essentially making the claim that your understanding of logic is true, and mine is false: therefore my understanding of logic is false.

    If I have sounded unduly irritated in this post then I apologise, I have tried to prevent it, but it seems pointless to deny that I am irritated.

    I am not irritated so much because of your tone or the content of what you have said (well, perhaps your unbreakable assumption that if I disagree with you it is because I am lying/deliberately deluding myself), which has generally been perfectly calm and polite with the possible exception of the continuous demands to account for something I haven’t claimed existed.

    What I am irritated about is that my initial fears appear to have been realised, and you are not interested in the answers I give unless they agree with you.

    I’m sorry, but I really am not interested in being preached to, so I think I will end the conversation here. I hope you have at least enjoyed the conversation, and good luck in the future.

    Greg

  • scmike

    Greg,

    This, as I see it is the essence of your argument:

    P1. Logic exists.

    P2. The Christian worldview accounts for logic.

    P3. No other worldview can possibly account for the existence of logic.

    C The Christian worldview is correct and true.

    That is not my argument. I have already laid it out for you. Here it is again:

    P1) God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic (by the impossibility of the contrary).

    P2) Absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist.

    C) God exists.

    Now, when we are arguing about P2, telling me that I can’t account for logic is completely irrelevant. In order for us to be arguing P2, then either you have proven P1, or else I have granted it for the purposes of our discussion. That being the case, I have no need to account for them in my ‘worldview’.

    The problem is, this is just a means of avoiding the issue. You espouse a worldview which does not comport with absolute laws of logic, yet you continue to appeal to them over and over again in this very discussion. If you cannot account for a standard of logic that necessarily applies to my arguments, then you have zero justification for using that standard to evaluate my arguments (or any argument for that matter).

    Believing in something and acting upon that belief with no justification whatsoever is simply irrational, as it reduces your position to that of blind faith.

    You are right about one thing though: you don’t NEED to account for laws of logic in your worldview, but if you wish to hold a logical discussion, it would certainly behoove you to do so. If you cannot, simply say so, as that has been my point all along.

    Anyway, if there is indeed objective universal laws of logic, then, whether or not I can account for them, if my argument is logical it is still valid. It isn’t as if we both have different versions of logic – any argument I can make logically is equally valid in your worldview as it is in my mine.

    However, only one of us has provided their justification for absolute, objective laws of logic. You may not like my claim, but as I asked you before: where is yours?

    Borrowing concepts from my worldview which cannot be accounted for in yours, in order to argue against my worldview, is woefully self-refuting (not that I mind).

    All of the above premises seem to have been mixed together, making it all very confused, and much of the argument rather futile, so may I suggest you ignore most of my last post and we concentrate on just one of your premises? I’d suggest P1 or P2, because P3, as I said, is unsupportable. (Although if I understand your argument correctly (above) and you admit P3 is not true then your argument fails, and I’m not sure why we’d continue to argue then! ).

    Even though this is not my argument, I should probably point out that, by your own admission, you have reached your above conclusion based on a non-absolute, non-universal, material standard of logic.

    Since your standard of logic is not absolute, then nothing can be absolutely fallacious. Since it is not universal, it doesn’t necessarily apply to any argument (as any argument you attempt to evaluate could be an exception to the ‘rules’ for all you know). Since it is material, it has no bearing whatsoever on immaterial concepts such as arguments.

    Besides, I have just created a new law of logic that says that all of your arguments are fallacious and all of mine are logically sound. And, since it is axiomatic, it is necessarily valid.

    If you truly believe what you say you do, you should have no problem at all with that.

    Oh there was one more thing that worried me overnight – this quote:

    It is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people through natural and special revelation so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to logic, morality, salvation, etc. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth of his existence to avoid accountability to Him.

    Therefore, my purpose in this discussion is not to persuade you of God’s existence, but to simply (and hopefully gently) expose the inconsistencies within your worldview, in hopes that you will come to see the folly of denying the God who gave you life and find repentance through Jesus Christ.

    Now, the reason this worries me, is that it sounds as if you are not at all open to changing your mind. (I might have completely misread it – as said before, that happens on the net.)

    You’re correct, I am not open to changing my mind with regards to the existence of God, and His role as the necessary precondition for logic, etc., as I know these things for certain (as do you).

    You see, my purpose in this discussion – any discussion – is to put forward arguments as to what I believe, and then correcting anything which can be shown to be wrong.

    I appreciate your willingness to share your beliefs with me Greg, but for the sake of this discussion, I am only interested in what you KNOW and how you claim to know it.

    Unfortunately, you seem to hold the strange (and absurd) position that it is not possible for you to know anything (which is self refuting and therefore irrational). Why trust such a hopeless position?

    This is the kind of thing I was getting at when I talked about the questioner not being interested in the answer earlier – they already know they are right, so they can immediately discount the answer given as being wrong.

    Such is the exclusivity of truth. When you know the truth, all other possibilities are necessarily false.

    I’m constantly aware of myself (and constantly trying to stop myself!) risking doing it, so I’m not judging you here, I’m just concerned that the discussion is going to be rather pointless and unrewarding.

    I wouldn’t worry about this discussion being pointless Greg. There is always something accomplished when the Truth is told. Either one submits to it and finds salvation through repentance and trust in Jesus Christ, or they reject it and make sure their condemnation. Personally, I would prefer the former, but that is out of my hands.

    Besides, it is always a good thing for those who may be following along now or who may read these posts in the future to see atheism exposed for what it really is.

  • Greg

    You’re correct, I am not open to changing my mind with regards to the existence of God, and His role as the necessary precondition for logic, etc., as I know these things for certain (as do you).

    Then I am disappointed with your dishonesty.

    And I am furious that I allowed myself to waste hours of time trying to have a conversation with someone who did not want one.

    I’m going to quote something you wrote:

    Consider the following story:

    “Once their was a young man who wholeheartedly believed he was dead. His family tried desperately for years to convince him otherwise, but to no avail. Finally, at their wits end and as a last resort, they brought him to a well known physician in their town to see if he could offer any hope.

    After quite a bit of back and forth with no progress, the physician had an idea. He asked the young man, “son, do dead men bleed?” The question perplexed the young man, and after much deliberation, he responded: “well, when someone is dead, there is no heartbeat to force the blood through the body, and therefore no blood pressure to push the blood out of the body, so no, dead men do not bleed.” Upon hearing this, the physician produced a needle and pricked the young man’s index finger. Startled, the boy grasped his throbbing finger, and as he watched the blood begin to ooze out of his wound, he exclaimed with amazement: “well, what do you know–dead men DO bleed after all!”

    You see, It is impossible to convince someone of anything if they do not wish to be convinced of it, as all facts and evidence are subject to the presuppositions held by the one examining them and will be interpreted thusly.

    You need to read that thoroughly, and have a long hard look at yourself. And if you don’t see the relevance, then read it through again, and again, until you do.

    P.S. My rewording of your argument was valid – I merely broke it into three pieces rather than two in order to make it clearer, and simpler. I also placed the claim that logic existed as P1, because without it, you cannot claim P2.

  • Baconsbud

    Greg it wasn’t a waste of time. I enjoyed your comments and am glad to have read them.

  • Justice Has No God

    *cough*troll*cough*

  • scmike

    Greg,

    First, however, I just want to make this clear, because it is irritating me:

    Claiming that I cannot account for ‘X’ is not a good argument (and frankly makes it harder for me to take you or your arguments seriously) when ‘X’ is something that must be assumed in order to have the argument in the first place.

    But that in no way explains how ‘X’ (in this case absolute laws of logic) comports with your worldview. You’re basically arguing that logic exists because it exists. If that is what your arguments have been reduced to, then I’ll just posit that God exists because He does, and we can end it there. Not what I was hoping for, though.

    You want me to grant you that logic exists in order for you to make your argument, which I have, and yet are refusing to grant it to me in discussions relating to that argument.

    Please show me where I have asked you to grant me that logic exists. I simply want you to tell how absolute, immaterial, universal entities such as the laws of logic that we are both using to hold this very discussion make sense in your worldview.

    I, at least, have clearly defined what I consider the laws of logic to be, what the field of logic is, and how we came about the axioms.

    Defining logic is a far cry from telling how it’s properties make sense in your worldview.

    For instance: How do you know that logic is an axiom (i.e. a self evident truth) to begin with, with only your limited observations and experiences of the universe to rely on? How do you know that logic holds universally? How do you know that it cannot change or has not changed?
    If it did change, how would you know whether or not the new law was valid without an overriding standard of logic to tell you that? If logic is contingent upon reality, how do you know that the senses and reasoning with which you observe reality are valid to begin with? How would one distinguish between a valid observation of reality vs. an invalid (i.e. illogical) one if logic is determined by observations of reality? How do immaterial entities comport with a strictly material universe?

    Indeed, almost all we seem to be discussing is that my beliefs do not with 100% absolute certainty account for logic. A claim I have never – ever – made!

    No, we are discussing the fact that you do not live consistently with your professed beliefs. Like, for instance, the fact that you have just posited a universal negative (e.g. I have never-ever..) while espousing a worldview which does not support universal knowledge (or knowledge at all, for that matter).

    Before quoting the Bible to atheists, always ask yourself whether the same statement would be just as effective in your mind if you were quoting Captain Kirk.

    (Note that the word ‘Bible’ and ‘atheists’ could be replaced by the name of any ‘authoritative’ source and any group of people that do not accept that source as being true.)

    While you may profess to deny the authority and truth of the Bible, you cannot live in accordance with that profession. You assume the truth of the Bible everyday by expecting the future to resemble the past and by the basic assumption that your senses and reasoning are valid. I’d really like to see how you justify these assumptions apart from the Bible.

    The point of this rule is that if whatever is being said is not as effective no matter who says it, then you are appealing to authority – and, in the case of the Bible – an authority I don’t believe even exists let alone accept.

    On what logical grounds do you dismiss the Bible? Dismissing something with no logical justification is to be arbitrary and irrational.

    I said: “Perhaps you’re forgetting that it was many of the ones who saw Jesus walk, talk, and do miracles who called for and saw to his crucifiction? Why do you think they were not convinced, Greg?”

    You replied:

    Why do I think they weren’t convinced? Because I don’t think the events ever happened.

    Which is the same kind of arbitrary dismissal of Jesus Christ they were guilty of. Seems some things never change (which is consistent with what the Bible says of the depraved nature of mankind, by the way).

    I am saying that witnessing miracles would make my belief in god a lot more likely.

    Actually, it wouldn’t, as you would only dismiss that evidence just as you have done with all the other evidence provided, due to your presuppositions regarding God.
    Like I said, truth does not equal persuasion and seeing does not equal believing.

    Your belief system says people have witnessed miracles previously. Whether or not these people were persuaded by the miracles – they had a better chance than I do to believe in your god.

    Nope. God has revealed Himself plainly to ALL people (including you, Greg). The miracles only served to confirm what they already knew, not to convince them of God’s existence.

    Besides, you take for granted the miraculous everyday with regards to God’s creation, the Bible, and even your own existence.

    I said: “You see, It is impossible to convince someone of anything if they do not wish to be convinced of it, as all facts and evidence are subject to the presuppositions held by the one examining them and will be interpreted thusly.”

    I agree. Interestingly, however, I am the only one who has clearly said in our discussion that I am open to changing my mind.

    Yet you continue to cling to your professed worldview despite being shown its inconsistencies, while trying to get me to abandon my premises using laws of logic that you must borrow from my worldview.

    Yep, that sounds like someone just begging to be convinced. ;)

    I said: “That is why the Bible refers to those who deny God as ‘fools’. Please understand that this is not name calling, but the right description of one who refuses to acknowledge the truth despite knowing that it is so.”

    You replied:

    Right – I have a big problem here.

    If we are going to converse on a subject, you will have to do me the courtesy of accepting that when I speak I am telling the truth. Otherwise there is no point in our talking: anything I say that you disagree with, you can just claim to yourself that I am lying. Currently you have the unwaveable assumption that a god exists, and that I know it but am pretending not to.

    Actually, it is not an assumption, but a Biblical truth. As I have already disclosed to you, I hold God and His Word as my ultimate authority. If I took your word over the Bible, then you would be my ultimate authority, not the Bible. Since the Bible accounts for absolute, universal, immaterial entities, comports with reality, and is internally consistent, (whereas you don’t and aren’t) I think I’ll stick with it (no offense, of course).

    If it makes you feel better though, I don’t necessarily believe you’re lying. I would say ‘self-deceived’ is more fitting.

    This is a perfect example of what I mentioned at the start of the conversation, and again in my last message – you are showing yourself to have no interest in reading the answers to your questions. If you don’t accept that I am being honest, then there is no point in asking the questions.

    Just because you don’t like me challenging your knowledge claims and asking you to justify them, does not mean that they should not be challenged. If you’re truly being honest and seeking truth, you should have no problem with that. In fact, you should appreciate it.

    I said: “Please allow me to gently correct you here though. A Christian is someone who has submitted themselves to God and holds Him and His Word as their ultimate authority. If you reasoned to the conclusion that God does not exist, then, I am sorry to say that He could not have been your ultimate authority. May I recommend sincere repentance and trust in Jesus Christ?”

    You responded:

    This reasoning doesn’t actually follow, but I think I can fill in the missing assumptions to make it do so, and answer anyway. It is something I often come across when talking with evangelical Christians.

    I think what you are arguing for is an example of the No-True-Scotsman fallacy. Rather than trying to deny a counterexample, or dropping the original claim, you are trying to redefine the definition of Christianity to make it exclude the counterexample.

    There is nothing in the definition of Christianity that means if you stop being a Christian then you were never a Christian to begin with. Indeed, in this case, if it did, then it would be impossible to call yourself a Christian, for to do so you would have to know with 100% certainty that you would never renounce Christianity in the future.

    What you are claiming, Greg, is that you went from being a Christian (fully submitted to God) to an atheist (not believing in God), which means that you somehow reasoned away from God while being fully submitted to Him??

    Can you please explain the process of reasoning away from God as the foundation of your reasoning, while He is the foundation of your reasoning?

    I asked: “Also, if I may ask, during this time in your life when you professed Christianity, did you actually know the Lord?”

    I thought I did. Obviously now I don’t, because now I am virtually certain that the Christian god not only does not exist, but cannot exist…”

    Sadly Greg, if you did not know the Lord, then you were not a Christian. I pray that will change.

    I said: “Though there are variations of atheism, this is the common foundational presupposition held by all atheists, by definition.”

    Actually, by definition, atheists don’t have a common foundational presupposition.
    An atheist is someone who does not believe in god.

    Is that belief foundational and common for all atheists, Greg? If so, it looks like atheists DO have presuppositons after all.

    Not to mention the fact that ‘atheist’ literally means ‘not God’ (that should tell you something).

    A lack of a presupposition is not a presupposition.

    Where is the justification for THAT presupposition?

    I said: “Now you’re getting it!! The fact is, in order to know anything with certainty (including the claim you just made), one would have to be omniscient or have revelation from One who is.

    As I have mentioned previously, it is my position that God (who is omniscient) has revealed some things to us so that we can know them with certainty. Surely you’d admit that it is possible that an omniscient, omnipotent God could do this, no?”

    No – you don’t seem to be understanding what I am saying at all – it is as if because you are already absolutely certain in your mind that you are right, you cannot try to see what I am arguing for.

    I’m not just certain in my mind, I have access to an objective revelation which comports with reality, makes sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, and can be freely examined by all which tells me your claim is false. The inconsistencies in your position only serve to confirm this truth (not that I needed the confirmation).

    The reason, I was saying, that your analogy does not work, is that it presupposes that we already know how the universe works. That presupposition is the problem with the analogy, in order for the analogy to work we would have to have be omnisicient!

    Or we could just have it revealed to us by One who is omniscient (which is my claim, by the way). It would take sheer intellectual dishonesty to deny this possibility. I trust you would never stoop to that level.

    Incidentally, I do not think it is possible that an omniscient and omnipotent god could do those things, because not only are both ‘omni’ terms mutually exclusive, they are also both internally inconsistent, thus an omnisicient and omnipotent god cannot exist.

    Ooops, looks like I gave you too much credit. The problem with your argument is that in order for you to know that an omnipotent and omniscient God CANNOT exist, you would have to be omniscient yourself (which you are not).

    Absent omniscience or Divine revelation from One who is, you are forced to admit that your claim could be (read: is) false and that it is at least possible that an omnipotent, omniscient God could exist and could reveal some things to us so that we can know them for certain (which is my claim).

    Therefore, I have at least a possible avenue to certainty in my worldview, whereas you have admitted to having none. I am pleased with that concession.

    I said: “The difference is, in your scenario there are many possible explanations for the fire. I have yet to hear even one competing account for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities (such as axioms and laws of logic) in an atheistic worldview.”

    I have yet to hear a compelling argument that these absolute, immaterial, universal entities even exist, let alone one compelling account for them.

    Then it’s a good thing that an argument need not be compelling in order to be valid. Besides, compulsion is subject to your presuppositons, and will be determined by them. You will find no argument to be compelling which does not comport with those presuppositons.

    I’ll show you what I mean: give me an example of an argument that would convince you that the God of the Bible exists and that Christianity is true.

    I said: “With respect Greg, you have even gone so far as to deny that these are even characteristics of the laws of logic. However, if laws of logic are not absolute, then you have no reason to expect that they have not changed or will not change at any moment (after all, on what basis would one proceed with the assumption that laws which have been experienced to be true in one realm would be true in an as yet unexperienced realm?).

    If they are not immaterial, then where in the universe are they? If they are not universal, then they do not necessarily apply to this discussion or ANY discussion, and anyone is free to create their own laws of logic.”

    *Hits head against wall*.

    Sorry, but I am really getting frustrated.
    I don’t know how else I can put it to try to get you to understand my position. (Note, not to try to get you to agree with my position, but just to understand it).

    I do not believe laws of logic exist in the form that you claim they take.
    I do believe laws of logic exist as a codified field of science.

    I understand your argument, and wish to challenge it. Do the laws of logic (such as the law of non-contradiction) apply to the scientists who study and codify the laws of logic? Did they apply before they were codified by man? If so, how can the laws of logic exist as a codified field of science?

    Do laws of logic apply to the reasoning of the scientists which they use to make their observations and do their studies, or are their observations and studies based on reasoning void of logic (i.e. illogical reasoning)? Let me know.

    These laws of logic have three foundational axioms, taken from core properties we have observed about existence.

    When and where have you observed the whole universe to know that these properties apply axiomatically (i.e. absolutely and universally) to the universe? Or do they only apply as far as you know (in which case they are not axioms at all)? Let me know.

    If we observe something in the future that contradicts these observations, then the field of logic will not be an accurate representation of the attributes of existence.

    And to avoid circularity, you would have to be doing your observing with reasoning void of logic. Otherwise, you are arguing that logic is validated by logic. Perhaps you should give this some serious thought, Greg. :D

    It is conceivable even if logic is proven to be incorrect, that we continue to use it, because of its utility value.

    And what, praytell, would one use to prove logic ‘incorrect’? Logic perhaps? How then could any logic be known to be ‘incorrect’ if logic is the standard?

    Also, if multiple people have conflicting perceptions of reality, how do you know whose observations are valid (i.e. logical) and whose are not? Or, are all standards of logic necessarily valid?

    I said: “But, where is your competing claim? You may not like mine, and even disagree with it, but without a competing claim of your own, any argument you level against my position is baseless.”

    That is clearly incorrect. This is akin to someone saying thousands of years ago:

    I believe the world is flat; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    Or:

    I believe that humans will never travel in the air; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    Or:

    I believe that magical fairies fly around us, keeping our feet stuck to the ground and preventing us from floating upwards; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.

    Or:

    I believe that a seizure is caused by that person being possessed by a spirit; unless you have a competing claim, any argument you level against my position is baseless.
    I could go on, but hopefully I have made my point.

    Actually, what you have done is to posit several false analogies. First, the nature of our discussion is not regarding beliefs, but knowledge. Secondly, I am asking you to account for something that we both are using to hold this very discussion (absolute laws of logic).

    A correct analogy would be that of two individuals who are about to race their vehicles in a winner take all contest. When it comes time to prove ownership of their respective vehicles at the start of the race, one racer produces his documents confirming ownership of his vehicle, while the other refuses to do so and instead jumps in his own car revving the engine and with tires squealing, goes speeding down the track.

    One would kinda have to wonder about the motives behind the driver’s irrational behavior to avoid having to produce his ownership papers in a mutually agreed to contest, no?

    You see, if we’re gonna race Greg, I want to know that the vehicle you’re using actually belongs to you. I’ve shown you my papers, now where are yours–or don’t you have any?

    If logic does not exist, then your claim is flat out wrong, and thus we would not even be discussing it.

    So logic exists because we are discussing it? Well then, I posit that God exists because we are discussing Him. How do you like your argument now, Mr. Question Beggar? :)

    I said: “Plus, I can offer proof to support my claim: the impossibility of the contrary. Where is the justification for your claim? How do you know for certain it is true?”

    Pardon – are you saying you have switched to my position and now accept that god cannot exist because of the impossibility of the contrary?

    Okay – that mild sarcasm was perhaps uncalled for – although, actually, I’m not sure it was, because all through the discussion I have consistently said your god cannot exist because that concept of god is logically contradictory and thus cannot manifest. I’m starting to feel you are not even trying to understand my arguments.

    Naturally I disagree with your claim, but you do raise some good question: why can logically contradictory concepts absolutely not exist in your worldview? Surely you’re not appealing to a universal standard that absolutely forbids this, are you?

    If so, how do you explain the existence of such a standard in your worldview? If not, your argument is without justification, which places it in the realm of blind faith. I am pleased with that!

    You, however, are yet to offer me any proof that logic must exist in the form you claim it takes.

    Sure I have. You have just discarded it due to your presuppositional bias.

    Besides, the very concept of proof assumes absolute laws of logic, else how could you ever prove anything to be asolutely true?

    Here’s a perfect example:

    You said:

    Not only that – and this is quite important – nothing you have yet said about your god, and its qualities, is uniquely Christian, or even theistic.

    Is that absolutely true Greg? If so, how do you know?

    I said: “Uh, not if He’s ‘not God’. How can a Being which is non-omniscient and non-omnipotent do ‘literally anything’?”

    You missed the point I was making. In order to make this claim you have to apply logic – if god is not bound by logic, and can do literally anything, then you cannot make any logical claim about it.

    What is the absolute standard that says I CANNOT do this? How do you account for that standard apart from God? If logic is not universal (as you have claimed), couldn’t my argument be the exception to the rule?

    You are trying to apply logic to something which by definition cannot have logic applied to.

    This is just a baseless assertion though, Greg. How do you know that the definition you are appealing to is universally true?

    If you don’t know that, you have zero justification for your claim, which reduces it to subjective personal opinion (plus, you are trying to use logic to disprove the only possible source of logic (yet again).

    Hence, your argument is necessarily false.

    I said:“P1 All men are mortal.

    P2 Socrates is a man.

    C Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”
    The problem is, P1 is unprovable and clearly begs the question.”

    You replied:

    Not at all – if I were operating from a pure 100% amount of knowledge needed to make a claim then it would be unprovable, but pragmatic demands mean that I am willing to accept the inductive reasoning that tells us all men are mortal –

    More question begging. What is your justification for assuming and accepting the validity of inductive reasoning to start with?

    every single thing we know about man suggests that man is mortal.

    Actually, I’d love to hear one thing that you know about man (or anything for that matter) and how you know it. So far, you have not told how knowledge is even possible in your worldview (despite claiming to know a whole lotta stuff).

    Granted, there is a miniscule amount of doubt there, like there is about everything,

    Which means there is also doubt about that very statement, in which case it could be false. As a matter of fact, how do you know it’s not?

    but to give credence to that negligible percentage is to leave ourselves in a state of philosophical skepticism – meaning among other things that you cannot accept any argument for a god as true.

    But, by your own admission, you could be wrong about all of that, as well. As a matter of fact, how do you know you’re not?

    P1, in the other argument, however, doesn’t have a single shred of evidence or reasoning – inductive or otherwise – to suggest it even might plausibly be true, let alone that it is true. You can’t compare the two.

    What you may not realize is, the fact that you cannot produce a competing claim which comports with the reality of the laws of logic and is internally consistent, IS the evidence which supports my claim. Gracias!!

    You said:

    I do not accept that absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic exist. Please prove it.

    I said: “Acknowledgment of same is self-refuting.”

    You replied again:

    Nope – you are falling into the mistake that I am denying logic exists – I clearly am not. I am denying that your claims about logic are true, which is completely different.

    The problem is, you’re denying them, while appealing to them in the same sentence, which (yet again) is woefully self-refuting. Keep it up!

    The infinite regress problem states that if eveything requires a reason to accept it as true, then we have an infinite regress of supporting reasons, and thus can never get back to an original reason to ground the series with.

    How do you know this to be true though, or do you just accept it by blind faith??

    But this is going off on a tangent, because as I have already said, the argument is attacking epistomology as a whole, and the truth value of god is part of epistomology. Hence if you prove epistomology false, you have no justification for believing in god.

    Actually, God is the necessary precondition for epistomology by the impossibility of the contrary. Apart from God, one cannot know anything for certain. I’ll gladly demonstrate this for you now, Greg:

    Please tell me just one thing that you know to be true and how you know it.

    I said: “…the only possible way that anyone can know anything for certain is if it is revealed to them by a Being who knows everything.”

    And

    “Not hardly, as my premise was that the only way that anyone who is non-omniscient could know anything with certainty is if it is revealed to them by a Being posessing omniscience. You have either misunderstood or misrepresented my claim.”

    Ah – you didn’t mention that an omnisicient being exists, and does not have to have knowledge revealed to it.

    I didn’t realize that you needed to be spoon-fed the argument. :)

    Well, firstly you’d have to prove that the omniscient being existed before I could accept it.

    Well, since you believe in the concept of proof and proof presupposes the existence of knowledge (which is certain by definition), and you cannot account for the certainty of knowledge in your atheistic worldview whereas I can and have within the Christian worldview, I’d say that should just about do it. Guess I’ll be seeing you at church!!

    Then you’d still have to prove that the only way knowledge could be gained would be by it being revealed by the omniscient being.

    You’re doing a great job of proving it for me. I am grateful for that!!

    Well, here is as good a place as any to point out why omniscience is logically impossible.

    If a being is omniscient, it must know the truth value of the following question:

    “Am I omniscient?”

    If the being answers no, then it is not omniscient.

    If the being answers yes, then that only tells us that it thinks it is omnisicent – it could be mistaken.

    A being that believes itself to be omniscient, but isn’t would answer yes. A being that believes itself to be omnisicient and is would also answer yes.
    There is no way for the omnisicient being to know which of those two it is.
    Thus the truth value of the question can never be known, and omniscience cannot exist.

    Then you should have no problem at all justifying all those knowledge claims you just made, absent omniscience. Go ahead, tell us how you know any of those things to be true according to your worldview. This should be good. ;)

    I asked: “Let me ask you this: are certain of anything that you have said above, or could it all be false (in which case I just wasted a WHOLE lot of time)?”

    I am as certain as I can reasonably be.

    How do you know for certain that your level of certainty is reasonable (or are you less than certain of this as well)?

    As I said previously, I am not so arrogant as to not admit the possibility that I may be mistaken. Anyone who refuses to entertain the possibility of being wrong has no business taking part in a discussion of any kind, for they are not intellectually honest.

    Do you admit the possibility that you could be mistaken about all of that too?

    If the participants in a conversation are both unwilling to admit they may be wrong, then no matter how long or persuasively they talk, neither will ever change their opinions, and the conversation would be utterly pointless and futile.

    But you could be wrong about that, right? :D

    I said: “You see, you deny the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities while appealing to them over and over again in this very post. Surely it’s appropriate for me to call you to task for those inconsistencies in your worldview. Wouldn’t you agree?”

    You replied:

    Oh, come on, please.
    At no time in this conversation have I appealed to absolute, immaterial, universal entities of any sort whatsoever.

    Is that absolutely and universally true? Gotcha’. :D

    I have appealed to the laws of logic, which, although being absolute, are not immaterial

    Knew it! Now please tell how absolute laws of anything make sense in your worldview and how you know them to be absolute especially if they are made of matter).

    Also, if the laws of logic are material, please show me where they are so I can have a look at them.

    (…the only type of existence we know of is a material existence – if it is immaterial, then by definition it doesn’t exist),

    Problem is, if you can’t know anything for certain, you certainly can’t know what WE know. Nevertheless, if knowledge and truth are made of matter, please show me them to me, as I’d love to see what they look like!!

    Also, since you’re an atheist, I presume that you believe in evolution. Can you please show me where I can find it, too. I’d really like to have a sample of it to hang on my wall. Pretty please?

    are not universal (in the sense you seem to mean it, anyway) and are not entities.

    So they are univeral and they are entities then? Got it.

    If the law of non-contradiction doesn’t necessarily apply to our discussion, you should have no problem accepting those contradictions. This is fun!!

    Show me that there exists ‘absolute, immaterial, universal entities’ corresponding to logic. Do this without merely referencing to other unproven claims (e.g. that god exists) – because doing so merely means that you have to prove that unproven claim too.

    First of all, if I could show them to you, they would not be absolute, immaterial, and universal. Secondly, by what standard must I prove any unproven claim? How do you account for that standard? Why do you feel that standard should necessarily apply to me (especially when this contradicts your professed belief about the universality of the laws of logic)?

    I’m sorry, but I really am not interested in being preached to, so I think I will end the conversation here. I hope you have at least enjoyed the conversation, and good luck in the future.

    I am sorry to hear that you are ending the discussion, Greg, but if my telling you the truth warrants that, then so be it.

    I have indeed enjoyed the discussion, though, and appreciate the exposure of our respective worldviews. Believe it or not, you have done wonders here for the cause of Christianity, and I am grateful to you for that.

    I have and will continue to pray that you come to repentance, as I would love to see you in heaven.

  • Ash

    scmike,

    If you had bothered reading for comprehension, you might have noticed that not only has Greg already answered your questions, he did so in an honest, thoughtful, polite manner.

    Your responses show you to be an arrogant, patronizing, disingenuous, smarmy piece of lying shit.

    ‘I’ll pray for you’. Yeah, fuck you too.

    No offence.;)

  • scmike

    Greg,

    I said: “You’re correct, I am not open to changing my mind with regards to the existence of God, and His role as the necessary precondition for logic, etc., as I know these things for certain (as do you).”

    Then I am disappointed with your dishonesty.

    Actually Greg, if someone knows something for certain, it would be dishonest of them to adopt a position of uncertainty regarding what they know to be true. Since this is what you are asking me to do, I don’t think I need to tell you who is really guilty of the dishonesty.

    Besides, I clearly informed you of my position from the beginning. In my second post to you on June 1 (12:55 PM), I said:

    “It is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people through natural and special revelation so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to logic, morality, salvation, etc. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth of his existence to avoid accountability to Him.

    Therefore, my purpose in this discussion is not to persuade you of God’s existence, but to simply (and hopefully gently) expose the inconsistencies within your worldview, in hopes that you will come to see the folly of denying the God who gave you life and find repentance through Jesus Christ.”

    And I am furious that I allowed myself to waste hours of time trying to have a conversation with someone who did not want one.

    Sadly Greg, you have spent the bulk of your time on this thread denying the very preconditions for the concept of conversation. Any conversation presupposes absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic, as well as knowledge and truth (both of which are certain by definition). I do not doubt that this is frustrating for you, as internal inconsistencies typically are. Why trust such an irrational position?

    I’m going to quote something you wrote:

    Consider the following story:

    “Once their was a young man who wholeheartedly believed he was dead. His family tried desperately for years to convince him otherwise, but to no avail. Finally, at their wits end and as a last resort, they brought him to a well known physician in their town to see if he could offer any hope.

    After quite a bit of back and forth with no progress, the physician had an idea. He asked the young man, “son, do dead men bleed?” The question perplexed the young man, and after much deliberation, he responded: “well, when someone is dead, there is no heartbeat to force the blood through the body, and therefore no blood pressure to push the blood out of the body, so no, dead men do not bleed.” Upon hearing this, the physician produced a needle and pricked the young man’s index finger. Startled, the boy grasped his throbbing finger, and as he watched the blood begin to ooze out of his wound, he exclaimed with amazement: “well, what do you know–dead men DO bleed after all!”

    You see, It is impossible to convince someone of anything if they do not wish to be convinced of it, as all facts and evidence are subject to the presuppositions held by the one examining them and will be interpreted thusly.

    You need to read that thoroughly, and have a long hard look at yourself. And if you don’t see the relevance, then read it through again, and again, until you do.

    Let’s see, the boy in the story held an irrational belief and arbitrarily dismissed evidence which plainly showed the falsity of his position so that he could continue in his suppression of the truth. Yep, I definitely see the relevance there, Greg!

    However, I pray that, unlike the young man in our story, you will come to realize the folly of your position and cease YOUR suppression of the truth.

    P.S. My rewording of your argument was valid – I merely broke it into three pieces rather than two in order to make it clearer, and simpler. I also placed the claim that logic existed as P1, because without it, you cannot claim P2.

    I think it’s fitting to end with this quote from you:

    “Can I know anything for certain? Well, it’s a complicated question – it must be said that strictly I never actually claim to.”

    I trust that you don’t need me to point out the self-refuting nature of that statement again, and I think that about sums up what your arguments have been reduced to at this point.

    With that said, I am content with letting any intellectually honest reader examine our posts to see which of us has remained consistent with their professed position throughout this exchange and which of us has not. Take care, Greg.

  • scmike

    Ash,

    Glad to see that you have no rational objections to my claims! Take care.

  • Ash

    Glad to see you’ve still yet to make any, scmike!

  • Kevinp

    scmike,

    Now, I’m nowhere near as learned as you and Greg are on these matters, so forgive me if I sound a bit naive.
    You said this:

    P1 God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic (by the impossibility of the contrary).

    How do you know that to be the unequivocal truth?

    I guess really my question is, what is the contrary? Who or what determines if the contrary is impossible?

    You also say this:

    P1 All men are mortal.

    I 100% agree with this, however, I agree with it because the contrary (being all men are immortal) is undeniably impossible.

    I just don’t see how the first P1 and the second P1 equate properly.

    Kevin

  • http://twitter.com/matthileo/ Matt

    He showed up on our campus too (not the guy with the boot, the guy with the stick).

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthileo/tags/radicalchristianity/

  • http://meow Moose

    Looks like a pretty standard case of Poe’s law to me. :O

  • Phil E. Drifter

    I was subjected to the same nonsense my senior year of (catholic) high school. Our assignment was to create a religion, sacraments for it, etc. the ‘lesson’ was that “it’s a lot of work, so why would people do it if it weren’t true?”

    FACEPALM

    /did ‘zippoism’ where at 12 members were branded with a hot zippo um..guard thingie that protects the wick from wind.
    //religion is retarded

  • jacob

    Hi,
    I don’t agree with the assertion that atheists can’t account for logic, there’s an excellent book by Laurence BonJour called ‘in defense of pure reason’ which I would heartily recommend to scmike if I thought there was a chance he would read it :)

    The issue becomes much clearer, imho, if you consider some logical truths (2+2=4, a 3 sided rectilinear shape has three angles, if A is taller than B and B is taller than C then A is taller than C, nothing can be red and green all over at the same time to the same observer, every event has a cause, and so on) and run through the process of justification and assessment in your head

    How does believing in God affect your justification of these statements, how does it give you any extra path of justification and how would any meta-justification of how your reasoning has worked in each case even be possible, let alone prohibited to non-theists?

    All the best,
    Jacob

  • scmike

    Kevin,

    Now, I’m nowhere near as learned as you and Greg are on these matters, so forgive me if I sound a bit naive.

    Hi Kevin. I can’t speak for Greg, but I’m just an average guy with a high school level education. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around these concepts as well, so you should fit right in. Welcome to the discussion!

    You said this:

    ‘P1 God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic (by the impossibility of the contrary).’

    How do you know that to be the unequivocal truth?

    Through Divine revelation from One who knows everything (the God of the Bible).

    I guess really my question is, what is the contrary?

    The opposite.

    Who or what determines if the contrary is impossible?

    The laws of logic (namely the law of non-contradiction), which are grounded in the character and nature of God.

    You also say this:

    P1 All men are mortal.

    I 100% agree with this, however, I agree with it because the contrary (being all men are immortal) is undeniably impossible.

    In order to justify your claim that the contrary is not possible, you would have to possess (or have access to) absolute, universal knowledge of the past, present, and future. How is that possible in your worldview?

    I just don’t see how the first P1 and the second P1 equate properly.

    Simple. They are BOTH presuppositions (assumptions) that are taken for granted at the outset. Clearly, one could never prove the claim that all men are mortal, yet atheists have no problem accepting that premise without justification (i.e. by blind faith) due to their precommitment to naturalism.

    However, the P1 of my argument (which is provable and argued for) is rejected arbitrarily by those same atheists due to their (and presumably, your) presuppositional bias against God.

    I’ll show you what I mean: Kevin, on what logical grounds do you reject the premise of my argument?

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    Welcome to the discussion! Regarding your commments:

    Hi, I don’t agree with the assertion that atheists can’t account for logic, there’s an excellent book by Laurence BonJour called ‘in defense of pure reason’ which I would heartily recommend to scmike if I thought there was a chance he would read it.

    You’re not suggesting that I should put my faith in some book are you? How preposterous! :D

    The issue becomes much clearer, imho, if you consider some logical truths (2+2=4, a 3 sided rectilinear shape has three angles, if A is taller than B and B is taller than C then A is taller than C, nothing can be red and green all over at the same time to the same observer, every event has a cause, and so on) and run through the process of justification and assessment in your head

    Let’s back up just a little there, Jacob. First, please tell me how you know that any of the ‘logical truths’ you have posited above are in fact true, since ‘truth’ is certain by definition.

    How do you know that any of the things you have asserted apply absolutely and universally? If you don’t know this, then sadly your ‘truths’ are not ‘truths’ at all, they are merely unjustified assertions which could be false for all you know. In fact, how do you know they aren’t?

    P.S. If you scroll up, you’ll notice that Greg didn’t fare so well with these types of questions. Perhaps you can repair some of the damage he did to your cause? :)

    How does believing in God affect your justification of these statements, how does it give you any extra path of justification and how would any meta-justification of how your reasoning has worked in each case even be possible, let alone prohibited to non-theists?

    First of all, I don’t believe in God, I know for certain He exists, as He has revealed Himself to ALL people (even you) so that we can know who He is.

    It is only because of God’s Divine revelation that we can know anything to be true (i.e. certain), or even have any logical justification for assuming the basic reliability of our senses and reasoning.

    If you dispute this claim, please tell me how it is possible for you to know anything for certain in your worldview and on what basis you assume that your senses and reasoning are reliable. Or do you?

    I look forward to your responses!

  • jacob

    Hi scmike,

    You’re not suggesting that I should put my faith in some book are you? How preposterous! :D

    hehe no :) just that it treats the subject matter fairly and clearly and has some interesting though provoking arguments

    I am going to reply and I was wondering if we could focus on the issue of logic and the way worldviews account for it, would that be ok, I think it was both what we were wondering about.

    All the best,
    Jacob

  • The “Eh”theist

    scmike, your answer to the question “How do you know that to be the unequivocable truth?” was”

    “Through Divine revelation from One who knows everything (the God of the Bible).”

    1. Who told you that He knows everything? If it was god, then how does He know?

    2. How do you know it was divine revelation? How do you know you aren’t under the influence of a demonic delusion at the moment and worshipping satan instead of the true god?

    3. In what form did this divine revelation come to you (visitation, another human’s description, a document)? Was it through your senses that you received this revelation or was it just an internal “sense”?

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    I am going to reply and I was wondering if we could focus on the issue of logic and the way worldviews account for it, would that be ok, I think it was both what we were wondering about.

    Sounds good to me. Before we begin, I take it that we both agree that the laws of logic are invariant (unchanging), immaterial (not made of matter), and universal (apply everywhere and at all times), correct? If not, which of these characteristics do you dispute and why?

  • scmike

    The “Eh”theist,

    scmike, your answer to the question “How do you know that to be the unequivocable truth?” was”

    “Through Divine revelation from One who knows everything (the God of the Bible).”

    1. Who told you that He knows everything?

    God, of course. Omniscience is one of the characteristics of Himself that He has revealed to us such that we can be objectively certain of it.

    If it was god, then how does He know?

    By the impossibility of the contrary. If God didn’t know THAT, He wouldn’t be omniscient.

    2. How do you know it was divine revelation? How do you know you aren’t under the influence of a demonic delusion at the moment and worshipping satan instead of the true god?

    Because God has revealed it to us such that we can be objectively certain of both the nature and the source of His revelation.

    3. In what form did this divine revelation come to you (visitation, another human’s description, a document)? Was it through your senses that you received this revelation or was it just an internal “sense”?

    Actually, God has revealed Himself to mankind in numerous ways via natural and special revelation, both through our senses and wholly apart from them. I am happy to discuss the specifics with you, but first I’d like to know how it’s possible to know things for certain in YOUR worldview. I’ve given you my justification, now I’d like to see yours, please.

  • jacob

    Sounds good to me. Before we begin, I take it that we both agree that the laws of logic are invariant (unchanging), immaterial (not made of matter), and universal (apply everywhere and at all times), correct? If not, which of these characteristics do you dispute and why?

    I definitely agree with immaterial and probably universal, I’m not quite sure about unchanging – in one sense they are meant to be, ideally, eternal/timeless sentences, on the other hand they do undergo change, as in, say, quantum physics providing reason to reconsider logical truths such as ‘every event has a cause’. If you meant it in the sense of do they AIM to be something invariant then yeah sure I agree with all 3 :)

  • The “Eh”theist

    scmike said

    God, of course. Omniscience is one of the characteristics of Himself that He has revealed to us such that we can be objectively certain of it.

    By the impossibility of the contrary. If God didn’t know THAT, He wouldn’t be omniscient.

    So god told you he’s omnisicient, and you know he’s omniscient because he’s omnisicent and therefore he knows he’s omniscient?

    Because God has revealed it to us such that we can be objectively certain of both the nature and the source of His revelation.

    You didn’t answer my question-there was no “we” in it. I asked “How do you know it was divine revelation? How do you know you aren’t under the influence of a demonic delusion at the moment and worshipping satan instead of the true god?”

    Actually, God has revealed Himself to mankind in numerous ways via natural and special revelation, both through our senses and wholly apart from them. I am happy to discuss the specifics with you, but first I’d like to know how it’s possible to know things for certain in YOUR worldview. I’ve given you my justification, now I’d like to see yours, please.

    Again, there was no “we” in the question-let me repeat it for you “In what form did this divine revelation come to you (visitation, another human’s description, a document)? Was it through your senses that you received this revelation or was it just an internal “sense”?”

    I look forward to your specific replies to my questions-thanks.

    Also, I will be quite happy to discuss my worldview once we are done discussing the basis of yours and I am certain I understand the differences-I find I get confused if I try to have two discussions at once so we’ll have to see this current discussion through to the end before starting one about mine.

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    I definitely agree with immaterial and probably universal, I’m not quite sure about unchanging – in one sense they are meant to be, ideally, eternal/timeless sentences, on the other hand they do undergo change, as in, say, quantum physics providing reason to reconsider logical truths such as ‘every event has a cause’.

    I disagree with your assertion that the laws of logic are somehow violated by quantum physics. All quantum physics tells us are the attributes of sub-atomic particles, and how they behave on a sub-atomic level. Even so, to extrapolate a violation of the laws of logic on the sub-atomic level (where they are not violated) to the macro level, would be to employ the logical fallacy of ‘composition’.

    With that said, it is true that our understanding of the laws of logic may change, but not the laws of logic themselves (as they are self-evident truths and are certain by definition). Think of it this way: if someone discovered a new derivitive for the law of gravity tomorrow, did the law of gravity change, or did our understanding of it change?

    If you meant it in the sense of do they AIM to be something invariant then yeah sure I agree with all 3.

    That’s not what I meant. Nevertheless, how do you account for immaterial, universal, invariant laws in your worldview?

  • scmike

    The “Eh”theist,

    So god told you he’s omnisicient, and you know he’s omniscient because he’s omnisicent and therefore he knows he’s omniscient?

    No. God has revealed characteristics of Himself to us (such as the fact that He is omniscient) so that we can be objectively certain of their truth. Do you deny this possibility? If so, on what grounds?

    I said: “Because God has revealed it to us such that we can be objectively certain of both the nature and the source of His revelation.”

    You said:

    You didn’t answer my question-there was no “we” in it. I asked “How do you know it was divine revelation? How do you know you aren’t under the influence of a demonic delusion at the moment and worshipping satan instead of the true god?”

    Um, I hate to break this to you, but ‘we’ necessarily includes ‘me’, so I did answer your question. Besides, it is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to everyone (yes, even you) such that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny Him are simply suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (a fact that has been (and continues to be) demonstrated in this very thread).

    I said: Actually, God has revealed Himself to mankind in numerous ways via natural and special revelation, both through our senses and wholly apart from them. I am happy to discuss the specifics with you, but first I’d like to know how it’s possible to know things for certain in YOUR worldview. I’ve given you my justification, now I’d like to see yours, please.

    Again, there was no “we” in the question-let me repeat it for you “In what form did this divine revelation come to you (visitation, another human’s description, a document)? Was it through your senses that you received this revelation or was it just an internal “sense”?”

    I look forward to your specific replies to my questions-thanks.

    Sorry E.T., just because you don’t like my answers to your questions, doesn’t mean they haven’t been answered. Besides, you had no problem with the fact that my first response which you addressed (in the very same post as the others, no doubt) contained an ‘us’ and a ‘we’ in it (I wonder why?). If you’re allowed to arbitrarily reject my responses that way, then I’m allowed to arbitrarily reject your rejection of them. Fair is fair, after all. :D

    You see, it’s one thing to challenge my claim, it’s another thing entirely to try and get me to change my claim (especially without providing one of your own).

    Also, I will be quite happy to discuss my worldview once we are done discussing the basis of yours and I am certain I understand the differences-I find I get confused if I try to have two discussions at once so we’ll have to see this current discussion through to the end before starting one about mine.

    How conveeeeeenient! Perhaps now is a good time to inform you of how discussions work: I posit my claim, you posit yours, and then we compare. I’ve given you my worldview’s claim to certainty, now where is yours? You have claimed that certainty is possible in your worldview—how?

  • Daniela

    Have You ever drink Bailey’s out of that shoe???

    Haha, this is super clever. I’m personally a Christian, but those kind of guys make me so mad! They’re beyond ridiculous! I’ve seen a few of these guys on my campus, and I was a called a whore for wearing shorts.

  • Loren

    I’m a student at U of O and I am an occasional attendee of the AHA! meetings. They are amazing.

  • Stutz

    Okay, as a faithful alumnus (no pun intended), I’ll be the first to say:

    GO DUCKS!

    Wish I had known about AHA when I was at school there.

  • The “Eh”theist

    scmike:

    No. God has revealed characteristics of Himself to us (such as the fact that He is omniscient) so that we can be objectively certain of their truth. Do you deny this possibility? If so, on what grounds?

    I said: “Because God has revealed it to us such that we can be objectively certain of both the nature and the source of His revelation.”

    It seems you are saying that the nature and source of the revelation are the same thing-e.g. god is omniscient and we know this because he is omniscient. In your worldview, how is this different from “So god told you he’s omnisicient, and you know he’s omniscient because he’s omnisicent and therefore he knows he’s omniscient?”

    Um, I hate to break this to you, but ‘we’ necessarily includes ‘me’, so I did answer your question. Besides, it is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to everyone (yes, even you) such that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny Him are simply suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (a fact that has been (and continues to be) demonstrated in this very thread).

    I said: Actually, God has revealed Himself to mankind in numerous ways via natural and special revelation, both through our senses and wholly apart from them. I am happy to discuss the specifics with you, but first I’d like to know how it’s possible to know things for certain in YOUR worldview. I’ve given you my justification, now I’d like to see yours, please.

    A little thought experiment for you. Imagine asking someone “When is your birthday?” and getting the reply “Humans have birthdays on every day of the year.” Take a moment to reflect on the level of satisfaction you feel with receiving that answer and then take another go at answering my questions.

    For the 3rd time: “How do you know it was divine revelation? How do you know you aren’t under the influence of a demonic delusion at the moment and worshipping satan instead of the true god?”

    Sorry E.T., just because you don’t like my answers to your questions, doesn’t mean they haven’t been answered. Besides, you had no problem with the fact that my first response which you addressed (in the very same post as the others, no doubt) contained an ‘us’ and a ‘we’ in it (I wonder why?). If you’re allowed to arbitrarily reject my responses that way, then I’m allowed to arbitrarily reject your rejection of them. Fair is fair, after all. :D

    You see, it’s one thing to challenge my claim, it’s another thing entirely to try and get me to change my claim (especially without providing one of your own).

    Revisit the thought experiment again. Have the respondant give you the birthday answer, this time sounding like Ralph Wiggum from the Simpsons this time and reflect on how you respond to the experiement now.

    Again, my question:

    “In what form did this divine revelation come to you (visitation, another human’s description, a document)? Was it through your senses that you received this revelation or was it just an internal “sense”?”

    Again, if you find your answer inadequate or embarrasing, this is a safe place to share it. Of course if satan is the cause preventing you from speaking in specifics that could be a problem for you. I can’t be certain since you haven’t fully explained your position yet.

    How conveeeeeenient! Perhaps now is a good time to inform you of how discussions work: I posit my claim, you posit yours, and then we compare. I’ve given you my worldview’s claim to certainty, now where is yours? You have claimed that certainty is possible in your worldview—how?

    Since you admit to no opinions or beliefs, it is possible that you see this definition of discussions as another divine revelation to you. Perhaps god also saw fit to grace you with understanding of the only true meaning of “discussion”

    If that is the case, how did you receive that revelation?

    And to clarify, what you have given me is a series of propositions, for which I have requested a statement of they were “revealed” to you. I’m still waiting.

    (perhaps ask permission from satan nicely-if he is deluding you, he may feel some empathy and let you answer my questions-I’m not certain what relationship you two have)

    Again, once I’ve clearly understood your worldview, including how it was specifically revealed to you, I’ll be happy to move on to discuss mine afterwards.

    (you may want to add to your hypothesis that my worldview includes certainty, the additional hypotheses that (a) my worldview is interested in the origin of assertions, not just the assertions themselves and that (b) my worldview prefers the specific to the generic, but these will remain hypotheses until I have understood your worldview-but starting a list may be something you find useful-of course I’m not certain about that either)

  • scmike

    The “Eh”theist,

    I said: “No. God has revealed characteristics of Himself to us (such as the fact that He is omniscient) so that we can be objectively certain of their truth. Do you deny this possibility? If so, on what grounds?”

    And

    “Because God has revealed it to us such that we can be objectively certain of both the nature and the source of His revelation.”

    It seems you are saying that the nature and source of the revelation are the same thing-e.g. god is omniscient and we know this because he is omniscient.

    No, I am saying that God is omniscient and we know this because He has revealed it to us such that we can be certain of it. Again, do you deny this possibility? If so, on what grounds?

    In your worldview, how is this different from “So god told you he’s omnisicient, and you know he’s omniscient because he’s omnisicent and therefore he knows he’s omniscient?”

    If you would ever bother to answer my questions, you would see how. Well?

    I said: “Um, I hate to break this to you, but ‘we’ necessarily includes ‘me’, so I did answer your question. Besides, it is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to everyone (yes, even you) such that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny Him are simply suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (a fact that has been (and continues to be) demonstrated in this very thread).”

    And

    “Actually, God has revealed Himself to mankind in numerous ways via natural and special revelation, both through our senses and wholly apart from them. I am happy to discuss the specifics with you, but first I’d like to know how it’s possible to know things for certain in YOUR worldview. I’ve given you my justification, now I’d like to see yours, please.”

    A little thought experiment for you. Imagine asking someone “When is your birthday?” and getting the reply “Humans have birthdays on every day of the year.” Take a moment to reflect on the level of satisfaction you feel with receiving that answer and then take another go at answering my questions.

    Well, since we are discussing God’s objective revelation, and not something subjective such as individual birth dates, your analogy is false.

    Here is a more fitting scenario: Two people are discussing the existence of air. One of them has adopted the position that air does not exist and even begins to argue against it (an a-airist?)?

    However, when asked to account for his ability to argue apart from air, he makes excuses and even ridicules his opponent’s claims without EVER providing an account of his own to justify HIS position. Now sure, he is free to behave this way if he wishes, but I trust I don’t have to tell you what this logically reduces his position to.

    Likewise, attempting to utilize concepts from my worldview that you can’t account for in your own, in order to argue against my worldview, doesn’t help your cause any, but it certainly does wonders for mine. I am pleased with that!

    I said (with regards to your dodging my questions): “How conveeeeeenient! Perhaps now is a good time to inform you of how discussions work: I posit my claim, you posit yours, and then we compare. I’ve given you my worldview’s claim to certainty, now where is yours? You have claimed that certainty is possible in your worldview—how?”

    You said:

    Since you admit to no opinions or beliefs, it is possible that you see this definition of discussions as another divine revelation to you.

    Are you certain of that? If so, how? (I know why you don’t want to answer this, by the way. Keep it up!!)

    And to clarify, what you have given me is a series of propositions, for which I have requested a statement of they were “revealed” to you.

    Are you certain of that? If so, how? (Don’t worry, I won’t get my hopes up for an answer.) :D

    Again, once I’ve clearly understood your worldview, including how it was specifically revealed to you, I’ll be happy to move on to discuss mine afterwards.

    (you may want to add to your hypothesis that my worldview includes certainty, the additional hypotheses that (a) my worldview is interested in the origin of assertions, not just the assertions themselves and that (b) my worldview prefers the specific to the generic, but these will remain hypotheses until I have understood your worldview-but starting a list may be something you find useful-of course I’m not certain about that either)

    Well, since ‘understanding’ alludes to knowledge (which is certain by definition), I’ll ask you again (just to make your evasion even more obvious to those who may be following along): how is it possible to know anything for certain in your worldview?

    You may not like MY claim, and you may even disagree with it, but where is YOURS? If you don’t have one, just say so, as that IS my point.

  • The “Eh”theist

    scmike,

    Are you feeling unappreciated? It’s truly been terrible of me to continue as I have been given your overwhelming generosity.

    How do you stand my ingratitude when after you’ve carefully taken the time to tell me what I think I believe; to tell me I’m mistaken about that; to tell me what I actually believe; to tell me what I’m doing to deceive myself about it; to tell me why your questions are so much better than mine, to the point of even providing me a script of what I should be saying for this to be a “discussion”; to tell me what I’m actually saying in spite of the words I used; to tell me why your given answers are so much better than any I might hope to get from you; to tell me how I should be responding to you; to tell me how my use of scenarios is incorrect; to tell me I’m dodging you; how, after all that do you continue to patiently repeat these things, not caring that such actions on your part might cause some viewers to consider YOU as A TOTAL CONTROL FREAK WHO CAN’T STAND NOT GETTING HIS WAY? (fortunately none of our viewers will come to this incorrect conclusion as YOU’VE THOUGHTFULLY TOLD THEM WHAT THEY ACTUALLY THINK AS WELL-how kind of you to keep them from misunderstanding).

    After all that forbearance on your part, how gauche of me that I must insist on reposting my questions, dashing your hopes that I would simply acquiesce to the superiority of your propositions, brought to you via some yet undescribed divine revelation. Indeed to continue to insist that you identify the means by which the revelation was transmitted to you in the uncertain hope that I might be able to shake from my thoughts the possibility (still uncertain) that you are currently satan’s mental prisoner and he continues to turn the vise tighter.

    In the spirit of the hope that I might be freed from have to ponder such an hypothesis, I repost my questions, uncertain of your response:

    “How do you know it was divine revelation? How do you know you aren’t under the influence of a demonic delusion at the moment and worshipping satan instead of the true god?”

    and:

    “In what form did this divine revelation come to you (visitation, another human’s description, a document)? Was it through your senses that you received this revelation or was it just an internal “sense”?”

    I had a pleasant conversation with two Christians today who were out prayerwalking who were quite happy to share how revelation was brought to their awareness-there seemed no hindrance or difficulty on their part in doing so-alas, by your definition we had no discussion, can you forgive us for not slinging propositions at one another?

    It is my fondest hope that their example will motivate you, so that I might be freed from having to entertain hypotheses about your insincerity in making your initial offer on the thread; about you harbouring cowardice in relation to the specific instances of your generic answers; about that neverending suggestion that you are satan’s chew toy that can’t be simply and easily dismissed and the hypothesis that you prefer to leave the origin of your acceptance of these propositions unexamined for fear of being tempted to doubt them (oh wait, that’s cowardice again, my mistake for the double entry)

    With that I’ll leave you to the busy task of telling me and our readers what we really believe as you seek to build a finer and holier batch of former atheists all formed in your image.

  • scmike

    The “Eh”theist,

    Look, this is getting weird. Let’s wrap this up. You are dissastified with my claim to objective certainty, and you wish to challenge it—I get that.

    However, you must crawl before you can walk. Posit your competing claim and let’s compare. Again, if you do not have one, simply say so, as I see no reason to continue wasting Hemant’s bandwith with your appeals to emotion and unjustified knowledge claims.

    We both claim to know things E.T., but so far only one of us has given ANY justification for the things we claim to know (hint: it isn’t you). Don’t you find that just a wee bit odd?

  • Mark

    scmike, I do wish to put forth a few questions.
    Why does your certainty guarantee your correctness?
    Under the presumption that God revealed that he was omniscient, how did he do thus?

    Lastly, much higher in the discussion, you posited that:

    I can just as easily say that logic must be a reflection of God’s character if God is omnipotent. Logic demands it!

    Plus, I can offer proof to support my claim: the impossibility of the contrary. Where is the justification for your claim? How do you know for certain it is true?

    Why must the contrary be impossible? Why is it that beyond a any doubt Christian God must be the answer?

    This goes back to a question asked by the Eh-theist, what revelation let you know God was omniscient? If this revelation was by God (which is must be, based on definition), how can God be certain of his omniscience? How is it impossible (note: not implausible or unlikely) that he could not know something and not know that he doesn’t know?

    A metaphor may either bog down or help support this series of questions:
    In Flatland, the 2-dimensional square travels to the 0th dimension, the dimension entirely taken by a single point. This point knows nothing outside itself, so it knows everything it knows and nothing is doesn’t. It is its own god and knows that it is the only thing that exists.

    What I assert is that absolute certainty is unobtainable by anyone. While many times reasonable doubt can be diminished, nothing is an absolute guarantee.

  • http://www.happyatheists.com Slickninja

    Holy Christ… the comments turned into a jihad.

  • Diagoras

    But the ultimate question is…

    Are these boots made for walking?

  • scmike

    Mark,

    scmike, I do wish to put forth a few questions.
    Why does your certainty guarantee your correctness?

    Because one cannot know something for certain which could be false.

    Under the presumption that God revealed that he was omniscient, how did he do thus?

    God has revealed Himself to mankind in many different ways via natural and special revelation. Natural revelation is that which Has revealed to us through His creation, while special revelation includes that which He has revealed through the Bible, Jesus Christ, and directly by His Spirit.

    Lastly, much higher in the discussion, you posited that:

    “I can just as easily say that logic must be a reflection of God’s character if God is omnipotent. Logic demands it!

    Plus, I can offer proof to support my claim: the impossibility of the contrary. Where is the justification for your claim? How do you know for certain it is true?”

    Why must the contrary be impossible?

    Because of the exclusivity of truth, as determined by the laws of logic. When something is true, the contrary is necessarily false.

    Why is it that beyond a any doubt Christian God must be the answer?

    Because the Christian God is the ONLY God which exists and has given us an objective revelation which can be examined by all, is internally consistent, comports with reality, and makes sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities.

    This goes back to a question asked by the Eh-theist, what revelation let you know God was omniscient?

    As I’ve mentioned, God has revealed Himself in many ways via both natural and special revelation so that we can know for certain what He is like. Take your pick.

    If this revelation was by God (which is must be, based on definition), how can God be certain of his omniscience?

    Do you really need me to explain how an omniscient Being knows that they are omniscient? If One possesses INFINITE knowledge, THAT knowledge is necessarily included in the knowledge they possess.

    (Besides, your very statement of what ‘must be’ confirms God’s omniscience, as there is no way you could know that (or anything else) otherwise. If you disagree, the floor is yours: feel free to tell how it’s possible to know anything in your worldview.)

    How is it impossible (note: not implausible or unlikely) that he could not know something and not know that he doesn’t know?

    Otherwise, we couldn’t know anything for certain.

    A metaphor may either bog down or help support this series of questions:

    In Flatland, the 2-dimensional square travels to the 0th dimension, the dimension entirely taken by a single point. This point knows nothing outside itself, so it knows everything it knows and nothing is doesn’t. It is its own god and knows that it is the only thing that exists.

    I think the metaphor definitely bogs things down a bit, unless of course you’d care to explain how this god accounts for the certainty of knowledge and has revealed itself to you objectively such that you can be certain of its existence.

    What I assert is that absolute certainty is unobtainable by anyone.

    Are you absolutely certain that absolute certainty is unobtainable by anyone? If yes, you refute yourself. If no, you refute yourself.

    …nothing is an absolute guarantee.

    Does that include your statement that ‘nothing is an absolute guarantee’, or is this something that IS absolutely guaranteed? Let me know. :)

  • jacob

    Dear scmike,

    First of all, thank you for your detailed reply!

    The first thing I’d like to point out is that our issue is not one that would be likely to convert either of us however the discussion eventually turns out – If theism does provide a better account of logical or a priori reasoning then I’m just going to have to grudgingly suck it up and accept it while still rejecting it on other grounds, whereas if it has just as many problems as non-theistic positions then I would imagine this would be unlikely to give you any pause in your beliefs – there are way too many other influences on the general issue of theism/non-theism for this tiny issue to be the thing that makes either of us change our mind about the bigger picture: I think it’s still an interesting issue.

    I hope it doesn’t seem like sleight of hand to turn our discussion from logic,logical truth and logical justification towards a priori, a priori truths and a priori justifications – because this is just ‘zooming out’ a little, to the larger picture:

    (as a priori truth/justification comprises logical and other things:
    1) logical truths e.g. for any x, x=x (i.e. it is true of anything that it is identical to itself)
    2) metaphysical truths e.g. god is a necessary being
    3) conceptual truths
    4) mathematical truths e.g. 2+2=4,
    5) maybe other kinds too? (perhaps phenomenological? spatial?) )

    In my earlier comment I made a slight error, I said that I disagreed with the criticism that atheists cannot account for logic. I do think that the criticism fails, but not because I think that atheists can account for how we justify and come to know a priori truths. It fails because logic and a priori truths in general are pretty mysterious for BOTH theists and non-theists equally. This is the question I’d like to put to you and explore – how does theism help us to justify our a priori justification and knowledge:

    more specifically: if we look at specific examples of a priori reasoning, perhaps focusing on the a priori truth ‘a cube has 12 edges’ – it is diffuclt for me to see how theism even comes into the picture.

    p.s. I can see a couple of lines of reply that don’t seem helpful – that we know our faculties of a priori judgement are reliable because god made them that way (since this reply is open to the naturalist – ‘evolution made them that way’) or that the existence of god makes a lawlike cosmos more likely (since a lawlike cosmos seems possible with or without god, even if the existence of god makes this sort of universe more probable or certain – furthermore this is sort of a different issue, which I’d also be happy to discuss because it too seems interesting)

    p.p.s. on the issue of quantum physics which I am very glad you brought up – all I meant was that before the 20th century, the metaphysical proposition ‘every event has a cause’ seemed perfectly reasonable to most people, nowadays though, it appears to not be true, because of the behaviour of certain elements of quantum physics. i.e. there are some (quantum) events that do not have causes. Is this more clear?

    p.p.p.s. i’m not sure the laws of logic exist in any real sense – each law of logic applies better or worse to certain situations and contexts, is the law of the excluded middle universal? it seems like it, but perhaps there are some situations (as with the quantum physics example earlier) where it doesn’t make sense to apply it.

    so basically my question would be – if i grant that god does guarantee the existence of the laws of logic, how does that help us with the justification of our a priori knowledge of each particular example ( like the edges of the cube example or with ‘if A is taller than B and B is taller than C then A is taller than C’, or with deciding uncertain issues ‘every (non-quantum scale) event has a cause’ or ‘every even number is the sum of two primes’?

    All the best,
    Jacob

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    Dear scmike,
    First of all, thank you for your detailed reply!

    My pleasure. It’s good to hear from you again.

    The first thing I’d like to point out is that our issue is not one that would be likely to convert either of us however the discussion eventually turns out – If theism does provide a better account of logical or a priori reasoning then I’m just going to have to grudgingly suck it up and accept it while still rejecting it on other grounds,

    I feel I need to clarify a few things before we move forward, Jacob. I mentioned to Greg at the beginning of our exchange (waaay back about 3 weeks ago, so I don’t fault you if you missed it) that I am not here to convince anyone of anything, but to simply (and yes, hopefully gently) expose the inconsistencies within the atheistic worldview.

    You see, it is the Christian position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects of us with regards to our reasoning, moral behaviour, and even our salvation. Those who deny Him are merely suppressing the truth that has been revealed to them in order to avoid accountability to God.

    This has been clearly demonstrated over and over again on this very thread as the claims of those who would argue against God are reduced to absurdity (some have even claimed to know for certain that they can’t know anything for certain!!? It never ceases to amaze me that some can’t (read: won’t) see the ridiculousness of THAT argument).

    I hope it doesn’t seem like sleight of hand to turn our discussion from logic,logical truth and logical justification towards a priori, a priori truths and a priori justifications – because this is just ‘zooming out’ a little, to the larger picture:

    Not at all, Jacob. In fact, this really is the crux of the issue at hand—the presuppositions that form our respective worldviews and the justifications for those presuppositions. I am happy to discuss this with you, and welcome the exposure of our respective worldviews.

    (as a priori truth/justification comprises logical and other things:
    1) logical truths e.g. for any x, x=x (i.e. it is true of anything that it is identical to itself)
    2) metaphysical truths e.g. god is a necessary being
    3) conceptual truths
    4) mathematical truths e.g. 2+2=4,
    5) maybe other kinds too? (perhaps phenomenological? spatial?) )

    Take, for instance, the existence of truth. We both presuppose that truth exists, and that we can know things to be true (i.e. certain). How does this comport with an atheistic worldview? With only limited experience and observations of the universe, how can you know anything to be objectively true?

    You see, as a Christian, my justification for truth is that God (who is omnipotent and omniscient) has revealed some things to us such that we can know for certain that they are objectively true (it would take sheer intellectual dishonesty to deny such a possibility). Therefore, Christians have at least a possible avenue to objective truth. What is yours?

    In my earlier comment I made a slight error, I said that I disagreed with the criticism that atheists cannot account for logic. I do think that the criticism fails, but not because I think that atheists can account for how we justify and come to know a priori truths. It fails because logic and a priori truths in general are pretty mysterious for BOTH theists and non-theists equally.

    Speak for yourself, Mister. :)
    There is nothing mysterious at all about the existence of logic in the Christian worldview. Laws of logic comport with the absolute, immaterial, universal character and nature of God, as they are a reflection of His character and the way He thinks. They are a prescribed standard for sound reasoning, and are presupposed by Christians and atheists alike.

    The problem for atheists is that since the laws of logic are absolute, immaterial, universal (characteristics which you and I have both agreed to previously), they make no sense whatsoever in an atheistic worldview. After all, what is an immaterial law in a strictly material universe? Why does one with only limited experiences and observations of the universe expect logic to apply everywhere and at all times (like right now and to this particular discussion)? Why expect that laws of logic won’t change or haven’t changed (like when you posted this comment to me, expecting that I would use the same standard of logic that applied then to evalutate your comments and to formulate my response now)? As a matter of fact, why are there even laws of logic at all in an atheistic universe, instead of ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’?

    What is your justification for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic in your worldview?

    This is the question I’d like to put to you and explore – how does theism help us to justify our a priori justification and knowledge:

    Theism in general cannot. However, Christianity, specifically, can and does.
    You see, even professing atheists will often turn theistic (such as the ‘boot man’ who is the topic of this very post) in order to compete with the Christian claim and to try to account for the preconditions of intelligibility that atheism cannot give us.

    The problem is, they are simply positing an idol of their own making in place of the true God. This is nothing new, as idolatry and false religions have been used for a long time as a means for people to continue in their suppression of the truth.

    more specifically: if we look at specific examples of a priori reasoning, perhaps focusing on the a priori truth ‘a cube has 12 edges’ – it is diffuclt for me to see how theism even comes into the picture.

    p.s. I can see a couple of lines of reply that don’t seem helpful – that we know our faculties of a priori judgement are reliable because god made them that way (since this reply is open to the naturalist – ‘evolution made them that way’)

    While you may not find this line of reply to be helpful to your worldview, it is extremely helpful to mine! The basic reliability of our senses and reasoning is another presupposition that we all take for granted. The question is, which of our respective worldviews (atheistic or Christian theistic) can justify that presupposition after the fact?

    As a Christian, I proceed with the assumption that my senses and reasoning are basically reliable based on God’s revelation and confirmation that they are a wonderful gift from Him. That is, I have justification for assuming the reliability of my senses and reasoning apart from my senses and reasoning.

    On what basis do you proceed with the assumption that your senses and reasoning are reliable, Jacob?

    or that the existence of god makes a lawlike cosmos more likely (since a lawlike cosmos seems possible with or without god, even if the existence of god makes this sort of universe more probable or certain – furthermore this is sort of a different issue, which I’d also be happy to discuss because it too seems interesting)

    Glad to hear that you’re open to discussing this too! Indeed, this is one of my favorites when it comes to presuppositions—the uniformity of nature (a.k.a induction). All of science is based on the assumption that the future will most likely resemble the past. In fact, it’s this very principle that makes any scientific experimentation even possible.

    As a Christian, I proceed with the assumption that the future will most likely resemble the past based on the promises of God in His Word that He will govern and uphold His creation in a fashion such that mankind can subdue the earth and have dominion over it (which would be impossible if nature was not basically uniform).

    What I would like to know is: on what basis do you proceed with the expectation that the future will resemble the past?

    p.p.s. on the issue of quantum physics which I am very glad you brought up – all I meant was that before the 20th century, the metaphysical proposition ‘every event has a cause’ seemed perfectly reasonable to most people, nowadays though, it appears to not be true, because of the behaviour of certain elements of quantum physics. i.e. there are some (quantum) events that do not have causes. Is this more clear?

    Perhaps it would be helpful if you cited some authoritative sources regarding this. It is my understanding that even the very quantum physicists who conduct the experiments deny that quantum physics in any way violates the laws of logic.

    p.p.p.s. i’m not sure the laws of logic exist in any real sense –

    The funny thing is, if the laws of logic don’t exist, then they necessarily DO exist. If there is no law of non-contradiction, then no contradiction in reasoning can be deemed invalid, including that one.

    each law of logic applies better or worse to certain situations and contexts, is the law of the excluded middle universal? it seems like it, but perhaps there are some situations (as with the quantum physics example earlier) where it doesn’t make sense to apply it.

    I really think you ought to cite your sources on this. Besides, I think a better question to ask is: does the law of the excluded middle necessarily apply to our discussion? If so, why? If not, this is about to get very interesting!

    so basically my question would be – if i grant that god does guarantee the existence of the laws of logic, how does that help us with the justification of our a priori knowledge of each particular example ( like the edges of the cube example or with ‘if A is taller than B and B is taller than C then A is taller than C’, or with deciding uncertain issues ‘every (non-quantum scale) event has a cause’ or ‘every even number is the sum of two primes’?

    I trust that it will be (more) obvious how, once you posit your competing justifications for the presuppositions mentioned above. Thanks in advance,

    Mike

  • jacob

    hi mike

    thanks for your response, your style of argument is extremely interesting – you have brought up a lot of topics: theories of truth, the lawlike nature of the universe, scepticism and reliabilism regarding our own senses, justification of belief, meta-justification of logic and the a priori, divine revelation and many other things. I’ll write you a proper reply when I have a minute, but thank you for your efforts :)
    All the best,
    Jacob

  • jacob

    there are two points you raised sort of parenthetically that I’d like to comment on before writing a proper reply:

    firstly your comment about how the laws of logic apply everywhere universally seemed to me somewhat curious, since they’re not linked to any spatial location at all: If I say 2+2=4 here or while on mars or in fact anywhere else I’m referring to the same proposition. They apply ‘everywhere’ because they don’t apply any ‘where’ at all.

    secondly your question about why they don’t change made me feel like we were talking at cross purposes, here’s the picture as I see it and feel free to take it apart at your leisure :)

    we live in one of a number of possible universes, and structurally, there are several features of the universe that are contingent and several that are necessary. Of those features that are necessary, some are immediately obvious such as the so called law of non-contradiction, some are amenable to reason or understanding and some are going to be forever out of our reach. Does this characterisation of the a priori strike you as objectionable or is it more or less ok?

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    there are two points you raised sort of parenthetically that I’d like to comment on before writing a proper reply:

    firstly your comment about how the laws of logic apply everywhere universally seemed to me somewhat curious, since they’re not linked to any spatial location at all: If I say 2+2=4 here or while on mars or in fact anywhere else I’m referring to the same proposition. They apply ‘everywhere’ because they don’t apply any ‘where’ at all.

    Perhaps this will help: are your above statements regarding the laws of logic universally true? If so, how do you know that with only limited experiences and observations of the universe? Why should something that applies in one area of the universe necessarily apply in a totally different (and as of yet, unobserved) area of the universe?

    You see, we both presuppose that the laws of logic apply everywhere and at all times. The question is: which of our respective worldviews can logically justify that assumption? If you are honest, Jacob, you are forced to admit that you cannot justify the existence of a universal standard of logic in your worldview, and therefore must accept it on blind faith alone.

    secondly your question about why they don’t change made me feel like we were talking at cross purposes, here’s the picture as I see it and feel free to take it apart at your leisure

    we live in one of a number of possible universes, and structurally, there are several features of the universe that are contingent and several that are necessary.

    Again though, what is your justification for the assumption that ANY ‘feature’ of the universe is ‘necessary’? How could you know it to be a ‘necessary’ feature without first knowing the proper purpose and function of the universe? How do you know that those features deemed ‘necessary’ today won’t become ‘unnecessary’ tomorrow?

    Of those features that are necessary, some are immediately obvious such as the so called law of non-contradiction, some are amenable to reason or understanding and some are going to be forever out of our reach. Does this characterisation of the a priori strike you as objectionable or is it more or less ok?

    Indeed, the characterisation you have presented does strike me as extremely problematic with regards to your worldview, as it assumes the uniformity of nature, the reliability of your senses and reasoning, and the existence of knowledge (none of which you have given any justification for, as of yet). In addition to the challenges I have put forth above, there are also other issues with your position that need to be addressed here.

    For instance, how do you reconcile the changing (i.e. contingent) aspects of the universe with the unchanging (i.e. necessary) ones? In other words, why do some things in the universe change (such as history and science), while some things do not (such as the laws of logic and mathematics)? Would you say that it is your position that anything is possible in the universe, or that only certain things are possible?

    I assure you I am not in any way trying to be overbearing or shrewd, but as I mentioned before, Jacob, the issue here really boils down to whether or not our presuppositons comport with our professed worldview and vice versa. I submit to you that yours do not, and I pray that you will come to acknowledge this too as you consider and address these (and the previous) challenges to your position. Take care,

    Mike

  • jacob

    1) hmm I’m not really convinced that this sentence is true

    ‘You see, we both presuppose that the laws of logic apply everywhere and at all times.’

    for the reason I said earlier – logical statements aren’t about any spatial location, nor do they apply to any or all spatial locations. The same goes for time, as far as I can see – can you see what I was getting at any more clearly now?

    2) Also I think, once again, lack of clarity is to blame – you said

    ‘without first knowing the proper purpose and function of the universe’

    I was using necessary in the technical rather than idiomatic sense – a proposition is necessarily true if it is true in all possible worlds, rather than necessary = important or relevant to the ultimate purpose of the universe.

    3) I have definitely not found you to be overbearing or shrewd, even if you do seem rather focused on one particular line of inquiry :)

    4) Your argument in the last section reminds me of a saying by Fred Dretske ‘one man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens’ (i.e. if A implies B then not-B implies not-A)

    if your arguments are valid and premises true, then I have no way of knowing my senses (or reasoning) is reliable, equally though: If I know my senses are reliable then this implies that your arguments are invalid or there’s a mistake in the premises. I surely do trust my senses and know with greater confidence and conviction than almost any other belief that they provide me with true information, so I’m warranted in judging your arguments to be invalid :)

    5) Whatever your response to this paragraph (I don’t think you’re going to like it) I would like very much to return to the link between theism/christianity/atheism and the justification of a priori truths – would I be correct to summarise your position in this way:

    christianity is superior to atheism on this issue because it provides a reason to believe that certain features of the universe are universal, immaterial and invariant and that you know this through revelation and scripture.

    Or is this a mischaraterisation?

    All the best,
    Jacob

  • Richard

    You are all sinners and going to hell!

    Clearly that is a left boot. Only the right foot path will lead to salvation.

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    1) hmm I’m not really convinced that this sentence is true

    ‘You see, we both presuppose that the laws of logic apply everywhere and at all times.’

    for the reason I said earlier – logical statements aren’t about any spatial location, nor do they apply to any or all spatial locations.

    Again though, is THAT logical statement true in ALL PLACES and at ALL TIMES? If yes, you refute yourself. If no, you refute yourself. Surely you can see the problem with universally denying the universality of logic, no?

    2) Also I think, once again, lack of clarity is to blame – you said

    ‘without first knowing the proper purpose and function of the universe’

    I was using necessary in the technical rather than idiomatic sense – a proposition is necessarily true if it is true in all possible worlds, rather than necessary = important or relevant to the ultimate purpose of the universe.

    The question is: how can you know anything (including your statement above) to be necessarily true without possessing universal knowledge, or having access to it? How do you know that something which is deemed necessarily true today won’t change 2 seconds from now such that it is no longer necessarily true?

    3) I have definitely not found you to be overbearing or shrewd, even if you do seem rather focused on one particular line of inquiry

    As I’ve said before, you’ve gotta crawl before you can walk! :)
    If we’re going to discuss truth, it only makes sense to justify the existence of such a concept in our respective worldviews. I have provided my worldview’s justification for the existence of truth. I am still waiting for you to present yours.

    I surely do trust my senses and know with greater confidence and conviction than almost any other belief that they provide me with true information, so I’m warranted in judging your arguments to be invalid

    I don’t doubt that you trust your senses and reasoning. My question is: what is your justification for doing so?

    You have claimed to know that they provide you with true information. HOW do you know this (or do you only believe it)?

    5) Whatever your response to this paragraph (I don’t think you’re going to like it) I would like very much to return to the link between theism/christianity/atheism and the justification of a priori truths – would I be correct to summarise your position in this way:

    christianity is superior to atheism on this issue because it provides a reason to believe that certain features of the universe are universal, immaterial and invariant and that you know this through revelation and scripture.

    It’s not just that Christianity as a worldview is superior to atheism, it’s that Christianity is true, as it can and does exclusively account for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility (i.e. knowledge, truth, morality, logic, etc.) while atheism is false, as it cannot and does not. Simply search the dozens of posts from the atheists on this very thread over the last month, and you will see what I mean (like when Mark claimed to know for certain that he can’t know anything for certain, etc.). Why trust such an absurd position, Jacob?

  • jacob

    “Again though, is THAT logical statement true in ALL PLACES and at ALL TIMES?”

    I’m really not sure how that sentence makes any sense at all. The statement is either true or false, it can’t apply somewhere, it isn’t true SOMEWHERE. If you don’t agree with this perhaps you could try to show me what it would mean for 2+2 to equal 4 SOMEWHERE, or even how it would be possible for it to equal one thing somewhere and one thing somewhere else – it seems to me almost totally meaningless to treat logical statements like this.

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    I asked: Again though, is THAT logical statement true in ALL PLACES and at ALL TIMES?”

    You replied:

    I’m really not sure how that sentence makes any sense at all. The statement is either true or false, it can’t apply somewhere, it isn’t true SOMEWHERE.

    Think about what you are saying, Jacob. Is your statement that “the statement is either true or false, it can’t apply somewhere, it isn’t true SOMEWHERE” true in ALL places and at ALL times, or are there some times and some places where it does not apply? If so, where and when?

    If you don’t agree with this perhaps you could try to show me what it would mean for 2+2 to equal 4 SOMEWHERE, or even how it would be possible for it to equal one thing somewhere and one thing somewhere else – it seems to me almost totally meaningless to treat logical statements like this.

    It seems that you are missing the point. In my worldview, I can know for certain that 2+2 will ALWAYS equal 4 because of God’s Divine revelation to us of how the universe works (including the universal nature of the laws of mathematics). Therefore, I have justification for expecting the laws of mathematics to apply at ALL times and in ALL places.

    What I want to know is: how is it possible for you to know anything with certainty apart from God? How do you know that 2+2 cannot EVER equal something other than 4 (in base 10 mathematics) at some other time (like 2 seconds from now), or in some other part of the universe? If you are honest, you are forced to admit that you can’t know any of this, you just accept it on blind faith.

  • jacob

    I’m afraid it’s you who’s missing my point: you aren’t gaining any ground at all by claiming that 2+2=4 everywhere, or at ALL places because there is no mention of any places at all in the statement or its truth conditions, the statement doesn’t ‘apply’ anywhere or at ANY place at all, because it’s not that sort of statement – and unless you can explain what you mean by apply, or how 2+2=4 does mention any spatial location or how it would even be possible for it to be true somewhere and false somewhere else then I’m going to have to reject your arguments about it ‘applying’ somewhere and being true THERE and ‘not applying’ or being false somewhere ELSE.

    It’s not true in ALL places at ALL times because its not true in any place or any time.

  • propeller

    I agree with jacob here. Math does not exist in our universe, it exist in the “math universe”.

    Furthermore, I’d like to comment to:

    What I assert is that absolute certainty is unobtainable by anyone.

    Are you absolutely certain that absolute certainty is unobtainable by anyone? If yes, you refute yourself. If no, you refute yourself.

    Asserting something does not require absolute certainty. I also assert is that absolute certainty is unobtainable, but I am not absolutely certain.

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    I’m afraid it’s you who’s missing my point: you aren’t gaining any ground at all by claiming that 2+2=4 everywhere, or at ALL places because there is no mention of any places at all in the statement or its truth conditions, the statement doesn’t ‘apply’ anywhere or at ANY place at all, because it’s not that sort of statement – and unless you can explain what you mean by apply, or how 2+2=4 does mention any spatial location or how it would even be possible for it to be true somewhere and false somewhere else then I’m going to have to reject your arguments about it ‘applying’ somewhere and being true THERE and ‘not applying’ or being false somewhere ELSE.

    Perhaps this will help: is there ever a time or a place where 2 + 2 does not equal 4 (in base 10 mathematics)? If so, where and when? If not, how do you know that 2 + 2 will ALWAYS equal 4? Surely you’re not arguing that it’s true because you say so, are you?

    It’s not true in ALL places at ALL times because its not true in any place or any time.

    You keep repeating this Jacob, but you refuse to address my challenges to your statement. Here it is again for the third time: does your statement that “the statement is either true or false, it can’t apply somewhere, it isn’t true SOMEWHERE” apply in ALL places and at ALL times, or are there some times and some places where it does not apply? If so, where and when?

    Hopefully you will come to see your error when/if you address that question.

  • scmike

    Propeller,

    Welcome to the discussion!

    You said:

    I agree with jacob here. Math does not exist in our universe, it exist in the “math universe”.

    Prove this please.

    Asserting something does not require absolute certainty.

    Are you absolutely certain of that, or could it be false?

    I also assert is that absolute certainty is unobtainable, but I am not absolutely certain.

    Are you certain that you are not absolutely certain? I can’t believe you people keep doing THAT (not that I mind, though)!! :D

  • Baconsbud

    My only problem with this discussion is one side is always asking for proof but when it is given, it is ignored.

  • propeller
    I agree with jacob here. Math does not exist in our universe, it exist in the “math universe”.

    Prove this please.

    I don’t know how to do that, sorry.

    Asserting something does not require absolute certainty.

    Are you absolutely certain of that, or could it be false?

    No, I may be wrong.

    I also assert is that absolute certainty is unobtainable, but I am not absolutely certain.

    Are you certain that you are not absolutely certain?

    Yes.

  • jacob

    Hey propeller,
    I like your answers and depending on how we both fill out the idea of maths not existing in our universe, I think i’d agree with the points you’ve added: especially your happiness to deny you have absolute certainty, which I totally agree with :)
    All the best guys!

  • Dzugavili

    My god. What the hell.

    Okay, where to begin:

    scmike: Your absolute certainty means absolute nothing.

    I can take a lot of drugs and see aliens and alternate dimensions and they’ll feel perfectly real. Dose me without my knowledge, prepare it correctly, I won’t know the difference.
    You can’t prove that the same effect isn’t producing your feeling of God. The drugs will make me literally see other worlds, your God gives you the tingles.
    If your experiences of God are less substantial than our experience with chemistry, then how strong is your god?

    And let’s not ignore the whole “there’s a bunch of other religions out there and you’re all saying that you’re right; only one (or three) can be right, thus the others are wrong; probabilistically, Christianity is wrong”.

    Now, onto some other junk, pardon my ghetto quoting:
    “I agree with jacob here. Math does not exist in our universe, it exist in the “math universe”.”
    It depends on the level of math.
    Arithmetic, 3 dimensional geometry, they exist at the most central points of our existance. 1+1 is always 2.

    Mind you, these are still concepts. There is no such thing as a ’1′, except the figure representing 1. They are real concepts, as no one will disagree that we can demonstrate examples of one.

    Now…
    Can you demonstrate a real example of God? Let’s go pull up some Biblical shit… Pull a 1st Kings 18 for us.

    Summation:
    Elijah, one bad motherfucker of God, shows down with a collection of Baal’s priests. They stand off and have a cow burning competition between the gods. Of course, the Baalites couldn’t get their God to burn the cows, but of course Elijah and his Israeli commando army could get their God to rain fire down.

    Now, I’m not asking you to torch the server this blog is hosted on, though that would be a nice show, but surely you can get Him to do something. Maybe disrupt my Internet for twenty minutes. Post His top twenty movie list. Something like that.

    Pull a display like that, and there would be no more atheists. But the problem is, that display never happened. It’s all a fairy tale. Prove me wrong. Rain fire on some bulls.

  • scmike

    Baconsbud,

    My only problem with this discussion is one side is always asking for proof but when it is given, it is ignored.

    Amen. Such is the folly of atheism.

  • scmike

    Propeller,

    I asked: “Are you certain that you are not absolutely certain?”

    You replied:

    Yes.

    Finally, someone has the guts to step up and demonstrate what atheism truly amounts to! Thanks for that Propeller! Priceless!!

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    You said to Propeller:

    …I think i’d agree with the points you’ve added: especially your happiness to deny you have absolute certainty, which I totally agree with…

    ‘Nuff said. :D

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    Your absolute certainty means absolute nothing.

    I would ask if you’re absolutely certain of that, but I already know you’re not. I am pleased with that!

    I can take a lot of drugs and see aliens and alternate dimensions and they’ll feel perfectly real. Dose me without my knowledge, prepare it correctly, I won’t know the difference.

    Then how do you know that you aren’t experiencing such a delusion right now? You don’t, do you?

    You can’t prove that the same effect isn’t producing your feeling of God.

    Sure I can, as God has revealed some things to us such that we can be certain of their truth (like for instance, the fact that He exists).

    To further demonstrate this fact, I’ll now ask you to account for the concept of ‘proof’ (which you obviously believe in, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking me for any) in your worldview and then watch as you fail to do so (just like the others on this thread who have come before you).

    Fish in a barrel! :)

    If your experiences of God are less substantial than our experience with chemistry, then how strong is your god?

    Strong enough that you can’t account for the validity of chemistry or any other field of science without Him. All of science is based upon the principle of induction (i.e. the uniformity of nature), which is founded upon the assumption that the future will most likely resemble the past, and which makes no sense apart from the God of the Bible. I’ll show you what I mean: on what grounds do you proceed with the expectation that the future will most likely resemble the past, Dzugavili?

    And let’s not ignore the whole “there’s a bunch of other religions out there and you’re all saying that you’re right;

    However, what people SAY has absolutely nothing to do with what is true.

    Christianity can be and is proven true, as it alone is founded upon an objective revelation (the Bible) which can be examined by all, is internally consistent, comports with reality, and makes sense of absolute, universal, immaterial entities, whereas no other religion is.

    Now, onto some other junk, pardon my ghetto quoting:
    “I agree with jacob here. Math does not exist in our universe, it exist in the “math universe”.”
    It depends on the level of math.
    Arithmetic, 3 dimensional geometry, they exist at the most central points of our existance. 1+1 is always 2.

    How do you know that 1 + 1 is ALWAYS 2? The most you could ever say (if I granted you the validity of your senses and reasoning, which I don’t) is that 1 + 1 HAS equaled 2 in the past (based upon your limited experiences and observations). On what basis do you proceed with the expectation that this will continue to be the case in the future?

    Mind you, these are still concepts. There is no such thing as a ’1?, except the figure representing 1. They are real concepts, as no one will disagree that we can demonstrate examples of one.

    So, how do immaterial, universal concepts make sense in your worldview?

    Now…
    Can you demonstrate a real example of God?

    I can’t demonstrate God, as He is absolute, immaterial, and universal, but I can demonstrate the truth of His existence and that He has revealed Himself to us (that means you, too) in ways that we can certain of.

    You see, your very request for a ‘demonstration’ presupposes God’s existence, as any ‘demonstration’ requires reliable senses and reasoning with which to interpret it, as well as an absolute standard of logic by which to determine the validity of the demonstration. Tell me Dzugavili:

    1) How do you know that your senses and reasoning are reliable apart from the God of the Bible?

    2) How do you account for the absolute standard of logic that you use to evaluate demonstrations apart from the God of the Bible?

    Now, I’m not asking you to torch the server this blog is hosted on, though that would be a nice show, but surely you can get Him to do something. Maybe disrupt my Internet for twenty minutes. Post His top twenty movie list. Something like that.

    Pull a display like that, and there would be no more atheists.

    Sorry, but as I’ve already stated, proof does not equal persuasion, as no evidence will ever convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced. People are not atheists due to a lack of evidence, but because of a willful rejection of the evidence in order to avoid accountability to God.

    But the problem is, that display never happened. It’s all a fairy tale. Prove me wrong. Rain fire on some bulls.

    First of all, I don’t accept Scriptural analysis from those who deny the authority of the Bible. Secondly, I am not an evidentialist, but a presuppositionalist. As I have mentioned, the problem here is not a lack of evidence, but your willful suppression of the truth which God has clearly revealed to you.

    I am content with allowing you to demonstrate that fact for all to see via the inconsistencies/absurdities within your professed worldview. So far, so good!

  • Dzugavili

    “Baconsbud,

    My only problem with this discussion is one side is always asking for proof but when it is given, it is ignored.

    Amen. Such is the folly of atheism.”
    Oh, damn it, do I need to explain this too?

    You can’t prove a negative. In order to prove a negative, you have to either fundamentally prove the concept is unsound or you have to exhaustively search the universe.

    Evolution as a concept is fundamentally sound, we won’t get into the evidence matter of it, but there is plenty of evidence that mutations do happen and running the math on that tends to yield results.
    Before we bother, mutations are random changes, additions, subtractions. There is no such thing as a good mutation or a bad mutation, but there is such a thing as a bad gene and a good gene; if you can make a bad gene by accident, you can make a good gene by accident — just might be more unlikely. The fact that we have such a great set of working genes is not a sign of design, it’s a sign that we have a great set of working genes — quality does not imply origin, it might, but given how we also have a bunch of genes that just don’t work…and let’s consider how many of them are in the Jewish population…that tend to become cancerous and kill us. What a loving God. I wonder what happened to the unchosen people.

    If evolution as a concept is true and we came from apes, then there were no Adam and Eve; there was no original sin; there is nothing for Jesus to redeem us for; Christianity is bunk.
    Of course, that hinges on whether we came from an ape. Frankly, they look a lot like us. I’m betting on the ape.

    God, in particularly the Christian/Jewish/Islamic clusterfuck we have found ourselves in, hangs on such such loose premises as “you have to believe to believe” and ‘faith’.

    When I consider the two concepts side by side, the difference is night and day. Christianity in particular demands unwavering acceptance without providing testable claims; the burden of proof, or theory, is on the proposer, not the observer, and the Bible makes too many supernatural claims to be taken on mere faith alone. After all, this is your immortal soul we are talking about. Perhaps Jesus was the Anti-Christ.

    “Then how do you know that you aren’t experiencing such a delusion right now? You don’t, do you?”
    I don’t. I could easily be an AI construct, or I could have my brain being stimulated by electrodes in a jar.

    “Sure I can, as God has revealed some things to us such that we can be certain of their truth (like for instance, the fact that He exists).”
    I need to see some of these certain truths. And then we’ll go with some of the blatant lies in the Bible. Getting it mostly right isn’t omniscience. It’s guesswork.
    Bats are not birds.

    “Strong enough that you can’t account for the validity of chemistry or any other field of science without Him. All of science is based upon the principle of induction (i.e. the uniformity of nature), which is founded upon the assumption that the future will most likely resemble the past, and which makes no sense apart from the God of the Bible. I’ll show you what I mean: on what grounds do you proceed with the expectation that the future will most likely resemble the past, Dzugavili?”
    Sorry, what? The future is going to resemble the past? Honestly, did you watch the Jetsons? We’re going to get hover cars!

    According to science, the future is not going to look like the past. In fact, that’s the creationist world view you’re spouting there.

    In six billion years, for example, science predicts that the Earth’s orbit will be seriously affected by being blown the fuck up by an exploding sun. How’s that for a change?

    Science believes the future is the product of the past; that rules exist within the structure of time and space and all that confusing physics stuff that could ultimately tell you exactly how to get from A to B.

    Mind you, the problem is that the universe is also on a downward slope; thermodynamics tells us that shit is always changing and the general direction is down. So, even if you did know the rules, it’s not like you can go back to a state where you could really abuse them, you can just use them to vaguely predict the future.

    Anyway. Science only attempts to quantify the changes between present and past. Meanwhile, you’re taking your knowledge from a book that hasn’t seen a spellcheck in 2000 years. Do you really think some stoned shepherds 2000 years ago got it right? Their medicine still consisted of a pile of herbs and shaking a bone. The child mortality rate probably rivaled chicken. They still thought disease was caused by nasty thoughts.

    “How do you know that 1 + 1 is ALWAYS 2?”
    Because if 1+1 != 2, then all quantitative numbering falls apart. Up becomes down, dogs and cats live in peace…
    Basically, 1+1 = 2, unless you’re in a black hole.

    “So, how do immaterial, universal concepts make sense in your worldview?”
    Well, because 0 is nothing and 1 is the smallest whole something before nothing. Without this simple distinction, I’d be walking around in, jaw flapping in amazement at all the crazy shit I’m not seeing. These concepts aren’t hard to grasp.
    You know. If you’re evolved enough.

    “2) How do you account for the absolute standard of logic that you use to evaluate demonstrations apart from the God of the Bible?”
    Are you one of the apologists who only replies in questions so other nutjobs can sit around saying “why, what an insightful question” while wanking each other under the table?
    God, I hope not. Because that’s a form of sodomy (apparently), and that would be a sin.

    What does my logic and your god have to do with anything? The two points are not connected; you’re just hinging God to logic and demanding that I revere him as the creator of it.

    That’s fascism. Or something. Where’s my dictionary.

    “Sorry, but as I’ve already stated, proof does not equal persuasion, as no evidence will ever convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced.”
    I’m still waiting for your proof. You speak a lot of this proof and how obvious it is if you want to see it, but you don’t -actually- say what it is.

    I don’t actually want you to rain fire from the sky, although that would be very convincing. I’m looking for a single rational point.

    “First of all, I don’t accept Scriptural analysis from those who deny the authority of the Bible.”
    Your book is the part of your religion that you have to show the world. If you can’t deal with simpletons like me, then you can’t deal with anything. Your faith is flimsy because it’s completely untested. The only criticism you listen to is from people who already believe exactly what you do.

    See, I do both. Kind of makes me a well balanced individual.

    “As I have mentioned, the problem here is not a lack of evidence, but your willful suppression of the truth which God has clearly revealed to you.”
    Nope. Read the Bible. Didn’t see the big fuss. Didn’t feel any magical aura. Didn’t feel the warm fuzzy love of Jesus.

    It’s a text of Jewish history, then a cult. It’s an old cult, but it’s still a cult. There is no willful suppression; He just didn’t show up. If the only way you can believe in Jesus is by already believing in Jesus, then you’re going to be awfully disappointed when the bad shit does seem to happen randomly.

    “I am content with allowing you to demonstrate that fact for all to see via the inconsistencies/absurdities within your professed worldview. So far, so good!”
    Okay, I’ll admit, I’m fairly inebriated and enjoy making slightly mocking examples, but you need to cite examples. I’m trying to take you seriously here, but you just keep posting the same trivial shit I’ve seen from Evangelist teens for the past five years. I’m just glad you’re not mentioning bananas.

  • Baconsbud

    It’s funny how the side I was talking about not providing proof was the side thinking I was defending him. I wasn’t talking about you Dzug.

  • Dzugavili

    Oh, goodie, I was deeply concerned for a second there.

    I prefer common sense examples. Arguing from scripture is proof by contradiction. Kind of annoying.

    Anyway, let’s just break this one down:
    scmike, you’re part of a group who believes that “God exists” is a premise, not the conclusion; well, you also use it as the conclusion, forming an infinite loop which forces you to act irrationally, such as the entire ‘faith’ debacle.

    As atheists, we do not use God’s existence as a premise, in that we don’t presuppose his existence or his non-existence. It isn’t the realm we can put a handle on. This is the only unifying truth of atheism; from here, you get agnostics and the pure atheists, and then the many subdivisions there in.

    Considering the age of the two positions, Christianity having 2000 years to prove that even Jesus of history is the Jesus of myth and science having only 500 years at long count, the difference in progress between the two schools of thought clearly indicate, to me at least, which is on to the truths of the universe. Science and true religion can coexist; science and Christianity are beyond reconciliation.

    I am a pure atheist; I am not opposed to the idea of gods, some days I almost wish it were reasonable, the whole immortal soul deal does sound very nice, but I have limits to my wishful thinking. The issue here being that no religious text issued so far has been free of error, contradiction or outright absurdity. A true god would have no problems producing even a deeply coded book containing the secrets of the universe cleverly wrapped up such that it perfectly lines up to reality.
    This not being the case, I reject the Bible, Koran, Dianetics and the Yellow Pages.

  • jacob

    sc mike said “Propeller,

    I asked: “Are you certain that you are not absolutely certain?”

    You replied:

    Yes.

    Finally, someone has the guts to step up and demonstrate what atheism truly amounts to! Thanks for that Propeller! Priceless!!”

    certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain, I’m certain in varying degrees about a number of things but I’m not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything.

  • jacob

    1 other thing:

    “I can take a lot of drugs and see aliens and alternate dimensions and they’ll feel perfectly real. Dose me without my knowledge, prepare it correctly, I won’t know the difference.

    Then how do you know that you aren’t experiencing such a delusion right now? You don’t, do you?”

    and the point is, neither do you: nothing you’ve suggested can answer such deep scepticism, nothing even if it feels subjectively to be absolutely certain could guarantee the truth of the belief. (your belief in god, for example, depends upon your understanding of language, your beliefs from your senses, a number of other beliefs – there are a number of places you could be being deceived by a demon to make mistakes in reasoning and not know them – even in your a priori/ logical reasoning, your understanding of your own use of it, or the way you use it coud be totally erroneous if manipulated by a supernatural force)

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    You said: A whole bunch of stuff, then you said:

    I could easily be an AI construct, or I could have my brain being stimulated by electrodes in a jar.

    Which means that you don’t really have a clue about anything, as you may not even exist for all you know. You therefore have zero foundation for knowledge or truth in your worldview, as everything you claim to know could be false. Surely you would agree that attempting to hold a discussion with someone who cannot even account for the very concept of ‘discussion’ would be a fruitless endeavor, no? Come back when you can.

  • scmike

    Baconsbud,

    It’s funny how the side I was talking about not providing proof was the side thinking I was defending him.

    I just calls ‘em like I sees ‘em! :D

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    As atheists, we do not use God’s existence as a premise, in that we don’t presuppose his existence or his non-existence.

    Neutrality is a myth. Either a person acknowledges the truth of God’s existence, or they suppress it. Unfortunately for you, you have chosen the latter position, which leaves you in the gall of absurdity and foolishness.

    Brain in a vat, what a hoot!!

    Science and true religion can coexist; science and Christianity are beyond reconciliation.

    But, by your own admission, the complete opposite could be (read: is) true for all you know. Isn’t that right?

    I am a pure atheist..

    Nah. You’re just another rebel against God who professes atheism, but cannot live in accordance with their professed beliefs. Typical.

    I recommend repentance.

  • Dzugavili

    “Which means that you don’t really have a clue about anything, as you may not even exist for all you know. You therefore have zero foundation for knowledge or truth in your worldview, as everything you claim to know could be false.”
    Holy crap, I think he finally got it.

    The difference is that my worldview tends to be the exact same worldview as a person standing next to me; might not include God, but it generally will be indistinguishable from another person standing in my place.

    The difference between my uncertainty with my worldview and your uncertainty with your worldview is that I know I am uncertain and so I need to repeatedly test everything I see and am told. As a result, I challenge my reality to ensure that I am not seeing it from a delusional perspective where I take into account effects that might not be there.

    For example, I look both ways before crossing the street, rather than letting God safely deflect traffic. It’s not a good example, but it’s one of those “look both ways” examples.
    Doesn’t matter if it’s a one way street. Or a dead end. It would suck to get hit by a car coming from the direction you didn’t look.

    “I just calls ‘em like I sees ‘em!”
    scmike, I’d provide you with real examples. And I have, though most of them are so common sense you probably ignored them (that’s a problem with common sense examples; it’s so obvious, you can miss the point). You, on the other hand, have provided nothing. Your entire explanation for why there must be a God is that all our examples hinge on (irrational premise here), such as “god made logic”, “you can’t prove your reality is real” and other junk examples like that. Problem is that all of them go both ways (like a bisexual, or a quantum car on my theoretical one-way street; no reason that it couldn’t go down the street the wrong way, just the “rules” says they shouldn’t); they both say that atheists haven’t seen all of reality and that Christianity doesn’t see all of reality.

    The entire argument then reduces down to Occam’s Razor:
    What’s more likely? That a series of simple chemistry rules, physics, some other confusing math and a few billion years to stir the pot resulted in a chaotic organism; or that four thousand years ago, a couple guys herding sheep found a God who was once incredibly vocal and is now more shy than homeschooled homosexual?

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain, I’m certain in varying degrees about a number of things but I’m not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything.

    ***Sigh***

    Are you absolutely certain that certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain? Are you absolutely certain that you’re certain in varying degrees about a number of things, but not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything, or could you be wrong about all of that (in which case the exact opposite could be true)?

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    I had high hopes that you would be different than the other atheists I had previously encountered on this blog, but sadly I see that you too are content to continue in your suppression of the truth and the absurdity that goes along with it, as evidenced by these comments:

    Propeller said: “”I can take a lot of drugs and see aliens and alternate dimensions and they’ll feel perfectly real. Dose me without my knowledge, prepare it correctly, I won’t know the difference.””

    I replied: “Then how do you know that you aren’t experiencing such a delusion right now? You don’t, do you?”

    You then responded: “”and the point is, neither do you:””

    You can’t be serious! If you can’t know anything, then you can’t know what I do or do not know.

    nothing you’ve suggested can answer such deep scepticism, nothing even if it feels subjectively to be absolutely certain could guarantee the truth of the belief. (your belief in god, for example, depends upon your understanding of language, your beliefs from your senses, a number of other beliefs – there are a number of places you could be being deceived by a demon to make mistakes in reasoning and not know them – even in your a priori/ logical reasoning, your understanding of your own use of it, or the way you use it coud be totally erroneous if manipulated by a supernatural force)

    But, by your own admission, all of that could be (read: is) false for all you know, which again reduces your position to that of blind faith and therefore makes your arguments irrational. I am pleased (and also a little saddened) with that.

  • Dzugavili

    “Are you absolutely certain that certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain? Are you absolutely certain that you’re certain in varying degrees about a number of things, but not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything, or could you be wrong about all of that (in which case the exact opposite could be true)?”
    You may think that’s a good argument.
    It’s not. It’s just the same boring shit fundies throw out when someone questions certainty — particularly how certain certain certainties are. You said you’re certain that God exists and Jesus is real and the whole nine of Christian theology. Now you’re throwing dirt on that certainty. We’ve already discussed how you can’t -know- anything. Get over it.

    “But, by your own admission, all of that could be (read: is) false for all you know, which again reduces your position to that of blind faith and therefore makes your arguments irrational. I am pleased (and also a little saddened) with that.”
    …oh, what the fuck. Seriously, do you have selective reading skills?

    We don’t have faith. We question everything. That’s the point. We don’t take shit on faith. Faith is bullshit.

    But we’re not blind. We take every single little detail we get and start shoving them together to figure out if the shit we’re getting makes sense when you take it all in.
    It’s not blind. It’s calculated. We look at the evidence and reject what doesn’t fit. Like Jesus.

    I’ve yet to see you do that. You’ve actually managed to do nothing but continually undermine your own points not two pages down on my screen.

    You can’t keep attacking our points with questioning the nature of knowledge. You have to put something out there or you just seem like an ineffective ass.

  • Dzugavili

    Oh, erm, I should mention:

    We’re allowed to question your ‘knowledge’. After all, you are making the claim that there’s a magical sky god who loves the smell of burning animal bits. And really hates the gays.
    And you’ve provided no evidence. In fact, of the evidence that we (the atheists) do know exists (the Bible), you’re not even willing to discuss that.

    It’s embarrassing.

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    I said: “Which means that you don’t really have a clue about anything, as you may not even exist for all you know. You therefore have zero foundation for knowledge or truth in your worldview, as everything you claim to know could be false.”

    You said: “”Holy crap, I think he finally got it.””

    Yep, I got it all right: you profess a worldview in which knowledge is not possible, yet you continue to post knowledge claim after knowledge claim, as if it is possible. Nope, no absurdity there! :D

    The difference is that my worldview tends to be the exact same worldview as a person standing next to me; might not include God, but it generally will be indistinguishable from another person standing in my place.

    Are you certain of this, though? Of course, you’re not!! You’re too much Dzugavili!

    The difference between my uncertainty with my worldview and your uncertainty with your worldview is that I know I am uncertain and so I need to repeatedly test everything I see and am told.

    But you’re not even certain of that, are you? Hilarious! :D :D

    As a result, I challenge my reality to ensure that I am not seeing it from a delusional perspective where I take into account effects that might not be there.

    And let me guess, you challenge your uncertain reality with uncertain senses and reasoning which produce uncertain results, right? I really should be paying you for this Dzugavili!! Please keep it up!

    For example, I look both ways before crossing the street, rather than letting God safely deflect traffic. It’s not a good example, but it’s one of those “look both ways” examples.
    Doesn’t matter if it’s a one way street. Or a dead end. It would suck to get hit by a car coming from the direction you didn’t look.

    Or perhaps it wouldn’t and you never even looked at all, but just believed you did? How would you know the difference—oh, I forgot…..you can’t!! Priceless!

    I said:“ “I just calls ‘em like I sees ‘em!”

    scmike, I’d provide you with real examples. And I have, though most of them are so common sense you probably ignored them (that’s a problem with common sense examples; it’s so obvious, you can miss the point). You, on the other hand, have provided nothing.

    Or perhaps you haven’t and I have. How would you know the difference? Oh yeah, you don’t!! Isn’t atheism great! :D

    Your entire explanation for why there must be a God is that all our examples hinge on (irrational premise here), such as “god made logic”, “you can’t prove your reality is real” and other junk examples like that. Problem is that all of them go both ways (like a bisexual, or a quantum car on my theoretical one-way street; no reason that it couldn’t go down the street the wrong way, just the “rules” says they shouldn’t); they both say that atheists haven’t seen all of reality and that Christianity doesn’t see all of reality.

    However, Christians have access to Divine revelation from one who has seen all of reality and can therefore know things with certainty, while atheists are forced into the kind of absurdity that you have been so kind to openly demonstrate! Gracias! :)

  • Dzugavili

    Keep missing bits, one minute:

    “Neutrality is a myth.”
    Apathy is not a myth. If I just don’t care either way, is that not neutral?

    “Either a person acknowledges the truth of God’s existence, or they suppress it.”
    What about being unknowledged? If I never heard of the concept of a god, any god whatsoever, how can I be suppressing God?

    “Unfortunately for you, you have chosen the latter position, which leaves you in the gall of absurdity and foolishness.”
    No, I’ve taken the position that while I’m remarkably confident that Jesus is the greatest lie perpetrated on the world, I can’t completely eliminate the existence of a real god.

    “Brain in a vat, what a hoot!!”
    Is it more absurd than anything else? I could be a brain in a jar. I doubt it. But I could be.

    “But, by your own admission, the complete opposite could be (read: is) true for all you know. Isn’t that right?”
    Jesus is not God.
    There are too many errors in his books for him to be an avatar of a divine all-loving creator. The claims far exceed the evidence.

    “Nah. You’re just another rebel against God who professes atheism, but cannot live in accordance with their professed beliefs. Typical.”
    Nope. I believe in absolutely zero gods.
    I may fantasize about some kind of true immortality, which, unfortunately, is so far beyond reality that I generally do have to introduce some kind of mythology to allow for it.

    “I recommend repentance.”
    I’d recommend a lobotomy.

    Edit:
    “Yep, I got it all right: you profess a worldview in which knowledge is not possible, yet you continue to post knowledge claim after knowledge claim, as if it is possible. Nope, no absurdity there!”
    Only knowledge claim I offer is that I think Jesus is a fraud and that you provide no evidence to the contrary.

    So far, my claims seem to be upheld.

    “Or perhaps it wouldn’t and you never even looked at all, but just believed you did? How would you know the difference—oh, I forgot…..you can’t!! Priceless!”
    Uh. Can someone translate this one for me? I think he’s trying to make a zinger.

    “Or perhaps you haven’t and I have. How would you know the difference? Oh yeah, you don’t!! Isn’t atheism great! :D”
    Uh. No, you haven’t provided an example. You just keep taking our arguments against your divinely-delivered knowledge and respin them against our personally-delivered knowledge.
    You argue that your divine inspiration is perfect, because it has to be, because if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be divine inspiration and then you wouldn’t know it was perfect. Or something like that. I have a hard time keeping track of where you start on your circular logic.

    “owever, Christians have access to Divine revelation from one who has seen all of reality and can therefore know things with certainty, while atheists are forced into the kind of absurdity that you have been so kind to demonstrate! Gracias!”
    Answer the damn question I’ve been asking this whole time:
    How do you know it’s ‘Divine revelation’ and not self-delusion?

  • propeller

    scmike,

    Inductive reasoning is not perfect. However I can assume it is good enough, since it has worked so far.

    However, inductive reasoning does not guarantee truth, so one cannot use inductive reasoning to get absolute certainty.

    scmike: Are you certain that you are not absolutely certain?

    propeller: Yes.

    scmike: Finally, someone has the guts to step up and demonstrate what atheism truly amounts to! Thanks for that Propeller! Priceless!!

    jacob: certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain, I’m certain in varying degrees about a number of things but I’m not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything.

    Indeed. Well put.

    Propeller said: “I can take a lot of drugs…”

    Incorrect citation, I didn’t say that. Not that it matters much…

    jacob:

    Hey propeller,
    I like your answers and depending on how we both fill out the idea of maths not existing in our universe, I think i’d agree with the points you’ve added: especially your happiness to deny you have absolute certainty, which I totally agree with :)
    All the best guys!

    Hi jacob!

    My view on “math universe”;

    If one assume the basic laws of math one get mathematics. Whether or not they are “true”, one can think of a “universe” where the only applicable laws are the laws of math. All things that applies to math applies there.

    My next step is to say that the “math universe” is not a part of this universe. One way to do that is to say that the number 1 does not exist in this universe; if it exist in this universe it would have a position (as everything else in the universe), so where is it?

    What do you think?

  • Dzugavili

    “Incorrect citation, I didn’t say that. Not that it matters much…”
    Yeah, that was me.
    But don’t worry, he can’t tell us evil atheists apart.

    “Indeed. Well put.”
    But you know scmike isn’t going to buy it.
    Never try bothering with degrees of certainty; they just ask if you’re certain, then laugh as if they just made a funny.

    “My next step is to say that the “math universe” is not a part of this universe. One way to do that is to say that the number 1 does not exist in this universe; if it exist in this universe it would have a position (as everything else in the universe), so where is it?”
    I think that’s a bad example: money isn’t real, yet I can provide examples of money. I can find money. I can lose money. Hell, I can lose money without actually losing anything. But money seems to be real. I can point to money. I can make money.
    See, words are vague.

    I think the problem here is that somehow we started asking these questions as if the chair is a singular unique object. There isn’t just one example of one; there’s billions of chairs, plus chairs that don’t look like chairs. Chairs without backs, chairs with three legs…

    Similarly, you wouldn’t ask me to point to blue; but blue is a real characteristic of real objects, so blue isn’t imaginary, it’s just a construct we use to describe whatever the hell “blue” actually is.

    Mind you, blue is a photon from some section of the spectrum according to our eyes. Blue falls apart from an alien perspective. Or a cat’s perspective.
    That said, a blue object is still going to be blue, even if viewed by a cat. The cat just doesn’t call blue ‘blue’. The blueness of the object never really changes.

    In such a sense, “one” exists in the real universe, but it’s just a characteristic, not a physical object. This debate has little to do with physical objects and is more about “real” objects; namely, is God real in the same that the number ’1′ is real.

  • jacob

    scmike,

    could be false doesnt mean blind faith…
    your position has just the same difficulties with extreme scepticism about meaning, understanding and knowledge as any other…

    i’m fairly certain that im not absolutely certain of anything, but not absolutely certain of anything – in fact i’m fairly sure that even when people say they’re absolutely certain that they’re just using emotive language

    we are allowed to question what you know and discuss what its possible for you to say or know about it given your position on other topics, or this discussion is totally irrelevant, stop trying to escape the conclusions of your own arguments.

    all the best,
    jacob

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    I asked Jacob: “Are you absolutely certain that certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain? Are you absolutely certain that you’re certain in varying degrees about a number of things, but not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything, or could you be wrong about all of that (in which case the exact opposite could be true)?”

    You said:

    “”You may think that’s a good argument.

    It’s not. It’s just the same boring shit fundies throw out when someone questions certainty — particularly how certain certain certainties are.””

    Just because you don’t like the argument doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Besides, I see no reason to stop using it, least of all the fact that you want me to.

    Knowledge is certain by definition, while belief is not. One cannot be certain of something which could be false. If you dispute this, here is your chance to refute me: tell me one thing you know for certain to be true which could be false. Have fun.

    We’ve already discussed how you can’t -know- anything. Get over it.

    Actually, all you’ve done is assert that I can’t know anything and then refute yourself by claiming that you can’t know anything (which means you therefore can’t know what I know). Now, just to make your inconsistency more apparent for those who may read this in the future: are you certain that I can’t know anything, or could that be false? How do you know it isn’t (don’t worry, I know you won’t answer this)?

    I said: “But, by your own admission, all of that could be (read: is) false for all you know, which again reduces your position to that of blind faith and therefore makes your arguments irrational. I am pleased (and also a little saddened) with that.”

    You said:

    We don’t have faith. We question everything. That’s the point. We don’t take **** on faith.

    Really? Perhaps you forgot about this gem:

    I could easily be an AI construct, or I could have my brain being stimulated by electrodes in a jar.
    –Dzugavili

    So, on what basis do you proceed with the assumption that you’re not just a brain in a vat? Blind faith perhaps?

    But we’re not blind. We take every single little detail we get and start shoving them together to figure out if the shit we’re getting makes sense when you take it all in.
    It’s not blind. It’s calculated. We look at the evidence and reject what doesn’t fit. Like Jesus.

    And I wonder on what basis you presume that the senses and reasoning you use to examine ANY evidence are reliable? Blind faith perhaps?

    I’ve yet to see you do that. You’ve actually managed to do nothing but continually undermine your own points not two pages down on my screen.

    I also wonder on what basis you assume that I have done this? Blind faith perhaps?

    You can’t keep attacking our points with questioning the nature of knowledge. You have to put something out there or you just seem like an ineffective ass.

    I wonder on what basis you assume that I HAVE to do anything with regards to this discussion? Blind faith perhaps?

    I know you don’t like having your claims challenged and exposed for what they are, Dzugavili, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be challenged and exposed. You are free to continue living by blind faith in order to avoid having to deal with the truth of God’s existence, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    Oh, erm, I should mention:

    We’re allowed to question your ‘knowledge’. After all, you are making the claim that there’s a magical sky god who loves the smell of burning animal bits. And really hates the gays.
    And you’ve provided no evidence. In fact, of the evidence that we (the atheists) do know exists (the Bible), you’re not even willing to discuss that.

    See, that’s why I don’t do Bible exegesis with atheists—too many misrepresentations as a result of their presuppositional bias against God.

    Not to mention, it hardly makes sense to do a textual analysis with someone who can’t know anything or account for the very standard of logic they intend to use to do such an analysis. To do so would be on par with giving medicine to a dead person (and just as pointless).

    Instead, I prefer to expose the obvious suppression of truth by the professing atheist. For example, the way that you continue to ask for evidence, but cannot account for the validity of the concept of evidence in your worldview, as you must assume the validity of your senses and reasoning on blind faith. If you don’t have valid senses and reasoning, you don’t have evidence, and therefore cannot prove anything. Nice worldview ya’ got there.

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    I said: “Neutrality is a myth.”

    Apathy is not a myth. If I just don’t care either way, is that not neutral?

    Nope. Either you hold God to be the foundation of your reasoning, or you don’t.
    It is obvious by your arguments that you don’t.

    I said: “Either a person acknowledges the truth of God’s existence, or they suppress it.”

    What about being unknowledged? If I never heard of the concept of a god, any god whatsoever, how can I be suppressing God?

    Because God has revealed Himself to ALL people such that everyone knows for certain He exists via both natural and special (i.e. supernatural) revelation so that we are without excuse.

    I said: “Unfortunately for you, you have chosen the latter position, which leaves you in the gall of absurdity and foolishness.”

    No, I’ve taken the position that while I’m remarkably confident that Jesus is the greatest lie perpetrated on the world, I can’t completely eliminate the existence of a real god.

    Problem is, you have nothing to base your ‘remarkable confidence’ on but blind faith, as you have admitted that you don’t even know that you actually exist, remember?

    The truth is, you arbitrarily reject the truth of the Bible and the existence of Jesus Christ due to your unjustified hostility and presuppositional bias against God. That sort of behaviour is the very epitome of irrationality, and actually confirms what the Bible says about the depraved nature of mankind (not that I needed the confirmation).

    I could be a brain in a jar. I doubt it. But I could be.

    Which again means YOU can’t know anything at all, as YOU may not even exist. Therefore, any argument you attempt to level at my position is completely unjustified and without any merit whatsoever, as it may not exist either for all you know.

    I asked: “But, by your own admission, the complete opposite could be (read: is) true for all you know. Isn’t that right?”

    You replied:

    Jesus is not God.
    There are too many errors in his books for him to be an avatar of a divine all-loving creator. The claims far exceed the evidence

    .

    But this is just another unjustified knowledge claim from you Dzugavili. Answer the question please: could the exact opposite of your statement be true—yes or no?

    I said: “Nah. You’re just another rebel against God who professes atheism, but cannot live in accordance with their professed beliefs. Typical.”

    Nope. I believe in absolutely zero gods.

    Absolutely zero, huh? Like I said, you cannot live in accordance with your professed beliefs (as you have once again demonstrated).

    I’d recommend a lobotomy.

    Says the brain in the vat. Priceless!

    I said: “Yep, I got it all right: you profess a worldview in which knowledge is not possible, yet you continue to post knowledge claim after knowledge claim, as if it is possible. Nope, no absurdity there!”

    Only knowledge claim I offer is that I think Jesus is a fraud and that you provide no evidence to the contrary.

    However, what you ‘think’ is not knowledge, but belief. I am not interested in discussing your subjective beliefs right now, Dzugavili, but what you know and how you know it. So far, you have adopted the position that you can’t know anything and I am very pleased with that concession!!

    You argue that your divine inspiration is perfect, because it has to be, because if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be divine inspiration and then you wouldn’t know it was perfect. Or something like that. I have a hard time keeping track of where you start on your circular logic.

    I disagree with your misrepresentation of my argument, but you do raise another good question about the inconsistency of your professed worldiew: why can circular arguments absolutely not be used in your worldview to arrive at truth?

    I said: “However, Christians have access to Divine revelation from one who has seen all of reality and can therefore know things with certainty, while atheists are forced into the kind of absurdity that you have been so kind to demonstrate! Gracias!”

    Answer the damn question I’ve been asking this whole time:
    How do you know it’s ‘Divine revelation’ and not self-delusion?

    Simple. God has revealed it to us in ways that we can be certain of it. Do you deny this possibility (before you respond, keep in mind, that you have admitted that you might not exist and therefore can’t know anything)? See ya.

  • scmike

    Propeller,

    Inductive reasoning is not perfect. However I can assume it is good enough, since it has worked so far.

    How do you know that the senses, reasoning, and memory you used to reach this conclusion are valid?

    However, inductive reasoning does not guarantee truth, so one cannot use inductive reasoning to get absolute certainty.

    Did you use inductive reasoning to reach that conclusion? If so, guess what that means…..

    I asked: “Are you certain that you are not absolutely certain?”

    You said: “”Yes.””

    I replied: “Finally, someone has the guts to step up and demonstrate what atheism truly amounts to! Thanks for that Propeller! Priceless!!”

    Then Jacob interjected: certain doesn’t mean absolutely certain, I’m certain in varying degrees about a number of things but I’m not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything.

    And you responded to his comment: “”Indeed. Well put.””

    It seems you two are confusing ‘knowledge’ with ‘belief’. Knowledge is certain by definition while belief is not. One cannot know something for certain which could be false, they can only believe it.

    I’ll show you what I mean: tell me one thing you know for certain to be true which could be false.

    If one assume the basic laws of math one get mathematics. Whether or not they are “true”, one can think of a “universe” where the only applicable laws are the laws of math. All things that applies to math applies there.

    Big problem here. How do you know that any laws are the ONLY applicable ones in ANY universe without universal knowledge? How do you know that other laws don’t exist which are equally valid in that universe? If the laws of mathematics may not be true, what is your basis for assuming their validity and using them?

    My next step is to say that the “math universe” is not a part of this universe.
    One way to do that is to say that the number 1 does not exist in this universe;

    How do you know that the number 1 does not exist ANYWHERE in the universe (especially since you have denied the only possible foundation for knowledge—the God of the Bible)?

    You see, when you make universal statements like the one above, you are actually borrowing from my worldview, which is based upon Divine revelation from an absolute, universal, immaterial Being. Borrowing concepts from the Christian worldview that you can’t account for in your own doesn’t help your position at all, but it does wonders for mine. Keep it up!!

  • p.s.

    Scmike:

    I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe you have addressed this already. If you have, I apologize, if not, well, maybe this will help explain why some of your comments are being questioned.

    you say that we cannot know that 2+2=4 in all spaces/time. I guess that would be ok if you were saying 2 objects+2 objects=4 objects I suppose, but you aren’t. math, by itself, has absolutely nothing to do with space or time. it would be like throwing a bunch of objects against a wall to prove F=ma (assuming we aren’t dealing with relativistic masses/accelerations) and then saying physics doesn’t apply to pickles because we didn’t test all the pickles in the world. The validity of newton’s law is not dependent on pickles!

    math is a language that can be used to describe the world around us. it was invented by people, just like any other language. it is an abstract concept, albeit a very useful one.

    In the same way, logic is not a “universal” invention. the universe does not always behave “logically,” as prescribed by man. logical truths/axioms usually can be used to explain our condition, but thats because thats what they were made to do. It would be like saying that our bodies were designed to fit in chairs.

    also, have you ever heard of the cosmological principal? it says that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. It is a very well established theory, and you should definitely read about it:
    Cosmological_principle

  • p.s.

    I replied: “Finally, someone has the guts to step up and demonstrate what atheism truly amounts to! Thanks for that Propeller! Priceless!!”

    do you know when you are happy? when you’re sad? Do you know that you exist, at least in some form? Those are all valid things to know for certain, even in plato’s cave. I don’t understand why you feel the need to mock atheism over that statement.

  • Dzugavili

    “Just because you don’t like the argument doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. Besides, I see no reason to stop using it, least of all the fact that you want me to.”
    No, I’m objecting to it because it’s not very good.

    It’s an argument which throws everything into doubt, but illuminates nothing. Which is kind of pointless in debate because it brings -literally- nothing to the table.
    Kind of like how you’ve been doing this whole time. So, let’s get off the certainty business and onto something more…substantial.

    “So, on what basis do you proceed with the assumption that you’re not just a brain in a vat? Blind faith perhaps?”
    Well, because there’s also dozens of other possibilities; I might be a drooling mental patient, which I consider to be more possible than a brain in a vat; however, I consider that I might be alive in the real world to be a good deal more likely than that.
    Since I can’t prove that I’m not in a jar or an asylum or in reality, I’ll treat my hypothetical delusions as reality; because given that this is all I experience, this is reality.

    The point of the brain in the jar argument is that it relates to Decartes’ “I think therefor I am”. I am only truly aware of my own existence; everything else has a degree of uncertainty to it, including my own perceptions, and so I must examine it more closely than I would examine my own consciousness (ie: I cannot assume that something is as it appears to be).
    I’m not going to go any further into the subject; it’s a dead end, we’ve proven that as all you do is continually recite “but do you really know?” while ignoring my questions.

    Namely, that one where I ask how you know?

    “Simple. God has revealed it to us in ways that we can be certain of it. Do you deny this possibility (before you respond, keep in mind, that you have admitted that you might not exist and therefore can’t know anything)? See ya.”
    How do you know it’s God and not Satan, for example?
    Honestly, you keep asking me how I know, but you never actually tell us how you know. You just say “we do”.

    (Actually, I know I exist; I told you that you don’t know that I exist because I know that you can’t know that I exist, unless you assume that I have to exist. Yes, it’s confusing.)

    “Absolutely zero, huh? Like I said, you cannot live in accordance with your professed beliefs (as you have once again demonstrated).”
    Cite it. I said I dream of immortality and in order to produce my little fantasy of note, I have to include gods because I realize that I would likely still meet my mortal end when the Earth crashes into the sun or the universe ends.
    I believe in zero gods. I may from time to time desire there to be a true god, but no such true god has EVER revealed himself, and so I treat it as such; just a fantasy.

    “Because God has revealed Himself to ALL people such that everyone knows for certain He exists via both natural and special (i.e. supernatural) revelation so that we are without excuse.”
    How do you know you’re not just engaging in wishful thinking (eg: self-delusion)?

    “I’ll show you what I mean: tell me one thing you know for certain to be true which could be false.”
    Nothing. Absolute certainty does not exist. I can be fairly certain, even “irrationally” certain. The only thing I know to be true is that I exist; I cannot prove the existence of anything but my consciousness. I cannot prove this to anyone else, nor can anyone else prove their existence to me. Short of cracking open their heads, it is always still possible they are a clockwork human, and there’s probably still possibilities from there.

    These assumptions are not supposed to be likely (ie: we never actually wonder if people are clockwork, it’s just an example of an unlikely situation that isn’t impossible); they’re just supposed to throw doubt on what you assume to be true as a premise.

    If you want something I am fairly, if not completely, certain of, that may or may not be true or false, I’ll give you one:
    Jesus is a fraud.
    I can’t prove that he’s a fraud, not until I die and that’s some time off, forever if the right technologies come around. But I can interpret the evidence he left behind and come to the conclusion that he’s an absolutely shit miserable fulfillment of Jewish prophesy; he’s hit and miss and the Bible is a compilation album.
    I don’t believe in divine revelation because, of course, how do you know it’s divine? You do have a subconscious who is racing all the time, entirely out of your view. We have drugs, mental illness, etc. It’s more likely that people who receive the seriously hardcore religious visions are nuts/stoned/damaged, while the lighter side is simply doing the wishful thinking exercise I keep speaking of.
    Problem is there’s way too much divine revelation and it all crashes against each other. And it’s all from the same god, leaving aside all the other prophesy from other gods.

    Christianity does not stand up to even flimsy testing because the only way it works is if you believe hard enough to ignore the problems; you said it yourself, you don’t discuss scripture with outsiders. You don’t know what we know, so clearly it isn’t our lack of knowledge; you might actually be worried that what holds us back will bring you down.

    “How do you know that the number 1 does not exist ANYWHERE in the universe (especially since you have denied the only possible foundation for knowledge—the God of the Bible)?”
    Under what basis have you declared that the only possible foundation for knowledge is the God of the Bible?
    How did you come to this conclusion?
    If you’re going to say divine revelation, how do you know you’re not just performing magical thinking?

    Otherwise, ’1′ is a concept, not a physical object. There are plenty of examples, both physical and abstract, but actually trying to define what would be “a number one” is kind of a strange question.

    “you say that we cannot know that 2+2=4 in all spaces/time. I guess that would be ok if you were saying 2 objects+2 objects=4 objects I suppose, but you aren’t.”
    I figured 1+1=2 as long as you aren’t in a black hole. Those things are crazy. Literally, up becomes down. And down stays down. Nutty.

    “Big problem here. How do you know that any laws are the ONLY applicable ones in ANY universe without universal knowledge?”
    Because if 1+1 != 2, then 2+2 != 4, and 1+2 != 3, and none of it makes sense ever again. Up would be both up and down, left and right, forwards and backwards, it would all cease to be space.

    Math is the central foundation of space. Space does not make math, nor does it explicitly require it for an object to exist (a black hole is an object with infinite density (from a Newtonian perspective, higher physics unfolds the blackhole), a concept that violates logic).

    You can’t argue that just because math exists, there must be a god. There’s no reason why that has to be true.

  • p.s.

    I figured 1+1=2 as long as you aren’t in a black hole. Those things are crazy. Literally, up becomes down. And down stays down. Nutty.

    but 1+1=2 still, because mathematics is an abstract concept (like up and down, which has no meaning without gravity :D ) when not applied to the physical world. and black holes still follow physics and math! you can calculate how long a black hole will last given its size and intake of matter. and it doesn’t have infinite density, it has a critical density (density at which light can no longer escape). infinite density would mean it didn’t follow conservation of energy/mass. So really it doesn’t defy logic. although yes, it does defy newtonian logic, what with relativity and all.

    yes I am nitpicking, and yes I am an incredible dork ^^

  • Dzugavili

    “So really it doesn’t defy logic. although yes, it does defy newtonian logic, what with relativity and all.”
    Since we are not relativistic creatures, it defies our logic of the universe. Since time begins to break down, it’s a good point to start where we can no longer rationalize it.

    For example, if an object is able to pull in light…how fast is that light going now, relative to the object? Apparently, it’s still going the speed of light, which is just a mindfuck. You can see why I consider this the beginning of where our reality begins to break down.
    Then what happens when the light reaches the event horizon. It stops. Theoretically, can’t move any closer to the event horizon. What the hell does that mean?

    Considering you can’t increase your distance from a blackhole once below a certain distance, up and down become the same, which kind of destroys the spatial mathematic concept, as you cannot add to your distance or substract negatively from it.

    I think that’s an interesting breakdown. Yep, I’m a massive dork too.

    “and it doesn’t have infinite density, it has a critical density (density at which light can no longer escape).”
    I do believe a singularity has infinite density; the critical density is the most important number in formation, but the mass can still increase and the concept of space fades away. Perhaps we can calculate a real density of a blackhole using the sum of the apparent space contained within the singularity and the event horizon, but I’m questioning whether it’s still considered space at that point.

    Anyway:

    scmike,
    How do you know your divine revelation is divine? What makes you certain of this? What makes you absolute sure it is not magical thinking or self-delusion? What makes you think it isn’t the devil or an evil god trying to steer you off the real path (road to hell paved with good intentions)?

    So far, you just kind of shoved God into his own special space where he is an absolute guarantee. Mind you, you made this space from nothing and just assume it’s there. Your reasoning for why he’s special is no more valid, if not much less valid, than our reasons for rejecting the supposed evidence you have yet to display.

    Your belief in God is a human concept, belonging on this planet, in this universe. There is no objective difference between your belief in God and Zeus, beyond the ritual. They have to be considered on the same level and you’ve already arbitrarily separated them because it’s your belief.

  • p.s.

    Since we are not relativistic creatures, it defies our logic of the universe. Since time begins to break down, it’s a good point to start where we can no longer rationalize it.

    but we are also creatures of our environment. I bet that once we reach a technological point where it is necessary to use relativity on a daily basis that it will become logical to us. We already use it for GPS satellites. I am assuming when you say “we” and “our” you are referring to our collective understanding as a species and not as individuals. After all, relativity is perfectly logical to physicists.

    Then what happens when the light reaches the event horizon. It stops. Theoretically, can’t move any closer to the event horizon. What the hell does that mean?

    hmm, not 100% sure, but I would guess that the radiation is absorbed in some way, just like matter is.

    Considering you can’t increase your distance from a blackhole once below a certain distance, up and down become the same, which kind of destroys the spatial mathematic concept, as you cannot add to your distance or substract negatively from it.

    im not quite sure what you mean here. Yes, you cannot escape once you pass a certain radius, and it would be impossible to move further away because the escape velocity into any radius further than where you are would have to be faster than the speed of light, which of course is impossible. you would get pulled into the black hole due to its gravity.
    how are you defining up or down? and what do you mean by spatial mathematics?

    I do believe a singularity has infinite density; the critical density is the most important number in formation, but the mass can still increase and the concept of space fades away. Perhaps we can calculate a real density of a blackhole using the sum of the apparent space contained within the singularity and the event horizon, but I’m questioning whether it’s still considered space at that point.

    It can usually be approximated as infinite (like how newtonian physics is an approximation) for smaller black holes (i.e if the sun became a black hole) but its not actually infinity. However, for supermassive black holes the density is closer to water or air (because they are much much bigger than any star) What you are discussing is a theoretical singularity, which is much different than the scientifically proven black holes.
    In our universe, the concept of space doesn’t really fade away, it only changes. and even black holes can’t break conservation of energy.

  • p.s.

    for some reason i couldn’t edit my comment… i wanted to add:
    Ahh reread your comment and think I understand a little better now. singularities are weird and crazy and mostly only proven with math. we really dont understand what goes on inside a black hole completely. the whole “what goes on inside” is purely theoretical physics. The astronomy classes I’ve taken always assume the black hole to begin at the schwarzchild radius (i think thats the right spelling but im lazy and don’t feel like checking) because its the only scientifically useful thing to do.
    I still don’t understand why it wouldn’t be considered space, however. A singularity would still have a finite mass, so it must be infinitely small to have infinite density. if the concept of space breaks down, then the concept of “smallness” would break down as well, along with the concept of density.

  • Dzugavili

    “you would get pulled into the black hole due to its gravity.
    how are you defining up or down? and what do you mean by spatial mathematics?”
    If you view gravity as an effect of spatial architecture — imagine the netting example, with heavy objects deforming space and producing ‘gravity’ as a result of the slope of the netting — then one can define up and down as away and towards from a gravitation source respectfully and spatial mathematics being the values defining the current bending of space (we use a value of 1g for the Earth’s surface, for example; in complex multiple source examples, you’d probably describe a space as a complex warping of a plane).

    If we view gravity in such a manner, then a blackhole produces a fold in the netting at the event horizon where we no longer are part of the standard universe — a small bubble with new rules.

    This is assuming that gravity is a result of the architecture of space and not intermediated by a particle. This is currently the opinion since we can’t seem to find a graviton, nor are there any hints of them, such as particle effects in gravity.

    “hmm, not 100% sure, but I would guess that the radiation is absorbed in some way, just like matter is.”
    Normally the photon hits the nucleus, either passing through or exciting an electron which in turn releases another photon. Given we don’t really know the state of matter inside a black hole, I’m unsure what it is absorbed by.

    “It can usually be approximated as infinite (like how newtonian physics is an approximation) for smaller black holes (i.e if the sun became a black hole) but its not actually infinity.”
    Yeah, we went over that.

    “However, for supermassive black holes the density is closer to water or air (because they are much much bigger than any star)”
    I’m just rolling this one over in my head and it’s not working. At all.
    If they are that diffuse, then they aren’t black holes.

    “What you are discussing is a theoretical singularity, which is much different than the scientifically proven black holes.”
    Well, I have to start somewhere. I wrote a short bit about charged and rotating black holes, however those only require more mass at formation and have different geometry, as well as the chance to release one of those gamma bursts, but I nuked it.

    “In our universe, the concept of space doesn’t really fade away, it only changes. and even black holes can’t break conservation of energy.”
    The difference between fading away and changing kind of depends on what’s inside the black hole.
    Unsure why you mention conservation of energy though.

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    could be false doesnt mean blind faith…

    Well, let’s see then: on what basis do you assume that your statement ‘could be false doesn’t mean blind faith..’ is valid, if not by blind faith (since you have admitted that you can’t know anything to be true)?

    your position has just the same difficulties with extreme scepticism about meaning, understanding and knowledge as any other…

    Do you know that for certain, or do you just accept it on faith?

    i’m fairly certain that im not absolutely certain of anything, but not absolutely certain of anything –

    Well, here we go again—are you absolutely certain that you’re not absolutely certain of ANYTHING? If yes, you are once again refuted and if no, you are once again refuted.

    in fact i’m fairly sure that even when people say they’re absolutely certain that they’re just using emotive language

    Problem is, ‘fairly sure’ means that you are less than sure, which makes your statement a baseless, subjective belief and places it in the realm of faith. I am pleased with that!

    we are allowed to question what you know and discuss what its possible for you to say or know about it given your position on other topics, or this discussion is totally irrelevant, stop trying to escape the conclusions of your own arguments.

    Actually, the discussion hasn’t begun yet, as knowledge is a necessary precondition for any discussion. I am still waiting for you to tell how it is possible to know anything in your worldview, so that we can discuss and compare our respective claims.
    So far, no dice.

    In fact, you have seem to have adopted the absurd position that you can’t know anything at all (which is woefully self-refuting, of course). I’m sure you’d agree that it hardly makes sense to debate knowledge claims with someone who espouses a worldview in which knowledge is not even possible, no?

  • p.s.

    If we view gravity in such a manner, then a blackhole produces a fold in the netting at the event horizon where we no longer are part of the standard universe — a small bubble with new rules.

    Hmmm, this doesn’t exactly jive with cosmological theory. The rules should still be the same within the event horizon. What rules change? gravity is still good, light is still traveling at 3×10^8 m/s, the force you experience would continually increase… Again, are you talking about a singularity or a black hole?

    Normally the photon hits the nucleus, either passing through or exciting an electron which in turn releases another photon. Given we don’t really know the state of matter inside a black hole, I’m unsure what it is absorbed by.

    the same way any matter is absorbed? within the black hole i thought the nuclear force could no longer overcome the force of gravity and broke down any nuclei… if its not absorbed, then couldn’t the light orbit like a satellite? that way it would form a ring and appear to be stopped, but without breaking the laws of physics. That actually makes more sense to me than absorption, I am amending my previous answer :D

    I’m just rolling this one over in my head and it’s not working. At all.
    If they are that diffuse, then they aren’t black holes.

    Sure it can! when you double the radius, you can have 8x as much mass within the object. keep doing this long enough and you will end up with a gravity well.

    The difference between fading away and changing kind of depends on what’s inside the black hole.
    Unsure why you mention conservation of energy though.

    pardon, I misspoke. Space seems to behave a certain way at our particular scale, but it may behave completely different at a very small scale. So it only appears to change. Sorry about that, it was silly of me.
    I mentioned conservation of energy instead of conservation of mass because mass isn’t necessarily conserved at this level, but energy always is.

  • p.s.

    scmike:
    honestly, it sounds like you attended on class of introductory philosophy and decided to never go beyond that. Yes it is possible we can’t trust our senses, but because philosophy is the study of the world around us, we assume that we can. so:

    P1: my consciousness in some form exists
    P2: senses can be trusted
    C: the world exists

    If you won’t let us accept P2 than there really is no point in continuing a debate, since obviously you are only a construct of my mind.

    It really should not be necessary to say “assuming my senses are real and the world exists” before making any statement about our surroundings.

    In fact, you have seem to have adopted the absurd position that you can’t know anything at all (which is woefully self-refuting, of course). I’m sure you’d agree that it hardly makes sense to debate knowledge claims with someone who espouses a worldview in which knowledge is not even possible, no?

    This makes absolutely no sense at all. how can you debate with someone who claims absolute knowledge?

    Also, I am god. you know I am god because I told you I am god and I am omniscient. prove me wrong.

  • Dzugavili

    “Sure it can! when you double the radius, you can have 8x as much mass within the object. keep doing this long enough and you will end up with a gravity well.”
    Except that you need more mass to keep the space contained (diminishing gains), and no matter how you work it, the density of water is always 1kg per liter and that is not black hole territory.

    The supermassive holes you’re talking about are on the order to hundreds of thousands of stellar masses; they’re huge because they’re huge.

    “Again, are you talking about a singularity or a black hole?”
    The two are observationally identical. The singularity is the center; the blackhole is the total body of singularity plus event horizon.

    The singularity is fucked up matter. The event horizon is fucked up space. It’s space that for all our purposes isn’t there, though is still massive.

    “pardon, I misspoke. Space seems to behave a certain way at our particular scale, but it may behave completely different at a very small scale. So it only appears to change. Sorry about that, it was silly of me.
    I mentioned conservation of energy instead of conservation of mass because mass isn’t necessarily conserved at this level, but energy always is.”
    Yeah, eventually the matter bleeds off into X-rays, which Hawking named after himself. The black hole is not typical space, it’s definitely amongst the most exotic of stellar bodies.

    “within the black hole i thought the nuclear force could no longer overcome the force of gravity and broke down any nuclei… if its not absorbed, then couldn’t the light orbit like a satellite? that way it would form a ring and appear to be stopped, but without breaking the laws of physics. That actually makes more sense to me than absorption, I am amending my previous answer :D”
    You know, that might work out. I don’t know how it bends by relativity, but it might be possible that light enters a semi-stable orbit around a blackhole. Though, that seems incredibly unlikely, given that blackholes have many sizes, many shapes, many definitions, it would be unusual if they all form a stable photon skin.

    ———————————-

    “honestly, it sounds like you attended on class of introductory philosophy and decided to never go beyond that. Yes it is possible we can’t trust our senses, but because philosophy is the study of the world around us, we assume that we can. so:”
    Sorry, man, that was my bad. I told him that he couldn’t trust his senses when he told us about his experiences with god and then he just kind of ran with it.

    So, I doubt he even took that first year philosophy class, he’s just attempting to use my argument against me while never addressing what it was actually concerned with: namely, how does he know his divine revelation is real. He just says it is and carries on, which makes him incredibly boring.

  • p.s.

    Except that you need more mass to keep the space contained (diminishing gains), and no matter how you work it, the density of water is always 1kg per liter and that is not black hole territory.

    a supermassive black hole can have the mass of 150,000,000 suns. knowing that the escape velocity has to be the speed of light, you can calculate the radius and therefore the density of the black hole to be ~800 kg/m^3, which is about the same as water. I suppose this is only the “apparent” density, but if you can say a singularity is observationally identical to a black hole, I can say the density of a supermassive black hole is comparable to the density of water :D

    The singularity is fucked up matter. The event horizon is fucked up space. It’s space that for all our purposes isn’t there, though is still massive.

    I feel like we are kind of arguing over semantics here… if you mean by “our purposes” that we can’t possibly observe said space, then I agree, But its not like space suddenly changes when you pass the event horizon. eventually you would get shredded by tidal forces and die, but that happens after you pass said horizon. Yes, crazy shit goes down in the center, but that is by definition different than the black hole. like how an atom is not the same thing as a proton.

    Though, that seems incredibly unlikely, given that blackholes have many sizes, many shapes, many definitions, it would be unusual if they all form a stable photon skin.

    perhaps through photon scattering? can gravity cause photon scattering? I don’t know, I’m still not completely convinced that a beam of light traveling directly towards a black hole wouldn’t be absorbed in the same way as other matter. Its all just stuff, albeit tiny, super-energized stuff.

    So, I doubt he even took that first year philosophy class, he’s just attempting to use my argument against me while never addressing what it was actually concerned with: namely, how does he know his divine revelation is real. He just says it is and carries on, which makes him incredibly boring.

    So its *your* fault! :D The whole confusing assumptions and faith is getting reaally annoying… I’m all for ignoring it and talking about black holes instead (hooray science!)

  • Dzugavili

    Yep, you’re right. I think I keep switching something around.

    Well…
    “Its all just stuff, albeit tiny, super-energized stuff.”
    Photons aren’t stuff. They’re different. For one, they go the speed of light. :S
    And the stuff is supposed to be a bosons; fermions break down.

    “perhaps through photon scattering? can gravity cause photon scattering?”
    Well, gravity can cause photon bending, and I’m wondering if at these levels of energy, would photons travel on the surface of a blackhole like electrons travel on the surface of a conductor.

    Alternatively, the light just flies right on in there, but but what would happen if you put a shitton of light into a black hole? It’s not matter, but it’s definitely energy.

    “like how an atom is not the same thing as a proton.”
    For my purposes, I’m assuming that only one object can produce black hole like effects (eg: the event horizon effect, which is the only visible suggestion of a black hole beyond everything else kind of floating towards said dark spot) and that’s a singularity.

    In that way, I don’t consider the effects separate.

    “I’m all for ignoring it and talking about black holes instead (hooray science!)”
    Yeah, he’s pretty dull.

    I’m not the first person to get to this piece of logic earlier. Should have read in more detail. This guy just knows because God has revealed himself in some way so that we can be certain it is God. Mind you, should you ask what this method was, he couldn’t fucking tell you. He’ll say “well, this is getting awkward” and walk away.

    I mean, damn, do you actually get a physiological ‘awkward’ feeling when we ask these questions, scmike? Because this is just getting funny. It’s the worst case of self-denial I’ve ever seen.

    Something tells me you have Bible verses printed out (likely using the Word text effects) on the walls of your house somewhere. I don’t really imagine that you have anything permanent, because if you really thought about some of them too long, your mind would burn. You probably stick to the same passages over and over again; then again, not much of a choice when your favourite author has been dead for 2000 years.

    I can’t think of any more bad fundamentalist stereotypes.

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe you have addressed this already. If you have, I apologize, if not, well, maybe this will help explain why some of your comments are being questioned.

    you say that we cannot know that 2+2=4 in all spaces/time.

    Indeed, I have addressed this previously, but I am happy to do so again. Let me first say that my argument is not JUST that you cannot know that 2 + 2 = 4 in all places and at all times, but that you cannot know ANYTHING at all to be objectively true apart from Divine revelation from One who knows everything (i.e. the God of the Bible). No doubt, you will dispute this, so let’s cut to the chase: tell me one thing you know to be objectively true and how you know it.

    I guess that would be ok if you were saying 2 objects+2 objects=4 objects I suppose, but you aren’t. math, by itself, has absolutely nothing to do with space or time.

    I guess we can determine that when you give your justification for the existence of knowledge/truth in your worldview.

    Otherwise, I would just ask if it is true in all places and in all times that math has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with space or time. If it is, then you are refuted, if it’s not, you are still refuted.

    it would be like throwing a bunch of objects against a wall to prove F=ma (assuming we aren’t dealing with relativistic masses/accelerations) and then saying physics doesn’t apply to pickles because we didn’t test all the pickles in the world. The validity of newton’s law is not dependent on pickles!

    math is a language that can be used to describe the world around us. it was invented by people, just like any other language. it is an abstract concept, albeit a very useful one.

    In the same way, logic is not a “universal” invention. the universe does not always behave “logically,” as prescribed by man. logical truths/axioms usually can be used to explain our condition, but thats because thats what they were made to do. It would be like saying that our bodies were designed to fit in chairs.

    also, have you ever heard of the cosmological principal? it says that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. It is a very well established theory, and you should definitely read about it:
    Cosmological_principle

    I appreciate the link! It’ll give me something to do as I await the justification for your knowledge claims above. Thanks in advance!

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    do you know when you are happy? when you’re sad? Do you know that you exist, at least in some form?

    Yep, as I hold to a worldview which can account for knowledge per God’s Divine revelation. Now, do you know that you exist in any form? If so, how?

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    How do you know your divine revelation is divine? What makes you certain of this? What makes you absolute sure it is not magical or self-delusion? What makes you think it isn’t the devil or an evil god trying to steer you off the real path (road to hell paved with good intentions)?

    Because it has been revealed such that we can be certain of its source and validity.

    So far, you just kind of shoved God into his own special space where he is an absolute guarantee. Mind you, you made this space from nothing and just assume it’s there. Your reasoning for why he’s special is no more valid, if not much less valid, than our reasons for rejecting the supposed evidence you have yet to display.

    Really? Well, so far, you just kind of shoved atheism into its own special space where it is an absolute guarantee. Mind you, you made this space from nothing and just assume it’s there. Your reasoning for why it’s special is no more valid, if not much less valid, than our reasons for rejecting the supposed evidence you have yet to display. How do you like your argument now?

    Your belief in God is a human concept, belonging on this planet, in this universe. There is no objective difference between your belief in God and Zeus, beyond the ritual. They have to be considered on the same level and you’ve already arbitrarily separated them because it’s your belief.

    Prove this please. Ooops, I forgot….you can’t, as knowledge is a necessary precondition for proof and you have admitted that you can’t know anything. You’re making this too easy Dzugavili! Keep it up!!

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    honestly, it sounds like you attended on class of introductory philosophy and decided to never go beyond that.

    I’d say the same thing if I were in your shoes P.S.

    Yes it is possible we can’t trust our senses, but because philosophy is the study of the world around us, we assume that we can.

    Huh? You trust your senses because you have observed with your senses that philosophy is the study of the world around us? You don’t see a problem with that!?!?

    so:

    P1: my consciousness in some form exists
    P2: senses can be trusted
    C: the world exists

    The ‘my’ in your first premise is question begging. The premise in its correct form should read:

    P1: consciousness in some form exists

    I’d really like to see how you logically go from that to ‘my’ consciousness exists. The floor is yours.

    If you won’t let us accept P2

    You can assume P2 all you want, but you do so soley on blind faith (as your argument clearly demonstrates). P2 is assumed in your conclusion that the world exists (and therefore also begs the question), unless of course you are claiming to have reached that conclusion apart from your senses? Let me know.

    than there really is no point in continuing a debate, since obviously you are only a construct of my mind.

    And let me guess, you formed this conclusion via senses and reasoning which you sensed and reasoned were valid, right?

    It really should not be necessary to say “assuming my senses are real and the world exists” before making any statement about our surroundings.

    Unless, of course, you hold to a worldview in which you must accept those premises on blind faith—which you do.

    I said: “In fact, you have seem to have adopted the absurd position that you can’t know anything at all (which is woefully self-refuting, of course). I’m sure you’d agree that it hardly makes sense to debate knowledge claims with someone who espouses a worldview in which knowledge is not even possible, no?”

    You replied:

    This makes absolutely no sense at all. how can you debate with someone who claims absolute knowledge?

    It is not my claim that we can know ALL things absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them to be absolutely true.

    Also, I am god. you know I am god because I told you I am god and I am omniscient. prove me wrong.

    OK. You said:

    “”I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe you have addressed this already.””

    And:

    “”..also, have you ever heard of the cosmological principal?””

    And:

    “”how can you debate with someone who claims absolute knowledge?””

    And:

    “”pardon, I misspoke. Space seems to behave a certain way at our particular scale, but it may behave completely different at a very small scale.””

    And:

    “”Again, are you talking about a singularity or a black hole?””

    And my favorite:

    “”can gravity cause photon scattering? I don’t know….””

    If you were what you claimed to be, you would have known those things. Like I said earlier: fish in a barrel! >

  • p.s.

    scmike:
    i can say that x=x is an objective truth from a logical standpoint. of course, at the level of logic we are talking about, I can’t state that x or = has any meaning outside of my own mind, and I am obviously assuming that you take the same meaning from these symbols. for example, I could also say that r*r has the same meaning as x=x in my own mind. I can also objectively say that the abstract (abstract is a very importnat word) math based on logical suppositions exists, at the very least within my own mind. logic is a result of consciousness, not of the universe. Our brains strive to see patterns, so we do. Now, I can * subjectively* say that the universe exists and behaves in ways that can be described by mathematics, but again, this is purely subjective since math and logic is a construct of my own mind (i.e since i obviously didn’t invent math, the collective mind of the human race).

    Just so you know, an assumption /= faith. i can say that i assume the universe exists in order to function and learn from it, but that doesn’t mean for certain that I acknowledge the univers’s existence as 100% fact.

    I really don’t understand why your argument changes for everyone’s “world view.” since you are pressing me, my world view is to be intellectually honest to the best of my abilities. Everything else is situational.

    Otherwise, I would just ask if it is true in all places and in all times that math has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with space or time. If it is, then you are refuted, if it’s not, you are still refuted.

    seriously, did you even read what you wrote? you just said that if it is nothing at all to do with A, then it must have something to do with A. it makes absolutely no sense. I really don’t know how to explain this other than my pickle argument I made earlier. hmmm… its like if I said that I had 15 pickles, and you said that because you had 20 melons, that somehow changed the number of pickles I owned. THE TWO ARE NOT RELATED!!! THEY CANNOT POSSIBLY BE RELATED BECAUSE THERE IS NO DEPENDENCE ON EITHER. I know this from the definition of math, as it exists within the collective human consciousness. the abstract concept of math does not exist anywhere else (although I suppose something similar could exist within an alien consciousness)

    I appreciate the link! It’ll give me something to do as I await the justification for your knowledge claims above. Thanks in advance!

    way to completely ignore my points and not prove me wrong at all. Do you really not understand that people, real people, took the time to lay out the logical axioms and rules we are discussing? logic is its own branch of philosophy, I suggest you do some research.

    Yep, as I hold to a worldview which can account for knowledge per God’s Divine revelation. Now, do you know that you exist in any form? If so, how?

    ok, I’m pretty sure you are a bot with that sort of logic. If you need something to tell you what to feel, then you aren’t capable of making such judgements on your own. If you can’t do that, then clearly you dont understand the concept of emotion. if you don’t understand the concept of emotion, either you are brain damaged or you are a robot.
    do we really need to go over the whole “I think therefore I am” argument? It’s pretty irrefutable and has nothing to do with god. Obviously I can’t prove that I exist to you, but I can state that my consciousness does exist because I am thinking and personally know it to be true.

    I think I’m going to save some of your posts, just in case I need a good example of circular reasoning.

  • p.s.

    I’d say the same thing if I were in your shoes P.S.

    you mean if you understood some basic concepts of philosophy and were arguing with someone who didn’t?

    Huh? You trust your senses because you have observed with your senses that philosophy is the study of the world around us? You don’t see a problem with that!?!?

    no, I define philosophy, an abstract concept independent of my surroundings, as the study of my surroundings. If it wasn’t independent, it wouldn’t be very useful.

    You can assume P2 all you want, but you do so soley on blind faith (as your argument clearly demonstrates). P2 is assumed in your conclusion that the world exists (and therefore also begs the question), unless of course you are claiming to have reached that conclusion apart from your senses? Let me know.

    No, I am making an assumption, which is different from blind faith, as I said before. Read my last post. I am assuming my senses to be true, because doing so is logically useful.

    And let me guess, you formed this conclusion via senses and reasoning which you sensed and reasoned were valid, right?

    No, I was being snarky because you are are not being intellectually honest and applying the same standards to your own beliefs.

    It is not my claim that we can know ALL things absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them to be absolutely true.

    and you know that for sure how? to say that I know god exists because god told me so is a logical fallacy. You cannot claim god and logic coexist like that.

    If you were what you claimed to be, you would have known those things. Like I said earlier: fish in a barrel!

    psh, I am just hiding my true nature for now for my own omniscient reasons. I can’t tell you why right now, but believe me, it is very important. Why would you question the one true God? Thats not very christian of you.

  • Dzugavili

    scmike,
    “Because it has been revealed such that we can be certain of its source and validity.”
    How? Explain this. You’ve said it again and again, but you haven’t explained how this is supposed to work. You continue to perform the same magical thinking where God is both premise and conclusion.

    You’ve basically decided that the definition of a god already included existence — something which no noun has actually earned. And no, that’s not a magical property of God, that’s a magical property of self-delusion.

    “The ‘my’ in your first premise is question begging. The premise in its correct form should read:

    P1: consciousness in some form exists

    I’d really like to see how you logically go from that to ‘my’ consciousness exists. The floor is yours.”
    You can’t implicitly prove that other consciousnesses exist. You can’t prove that I exist, as we’ve gone over. You can only prove that you yourself exist and you can only really prove that to yourself.
    So, while your premise is correct (consciousness exists), it’s only forcibly true because you know that you exist.

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    i can say that x=x is an objective truth from a logical standpoint. of course, at the level of logic we are talking about, I can’t state that x or = has any meaning outside of my own mind,

    Exactly!! So what is your justification for assuming that what is in your mind applies to anything outside of your mind? How does what is in your mind necessarily apply to what is in someone else’s mind? How is what is in your mind lawlike in any way? If logic exist in our minds, then why are there not millions of conflicting laws of logic? If there were, how would you know which ones were logical without an overriding, unchanging standard of logic to tell you that?

    for example, I could also say that r*r has the same meaning as x=x in my own mind. I can also objectively say that the abstract (abstract is a very importnat word) math based on logical suppositions exists, at the very least within my own mind.

    How is what exists in your mind an objective standard? What you have provided is the very definition of a purely subjective, arbitrary standard which doesn’t necessarily apply to anything.

    logic is a result of consciousness, not of the universe.

    I don’t think that anyone is arguing that logic is a result of the universe. My argument is that God is the necessary precondition for absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic, as they reflect His thinking and how He expects us to think and reason, being made in His image.

    If you are arguing that logic is a result of consciousness, let me ask you this: could the universe have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there was consciousness?

    Our brains strive to see patterns, so we do. Now, I can * subjectively* say that the universe exists and behaves in ways that can be described by mathematics, but again, this is purely subjective since math and logic is a construct of my own mind (i.e since i obviously didn’t invent math, the collective mind of the human race).

    How can logic and math be products of human brains when human brains themselves are subject to the laws of logic and math? If math and logic are merely products of human brains, then what basis do you have for assuming that they apply in places where no human brain has been (such as in the future or on Mars, for instance)?

    Just so you know, an assumption /= faith. i can say that i assume the universe exists in order to function and learn from it, but that doesn’t mean for certain that I acknowledge the univers’s existence as 100% fact.

    If the universe may not exist, then what is your justification for assuming that you exist within it? After all, if the jar of peanuts on the table doesn’t exist, then the peanuts inside the jar of peanuts which doesn’t exist don’t exist either.

    since you are pressing me, my world view is to be intellectually honest to the best of my abilities.

    Riiiight!! You mean, like making claims that you don’t even believe to be true and then asking me to disprove them in an attempt to compete with the Christian claim and to account for the things that your real worldview can’t account for? What a noble debator you are, P.S.

    Everything else is situational.

    Uh, including that statement?

    I said: “Otherwise, I would just ask if it is true in all places and in all times that math has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with space or time. If it is, then you are refuted, if it’s not, you are still refuted.”

    seriously, did you even read what you wrote? you just said that if it is nothing at all to do with A, then it must have something to do with A.

    No, I was simply pointing out the self-refuting nature of your statement. If the statement regarding math is true in all places and at all times, then math does have something to with time and space. If it is not true in all times and in all places, then there could be times and places where it does not apply for all you know. Either way, you are refuted.

    it makes absolutely no sense.

    Are you absolutely certain? If so, how?

    I know this from the definition of math, as it exists within the collective human consciousness.

    Does that definition of math apply in all places and at all times, or are there times and places where it does not apply?

    the abstract concept of math does not exist anywhere else

    Sure it does. It exists in the mind of God, and therefore applies absolutely and universally. If you disagree, tell me when and where the laws of mathematics do not apply and how you know that for certain.

    I said: “I appreciate the link! It’ll give me something to do as I await the justification for your knowledge claims above. Thanks in advance!”

    way to completely ignore my points and not prove me wrong at all.

    I have asked for your justification for knowledge in your worldview. Until you provide it, I am free to entertain myself anyway I like.

    Besides, addressing ‘points’ from those who can’t know or prove anything in their worldview seems like a fruitless endeavor, as how could they know or prove whether the points have been addressed or not, or that they have even made any to begin with?

    Do you really not understand that people, real people, took the time to lay out the logical axioms and rules we are discussing? logic is its own branch of philosophy, I suggest you do some research.

    Quick question: did the laws of logic apply foundationally to the reasoning of the ‘real people’ who took the time to lay out those logical axioms and rules, or did they lay them out using reasoning void of logic (i.e. illogical reasoning)?

    If the laws of logic applied foundationally to their reasoning, then they cannot be man-made conventions. If they did not apply foundationally to their reasoning, please explain how illogical reasoning can be used to produce logical laws.

    I said: Yep, as I hold to a worldview which can account for knowledge per God’s Divine revelation. Now, do you know that you exist in any form? If so, how?

    do we really need to go over the whole “I think therefore I am” argument? It’s pretty irrefutable and has nothing to do with god

    .

    Actually, it was atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell who exposed the fallaciousness of Descarte’s argument, as it begs the question. The most anyone could ever logically hope to say is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe, and I would love to see how you get from that to “I exist” without begging the question and without God.

    Obviously I can’t prove that I exist to you, but I can state that my consciousness does exist because I am thinking and personally know it to be true.

    No, you just BELIEVE you do. Huge difference.

    I think I’m going to save some of your posts, just in case I need a good example of circular reasoning.

    Just as long as you save this one too, so all can see that you have admitted above to having no objective standard of logic by which to call any reasoning circular, and therefore no justification (except for blind faith) for applying any standard of logic to my arguments. I am happy for you to share that with others!

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    I said: “I’d say the same thing if I were in your shoes P.S.”

    You replied:

    you mean if you understood some basic concepts of philosophy and were arguing with someone who didn’t?

    No, I mean if I knew I had run out of valid arguments and could not hope to defeat my opponent via sound argumentation. It’s a dead giveaway. I appreciate that!

    I said: “Huh? You trust your senses because you have observed with your senses that philosophy is the study of the world around us? You don’t see a problem with that!?!?”

    no, I define philosophy, an abstract concept independent of my surroundings, as the study of my surroundings. If it wasn’t independent, it wouldn’t be very useful.

    And let me guess, this is another conclusion you formed using senses and reasoning which you have sensed and reasoned are valid, right?

    I said: You can assume P2 all you want, but you do so soley on blind faith (as your argument clearly demonstrates). P2 is assumed in your conclusion that the world exists (and therefore also begs the question), unless of course you are claiming to have reached that conclusion apart from your senses? Let me know.

    No, I am making an assumption, which is different from blind faith, as I said before. Read my last post. I am assuming my senses to be true, because doing so is logically useful.

    Which again boils down to sensing that your senses are valid. If that ain’t blind faith, I don’t know what is, P.S.

    No, I was being snarky because you are are not being intellectually honest and applying the same standards to your own beliefs.

    Perhaps you have forgotten that I gave my worldview’s justification for the existence of knowledge, truth, laws of logic, and the validity of my senses and reasoning over a month ago (just scroll up). As a Christian, I can logically account for all of these preconditions of intelligibility, while you cannot and have not (as you are continuing to demonstrate).

    I said: It is not my claim that we can know ALL things absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them to be absolutely true.

    and you know that for sure how? to say that I know god exists because god told me so is a logical fallacy. You cannot claim god and logic coexist like that.

    Naturally I disagree with your assessment of my argument, but we can discuss that once you provide YOUR justification for knowledge and the absolute standard of logic by which you call any argument fallacious in your worldview. I won’t hold my breath.

    I said: “If you were what you claimed to be, you would have known those things. Like I said earlier: fish in a barrel!”

    psh, I am just hiding my true nature for now for my own omniscient reasons. I can’t tell you why right now, but believe me, it is very important. Why would you question the one true God? Thats not very christian of you.

    Well, I am glad to see that you have abandoned your atheism. Perhaps you’d care to explain, though, how your ability to contradict yourself accounts for the certainty of knowledge?

  • scmike

    Dzugavili,

    I said: “Because it has been revealed such that we can be certain of its source and validity.”

    You replied:

    How? Explain this. You’ve said it again and again, but you haven’t explained how this is supposed to work.

    I will be happy to discuss the specifics with you regarding God’s natural and special revelation just as soon as you tell how you account for knowledge and the absolute laws of logic which are required to hold any discussion in your worldview.

    So far, you have admitted to holding to a position which does not support either knowledge or absolute laws of logic, and therefore precludes the possibility of ‘discussion’. Looks like you’ve got some explaining to do.

    You continue to perform the same magical thinking where God is both premise and conclusion.

    Well, I don’t believe in magic, and I disagree with your assessment of my argument, but let me ask you this: why can arguments which have the same premise and conclusion absolutely not be valid in your worldview?

    You’ve basically decided that the definition of a god already included existence — something which no noun has actually earned.

    Really? Then you’ve basically decided that the definition of not-god already included existence–something which no noun has actually earned. One good baseless assertion deserves another! Keep ‘em coming, Dzugavili!!

    And no, that’s not a magical property of God, that’s a magical property of self-delusion.

    Perhaps now is a good time to remind you that of the two of us, you are the one who has admitted that you could be suffering from a delusion and might not even exist, thereby making it impossible for you to know anything at all. I am very pleased with that concession!

    You can’t implicitly prove that other consciousnesses exist. You can’t prove that I exist, as we’ve gone over. You can only prove that you yourself exist and you can only really prove that to yourself.
    So, while your premise is correct (consciousness exists), it’s only forcibly true because you know that you exist.

    So you’re arguing that consciousness exists because there are people who are conscious of their existence? If you don’t see the problem with that, I can’t help you.

  • scmike

    Alright folks, that’ll just about do it for me. While the quantity of comments from the atheists on this thread has picked up as of late, sadly the quality has not. I have neither the time, nor the desire to continue responding to comments from those who claim that they can’t know anything and who cannot even account for the standard of logic they wish to employ in evaluating my (or ANY) argument.

    ‘P.S.’, if you ever decide to posit your justification for the existence of knowledge in your worldview, I’ll be happy to continue engaging you, otherwise I’m out. As I stated over a month ago, my purpose for being here was to expose the inconsistencies and absurdities within the atheist worldview for all to see (especially those who might be on the fence and considering adopting atheism as their professed worldview).

    QED

  • Dzugavili

    “I am very pleased with that concession!”
    You notice how that’s all you mention? You use it as a reply to everything. And not because it’s a good one, but because you want to defute any notion that your belief in the Christian God is irrational by attacking the notion that reality as I see it may, by incredibly slight possibility and only by massive and overwhelming manipulation bordering on massive conspiracy, such as the brain in a jar example, be an illusion.
    I acknowledge an unlikely situation is possible. You outright ignore that you could ever possibly be wrong, ignoring the evidence. There’s a difference.

    And I’m still asking how God’s special knowledge became special. Sure as hell ain’t the Bible, that thing is young, flawed and written and compiled by mere mortals.

    But…
    Fuck, I swear, I got the mental image of scmike on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
    About seven years ago.

    “I think therefore I am” is not up for debate; that’s pretty much the first and last on basic consciousness. Bertrand Russell’s objection was based on the fact that we don’t always control our thoughts and so even the idea we have that we control any of our own thoughts is vaguely suspect.

    However, I am aware that I am thinking. Or I seem to be aware from my perspective. That might be entirely reactionary, and my conscious thought is derived from memories and architecture. Which it undoubtedly is.

    If consciousness were straightforward, we would have imbued our toasters with it by now. Then again, mine is incredibly temperamental. Maybe it is that simple.

  • p.s.

    Exactly!! So what is your justification for assuming that what is in your mind applies to anything outside of your mind? How does what is in your mind necessarily apply to what is in someone else’s mind? How is what is in your mind lawlike in any way? If logic exist in our minds, then why are there not millions of conflicting laws of logic? If there were, how would you know which ones were logical without an overriding, unchanging standard of logic to tell you that?

    I never said it did. I assume that my senses are valid (as I explained earlier, not blind faith) and I use logic to make conclusions, because that is the only tool I have, as a conscious individual. I can’t speak for other minds, since logically I can only assume their existence and not prove it. However, There are conflicting views of logic. Otherwise there would be no need for the study of logic
    there is only a standard because we say there is a standard.

    How is what exists in your mind an objective standard? What you have provided is the very definition of a purely subjective, arbitrary standard which doesn’t necessarily apply to anything.

    It isn’t. As I said later on, it is subjective. You should read an entire thought before jumping to conclusions.

    Does that definition of math apply in all places and at all times, or are there times and places where it does not apply?

    All I can say is that my concept of math exists within my mind, and no matter where/when my consciousness is, it cannot change by definition. again, talking about math, not physics.

    Sure it does. It exists in the mind of God, and therefore applies absolutely and universally. If you disagree, tell me when and where the laws of mathematics do not apply and how you know that for certain.

    well since I don’t believe in god that’s kind of a useless statement for me. I dont see how that would make math not be valid in my mind at any time/place.

    I have asked for your justification for knowledge in your worldview. Until you provide it, I am free to entertain myself anyway I like.

    Besides, addressing ‘points’ from those who can’t know or prove anything in their worldview seems like a fruitless endeavor, as how could they know or prove whether the points have been addressed or not, or that they have even made any to begin with?

    You are free to think however you want! that is the beauty of free will/free thinking. My justifications is my consciousness and assumptions. Yes that means I say “I don’t know for certain” alot (including the issue of the existence of a god, but I find it unlikely), but there isn’t anything wrong with that. The universe is a beautiful, mysterious place.

    Quick question: did the laws of logic apply foundationally to the reasoning of the ‘real people’ who took the time to lay out those logical axioms and rules, or did they lay them out using reasoning void of logic (i.e. illogical reasoning)?

    If the laws of logic applied foundationally to their reasoning, then they cannot be man-made conventions. If they did not apply foundationally to their reasoning, please explain how illogical reasoning can be used to produce logical laws.

    Well, they start out with “I think therefore I am” and move from there I believe. They define things/ideas, and use those definitions to form axioms, logical proofs, etc. There is a famous mathematician, Bertrand Russell, who had a problem with mathematics because it was built on unprovable, assumed axioms. He worked very hard to fix that.

    Actually, it was atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell who exposed the fallaciousness of Descarte’s argument, as it begs the question. The most anyone could ever logically hope to say is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe, and I would love to see how you get from that to “I exist” without begging the question and without God.

    Oh hey! you do know Russell! he is fantastic. Actually, He didn’t have a problem with the whole “I think therefore I am” bit, He had a problem with descarte’s proof of god, which is circular reasoning. I find it hilarious that you are bringing this up. :D

    No, you just BELIEVE you do. Huge difference.

    um, no. I am using my consciousness, so i know that it must exist in some form. I can’t prove this to you, and I can’t prove that my physical body exists.

    ————————————————–
    post 2:

    And let me guess, this is another conclusion you formed using senses and reasoning which you have sensed and reasoned are valid, right?

    no… if I say the idea of philosophical concepts exist within my own mind, then there is no need for the outside world to be involved.

    Naturally I disagree with your assessment of my argument, but we can discuss that once you provide YOUR justification for knowledge and the absolute standard of logic by which you call any argument fallacious in your worldview. I won’t hold my breath.

    already did, see above. Tell me what your real argument is now.

    Well, I am glad to see that you have abandoned your atheism. Perhaps you’d care to explain, though, how your ability to contradict yourself accounts for the certainty of knowledge?

    I’m just pretending to be atheist to test people’s faith. And I wouldn’t be very omnipotent if I couldn’t contradict myself, no would I? Now, do you believe I’m God, and accept my son as your savior? I’ll let you into heaven if you do.
    ————————————————–
    Sorry it took me so long to respond; I do have a life outside of the internets. And it’s the weekend! Went to the beach, got my hairs cut, went out for sushi with my boy, etc. Hooray for enjoying life! I’m going to go hang out with my friends and not go to church today. Hope you have a fun-filled day!

  • jacob

    woo victory!
    (for the reasonable position that atheism and theism are both mostly fine with the justification of knowledge and logic)

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    Since you still haven’t provided a logical justification for the existence of knowledge in your worldview, I guess this comment from you will have to do:

    I asked (regarding your position on the existence of logic): “How is what exists in your mind an objective standard?”

    You replied:

    It isn’t. As I said later on, it is subjective.

    Well, why didn’t you say so! Since we are using subjective standards of logic, I posit my own subjective standard which says that all of your arguments are fallacious while all of mine are sound and that those who argue as you do are being irrational. The best part is: since this standard exists in my mind and is self-evident to me, it is necessarily valid (by your own admission).

    If you are truly intellectually honest and live in accordance with your professed beliefs, you should have no problem with having your arguments defeated in that way. I will be expecting your formal concession of the debate shortly….

    I’m just pretending to be atheist to test people’s faith.

    ….Wow, that was fast! I accept your concession and agree with you that atheists are pretenders who prefer to live by faith (as that has been my point all along). QED

    And I wouldn’t be very omnipotent if I couldn’t contradict myself, no would I?

    It seems that in the process of declaring yourself to be omnipotent and omniscient, you FORGOT to answer the question. Here, I’ll simplify it for you: how does your ability to be omnipotent and not omnipotent, as well as omniscient and not omniscient at the same time and in the same way give anyone (including yourself) certainty of anything? Have fun with that one!

    See ya around P.S.! I have been and will continue praying for you.

  • jacob

    although I ought to add that this:

    Bertrand Russell [argued that] the most anyone could ever logically hope to say is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe

    is true

  • jacob

    hey scmike,

    ‘Since you still haven’t provided a logical justification for the existence of knowledge in your worldview’

    neither have you – using divine revelation just sets you off on a (vicious) infinite regress: how do you know whatever has been revealed to you is true? revelation? how do you know that revelation about the revelation is true?

    also you still havent given any details about your revelations about the proposition 2+2=4, nor have you given any explanation or elucidation about what it would mean for 2+2=4 to be true everywhere, or just in some places so your ‘in ALL places at ALL times’ arguments has no bite because the question doesn’t make any sense.

    also i think your gratuitous QEDs are somewhat mistaken since nothing you’ve said so far leaves you in a better position than a non-christian regarding problems in epistemology :)

    all the best,
    jacob

  • p.s.

    Since you still haven’t provided a logical justification for the existence of knowledge in your worldview

    how many times do I need to repeat myself? My “worldview” is based on my awareness of my own consciousness and assumptions that my senses can be trusted. again, assumptions do not equal faith, I cannot take them to be absolutely certain. You have yet to provide yours.

    Well, why didn’t you say so! Since we are using subjective standards of logic, I posit my own subjective standard which says that all of your arguments are fallacious while all of mine are sound and that those who argue as you do are being irrational. The best part is: since this standard exists in my mind and is self-evident to me, it is necessarily valid (by your own admission).

    I look forward to hearing your arguments, if you ever actually post them. The thing about logic and debate is that alot of very smart people have discussed the merits of using these pre-discussed logical techniques to make arguments. Its how we comunicate, and how we discuss ideas. Yes they are subjective, but that doesn’t make them useless. If you don’t want to follow these guidelines, I’m not really sure how to even have a debate with you. Not that I don’t want to, I just don’t see how its possible. Maybe if you described your “new” logic?

    And I don’t *need* to accept anything you say as valid. You can say it’s valid for you, but don’t assume I will simply take your (rather silly) arguments on your dubious authority.

    ….Wow, that was fast! I accept your concession and agree with you that atheists are pretenders who prefer to live by faith (as that has been my point all along). QED

    Um, I’m sorry human, but not all atheists are hiding as God. Glad that you accept me as God though, although I don’t appreciate that tone, young man!

    It seems that in the process of declaring yourself to be omnipotent and omniscient, you FORGOT to answer the question. Here, I’ll simplify it for you: how does your ability to be omnipotent and not omnipotent, as well as omniscient and not omniscient at the same time and in the same way give anyone (including yourself) certainty of anything? Have fun with that one!

    Ah, I see you are using Greg’s argument that my existence is a paradox to argue against my Omnipotence and Omniscience. Since you failed to come up with a suitable rebuttal, I’ll help you out: I walk with my children in human form when I chose (not omnipotent and not omniscient) and I exercise my devine authority when I am needed (omnipotent and omniscient). It saddens me that you have resorted to the stratagem of heathens, and I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    Don’t really care about the whole prayer thing. How you choose to waste your time is no concern of mine and it obviously doesn’t affect me in any way, although I do find your tone rather condescending. Incidentally, did you manage to read through my other points? You seem to have cherry-picked my quotes in a rather pitiful attempt at sarcasm.

  • p.s.

    Bertrand Russell [argued that] the most anyone could ever logically hope to say is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe

    ah but that means my consciousness would exist in some form, since I am aware of “my own” thoughts. It’s impossible to know for sure where they originate from (some comunal consciousness, a compter, whatever is beyond my imagination) but it is there in some form. I love Bertrand Russell, and I can’t help but think he would be rather offended to see scmike use his (misquoted) arguments to justify the existence of a god. Sorry if this is redundant, I just wanted to clarify my thoughts :)

  • jacob

    yeah fortunately for russell I don’t think his point here does support scmike’s argument :) You’re right that we’d normally think that there must be some THING doing the thinking that is going on, but Russell’s point is that if we strictly adhere to Descartes’s rules then we can’t get any further than saying ‘there is thinking’

  • p.s.

    Jacob:
    but in order to be aware that “there is thinking” doesn’t that mean that our consciousness must be a part of that thinking? I thought Russell’s argument was that we couldn’t make any claims about the concept of “self” as it is commonly understood. so “I think therefore I am” would turn into “thinking exists, and my *perceived* self is a part of it (or contributes to it)”

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    I said (to P.S.): ‘Since you still haven’t provided a logical justification for the existence of knowledge in your worldview’

    You responded:

    neither have you – using divine revelation just sets you off on a (vicious) infinite regress: how do you know whatever has been revealed to you is true? revelation? how do you know that revelation about the revelation is true?

    Let me simplify this for you: Jacob, is it possible that an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us so that we can know them with certainty? If so, then I have at least a possible avenue to certainty (knowledge) in my worldview, whereas you have admitted to having none.

    If it is your position that it is not possible for an omnipotent, omniscient God to do this, on what grounds do you deny the possibility, and how do you know for certain that your objection is true?

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    You said earlier (regarding the nature of logic):

    It isn’t. As I said later on, it is subjective.

    I responded: “Well, why didn’t you say so! Since we are using subjective standards of logic, I posit my own subjective standard which says that all of your arguments are fallacious while all of mine are sound and that those who argue as you do are being irrational. The best part is: since this standard exists in my mind and is self-evident to me, it is necessarily valid (by your own admission).

    If you are truly intellectually honest and live in accordance with your professed beliefs, you should have no problem with having your arguments defeated in that way.

    You replied:

    And I don’t *need* to accept anything you say as valid. You can say it’s valid for you, but don’t assume I will simply take your (rather silly) arguments on your dubious authority.

    Well, so much for your intellectual honesty and living in accordance with your professed beliefs (i.e internal consistency). Knew it!!

    Now, just to make your inconsistency more apparent: by what non-subjective logical standard are my arguments ‘silly’? How do you account for that standard? Why does it necessarily apply to my argument? If it doesn’t necessarily apply to my argument, then who cares?

    I asked (for the second time): “how does your ability to be omnipotent and not omnipotent, as well as omniscient and not omniscient at the same time and in the same way give anyone (including yourself) certainty of anything?”

    You did not answer the question. Well?

    P.S. P.S, perhaps you can also provide the objective revelation that supports your claim? It should be accessible to all, comport with reality, make sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, and be iinternally consistent (actually, looks like you’ve already blown that one). Oh well.

  • p.s.

    Since jacob helped me out, I’ll go ahead and add my 2 cents. :D

    Jacob, is it possible that an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us so that we can know them with certainty? If so, then I have at least a possible avenue to certainty (knowledge) in my worldview, whereas you have admitted to having none.

    no. What was your “avenue to certainty?” why are you certain? how did god tell you of his existence?

    If it is your position that it is not possible for an omnipotent, omniscient God to do this, on what grounds do you deny the possibility, and how do you know for certain that your objection is true?

    How would god convey his message to us? It must either be through our senses or by inserting a thought into our brains.
    We already established that senses cannot be trusted completely, and that we only assume them to be true (again, not the same as belief. we do not need to believe something to assume it)
    if god gave us a thought, how would we know that it was god’s thought and not our own? there would be no objective way to know.

    this is why faith is so important in religions; in order to believe unquestioningly in god you must either take authority from your senses (via reading the bible, hearing someone preach, for some reason ‘seeing god’ in a beautiful landscape-something I will never understand) or a voice in your head. None of that can *logically* give you the ability to say you know god exists in absolute certainty.
    science is different because you will hardly ever hear a scientist say they know anything for sure, unless you are in a high school science class or someone has simply become so exacerbated with you that they just want the conversation to be over :D

  • p.s.

    If you are truly intellectually honest and live in accordance with your professed beliefs, you should have no problem with having your arguments defeated in that way.

    woah! bold and italicized! easy there pal. And all I said that the logical rules I use apply to me, I didn’t say you had to follow them. Just like I don’t have to follow yours, because, well, you haven’t told me what they are.

    Well, so much for your intellectual honesty and living in accordance with your professed beliefs (i.e internal consistency). Knew it!!

    Now, just to make your inconsistency more apparent: by what non-subjective logical standard are my arguments ‘silly’? How do you account for that standard? Why does it necessarily apply to my argument? If it doesn’t necessarily apply to my argument, then who cares?

    yes, I live in accordence to my way of thinking, not yours. why would yours hold any merit for me?

    and you are absolutely right, it is subjective. I think you are silly, and I think your arguments are silly. That is obviously an opinion, not a fact. Didn’t think I would have to explain that … :/

    I asked (for the second time): “how does your ability to be omnipotent and not omnipotent, as well as omniscient and not omniscient at the same time and in the same way give anyone (including yourself) certainty of anything?”

    You did not answer the question. Well?

    um… I did? this is what I said:

    Ah, I see you are using Greg’s argument that my existence is a paradox to argue against my Omnipotence and Omniscience. Since you failed to come up with a suitable rebuttal, I’ll help you out: I walk with my children in human form when I chose (not omnipotent and not omniscient) and I exercise my devine authority when I am needed (omnipotent and omniscient). It saddens me that you have resorted to the stratagem of heathens, and I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    Can anyone else show this poor sinner the error of his ways?

    P.S. P.S, perhaps you can also provide the objective revelation that supports your claim? It should be accessible to all, comport with reality, make sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, and be iinternally consistent (actually, looks like you’ve already blown that one). Oh well.

    ok, not-God version of me is back, and I’m going to go ahead and fire that one back at ya: provide us with the objective revelation to support your claim that there is a god. It should be accessible to all, comport with reality, make sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities,(not sure what you mean by this so I’m leaving it out) and be internally consistent

    And btw, I have provided my world view multiple times, and I believe you said something along the lines of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”
    So show me! don’t be such a tease ;)

  • jacob

    ‘woah! bold and italicized! easy there pal.’
    hehe :)

    scmike:
    sure, it seems possible that god could have revealed certain truths to you and made them feel true – but then once you believe in divine revelation, how do you know it’s not a demon giving you this and deceiving you, or that god isn’t necessarily good and might be deceiving you?

    all the best,
    jacob

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    I asked: “Jacob, is it possible that an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us so that we can know them with certainty?”

    You said: no.

    Then I guess I don’t need to tell you what that does to this claim of yours: ‘Also, I am god. you know I am god because I told you I am god and I am omniscient.’

    Now, why could an omnipotent, omniscient God ABSOLUTELY not reveal things to us so that we can be certain of them? How do you know for certain that your reasoning about this (or anything) is valid (especially since you are using a subjective standard of logic to make these determinations)?

    It must either be through our senses or by inserting a thought into our brains.

    Really? How did you receive the knowledge that it MUST be via one of these two methods with absolutely no other possibilities? How you know for certain it’s true?

    if god gave us a thought, how would we know that it was god’s thought and not our own? there would be no objective way to know.

    Is it objectively true that there would be no objective way to know this? If so, how do you account for objective truth in your purely subjective worldview? If not, this is just another baseless assertion which could be false for all you know.

    this is why faith is so important in religions; in order to believe unquestioningly in god you must either take authority from your senses (via reading the bible, hearing someone preach, for some reason ‘seeing god’ in a beautiful landscape-something I will never understand) or a voice in your head.

    Well, I’ve never heard voices, but is it your position that ALL knowledge must be received via our senses or a voice in our head? If so, where have you sensed THAT??

    If this is just a voice in YOUR head telling you this, how do you know for certain that what is has told you is objectively true? Also, If this is the case, I’d like to recommend a good mental hospital for you. Let me know.

    None of that can *logically* give you the ability to say you know god exists in absolute certainty.

    Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: your argument is that you can’t know anything with absolute certainty, and you are absolutely certain that I can’t either!? I heard of an 8 yr. old who recognized the absurdity of that argument, P.S. The fact that you cannot (read: will not) is mind-boggling (I know why though).

    science is different because you will hardly ever hear a scientist say they know anything for sure,

    Are you sure about that? You crack me up, Keep those contradictions coming, please!! :D

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    And all I said that the logical rules I use apply to me, I didn’t say you had to follow them. Just like I don’t have to follow yours, because, well, you haven’t told me what they are.

    So you do have to follow my logical rules because I have told you what they are? I agree with that.

    I said: “Well, so much for your intellectual honesty and living in accordance with your professed beliefs (i.e internal consistency). Knew it!!

    Now, just to make your inconsistency more apparent: by what non-subjective logical standard are my arguments ‘silly’? How do you account for that standard? Why does it necessarily apply to my argument? If it doesn’t necessarily apply to my argument, then who cares?”

    You replied:

    yes, I live in accordence to my way of thinking, not yours.

    So, no, you don’t live in accordance to your way of thinking, but you do live in accordance to mine. I also agree with that.

    you are absolutely right, it is subjective.

    I’ll let that one speak for itself! Thanks!

    I think you are silly, and I think your arguments are silly. That is obviously an opinion, not a fact. Didn’t think I would have to explain that … :/

    Hey, I’m glad you did. It’s always helpful for those who may read this in the future to see you admit that you are arguing from opinion, which makes your position basesless and arbitrary. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that arbitrariness is one form of irrationality. Thanks for the admission!

    I asked (for the second time): “how does your ability to be omnipotent and not omnipotent, as well as omniscient and not omniscient at the same time and in the same way give anyone (including yourself) certainty of anything?”

    You responded (again):

    Ah, I see you are using Greg’s argument that my existence is a paradox to argue against my Omnipotence and Omniscience. Since you failed to come up with a suitable rebuttal, I’ll help you out: I walk with my children in human form when I chose (not omnipotent and not omniscient) and I exercise my devine authority when I am needed (omnipotent and omniscient). It saddens me that you have resorted to the stratagem of heathens, and I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to spoon feed you at this point P.S., but just so your dodging is more apparent, I will ask you once more: HOW does your ability to contradict yourself (and to avoid ambiguity on your part, I’ll add: and to be deceptive) account for anyone’s certainty (including your own).

    I know you won’t answer this, as it is devastating to your professed position.

    I said: P.S. P.S, perhaps you can also provide the objective revelation that supports your claim? It should be accessible to all, comport with reality, make sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, and be iinternally consistent (actually, looks like you’ve already blown that one). Oh well.

    You replied:

    ok, not-God version of me is back, and I’m going to go ahead and fire that one back at ya: provide us with the objective revelation to support your claim that there is a god. It should be accessible to all, comport with reality, make sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities,(not sure what you mean by this so I’m leaving it out) and be internally consistent

    No problem. If you want to provide your contact info, I’ll send you a copy of it, or, if you prefer, you can just go here: http://bibleresources.bible.com/bible_kjv.php. Now, where is yours?

    And btw, I have provided my world view multiple times, and I believe you said something along the lines of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”
    So show me! don’t be such a tease

    What I asked for was your worldviews justification for the existence of knowledge. So far, you have claimed that you use senses and reasoning which you sense and reason are valid, along with subjective rules of logic to form uncertain opinions, and that your ability to be contradictory and uncertain accounts for certainty (while denying the existence of certainty). That’s hardly an account for knowledge, P.S. You are free to keep positing those types of claims, though, as I enjoy a little chuckle now and then!

    Seriously though, you are doing wonders for the cause of Christianity in substantiating my arguments. I am genuinely grateful for that! In fact, keep it up!! :)

  • p.s.

    Then I guess I don’t need to tell you what that does to this claim of yours: ‘Also, I am god. you know I am god because I told you I am god and I am omniscient.’

    I am God by your logic, and you must believe that (because I am God and I am telling you so). I am obviously providing the atheist POV to test your faith.

    Now, why could an omnipotent, omniscient God ABSOLUTELY not reveal things to us so that we can be certain of them? How do you know for certain that your reasoning about this (or anything) is valid (especially since you are using a subjective standard of logic to make these determinations)?

    Here is my logic, as straightforward as I can make it:

    I am aware of my consciousness. (the only thing I can say for sure)
    I am experiencing sense which may or may not be true
    I am using logic which may or may not be flawed
    If I assume my senses are true, I can make statements about science (a human concept based on logic)
    Science tells us that at our current state we all have the same biology and that we cannot comunicate telepathically.
    You are human.
    Therefore, you cannot communicate with a being telepathically, and you must rely on the same potentially misleading sense-data and potentially flawed reasoning.
    Therefore, you cannot claim you know god exists as an absolute, undeniable fact.

    Please tell me which of my assumptions are incorrect.
    Please tell me why you know god exits.
    please explain your “world view”

    Well, I’ve never heard voices, but is it your position that ALL knowledge must be received via our senses or a voice in our head? If so, where have you sensed THAT??

    see above. what else can I rely on? perhaps if you offered me a new way of collecting data I could use that, but so far, you haven’t.

    If this is just a voice in YOUR head telling you this, how do you know for certain that what is has told you is objectively true? Also, If this is the case, I’d like to recommend a good mental hospital for you. Let me know.

    by that logic everyone who ever thinks needs to be in a mental hospital. Is that really the argument you want to make?

    And I haven’t really said anything is objectively true, stop putting words in my mouth. My logic mirrors the logic applied by many great thinkers because I have read their arguments and decided they were worth holding on to. (note: this is obviously an opinion, albeit a very strong one) Yes it could be flawed, but I have yet to hear of a competing logical system that makes sense.

    Also remember what jacob and I were talking about: I only argue that we can be absolutely certain that “thinking exists, and my *perceived* self is a part of it (or contributes to it)”
    everything else is based on assumptions, and cannot be taken as objectively true.

    Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: your argument is that you can’t know anything with absolute certainty, and you are absolutely certain that I can’t either!? I heard of an 8 yr. old who recognized the absurdity of that argument, P.S. The fact that you cannot (read: will not) is mind-boggling (I know why though).

    so you have just invalidated:

    P1 all men are mortal

    P2 Socrates is a man

    C Socrates is mortal.

    would you care to provide a new logical theory?

    Are you planning on addressing my other points at a later time? or are you just not reading my responses?

  • scmike

    Jacob,

    sure, it seems possible that god could have revealed certain truths to you

    Thank you for you intellectual honesty here, Jacob. It is refreshing after dealing with P.S.’s comments.

    Again, what this means for the sake of this discussion is that I have at least a possible avenue to certainty in my worldview, while you have admitted to having none. The problem is, we both claim to know things for certain, but only one of us is able to account for that knowledge because you choose to deny the only possible source of knowledge (i.e. the God of the Bible), which reduces your position to absurdity.

    and made them feel true-but then once you believe in divine revelation, how do you know it’s not a demon giving you this and deceiving you, or that god isn’t necessarily good and might be deceiving you?

    We are not discussing ‘belief’ here, but the certainty of knowledge/truth, so the question is irrelevant (given your admission that God could reveal things to us to be true).

    Nevertheless, the answer to your question is: because God has revealed to us for certain that this is not the case. If you are consistent with your intellectual honesty above (which I trust that you will be), you will be forced to admit the possibility that God could reveal that to us so that we can know it with certainty as well.

  • p.s.

    Thanks for addressing my other arguments, I retract my previous complaint.

    So you do have to follow my logical rules because I have told you what they are? I agree with that.

    you are making assumptions about me that are incorrect. I might possibly accept your logical rules, if you explained them and I judged them to be a “better” way of learning about the universe. That doesn’t mean I will blindly accept what you tell me as fact.

    So, no, you don’t live in accordance to your way of thinking, but you do live in accordance to mine. I also agree with that.

    I honestly have no idea how you are making that claim… moving on…

    Hey, I’m glad you did. It’s always helpful for those who may read this in the future to see you admit that you are arguing from opinion, which makes your position basesless and arbitrary. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that arbitrariness is one form of irrationality. Thanks for the admission!

    No I’m arguing that my opinion of you is arbitrary. My argument is not based on you, get over yourself :p

    I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to spoon feed you at this point P.S., but just so your dodging is more apparent, I will ask you once more: HOW does your ability to contradict yourself (and to avoid ambiguity on your part, I’ll add: and to be deceptive) account for anyone’s certainty (including your own).

    I am God, I can contradict myself if I say I can. I am certain of that, and therefore you must believe it on my authority. Stop using that atheist’s logic to argue against me.

    Incidentally, I am trying very hard to answer all your arguments. I don’t appreciate the implication that I haven’t.

    No problem. If you want to provide your contact info, I’ll send you a copy of it, or, if you prefer, you can just go here: http://bibleresources.bible.com/bible_kjv.php. Now, where is yours?

    already told you mine, don’t know why you think it has changed… and you know the contents of the bible by using your senses, which we established could potentially be false. If you say we should absolutely trust are senses, then you must absolutely trust science, a product of our senses. science contradicts the bible, and therefore, our senses contradict the bible. If you still insist that we take the bible as absolute truth, then we cannot trust our senses, and around we go again.

    What I asked for was your worldviews justification for the existence of knowledge. So far, you have claimed that you use senses and reasoning which you sense and reason are valid, along with subjective rules of logic to form uncertain opinions, and that your ability to be contradictory and uncertain accounts for certainty (while denying the existence of certainty). That’s hardly an account for knowledge, P.S. You are free to keep positing those types of claims, though, as I enjoy a little chuckle now and then!

    I have only made one claim of knowledge (see above). everything else is based on potentially false senses and potentially flawed reasoning. However, I find these to be my best methods of learning. If it helps I will say that I’m only fairly certain that we cannot be certain. Which I am also only fairly certain about, and so on. Like I said, the universe is a beautiful, mysterious place.

  • p.s.

    Scmike,
    I am not saying that you shouldn’t believe that God exists. I’m only saying that you cannot prove God exists using the established rules of logic. If you say that you-you, personally, and not in a way that is relavent to others-know god exists because of your faith, thats fine, and we have nothing more to argue.

    just thought I’d offer an olive branch :)

  • scmike

    P.S.,

    I said: “Then I guess I don’t need to tell you what that does to this claim of yours: ‘Also, I am god. you know I am god because I told you I am god and I am omniscient.”

    You replied:

    I am God by your logic, and you must believe that (because I am God and I am telling you so).

    Um, I hate to break this to you (in the midst of your delusion and all) but you are again confusing belief with knowledge. Knowledge is certain by definition, while belief is not.

    Perhaps now would be a good time to expose you for what you really are: please posit something that you know for certain which could be false.

    I asked: “Now, why could an omnipotent, omniscient God ABSOLUTELY not reveal things to us so that we can be certain of them? How do you know for certain that your reasoning about this (or anything) is valid (especially since you are using a subjective standard of logic to make these determinations)?”

    You said:

    Here is my logic, as straightforward as I can make it:

    I am aware of my consciousness. (the only thing I can say for sure)

    Perhaps you should lay out your argument in P1, P2, C format, starting with the premise that consciousness exists and ending with the conclusion that ‘I’ exist, so we can see if it is valid?

    Also, are you sure that this is the only thing you can say for sure? If so, you are refuted, as that would make two things. If not, then you are also (yes, again) refuted, as it could be false. Thought you should know.

    Science tells us that at our current state we all have the same biology and that we cannot comunicate telepathically.

    Where have you personally observed with your senses that we cannot EVER do this (or do you accept this on blind faith)?

    You are human.
    Therefore, you cannot communicate with a being telepathically, and you must rely on the same potentially misleading sense-data and potentially flawed reasoning.

    Well, since you reached this conclusion using potentially flawed reasoning and misleading sense-data, how do you know that it is valid?

    Not that I expect any intellectual honesty from you at this point, P.S., but just for laughs, please explain why an omniscient, omnipotent God could not reveal things to us wholly apart from our senses and reasoning so that we can know them with certainty (and don’t forget to tell how you know that for certain).

    Therefore, you cannot claim you know god exists as an absolute, undeniable fact.

    So, I can claim that I know God exists as an absolute, undeniable fact? Now you’re talking! I wholeheartedly agree!

    Please tell me which of my assumptions are incorrect.

    Actually, I think the better question would be: how can any assumption be incorrect in your worldview absent an objective standard of logic? Subjective standards of logic don’t give us correct and incorrect reasoning, as the most you could ever say about any reasoning in your worldview is that it is ‘different’ than yours in your humble opinion. I’ll add this inconsistency to the list for you.

    Please tell me why you know god exits.
    please explain your “world view”

    Why do I know God exists? The same way anyone knows anything—His Divine Revelation (for the umpteenth time). Now, how do you know anything at all?

    I said: “Well, I’ve never heard voices, but is it your position that ALL knowledge must be received via our senses or a voice in our head? If so, where have you sensed THAT??”

    see above.

    Please show me where you have sensed ALL knowledge so that you can know with certainty that it must come through the senses. I’d like to have a look myself.

    perhaps if you offered me a new way of collecting data I could use that, but so far, you haven’t.

    Sorry, I don’t have a new way, just the good ol’ Divine revelation from God that makes any knowledge possible (and which you are arguing in vain against).

    I said: If this is just a voice in YOUR head telling you this, how do you know for certain that what is has told you is objectively true? Also, If this is the case, I’d like to recommend a good mental hospital for you. Let me know.

    by that logic everyone who ever thinks needs to be in a mental hospital.

    Nah, just those who equate ‘thoughts’ with ‘voices’.

    Is that really the argument you want to make?

    If it was, how would you determine whether or not it was valid or invalid according to your subjective standard of logic?

    And I haven’t really said anything is objectively true

    Including that (I can’t believe you did that again!!!)?

    My logic mirrors the logic applied by many great thinkers because I have read their arguments and decided they were worth holding on to.

    So your logical standard is based on blind faith in what you read in a book about other people’s subjective standards of logic which they arbitrarily hold to? Knew it!!

    (note: this is obviously an opinion, albeit a very strong one) Yes it could be flawed, but I have yet to hear of a competing logical system that makes sense.

    What you don’t seem to realize is that ALL subjective standards of logic are necessarily valid and make sense to the one using them. Absent an overriding, unchanging standard, you would have zero basis for calling anyone else’s standard of logic invalid (i.e. illogical).

    By the way, since logic is a product of our brains (according to you), why would we need laws to correct the way brains think, since everyone necessarily thinks the way they do and produces their own self-evident standards? How do you distinguish between valid and invalid standards of logic in your worldview?

    Also remember what jacob and I were talking about: I only argue that we can be absolutely certain that “thinking exists, and my *perceived* self is a part of it (or contributes to it)”

    Alright, the floor is yours: please tell how you can know with absolute certainty that thinking exists and that the senses and reasoning with which you reached this conclusion are valid.

    everything else is based on assumptions, and cannot be taken as objectively true.

    So your statement that ‘everything else is based on assumptions, and cannot be taken as objectively true’ is based on assumption and cannot be taken as objectively true, then?

    I said: “Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: your argument is that you can’t know anything with absolute certainty, and you are absolutely certain that I can’t either!? I heard of an 8 yr. old who recognized the absurdity of that argument, P.S. The fact that you cannot (read: will not) is mind-boggling (I know why though).”

    so you have just invalidated:

    P1 all men are mortal

    P2 Socrates is a man

    C Socrates is mortal.

    Only if you first assume that God could not reveal some things to mortal men such that we can know them with certainty. You’ve already demonstrated first-hand the absurdity which that position leads to.

    However, I would like to know: on what basis do you assume that the Socrate’s argument is valid to begin with (as you could never observe ALL men, nor could you know that the definition of ‘men’ applies anywhere outside of your limited observation and experience)?

    How can any argument be known with certainty to be valid in your worldview, as you have admitted that you evaluate and determine the worthiness of all arguments based upon a subjective standard of logic grounded in personal opinion. I’d really love to hear how you arrive at certainty from personal opinion and an arbitrary standard of logic.

    would you care to provide a new logical theory?

    Depends. What standard of logic do you intend to use to evaluate the theory and to test its logicity—personal opinion? If so, not interested.

    Are you planning on addressing my other points at a later time?

    I see no point in continuing to respond to comments which you have admitted are mere speculation and opinion, as I am interested in discussing what you know and how you claim to know it. So far, you’ve been unable/unwilling to give any logical account as to HOW you can know anything in your worldview (and no, appealing to senses and reasoning which you sense and reason are valid is not logical justification).

    or are you just not reading my responses?

    Oh, I’m reading them and loving them!!

    However, due to time constraints, I will not be responding to any more posts, unless they contain a clear, concise account of how it is possible for you to know things with certainty in your worldview, as I do not have the time or energy to do the mental gymnastics necessary to wade through such illogical monstrosities as this:

    you are absolutely right, it is subjective.

    That is a perfect snapshot of what your arguments have currently been reduced to. If you can’t see the problem with that, then I can’t help you, and am fine with ending this here. Take care. :)

  • p.s.

    I will not be responding to any more posts, unless they contain a clear, concise account of how it is possible for you to know things with certainty in your worldview…

    Well, since nothing I have written so far has met your “standards” I’m not really inclined to waste my time composing something you won’t take seriously. You insist on misrepresenting everything I say, infer things about my statements that are completely false (and when I correct you you somehow claim I am wrong about my own thinking) and it is obvious you aren’t really looking for a debate, since you don’t even seem willing to agree on a logical system on which to base our discussion. Why do you bother posting on an atheist forum? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt-maybe you really want to “save our souls”- but do you really think we haven’t heard these same tired arguments before? Mine aren’t particularly unique-a quick wikipedia search on philosophical skepticism will show you that. If you are actually interested in getting a better representation of some of the philosophical views I have presented, I suggested you brush up on your reading. Cheers,
    -ps

  • jacob

    Dear scmike,
    I’m going to leave the points you raised in discussion with p.s. and others since it’s rather a lot of effort following one argument let alone two! Also because I don’t want it to seem like it’s all one big argument with you against everyone: it certainly seems as though I agree with p.s. and some of your other detractors on many issues but I don’t presume to speak for them on the issues you have raised.

    so, onwards then :)

    You seem to be confusing the issue of knowledge, certainty and fallibility, in the following way:

    I don’t think it is possible for anyone to be infallible, even on a single topic, so when I speak of knowledge and certainty it is with that proviso, i.e. this person knows x or is certain of x but there is NO WAY that a human being in our world could be infallible, it is always possible to be wrong, to make a mistake(sometimes extremely unlikely, such as when we examine simple arguments like the one regarding socrates’s mortality)

    and this applies no matter how certain you feel. You are completely certain there is a god – could you be wrong about this? In your view certainty seems to imply truth, and your assertions of knowledge also are taken to imply truth.

    You also spoke about having a possible justificatory pathway to true knowledge but I would like to know how you think you escape the vicious regress (which I don’t have to worry about since I deny that there is such a thing as divine revelation)
    How would you answer that?

    (I’ve repeated it here so you dont have to scroll through lots of text)

    hey scmike,

    ‘Since you still haven’t provided a logical justification for the existence of knowledge in your worldview’

    neither have you – using divine revelation just sets you off on a (vicious) infinite regress: how do you know whatever has been revealed to you is true? revelation? how do you know that revelation about the revelation is true?

    also you still havent given any details about your revelations about the proposition 2+2=4, nor have you given any explanation or elucidation about what it would mean for 2+2=4 to be true everywhere, or just in some places so your ‘in ALL places at ALL times’ arguments has no bite because the question doesn’t make any sense.

    also i think your gratuitous QEDs are somewhat mistaken since nothing you’ve said so far leaves you in a better position than a non-christian regarding problems in epistemology :)

    all the best,
    jacob

  • jacob

    i’d also like to suggest this article http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/
    stanford has really great articles and as p.s. mentions these are issues people have been dealing with for thousands of years

  • scmike

    A note to those who may be following along with this discussion or reading this at a future date:

    You will notice that my two opponents are continuing to make knowledge claims about a whole lot of things, and that’s just fine. However, I think that it is only proper to remind everyone of what both of their stated positions are regarding the existence of knowledge in their worldview:

    P.S. said:

    And I haven’t really said anything is objectively true (emphasis mine)
    (July 21, 1:07 PM)

    Jacob said:

    I’m not ‘absolutely’ certain about anything.(emphasis also mine)

    (July 15, 2:49 PM)

    I’m sure I don’t need to point out the obvious inconsistency/absurdity of someone continuing to make knowledge claims after they have admitted they can’t know anything, but there it is anyway. Thanks,

    Mike

  • p.s.

    *facepalm*
    there is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” (and yes that is a subjective statement). I think it is a better position than fallaciously claiming to know something for certain.

    For me, any apparent definitive “knowledge claims” I have made were accidental (except for the whole “aware of my own thinking bit… but again, that’s not something I can prove to you), what with me being a fallible human and all.

    Bertrand Russel’s “Problems of philosophy” is another good read, and it’s free now, on amazon and numerous other sites.

    Jacob,
    I think I agree with you too! And your posts seem much more coherent than mine; writing has never been my strong point. I appreciate the skeptical support :D

  • jacob

    *initiate double facepalm*
    did you read my last post?

    1) i don’t think anyone is infallible, or ‘absolutely certain’ in your sense of the word as in ‘so certain that they literally COULD NOT be wrong, or believe something NOT TRUE

    2) I still say people know things and are certain about things (with varying degrees of certainties for beliefs of various degrees of truth and falsity)

    3) I think your definitions and uses of ‘knowing’ and ‘certain’ words is unrealistic and not how we normally use the words

    4)it’s up to you and others to decide whether you want to have a standard beyond anything possible for humans or to give up the knowledge = certainty = truth implications and both
    a) use the words the way we normally do
    b) capture the range of certainties and truthiness we are comfortable dealing with and making decisions with in normal life

    phew long post…
    all the best,
    jacob

  • jacob

    p.s.
    thanks :) – we’re in a weird position, arguing that christians do as badly as everyone else against sceptical arguments, its interesting…
    all the best,
    jacob

  • new member of boot congregation

    in winter i typically wear fashion boots, faux leather with a wedge heel. these do protect me from the evil wetness, but are they merely a false representation of the Boot? because they are made for style rather than protection, will these boots send me to hell? i also wonder about flip flops . . . occasionally, in the rain, i wear flip flops because i feel that no boot is adequate to truly protect me from the evil wetness, and so i succumb to it entirely. what will happen to my Sole? Will the Boot redeem me, or will i be eternally damned?

  • The "Eh" theist

    Hi All,

    I’m back from a wonderful vacation-lots of good music, good fun and wonderful people. It’s nice to be back in familiar surroundings, including this thread where scmike is still telling people what they think and what they meant by what they said.

    It’s also interesting to note that in spite of repeated requests from posters besides myself, he still hasn’t provided any specific means by which he received his revelations, nor has he identified the basis for his certainty that he was not deceived by a demon.

    So what do we have:

    scmike has presented us with a number of propsitions that he treats in an axiomatic fashion-refusing to discuss their veracity, their origin, or their evidence

    He claims to have received revelation about god, and that this revelation is vouchsafed by god, because god is infallible. So someone has told scmike that he (the someone) is god and that scmike can trust this because as god he is infallible. So being god is the proof that is offered for being god.

    Next scmike tells all of us that we have received the same revelation and are lying if we deny it. Since I haven’t recevied this revelation before, then scmike must be the source of my revelation and since he’s told me that this revelation is true without providing any evidence beyond his saying so, then scmike meets the very criteria he’s laid out for god.

    Since scmike claims god is other than he, and yet scmike has met the same evidence test that he mentioned regarding god’s identity, can a person conclude that scmike’s test for god’s identity is flawed?

    if one draws this conclusion, then the possibility that scmike has been deceived by a demon claiming to be god is a real possibility and his assertions cannot be accepted as axioms.

    So this leaves us with scmike insisting that his assertions form the propositional basis for debate when one can rationally draw the conclusion that his methodology is deeply flawed.

    Since he offers no evidence of this revelation or god’s existence beyond his own assertions which may be very flawed, it may be very reasonable for individuals being subjected to his assertions to insist on a different type of evidence for these assertions.

    What scmike needs to decide is whether he wishes to continue playing with himself in his self-constructed playhouse of questionable assertions or get beyond himself as the source of authority for his “axioms” and provide some evidence for his claims that is neither self-referential (being god proves god is god) nor too generic to interact with (god reveals himself in lots and lots of ways).

    With these parting thoughts for posterity (and as a warning to those who my be tempted to drop trou and let scmike fiddle a little) I’ll bid this thread adieu. A wonderful rest of the summer to everyone.

  • scmike

    The “Eh” theist,

    Welcome back! That sounds like some trip! Amazing how it worked out such that you were able to bail at precisely the time you were being pressed to justify your ability to know things in your worldview and then return just in time to post a lengthy diatribe at the very end of this thread, without ever providing ANY justification for the numerous knowledge claims you’ve made therein. Looks like you owe your travel agent BIIIG time! :D

  • apathetic

    Wow. This has been quite a read. I would like to thank everyone for this exercise in logic. I particularly want to thank scmike, who is obviously an atheist, giving everyone a dose of logic lessons and practice with dealing with irrationality. As he says, priceless. :)

    As many others have already shown, my personal problem with Christianity, as well as other religions, is not those who want to argue logically, it’s with those who want to kill me and people like me for being different and not agreeing. That’s what it’s all about for me. Religion is “revealed” and atheism is not based on anything more substantial. So what? There are plenty of mathematical “proofs” that it is better to be a believer… totally leaving you cold. Most believers are purely based on the fear of everlasting death and greed in wanting to live forever. If somebody wants to do good based on a fairy tale, that’s great for me. Just keep your exclusivity away from the weapons.

    So, to be clear, in case an actual religionist was reading… it’s the killing of Jews, etc., pagans, homosexuals, queers in general, Indigenous people worldwide, anyone who looks or thinks differently, etc., in the name of your fairy tale, that is the problem.

    Thanks again for the meditation. I hope scmike will be back for more “proof” of the futility of religion. You’re doing a great job. :)

  • http://gatoclonado.blogspot.com Cef Vil

    Ok, here goes mine:

    “Infidel worshipper of the shoe wear, you will be grilled and served in tartar sauce in the Holy Paella of Lord Shrimp!

    All of you infidels, Feel the Shrimp and be saved!

    No boot will save you when the Sea comes, but the Shrimp will! Feel it and ascend to the superior Crustacean Form!”

    Haha, it’s a refreshing exercise to create a mythology, I thought about the incarnation of calm perfection in the form of a shrimp and thus I’ve decided to make him my god and pray for an eternity of fresh seafood.

    Maybe the best way to counter the legend of Zombie Jew and Invisible Old Man in the Clouds is to create an even better or more surreal legend.

    Oh well, when all logical and rational arguments fail put your faith in the Shrimp and you shall prevail!

    .C.

  • Scott

    the atheist doth protest too much, methinks

  • Evan

    I think the only thing you could have done better would have been to point at the preacher and say to the audience. “See even this young man follows the way of the boot, look at those beautiful creations!“.

  • mattg

    “Could it be just by chance that The Boot’s skyward opening is a perfectly suitable place to deposit money? I say unto you, NAY! Do not make a mockery of The Boot’s design by withholding your money!”

  • bismarket

    Lo! On the first day there was the boot….& i was given it!    I don’t have a job.


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