Who Said the Line About Putting a Hand on the Bible and Swearing to Uphold the Constitution…?

Here’s Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims yesterday trying to stop a bill that would allow state-run health insurance exchanges to not cover abortion:

“As a reminder, Mr. Speaker, I do believe this has been forgotten entirely by many of my colleagues today: Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. We did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.

Awesome line. Very quotable.

But he’s not the first person to have said it.

Here’s former Maryland State Senator Jamin Raskin (prior to getting elected) at a same-sex marriage hearing in the state in 2006:

“People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don’t put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible,” he said.

Awesome line. Very quotable.

But he’s not the first person to have said it.

Here’s former Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. in 1997 speaking out against a resolution that supported a Ten-Commandments-displaying judge:

“When I came here, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. I didn’t put my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

Awesome line. Very quotable.

Where does this chain end? I’m not really sure. I’m just saying we should be cautious about attributing this line to Sims or Raskin or any one person in particular when it’s hard to know who said it first.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • baal

    I’d prefer it if all holders of secular offices swore on the constitution to uphold the constitution.

    • Kahomono

      Actually I’m OK with the hand-on-the-bible thing.

      If a believer – who has a 100% right to be a believer – is placing his hand on the most sacred object, it means to me he’s prepared to fully engage his conscience and moral principles in the defense of the Constitution.

      I don’t know how to have a problem with that.

      • Question Everything

        I guess my issue would be like this.. let’s use Pokemon as an example.

        I place my hand on the text that says Electric type Pokemon are the one true correct Pokemon, and swear that I will uphold another set of rules based on that.

        What about the Water type Pokemon? Do they think they’ll get a fair shake from this person, who just said that based on their belief in the Electric type group, they’ll uphold the law? Why would they?

        It seems like most of the time, when a gov’t official swears on their local holy book, they seem to favor that holy group, to the exclusion of others.

        • Kahomono

          I think we need to give them the benefit of the doubt (until they show we shouldn’t) that they actually know what the Constitution says.

          • Question Everything

            Except we can show a plethora that choose their holy book over the Constitution that they swore to uphold with their hand on their holy book. Bachmann comes to mind, as do Gohmert and others. Obviously swearing on their personal holy book that they swear to believe in didn’t help.

            • Kahomono

              Those people didn’t go bad because of swearing on a Bible.

              • Question Everything

                So.. their private source of moral compass isn’t what they claim? So asking one to put their hand on what they claim is their source of moral compass is pointless?

                • Kahomono

                  Well, I don’t consider Bachmann or Gohmert sincere in their religious beliefs. I think people like that are mostly pandering to the rubes who elected them, cynically posing as True Believers to maintain the electoral advantage that gives them.

                  Not that it matters much, True Believers would probably behave almost completely the same, which is unacceptable.

                  What I don’t think either of them ever intended to do was to uphold the Constitution. Remember, the main function of most provisions of the Constitution is to limit some power, not concentrate it. Bachmann and Gohmert and other such planaria are about concentrating their power, and they will pound the Bobble hard as long as it works.

                  But something else that I have learned is, if someone consistently does the RIGHT thing, celebrate that. Even if in his heart of hearts he’s doing it for [what I consider] the wrong reason….

                • Question Everything

                  I can’t say who is a True Christian or not, so having their hand on a Bible means nothing to me.. and based on the results of those like I listed, and many others, it means nothing to them, either.

                  Having their hand on the Constitution would be more impressive to me, personally, since their claimed religion apparently isn’t enough. At least the document founding our gov’t applies to every citizen, however.

        • Kahomono

          I think my point is, whatever the private source of their moral compass and their conscience, it’s OK with me as long as it looks like it’s working correctly.

      • NickDB

        Would totally agree with you, if the law didn’t come down to interpretation a lot of the time.

    • scmike

      Actually, Baal, there are no true ‘secular offices’. All who are in positions of authority are equally accountable to God for what they do with that authority and whether or not they use it to honor Him.

      • viddy_well

        In the United States of America, we elect our leaders to represent the people. They can honor non-existent entities in their own time.

        • scmike

          “”In the United States of America, we elect our leaders to represent the people.””

          And those leaders are ultimately accountable to God for what they do with their authority and whether or not they use it to honor Him.

          “”They can honor non-existent entities in their own time.””

          I seem to remember a well known atheist saying something about claims made without evience being able to be dismissed without evidence, or something like that. You should look it up.

          • viddy_well

            I seem to remember a well known atheist saying something about claims made without evience being able to be dismissed without evidence, or something like that. You should look it up.

            It was Hitchens: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

            Why do you not apply it to yourself as well? You’re making a positive truth claim, that the Christian God exists, without any evidence. I’ll change my original wording, since it was admittedly too firm: They can honor entities of which we have no evidence for in their own time.

            How would you feel if our Representatives used their office to honor any of the countless other gods, ghosts, aliens, etc. humanity has invented?

            • scmike

              “”Why do you not apply it to yourself as well? You’re making a positive truth claim, that the Christian God exists, without any evidence.””

              Actually, Viddy, your precommitment to the conepts of truth and evidence are evidence for God’s existence. ‘Truth’ is certain by definition and ‘evidence’ alludes to ‘proof’, which requires the existence of knowledge (also certain by definition) and absolute laws of logic. None of these concepts can be accounted for apart from Him.

              “” I’ll change my original wording, since it was admittedly too firm: They can honor entities of which we have no evidence for in their own time.””

              See above.

              “”How would you feel if our Representatives used their office to honor any of the countless other gods, ghosts, aliens, etc. humanity has invented?””
              I would feel like they have abused their office in dishonoring God and are in big trouble when they stand before Him.

              see more0

              • http://www.facebook.com/roger.bauman Roger Bauman

                Being a public servant doesn’t mean you spend your time polishing Thor’s apple so he won’t kick your ass after you die.

                • scmike

                  I agree, Roger. Thor doesn’t exist.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  Substitute “God” for “Thor” in what Roger said and you will have any equally valid conclusion.

                • scmike

                  See my above response to you Michael. Thanks for the continued support! ; )

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  There is no support for your ideas here. There is only everyone explaining why they are wrong.

                • scmike

                  Simply stating they are wrong is a far cry from explaining why that is the case, Michael. As of yet, I have not seen anyone provide their competing account for abstract, universal, invariants in any of these posts. You live as if logic necessarily applies to my arguments and reasoning, but you have yet to provide the justification for why that is. I should probably remind you that believing things and acting upon those beliefs without justification is one of the very definitions of irrationality.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  We have explained repeatedly that the concepts you have been calling “abstract, universal, and invariant” are _not_ fundamental properties of the universe. There are universal and invariant properties to the universe – the laws of physics. But they are anything but abstract.

                  Logic applies to arguments and reasoning because certain logical systems, including what is colloquially referred to as “laws of logic” are the _only_ way to draw valid inferences from a set of data. about the universe This is tested experimentally.

                • scmike

                  “”There are universal and invariant properties to the universe – the laws of physics””.
                  How do you know that any property is universal and invariant with only limited experience of the universe?
                  “”But they are anything but abstract.””
                  What are they made of and where are they? I’d like to see them for myself.

                • scmike

                  “”laws of logic” are the _only_ way to draw valid inferences from a set of data. about the universe. This is tested experimentally.””

                  Are those experiments done using logic? If so, you are arguing that logic is tested with logic, which is viciously circular.

                  “” e.g. I observe gravity acts a certain way. I do some math and develop a theory of gravity.””

                  1) Do you interpret your senses via logical reasoning or via reasoning void of logic (i.e. illogical reasoning)?

                  2) How do you know that your senses and reasoning are valid and are providing you with reliable information when you do these ‘tests’?

                  “”And if you claim to have some other way of learning true things about the universe, that can be tested to. Do so successfully, and James Randi will give you $1.3 million.””
                  Divine Revelation. Tell James to get with me and I will give him my contact info. so he can send that check!

                • Houndentenor

                  Prove Thor doesn’t exist.

                • scmike

                  Do you believe he does?

                • DavidMHart

                  In case you need it spelled out to you, whether or not Houndtenor themself believes in Thor, the point is that anyone who asserts that Thor exists bears the burden of proof in exactly the same way that someone who asserts that the god of Christianity exists.

                • scmike

                  Well, David, if you are ready to abandon your atheism in exchange for Thor, then state your case. Otherwise, I don’t have time to refute positions that neither of us believe to be true to begin with.

                • DavidMHart

                  Please stop pretending to be unable to understand the point. The point is that, as far as any atheist or non-Christian can see, on present evidence, the probability of Thor actually existing is roughly identical to the probability of the god of Christianity existing, so if you think the Christian god is real and Thor isn’t, you bear the burden of proof before you are entitled to expect anyone else to take you seriously.

                • scmike

                  Again, Dave, if you want to posit Thor as your justification for abstract, invariant, universal concepts such as truth, knowledge, and laws of logic, please do so. Otherwise, it appears as you are only using this as a means of deflecting attention away from your own irrational worldview.

                • DavidMHart

                  You come here asserting that your particular god is necessary in order for us to be able to reach valid conclusions about the nature of reality, and, despite being asked so many times that I’ve lost count to actually come up with some evidence in support of that assertion, not once have you done so; you have merely continued to repeat your assertion, and you have the chutzpah to call us the ones with an irrational worldview? I’m starting to suspect that you’re just trolling here, and not arguing in anything approaching good faith.

                  But so be it. Let’s give you a chance to explain yourself. Consider me to be neutral – let’s say I have no position on whether the laws of physics (which are, so far as we can tell, innate characteristics of the way the universe is) or the laws of logic (which are essentially a set of rules we have worked out over long periods of trying to establish how to reach valid conclusions about how the universe is) require a god in order to exist, or whether they require some other thing that is not necessarily a god in order to exist, or whether they simply are and do not need to rely on any deeper substrate.

                  You must tell me why

                  a) the laws of physics and our rules of logic do need some deeper substrate in order to exist

                  b) why that substrate has to be a god of some kind, and

                  c) why that god has to be the god of Christianity, and couldn’t be Thor or Quetzalcoatl or Allah or Ahura Mazda or Krishna or any of the other historic or current deities that people have believed in just as passionately as you believe in yours.

                  If you can’t do that, then you have no right to demand any such proof from us, who are merely claiming that in the absence of compelling evidence that there is an all-powerful supernatural entity behind the universe, we should provisionally reject the hypothesis that such an entity is necessary for us to be able to talk about the universe.

                  So there you have it; three simple questions. Answer them with answers that do not presuppose the existence of your god (i.e. you cannot say something like ‘It has to be the god of Christianity and not Quetzalcoatl because Quetzalcoatl doesn’t exist and the god of Christianity does’ – because that would be most abjectly begging the question), and we can continue the conversation with some idea of where you are coming from. I hope
                  that’s not too much to ask.

                • scmike

                  “”You come here asserting that your particular god is necessary in order for us to be able to reach valid conclusions about the nature of reality, and, despite being asked so many times that I’ve lost count to actually come up with some evidence in support of that assertion, not once have you done so;””

                  Sure I have. You just discount the evidence provided due to your presuppositional bias. To say none has been provided though, is simply intellectually dishonest of you, Dave.

                  “”Consider me to be neutral..””

                  Sorry, but neutrality is a myth. One either acknowledges God as the Creator of the universe and the foundation of their reasoning, or they don’t. I trust I don’t have to tell you which camp you are in?

                  The respective presuppositions that form our worldviews will determine how we interpret evidence and what we will and will not accept as valid proof. The only way to settle the debate then becomes to evaluate our respective worldviews to see if they are rationally defensible and internally consistent. Of course, one of the prerequisites of a rationally defensible worldview is the ability to provide a rational account of the preconditions of human intelligibility (logic, truth, knowledge, etc.). Unfortunately, atheism cannot provide us with a logical basis for believing in the existence of any of these concepts (as we have seen already on this thread with Michael and Cafeeine).

                  “”So there you have it; three simple questions. Answer them with answers that do not presuppose the existence of your god..””

                  The God of Scripture is my ultimate authority and is presupposed as the foundation of my (and all) reasoning. Any answer I give would necessarily presuppose His existence. What you are asking me to do is akin to me asking you to provide responses to these comments without presupposing the validity of your reasoning. Clearly this could not be done, as you must assume that your reasoning is valid at the outset BEFORE you begin to evaluate or respond to anything. The difference is, my presupposition that God exists can be proven after the fact, while yours cannot.

                  “”you cannot get away with simply saying ‘ my scripture says it; therefore it’s true’… that again would be making a perfectly circular argument),””

                  Sure thing. The Bible is true by the impossibility of the contrary. This is evident in that denying the truth of Scripture leads to absurdity. I’ll show you what I mean:

                  Tell me how you know that your senses and reasoning are valid and are providing you with correct information, without engaging in a viciously circular argument.

                • Houndentenor

                  it doesn’t matter what I believe. I’m asking you to prove that Thor isn’t real. Or Zeus. Or Ganesh.

              • DavidMHart

                Just try this with any other gods and you’ll see just how unconvincing it sounds to someone not indoctrinated into Christianity. Thus: “Your precommitment to the concepts of truth and evidence are evidence for Quetzalcoatl’s existence”
                or “I would feel they have abused their office in dishonouring Grogorogally and are in big trouble when they stand before him”. You wouldn’t find that sort of talk even remotely persuasive, would you?

                Thing is, you can assert that your god is necessary for the laws of logic to exist, and a Quetzalcoatl-worshipper could equally well assert that Quetzalcoatl is necessary for the laws of logic to exist. But until you can actually demonstrate that the laws of logic couldn’t exist without any kind of gods at all, let alone your (I’m assuming) Trinitarian Christian god, then everyone else is entitled to conclude that you’re just making stuff up.

                • scmike

                  “”You wouldn’t find that sort of talk even remotely persuasive, would you?””

                  Firstly, David, an argument need not be persuasive in order to be valid. For all I know, you could be persuaded by things that are false. Secondly, how persuasive an argument is depends upon the presuppositions of the one evaluating it. It is impossible to convince someone of something they don’t wish to be convinced of.

                  “”Thing is, you can assert that your god is necessary for the laws of logic to exist, and a Quetzalcoatl-worshipper could equally well assert that Quetzalcoatl is necessary for the laws of logic to exist.””

                  They could and I would be happy to engage them and compare claims. However, since I am talking with you, I am interested in how YOU account for absolute laws of logic according to YOUR worldview.

                  “”But until you can actually demonstrate that the laws of logic couldn’t exist without any kind of gods at all, let alone your (I’m assuming) Trinitarian Christian god, then everyone else is entitled to conclude that you’re just making stuff up.””

                  Well, I would say that the lack of any competing account for knowledge, truth, or absolute laws of logic from you in your post definitely doesn’t hurt my claim any. In fact, that IS my claim.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Firstly, David, an argument need not be persuasive in order to be valid”
                  Ah, but you didn’t make an argument, you made an unsubstantiated assertion. You have abandoned logic in favor of presupposing the truth of your claim.

                  “Well, I would say that the lack of any competing account for knowledge,
                  truth, or absolute laws of logic from you in your post definitely
                  doesn’t hurt my claim any. In fact, that IS my claim.”
                  Which is basically an argument from ignorance.

                • scmike

                  “”Ah, but you didn’t make an argument, you made an unsubstantiated assertionYou have abandoned logic in favor of presupposing the truth of your claim.””

                  Nice unsubstantiated claim, Cafeeine. Again, though, I see no competing account for abstract, universal, invariants such as logic, truth, and knowledge here. You continue to appeal to logic in your posts as if it necessarily applies to my arguments and absolutely should not be violated. What is your justification for that belief? If you don’t have any, just say so.

                  “”Which is basically an argument from ignorance.””

                  Nope. The argument is not that my claim is true because you don’t have one—it is true AND you don’t have one.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Nice unsubstantiated claim, Cafeeine.”
                  It’s not unsubstantiated. It is substantiated from your posts.

                  “Nope. The argument is not that my claim is true because you don’t have one—it is true AND you don’t have one.”

                  And I quote:
                  “Well, I would say that the lack of any competing account for knowledge, truth, or absolute laws of logic from you in your post definitely doesn’t hurt my claim any. In fact, that IS my claim.”

                  I’ll remove the extraneous bits. because I don’t trust your attention span.
                  “(…) I would say that the lack of any competing account (…) IS my claim.”.
                  That said, lets say we take you at your word now, and that you’re making two claims a) you’re right and b) we don’t have one.
                  You should be able to defend (a) without constantly trying to talk about (b). It would help your shamble of a case that you aren’t making an argument from ignorance.

                • scmike

                  Again, Cafeeine, the justification for my argument is the impossibility of the contrary. Surely you can see that the lack of competing rational claims on this thread from those who hold the contrary position to mine surely doesn’t hurt the argument any and, in fact, substantiates it (not that I needed it).

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  There are no “absolute laws of logic”. And I have already explained what the words “knowledge” and “truth” actually mean.

                • Charles Honeycutt

                  “Linguistic shell game” is possibly the best description of apologetics there is.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  It applies particularly well to presuppositionalism.

                • scmike

                  “”There are no “absolute laws of logic” – there are merely logical systems which allow us to derive sets of statements that are true given a certain set of premises.””

                  Do they necessarily apply to anything?

                  “”Certain logical systems are useful in describing properties of the universe.””

                  Problem is, if laws of logic are merely descriptions of the universe, then they lose their universality and necessity, since no one has observed all possible instances of the universe. For instance, the law of non-contradiction states that ‘A’ CANNOT be ‘not A’ at the same time and in the same way. Where have you observed the future to know that this CANNOT be? Do laws of logic apply to past unobserved events such as macro evolution? The formation of the universe?

                  “”You are engaged in a linguistic shell game and claiming that it somehow supports your beliefs.””
                  Hmmm….how did that Hitchens’ quote go again?

                  n

                • DavidMHart

                  Others have mostly done the work for me in responding to this, but perhaps I should have been more clear.

                  If you stop to consider why you wouldn’t be perusaded by someone asserting that Quetzalcoatl was necessary for the laws of logic to exist, you will automatically understand why no one else is obliged to accept your assertion that the god of Christianity to exist – in both cases, the one making the assertion is the one that bears the burden of proof. I don’t have to account for the laws of logic (which are, after all, simply conventions we have reached about what are sensible ways of talking about reality – we have to proceed on the basis that something can’t not be itself, and that if x is y and y is z, then x has to be z as well, etc, because we have never yet come across anything that is capable of simultaneously being itself and not being itself, – and we have good reason to think that if someone claims that something does fit that description, they either don’t know what they’re talking about, or are using words in a completely arbitrary way that has no relation to how we normally use them, which would preclude us from being usefully able to talk about anything).
                  If you think that the god of Christianity is needed in order for it to be possible to talk about whether any claim is true or not, you need to demonstrate that if the god of Christianity did not exist, it would become possible for something to not be itself, or for x to be y and y to be z while z was not equal to x, and so on for any logical axiom you think depends on the existence of your chosen supernatural entity.
                  You then go on, as others have pointed out, to make an argument from ignorance.
                  We once had ‘no competing account’ of what caused earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and we invented angry deities to fill the gap. We later discovered the physics of geological processes, and found that no supernatural beings were necessary to account for earthquakes and volcanoes. We once had no competing account of what caused rain, crop failures, diseases, season changes, the apparent movements of the sun, moon, stars and planets, the diversity of life and a myriad other questions, and presupposed the existence of gods or other supernatural agent to account for them. For all of these questions, we now have, or are in the process of working out, explanations that rely on natural forces that do need any gods to be pulling the strings. So if we come to a question that we do not yet have a full account for, it is the person who wishes to assert that the traditional account, which has an unbroken record of losing the argument in every single case we have so far satisfied ourselves on, should be the one to bet on this time.

                • scmike

                  “”If you stop to consider why you wouldn’t be perusaded by someone asserting that Quetzalcoatl was necessary for the laws of logic to exist,””

                  I wouldn’t be persuaded because I know for certain that it is false per God’s Divine revelation in Scripture.

                  “”You then go on, as others have pointed out, to make an argument from ignorance.””
                  I disagree (and have clarified this above in my post to Cafeeine). However, you do raise a good question: are arguments from ignorance absolutely fallacious according to your worldview? If so by what logical standard are they absolutely fallacious? How do you account for that standard? Why does it necessarily apply to any argument if laws of logic are simply man-made conventions as you have asserted?

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                You are now using the nonsense tactic called “presuppositionalism”. I refer you to http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Presuppositionalism .

                Logic, knowledge, evidence, proof, and truth are all words we use to describe certain ideas that deal with how we treat information. They have _nothing_ to do with any version of god.

                • scmike

                  Then you should have no problem explaining how finite, fallible minds can produce ideas (i.e. concepts) that are abstract, universal, invariant, and which necessarily apply to the reasoning of another. The floor is yours…..

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  They don’t, and such concepts don’t “necessarily apply to the reasoning of another”. We’ve explained this all already.

                • scmike

                  “”They don’t – concepts like “knowledge” and “truth” and “logic” don’t have existence outside of human brains and the various schemes we use to convey information to one another.””

                  A couple of questions: 1) Is your above claim absolutely true or are there times and places where it does not apply?

                  2) Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were human brains to formulate the logical law of non-contradiction?

                  “”And such concepts don’t “necessarily apply to the reasoning of another” (as your horrendously confused reasoning here illustrates).””

                  So the standard of logic that you are using here to evaluate my reasoning, arguments, and claims (and by which you are calling them fallacious) does not necessarily apply to them? Then what is your justification for applying that standard to me?

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  ” how finite, fallible minds can produce ideas (i.e. concepts) that are abstract, universal, invariant, and which necessarily apply to the reasoning of another.”

                  The interesting question is how minds produce concepts. Whether the mind is finite or fallible, or whether the concepts are abstract universal or invariant is secondary, and the answers to this question are dependent on the answer to the second question.

                  How do you think minds produce ideas? Maybe we can start from there…

                • scmike

                  Actually, let’s back up a little further and get your account for the existence of the abstract, invariant, universal concepts of truth, knowledge, and logic in your worldview. As I’ve mentioned previously, these concepts are prerequisites for any discussion or debate and should be able to be accounted for in any rational worldview. You have my justification. Where is yours?

                  P.S. Don’t look now, but one of the atheists on this very thread has already given up his justification for using logic to evaluate my arguments with his admission that his standard of logic doesn’t necessarily apply to me. Perhaps you can repair the damage he has done to your cause?

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  See my other comment.

              • Baby_Raptor

                LOL Really? The fact that I value being a decent person means your god exists? I started valuing being a decent person after I left your religion.

                Sorry, buddy, but no. If that were true, there wouldn’t be so many Christians out there who lie every time they open their mouths. Or constantly slander and persecute people they disagree with. If god were so uptight about truth that merely supporting the concept was proof he exists, he would not be able to abide all the people who abuse it in his name.

                The rest of your argument can be summarized as “God of the gaps.” You don’t understand certain complicated things, so you insist that those things must mean god exists. You’re wrong, of course, but you’re free to continue thinking that way. Just don’t expect to be taken seriously. You’re not offering the requested proof.

                • scmike

                  “”LOL Really? The fact that I value being a decent person means your god exists?””

                  Where do you get your moral standard from by which you call anything ‘decent’?

                  “”I started valuing being a decent person after I left your religion.””

                  Are you saying that you knew the Lord at one time?

                  “”Sorry, buddy, but no. If that were true, there wouldn’t be so many Christians out there who lie every time they open their mouths. Or constantly slander and persecute people they disagree with.””

                  It is irrational to discount a philosophy because of its abuse. Just because there are some false professors of Christianity does not mean there are no true Christians.

                  “”If god were so uptight about truth that merely supporting the concept was proof he exists, he would not be able to abide all the people who abuse it in his name.””

                  You’re assuming that He doesn’t have a morally sufficient reason known at least to Him for allowing this to take place? Sounds a little like you would rather tell God how to be God than to submit to Him (which is consistent with what the Bible says about the depraved nature of mankind, by the way). Nothing new there.

                  “”The rest of your argument can be summarized as “God of the gaps.” You don’t understand certain complicated things, so you insist that those things must mean god exists. You’re wrong, of course, but you’re free to continue thinking that way. “”

                  And of course, you provided no proof to back up your claim that I am wrong. Let me guess….I’m wrong because you say so? That seems about par for the course here, I guess.

                  You’re not offering the requested proof.

                  see more5

          • allein

            They weren’t elected to honor god. If that’s what they want to do with their professional lives, they should have become pastors.

            • scmike

              That may be true, Allein. However, it doesn’t change the fact that both they and those who elect them are ultimately accountable to God for their lives and whether or not they live in a manner which honors Him both professionally and privately. There is no separating the two.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                That is only true if such a God exists. There is no evidence to support that conclusion.

                • scmike

                  Let me see if I’ve got this straight; I posited earlier my justification for the existence of knowledge, truth, and absolute laws of logic in my worldview—-the abstract, universal, invariant character and nature of God (by the impossibility of the contrary). I then receive several responses from you and others disagreeing with my claim, but which are all void of any competing justification for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility mentioned above. Surely you can see that this doesn’t bode well for your position, Michael. No?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  You once again get things entirely backwards.

                  We have explained repeatedly that knowledge, truth, and logic are all entirely human constructs _do not require_ any god to exist. Your claim is therefore entirely wrong.

                • scmike

                  “”You once again get things entirely backwards.””

                  I wholeheartedly disagree. However, why is backward logic absolutely forbidden in your worldview? What absolute standard does backward logic violate? Why should that standard absolutely not be violated?

                  “”We have explained repeatedly that knowledge, truth, and logic all _do not require_ any god to exist, nor are there “absolute laws of logic” that are “necessary preconditions of intelligibility”. Your claim is therefore entirely wrong.””

                  You have asserted this over and over again, Michael, but of course, you have provided nothing to substantiate this claim. In fact, you are now claiming that laws of logic are not necessary preconditions of intelligibility which are required for making sense of the world around us. If that is your argument, please give me one example of a valid conclusion you have come to that is void of logic.

                  “”We have _also_ explained that even if there were something that was “abstract, universal, and invariant”, that thing could not possibly be any version of the Christian God. “”

                  Nope. You have only asserted it, but you have certainly not explained it. Nor have you told how it is possible for you to know anything to be absolutely impossible with only your limited observations to go by. These are big claims you’re making, but absent being omniscient or having revelation from One who is, you have no way of knowing any of them to be true. If you dispute this, feel free to tell me how you know for certain that your above claims are true.

                  “”You keep on failing at logic,”

                  I disagree. However, your statement implies that there is a correct standad for doing logic. What is that standard? Why does it necessarily to my (or any) arguments, Michael?

                  Also, is the standard of logic you are using to evaluate my arguments a universal standard, or are there places and instances where it does not apply?

                  “”And this is why RationalWiki lists presuppositionalism as a particularly annoying bullshit tactic.””
                  The fact that you do not like the argument has nothing to do with its validity. Also, you should know that insults are a sure sign of a weak argument. Keep it up!

                  a

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

            Yes. _You_ are the one making the claim that your God exists and is male, and that civil leaders are accountable to him. Until and unless you provide evidence for that claim, we must adopt the null hypothesis that it is not true.

            • scmike

              @ Michael
              See my response to Viddy.

              • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                Your response was nothing more than an assertion that your God accounts for the existence of truth, evidence and the laws of logic. That’s a tall order for something that hasn’t been shown to exist yet. You don’t get to circumvent logic by declaring it dependent on your God.
                That quote about things without evidence being dismissed without evidence? It applies to that as well.

                • scmike

                  “”Your response was nothing more than an assertion that your God accounts for the existence of truth, evidence and the laws of logic. “”

                  Actually, the claim is valid and proven by the impossibility of the contrary. The characteristics of truth, knowledge and laws of logic comport with the characteristics of the God of the Bible (i.e. abstract, universal, and invariant) and cannot be accounted for apart from Him. Your following comments actually provide a good opportunity to demonstrate this. I’ll show you what I mean:

                  “”You don’t get to circumvent logic by declaring it dependent on your God.””

                  Why not? What absolutely forbids this?

                  “”That quote about things without evidence being dismissed without evidence? It applies to your response as well.””

                  Why and says who?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  Here is why you are wrong: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Presuppositionalism

                  “knowledge” just means information that has been stored somewhere, usually in a human brain. “truth” is a value judgement attached to a statement – if it is logically consistent given a certain set of premises or if it is an accurate description of some property of the universe, a statement is true. The rules of logic are a set of rules for deriving true statements from other true statements given a certain set of premises (and are actually premises themselves, which can be changed). There is no god in any of this, and most definitely not your particular version of Christian Bible God.

                  Incidentally: the character of God in the Bible is not abstract, universal, or invariant.

                  Also, the reason your statements can be dismissed as having no evidence supporting them is _because you don’t have any_.

                • scmike

                  “”Also, the reason your statements can be dismissed as having no evidence supporting them is _because you don’t have any_.””

                  Um, Michael…….where is the evidence for ANY of your above claims about knowledge, truth, and the character of God? Seems you forgot to include it. Don’t worry, I’ve got time.

                  P.S. Just because you don’t like the evidence I have provided does not mean that none has been provided. You may not like it, but where is yours?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  You haven’t presented any evidence for the existence of any god – you’ve just made a bunch of inaccurate assertions based on misunderstandings of the meanings of words like “truth” and “knowledge” and “logic”.

                  I and the others who have replied to you here have made no claims beyond the null hypothesis: “there is no god”.

                  The burden of proof is on _you_. You have to provide evidence that is a better explanation for the observed properties of the universe than an entirely natural model. As long as an entirely natural model of the universe explains all available data, the null hypothesis (i.e. atheism) remains correct.

                • scmike

                  Which natural model of the universe explains the existence of non-material, universal, invariant concepts (especially since these characteristics do not comport in any way with those of the universe)?

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Actually, the claim is valid and proven by the impossibility of the contrary…. for apart from Him”

                  This is untrue for two reasons:
                  1) The God of the Bible does not comport with the characteristics of truth, knowledge and logic. Your assertion is that truth derives from fiction, knowledge from ignorance and logic from illogic, which is absurd.
                  2) You have not presented any good reason to accept the claim that the God of the Bible can account for truth, knowledge and laws of logic, much less that there can be no other accounting of them. You’re making grand claims, that require intricate knowledge about the nature of reality that you seem to want to have accepted on your say-so which makes your quoting of Hitchens earlier more and more amusing

                  “Why not? What absolutely forbids this?”
                  “Why and says who?”

                  A reasoned application of logic and the complete absence of any reason to accept your claim.
                  Anybody can make the claim that their position is immune to reason because it is required for reason. That doesn’t make the claim any less unreasonable.

                • scmike

                  “”This is untrue for two reasons:””

                  Perhaps I should remind you how discussions work, Cafeeine: I posit my claim, you posit yours and then we compare. You may not like my justification for knowledge, truth and laws of logic according to my worldview and you may even disagree with it—I get that. However, It seems that in your haste to evaluate my claim, you forgot to posit yours. Where is it?

                  “”1) The God of the Bible does not comport with the characteristics of truth, knowledge and logic. Your assertion is that truth derives from fiction, knowledge from ignorance and logic from illogic, which is absurd.””

                  I disagree with your statement here. However, we can discuss logical absurdities (alleged and otherwise) and the consequences of such when you provide your justification for absolute laws of logic according to your worldview.

                  “”2) You’re making grand claims, that require intricate knowledge about the nature of reality that you seem to want to have accepted on your say-so which makes your quoting of Hitchens earlier more and more amusing.””

                  Actually, what makes the Hitchens’ quote so amusing is that neither he nor those who promote him have ever provided any evidence by which to validate his very claim. As such, it can also be dismissed without evidence, by his own standard.

                  I asked you: “Why not? What absolutely forbids this?”

                  You responded: “”A reasoned application of logic””

                  A couple of questions: 1) Does that standard of logic necessarily apply to this or any discussion? 2) Can violations of that logic be valid, or are they absolutely fallacious? How do you know?

                  “”and the complete absence of any reason to accept your claim.””

                  Just because you don’t like the reasons presented, doesn’t mean that none have been.

                  “”Anybody can make the claim that their position is immune to reason because it is required for reason.””

                  True. But that’s not my claim. My claim is that God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic which are foundational to human reasoning and which we are both using to hold this very discussion. As of now, only one of us has provided ANY justification for the existence of those laws. Don’t you find that odd?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  “Actually, what makes the Hitchens’ quote so amusing is that neither he
                  nor those who promote him have ever provided any evidence by which to
                  validate his very claim.”

                  Actually, it has been validated many many times and is true for a simple reason. Consider the set of all possible claims about the universe. Only a very few of them are true. So unless you have evidence for a claim about the universe, it is very likely to be false.

                  “My claim is that God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic which are foundational to human reasoning and which we are both using to hold this very discussion.”

                  The “laws of logic” are not “foundational to human reasoning”, and there is no “necessary precondition for them”. As I have said, there _are_ no “laws of logic”. Your claim is wrong.

                • scmike

                  “”Wrong. It has been validated many many times and is true for a simple reason. Consider the set of all possible claims about the universe, for convenience expressed as grammatically-correct English statements. Only a very small fraction of them are true. So unless you have evidence for a claim about the universe, it is very likely to be false.””
                  Again, Michael, this is just another claim with no evidence to back it up. Surely you’re not arguing that the above is true because you say it is–are you?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  Are you simply trolling? I’ve explained that Hitchen’s statement is true because of _probability_. There are a large number of true claims about the universe, but there are far more _false_ claims about the universe. So absent evidence, a randomly-selected claim is almost certainly false.

                  e.g. you say “the universe has properties X,Y,Z, therefore my particular version of Christian Bible God exists”. As we have explained, the universe does not actually have those properties. But as others have explained, you can swap out “my particular version Christian Bible God” in that statement for any of an infinite number of other possibilities. _None_ of those claims are true. So why do you think that your claim is true?

                • scmike

                  “”Are you simply trolling? I’ve explained that Hitchen’s statement is true because of _probability_.””

                  ‘Probably true’ is not truth, Michael. Truth is absolute, as something which is true cannot also be false.

                  “”There are a large number of true claims about the universe, but there are far more _false_ claims about the universe.””

                  Are you certain of this? If so, how?

                  “”So absent evidence, a randomly-selected claim is almost certainly false.””

                  Where is the evidence for this claim? Absent valid evidence to support it, it is almost certainly false (by your own admission). Surely you can see that?

                  “”As we have explained, the universe does not actually have those properties.””

                  I have never claimed that the universe does have those properties. Abstract, universal, and invariant ARE NOT properties of the universe, but are characteristics of the character and nature of the God of the Bible. I want to know how your worldview can account for the existence of abstract, universal, invariants WITHOUT God. You live as though logic applies universally and that you can recognize truth and know things for certain. I want to know how any of that is possible in a worldview which denies God. So far, no dice.

                  “”So why do you think that your claim is true?””

                  I don’t. I know for certain that it is based upon Divine revelation. How is it possible for you to know anything for certain in your worldview?

                • scmike

                  “”The “laws of logic” are not “foundational to human reasoning”””

                  DId you arrive at this conclusion using reason void of logic? Can conclusions void of logic be a valid means for arriving at truth?

                  “”and there is no “necessary precondition for them”.””

                  So they just exist then? That’s your justification for the laws of logic?

                  “”As I have said, there _are_ no “laws of logic”””

                  Then there ARE laws of logic. If the law of non-contradiction doesn’t necessarily apply here, then you should have no problem with that statement.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Perhaps I should remind you how discussions work, Cafeeine: I posit my claim, you posit yours and then we compare.”

                  And this is what we are doing. The difference is you seem to be missing the subject under debate, which is your claim that God is required for the existence of truth and logic. We can have a perfectly reasonable discussion on the merits of that claim without touching on my opinions on the matter. After all, it may be that both of our views are wrong, so discussing my views is not going to provide an argument in your favor.
                  I understand that after you claim that your position is only valid if you presuppose it to be true, there is not much to say in its defence, but I’d appreciate it if rather than trying to remind me how discussions work, you may try and stay in this one.

                  “I disagree with your statement here. However, we can discuss logical absurdities (alleged and otherwise) and the consequences of such when you provide your justification for absolute laws of logic according to your worldview.”

                  Or you can quit evading.

                  “Actually, what makes the Hitchens’ quote so amusing is that neither he nor those who promote him have ever provided any evidence by which to validate his very claim. As such, it can also be dismissed without evidence, by his own standard.”

                  This is not exactly true.

                  “A couple of questions: 1) Does that standard of logic necessarily apply to this or any discussion? 2) Can violations of that logic be valid, or are they absolutely fallacious? How do you know?”

                  You are free to claim that your position is illogical, if you wish, but if you don’t, you need to abide by logic, and claims that do not abide by logic are fallacious by definition.
                  Now, this is not the same as saying that my evaluation of your position is necessarily correct. I believe it to be so, but I could be mistaken, but it would take reasoned argument to convince me otherwise.

                  “Just because you don’t like the reasons presented, doesn’t mean that none have been.”

                  You’ve presented assertions in favor of your position, not reasons to believe. I will cop to the fact that naive acceptance of unsubstantiated assertions falls below the threshold of what I consider a reason to believe a claim.

                  “True. But that’s not my claim. My claim is that God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic which are foundational to human reasoning and which we are both using to hold this very discussion. As of now, only one of us has provided ANY justification for the existence of those laws. Don’t you find that odd?”

                  Of course that is your claim. Your statement has a not-so-hidden hidden premise, “God exists”, that you eschew providing justification for by declaring it necessary for logic. However, unless you provide justification for both the claims “God exists” and “God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic” you can’t assert that you have provided justification for anything, much less the existence of the laws of logic.

                  Now, as an added treat, and to see if you will pounce on it rather than provide the justification required of you, here’s my position on the matter: From my observations, it seems the laws of logic are transcendent features of reality. They exist because of the impossibility of the contrary. You might find that phrase familiar, but I think that it actually applies here. See, we actually know logic exists and reality exists.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  “the laws of logic are transcendent features of reality”.

                  Not quite. Reality exists. And we can set up particular logical systems (a set of premises including a set of rules for deriving new statements from the premises) that provide accurate descriptions of the universe.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  True. I was referring to the referent of the laws of logic, used to describe reality as is applicable to this discussion.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  The clarification is necessary because scmike repeatedly confuses the colloquial uses of the phrase “laws of logic” with some non-existent fundamental property of the universe.

                • scmike

                  Actually, that’s not my argument. Laws of logic are abstract, universal, and immaterial concepts which are a reflection of the character and nature of God—not the universe. They reflect His thinking and are His prescribed standard by which we are to think and reason being made in His image.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  “Laws of logic are abstract, universal, and immaterial concepts”

                  That is wrong, as we have explained far too many times.

                  Also, look up the definition of ‘universe’. If any god existed, that god would be_part of the universe_.

                  Your abuses of vocabulary are quite impressive.

                • scmike

                  “”Also, look up the definition of ‘universe’.””

                  Surely you’re not suggesting that I should put my trust in the writings of man are you? How preposterous! : D

                  “”If any god existed, that god would be_part of the universe_.””

                  How do you know?

                  “”Your abuses of vocabulary are quite impressive.””

                  How do you know for certain that I am guilty of this and not you? What proof do you have that the information you have been gleaning from Wiki and other sources is reliable and accurate? Blind faith, perhaps?

                • scmike

                  Michael, please justify your knowledge claim that reality exists. How do you know that to be objectively true?
                  Also, do laws of logic necessarily apply to anything, such as this discussion for example? If so, why?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  ” justify your knowledge claim that reality exists.”

                  You are reading this. Now cut out the nonsense and go away.

                • scmike

                  How do you know that your reasoning about this (or anything) is valid?

                  Also, you skipped a very important challenge to your position. Here it is again: Do laws of logic necessarily apply to anything, such as this discussion for example? If so, why?

                • scmike

                  “”And this is what we are doing. The difference is you seem to be missing the subject under debate, which is your claim that God is required for the existence of truth and logic.””

                  Actually, truth and logic are necessary preconditions for any debate. Since you obviously believe in the concept of debate, I’d simply like to know how you justify those preconditions in a worldview which denies God.

                  “”you need to abide by logic, and claims that do not abide by logic are fallacious by definition.””

                  1) Why do I (or anyone else, for that matter) NEED to abide by logic? What is the justification for that claim?

                  2) Are claims which do not abide by logic absolutely fallacious, or could they in fact be valid? Does the definition you posited apply universally, or only as far as you know?

                  “”However, unless you provide justification for both the claims “God exists” and “God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic” you can’t assert that you have provided justification for anything, much less the existence of the laws of logic.””

                  I have provided the justification (the impossibility of the contrary). Now, please provide the justification for your claim that unless I had done so, I couldn’t assert that I have provided justification for anything, much less the existence of the laws of logic. What absolute law would I be violating in doing so? Why should that law absolutely not be violated according to your worldview?

                  “”From my observations, it seems the laws of logic are transcendent features of reality. They exist because of the impossibility of the contrary.””

                  How do you know that the contrary is not possible with only your limited observations and experiences of the universe to go by?

                  “”You might find that phrase familiar, but I think that it actually applies here. See, we actually know logic exists and reality exists.””

                  I would argue that apart from Divine revelation, you can’t
                  know anything at all. This is a good starting point to demonstrate this point: HOW do you know that truth and logic exist?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  Saying “you can’t show that my idea is false, therefore it must be true” is a logical fallacy. As I said, there are far more false ideas than true ones. Therefore, absent evidence, your idea is almost certainly wrong.

                  “HOW do you know that truth and logic exist?”

                  Because we defined what they were. We explained this already.

                • scmike

                  “”Saying “you can’t show that my idea is false, therefore it must be true” is a logical fallacy.””

                  Please show me where I have said that.

                  “”Because we defined what they were. We explained this already.””
                  Defining something and telling how its existence comports with your worldview are two entirely different things, Michael. Based on that logic, I can provide you with a definition for God and he therefore exists. If that is what your arguments have been reduced to, then I am happy to leave this here. Not what I was hoping for though.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Actually, truth and logic are necessary preconditions for any debate. Since you obviously believe in the concept of debate, I’d simply like to know how you justify those preconditions in a worldview which denies God.”

                  As I said above, I believe they are intrinsic in reality, which you would have known if you had waited until you finished my comment to reply instead of giving the rehearsed answer.

                  “Why do I (or anyone else, for that matter) NEED to abide by logic? What is the justification for that claim?”

                  As I said, you don’t have to abide by logic. This is called being illogical.

                  “2) Are claims which do not abide by logic absolutely fallacious, or could they in fact be valid? Does the definition you posited apply universally, or only as far as you know?”

                  They are logically fallacious by definition, so they can’t be valid. The distinction between “universally” and “as far as I know” is moot, since we are not omniscient. Everything we know is known “as far as we know”, even the things I think are universal, same as you.

                  “I have provided the justification (the impossibility of the contrary)”
                  That is not a justification, that is an assertion. You need to demonstrate how logic and truth are impossible except for the existence of your god, not just assert it.

                  “How do you know that the contrary is not possible with only your limited observations and experiences of the universe to go by? ”

                  I can only use my limited observations and experiences of the universe to make my decision, same as you.

                  “I would argue that apart from Divine revelation, you can’t
                  know anything at all. This is a good starting point to demonstrate this point: HOW do you know that truth and logic exist?”

                  I would argue that divine revelation is a terrible source for knowledge, since scriptural revelation is functionally indistinguishable from mythology and personal revelation is functionally indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

                  Truth and logic are evident in reality, and lead to successful predictions.

                • scmike

                  “”As I said above, I believe they are intrinsic in reality,””

                  Problem is, this is just another way of saying ‘they exist because they do’. Surely you would not accept that type of justification for my position—God exists because He exists? This is no way answers the question as to how you justify the existence of abstract, universal, invariants in a universe without God (especially since these characteristics do not comport with those of the universe).

                  “”As I said, you don’t have to abide by logic. This is called being illogical.””

                  Only if the standard you are using is a universal standard that necessarily applies to me. Is it? If so, how do you justify the existence of such standards in a worldview which denies God.

                  “”They are logically fallacious by definition, so they can’t be valid.””

                  Does that definition apply universally, or are there times and places where it does not apply? When you say that they ‘can’t be valid, how do you justify this universal negative in your worldview?

                  “”The distinction between “universally” and “as far as I know” is moot, since we are not omniscient.””

                  Are you certain that the distinction is moot? If so, how? If not, couldn’t the opposite be true?

                  “”Everything we know is known “as far as we know”, even the things I think are universal, same as you.””

                  So is this something you are certain of, or just another thing that is only true ‘as far as you know’, but could be false?

                  “”I can only use my limited observations and experiences of the universe to make my decision, same as you.””

                  Then you can’t know that anything is impossible with only your limited observations and experiences to go by, so your claim fails. However, as a Christian, I can appeal to Divine revelation from One who knows everything as my basis for the existence of certainty, truth, logic, etc. in my worldview. If you are intellectually honest, you would be forced to admit that an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us such that we can know them with certainty.

                  What I want to know is: how can you be certain of anything in a worldview without God?

                  “”You need to demonstrate how logic and truth are impossible except for the existence of your god, not just assert it.””

                  Again, I ask you why do I NEED to do this? You act as if there is a standard of logic that necessarily applies to my reasoning and arguments and which should not be violated. How do you justify that belief in your worldview? As I have previously mentioned to Michael, believing something and acting upon that belief without logical justification is the very definition of irrationality.

                  “”I would argue that divine revelation is a terrible source for knowledge, since scriptural revelation is functionally indistinguishable from mythology and personal revelation is functionally indistinguishable from schizophrenia.””

                  Well, let’s wait and see what your justification for knowledge (which is certain by definition) is within your worldview and then I will be happy to compare our claims. I look forward to your response on this.

                  “”Truth and logic are evident in reality, and lead to successful predictions.””

                  God is evident in reality and justifies the certainty of knowledge. How’s that?

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Problem is, this is just another way of saying ‘they exist because they do’. Surely you would not accept that type of justification for my position—God exists because He exists?

                  I could accept it if there was already incontrovertible evidence of God’s existence and you were using this argument to explain *why* God exists, not to assert him into existence, which is what you’re doing here. The difference here is that we both agree that logic and truth exist. Both the existence of your god and his purported connection to logic and truth remain unsubstantiated assertions you need to address before being able to use this argument..

                  “This is no way answers the question as to how you justify the existence of abstract, universal, invariants in a universe without God (especially since these characteristics do not comport with those of the universe).”

                  What makes you think the universe does not comport with the existence of abstract, universal, invariants? Have you observed any of them outside the universe?

                  “Only if the standard you are using is a universal standard that necessarily applies to me. Is it? If so, how do you justify the existence of such standards in a worldview which denies God”

                  The question assumes that a God is relevant in the issue of universal standards. I have no reason to assume that is the case, so I have nothing to justify. You’re making the claim that the universe, and absolute standards require a God, not me. Please don’t apply the deficits of your worldview to others.

                  ”Does that definition apply universally, or are there times and places where it does not apply? When you say that they ‘can’t be valid, how do you justify this universal negative in your worldview?”

                  The definition applies here, in this discussion. I am not concerned about universality, it has no bearing in this discussion.

                  “Are you certain that the distinction is moot? If so, how? If not, couldn’t the opposite be true?”

                  Am I certain that I am not omniscient? Yes. So this follows logically.

                  “So is this something you are certain of, or just another thing that is only true ‘as far as you know’, but could be false?”

                  It’s both.

                  “Then you can’t know that anything is impossible with only your limited observations and experiences to go by, so your claim fails.”

                  My claim is consistent with my understanding. It doesn’t fail, it simply is open to revision if new facts come into play.

                  “However, as a Christian, I can appeal to Divine revelation from One who knows everything as my basis for the existence of certainty, truth, logic, etc. in my worldview. If you are intellectually honest, you would be forced to admit that an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us such that we can know them with certainty. ”

                  An omnipotent, omniscient God could possibly reveal things to us such that we can know them with certainty. The problem is the fallible nature of the human mind. What does not follow is that your appeal to a revelation from such a God is in fact a revelation from such a God. God may talk to a psychopath, but not every psychopath is necessarily talking to God. If you can’t differentiate your claims of revelation from a hallucination, or from other religions, then there is no force behind your appeal.

                  “What I want to know is: how can you be certain of anything in a worldview without God?”

                  The better question is how can you be certain of anything in a worldview with God? You see, in your worldview, assuming an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us such that we can know them with certainty, he can make you believe with certainty things that aren’t really true. The only way that you can be sure that the revelation is true, is if you also become omniscient. Are you currently omniscient? If not, you can’t really trust any revelatory claim.
                  If you are, tell me what I’ve got in my pocket, besides lint.

                  “Again, I ask you why do I NEED to do this? You act as if there is a standard of logic that necessarily applies to my reasoning and arguments and which should not be violated. How do you justify that belief in your worldview? ”

                  You’re getting sloppy and repeating yourself. I already expressed my views about logic. The thing is, you already said you believe in logic, so the statement stands even if I don’t have a good justification for logic. You shouldn’t be asking me this, unless you’re doing what I correctly said earler, trying to avoid the implications of logic where they concern your god.

                  “Well, let’s wait and see what your justification for knowledge (which is certain by definition) is within your worldview and then I will be happy to compare our claims. I look forward to your response on this.”

                  I view knowledge as “belief that is consistent with reality”. As for justification, you will need to be more specific, and also give your own definitions, if you disagree with mine.

                  “God is evident in reality and justifies the certainty of knowledge. How’s that?” Untrue. The former is evidently untrue, given the myriad opinions on gods and the latter is also untrue, unless this god conferred omniscience upon you, as I explained earlier.

                • scmike

                  “”I could accept it if there was already incontrovertible evidence of God’s existence and you were using this argument to explain *why* God exists, not to assert him into existence, which is what you’re doing here.””

                  But your argument is easily reversible, Cafeeine. Watch:
                  I could accept your argument that ‘logic exists because it exists’ if there was already incontrovertible evidence of logic’s existence and you were using this argument to explain *why* logic exists, not to assert it into existence, which is what you’re doing here. How do you like your argument now?

                  “”The difference here is that we both agree that logic and truth exist.””

                  No doubt. The difference is only one of us has provided any logical justification for their existence. So far, all you’ve given me is the viciously circular argument ‘they exist because they exist’. Surely you’re not now positing that logic and truth exist BECAUSE we agree they do, are you? If that’s the case, I posit that God exists because people agree that He does and we can both go about our business. However, I was hoping for a rational debate here.

                  “”Both the existence of your god and his purported connection to logic and truth remain unsubstantiated assertions you need to address before being able to use this argument..””

                  Actually, you have already served to substantiate the argument quite nicely, as you continue to show your precommitment to absolute laws of logic and truth, yet have been reduced to absurdity when you try to justify them in your worldview. In case you’ve forgotten, that IS the argument–logic and truth cannot be rationally accounted for apart from the God of the Bible. This thread certainly corroborates that fact.

                  “”What makes you think the universe does not comport with the existence of abstract, universal, invariants?””

                  I don’t think, I know for certain. However, if you would now like to posit the argument that immaterial, universal, invariants can be derived from a constantly changing, material universe, the floor is yours.

                  “”The question assumes that a God is relevant in the issue of universal standards. I have no reason to assume that is the case, so I have nothing to justify.””

                  So you will not provide your justification for the existence of universal standards in your worldview? Then I am forced to conclude that you cannot account for them and accept their existence solely on blind faith. Again, I will remind you that believing in things without logical justification for doing so is the very definition of an irrational position.

                  “”The definition applies here, in this discussion. I am not concerned about universality, it has no bearing in this discussion.””

                  But sadly, you’ve already shown that you have no justification for this claim. If you don’t know that the definition applies universally, then you are forced to admit that there are times and places where it may not apply and that this might be one of those times and places for all you know. Once again, your claims have been reduced to nothing more than faith based assertions (i.e. opinions).

                  Now, while I do care about your opinions, for the sake of this exchange, I am only interested in what you KNOW and your logical justifications for HOW you know it. Not looking too promising, though.

                  “”Am I certain that I am not omniscient? Yes. So this follows logically.””

                  Um…..how are you certain of anything absent omniscience or revelation from One who possesses it? Crystal ball, perhaps?

                  I ASKED: “So is this something you are certain of, or just another thing that is only true ‘as far as you know’, but could be false?”

                  YOU RESPONDED: “”It’s both.””

                  So you’re certainly uncertain, then? You crack me up, Cafeeine!

                  “”An omnipotent, omniscient God could possibly reveal things to us such that we can know them with certainty.””

                  BINGO! And that is my claim. You may not like my claim, but you have conceded that it is logically possible. Now that we have established that it is possible for Christians to know things for certain, I want to know how it is logically possible for you to be certain of anything without God. Posit your justification and we can compare.

                  “”The problem is the fallible nature of the human mind. What does not follow is that your appeal to a revelation from such a God is in fact a revelation from such a God.””

                  Are you certain of any of that though, Cafeeine? If so, please tell how you’re certain apart from the God of the Bible.

                  “”God may talk to a psychopath, but not every psychopath is necessarily talking to God. If you can’t differentiate your claims of revelation from a hallucination, or from other religions, then there is no force behind your appeal.””

                  I am happy to discuss this once you provide your basis for certainty is your worldview. Otherwise, all of these claims you’re making are simply your beliefs and could be completely false for all you know.

                  “”The better question is how can you be certain of anything in a worldview with God?””

                  I’ve already told you how and you have already agreed that it is possible. I will be pleased to compare claims with you once you provide your competing claim.

                  “”You see, in your worldview, assuming an omnipotent, omniscient God could reveal things to us such that we can know them with certainty, he can make you believe with certainty things that aren’t really true.””

                  You are confusing belief with knowledge. Knowledge is certain by definition (you can’t know something for certain that isn’t true), while belief is not. You have admitted that God could reveal things to human beings so that we can know them with certainty to be true. That would necessarily include His ability to reveal to us with certainty the fact that His Revelation is true and He is not deceiving us (which He has).

                  “”The only way that you can be sure that the revelation is true, is if you also become omniscient. Are you currently omniscient? If not, you can’t really trust any revelatory claim.””

                  Posit your justification for how you know this for certain, and we can discuss. Otherwise, your claim is completely without merit and baseless as of now.

                  “”If you are, tell me what I’ve got in my pocket, besides lint.””

                  Bilbo, is that you? : )

                  I’ve never said that Christians know everything for certain, just that God has revealed some things such that we (that means you, as well) can be certain of them. These things include the fact that He exists and that the Bible is His inspired Word. Now, I will await your justification for certainty by which you substantiate your knowledge claims.

                • scmike

                  “”I view knowledge as “belief that is consistent with reality”. As for justification, you will need to be more specific, and also give your own definitions, if you disagree with mine.””

                  Sorry for posting this out of order, but I reread your comments and thought it important to address this as well. The definition of knowledge I am using is ‘justified, true belief’. What you are defining is not knowledge, as ‘beliefs cosistent with reality’ can vary depending on whose perception of reality you’re discussing. This would make both knowledge and truth person relative and purely subjective (which they clearly are not).

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “But your argument is easily reversible, Cafeeine. Watch:
                  I could accept your argument that ‘logic exists because it exists’ if there was already incontrovertible evidence of logic’s existence and you were using this argument to explain *why* logic exists, not to assert it into existence, which is what you’re doing here. How do you like your argument now?”

                  I love my argument, your switch-around doesn’t really work though, since you’ve made it clear you accept that logic exists. “I know you are but what am I” doesn’t really work outside preschool.

                  “No doubt. The difference is only one of us has provided any logical justification for their existence.
                  Yes, and that would be me. Your justification fails to justiy anything until you can show that the god you claim isn’t imaginary.

                  “So far, all you’ve given me is the viciously circular argument ‘they exist because they exist’.
                  No, I did not. I said that I observe that they exist and that they seem to be intrinsic in the universe. They exist because they could not not exist.
                  “Surely you’re not now positing that logic and truth exist BECAUSE we agree they do, are you? If that’s the case, I posit that God exists because people agree that He does and we can both go about our business. However, I was hoping for a rational debate here.”

                  Obviously not. What I’m saying is that we both accept the existence of logic, but we don’t both accept the existence of God, which is why the same argument doesn’t work. You need to recognize that your assertion of God’s existence and his properties (specifically here, his property of being able to account for logic) are not an objective fact you can appeal to.

                  “Actually, you have already served to substantiate the argument quite nicely, as you continue to show your precommitment to absolute laws of logic and truth, yet have been reduced to absurdity when you try to justify them in your worldview. In case you’ve forgotten, that IS the argument–logic and truth cannot be rationally accounted for apart from the God of the Bible. This thread certainly corroborates that fact.”

                  Actually, you have only demonstrated your inablity to show the existence of your god is not something you’ve imagined. You haven’t shown this is true, you’ve been flailing, trying to declare that the inablity of other to account for logic to your satisfaction makes your assertion true by default, and you resort to pre-school retorts to do so. It’s getting a bit pathetic for you, to be honest.

                  “I don’t think, I know for certain. However, if you would now like to posit the argument that immaterial, universal, invariants can be derived from a constantly changing, material universe, the floor is yours.

                  Actually the floor is *yours*, since you claimed to know that it can’t be done for certain. You must have a good argument to support that, not just imagined revelations from possibly imaginary deities, correct?

                  “So you will not provide your justification for the existence of universal standards in your worldview? Then I am forced to conclude that you cannot account for them and accept their existence solely on blind faith. Again, I will remind you that believing in things without logical justification for doing so is the very definition of an irrational position.”

                  Stop reading from your script and read my comment. You asked me “how do you justify the existence of such standards in a worldview which denies God”. Your question assumes that the existence of God is a factor in the existence of univeral standards. I will not allow you to insert assumptions like that into the discussion. Show me that a god is necessary for the existence of universal standards and then I may be interested in the question.

                  “But sadly, you’ve already shown that you have no justification for this claim. If you don’t know that the definition applies universally, then you are forced to admit that there are times and places where it may not apply and that this might be one of those times and places for all you know. ”

                  So from my statement that it applies in this discussion, yuo derived that I admit that it doesn’t apply in this discussion.
                  As I taold you before, pre-school tactics do not work in your favor.

                  “Once again, your claims have been reduced to nothing more than faith based assertions (i.e. opinions”

                  Opinions are not always faith-based assertions.

                  “Now, while I do care about your opinions, for the sake of this exchange, I am only interested in what you KNOW and your logical justifications for HOW you know it. Not looking too promising, though.”

                  “BINGO! And that is my claim. You may not like my claim, but you have conceded that it is logically possible. Now that we have established that it is possible for Christians to know things for certain, I want to know how it is logically possible for you to be certain of anything without God. Posit your justification and we can compare.”

                  You didn’t finish the sentence before you wrote that did you? You really are going through a script, aren’t you?

                  The only way a God could grant you certain knowledge is by granting you omniscience. Since you’re not claiming omniscience, you can’t lay claim to revelatory knowledge, because you can never be certain you are not deluding yourself, even if you are feeling extraordinarily certain.

                  “Are you certain of any of that though, Cafeeine? If so, please tell how you’re certain apart from the God of the Bible.”

                  More schoolyard tactics. Every time a question is difficult to answer, you evade.

                  “I am happy to discuss this once you provide your basis for certainty is your worldview. Otherwise, all of these claims you’re making are simply your beliefs and could be completely false for all you know.”

                  A while ago you tried to reject my accusation that you are trying to assert your position to be true by declaring others to be false, yet again and again you fall back to the same pattern.
                  Even if I am completely wrong in my position, it doesn’t make yours correct, nor does it absolve you of the responsibility to defend it. Your consistent evasion from any substantive defense of your position is telling.

                  “I’ve already told you how and you have already agreed that it is possible. I will be pleased to compare claims with you once you provide your competing claim. ”

                  There was a condition on that possibility that you don’t meet though. If you don’t have omniscience, you can never know if your god is tricking you.

                  “That would necessarily include His ability to reveal to us with certainty the fact that His Revelation is true and He is not deceiving us (which He has).”

                  It also necessarily includes the ability to give you the illusion of certainty that the revelation is true when it isn’t. (which you can’t know he hasn’t)

                  “Posit your justification for how you know this for certain, and we can discuss. Otherwise, your claim is completely without merit and baseless as of now.”

                  It was in the comment you just read. More and more evasions. I’m sensing a pattern.

                  “Bilbo, is that you? : )”

                  Nope. Ok, so much for omniscience then :)

                  “I’ve never said that Christians know everything for certain, just that God has revealed some things such that we (that means you, as well) can be certain of them. These things include the fact that He exists and that the Bible is His inspired Word.”

                  But as I explained, this is impossible to assertain, unless you become omniscient.
                  Don’t confuse the feeling of certainty with actually possessing certain knowledge. All you can reliably lay claim to is the former and the former is no guarantee of the latter.

                  “Now, I will await your justification for certainty by which you substantiate your knowledge claims.”

                  I already explained that.

                  “The definition of knowledge I am using is ‘justified, true belief’. What you are defining is not knowledge, as ‘beliefs cosistent with reality’ can vary depending on whose perception of reality you’re discussing. This would make both knowledge and truth person relative and purely subjective”

                  But I didn’t say knowledge was ‘beliefs consistent with our perception of reality’
                  I said ‘beliefs consistent with reality’ . And any seeker of truth needs to acknowledge the subjective nature of our experience. The quickest way to fall astray in a search for truth is to treat your subjective experience as objective.

                  “Again, Cafeeine, the justification for my argument is the impossibility of the contrary.”

                  You have yet to demonstrate the case for this impossibility. Remember, before you can claim that logic is impossible without god, you need to show both that god exists AND that his existence is necessary for the existence of other things in the universe. So far, you’ve been dodging and weaving around your responsibilities in this all over this thread.

                  “Surely you can see that the lack of competing rational claims on this thread from those who hold the contrary position to mine surely doesn’t hurt the argument any and, in fact, substantiates it (not that I needed it).”
                  Once again you validate my earlier claim that you’re making an argument from ignorance. You desparately want to claim that lack of other answers will make your assertion true by default, but that is not the case.

                • scmike

                  “”I love my argument, your switch-around doesn’t really work though, since you’ve made it clear you accept that logic exists. “I know you are but what am I” doesn’t really work outside preschool.””

                  Just demonstrating the arbitrary double standard you are engaging in here. You see no problem justifying your presuppositions with rationally indefensible arguments and then call foul when I reverse the tactic. This of course is illogical, but par for the course.

                  “”No, I did not. I said that I observe that they exist and that they seem to be intrinsic in the universe. They exist because they could not not exist.””

                  Let’s go for two here, shall we? God’s existence is intrinsic in the universe. He exists because He could not not exist. If this type of justification is valid for your presuppositions, then it should serve as valid proof for mine (if you are intellectually honest, that is).

                  “”What I’m saying is that we both accept the existence of logic, but we don’t both accept the existence of God, which is why the same argument doesn’t work.””

                  And that really is the crux of the issue at hand, here Cafeeine. We both believe in abstract, universal, invariants such as the laws of logic, but one of us (read: you) denies the only possible rational explanation for their existence. You see, it is the Biblical position that you do in fact KNOW that God exists, but you suppress that truth in order to avoid accountability to Him—hence the inconsistencies in your position (i.e. arbitrary double standards and the inability to logically reconcile the necessary preconditions of intelligibility with your worldview). In other words, you live as if God exists and that the Bible is true, but you deny Him in your arguments and reasoning. I have a feeling this will be become more evident as this thread continues.

                  “”Actually the floor is *yours*, since you claimed to know that it can’t be done for certain. You must have a good argument to support that, not just imagined revelations from possibly imaginary deities, correct?””

                  Correct! I have certain revelation from the God of the Bible that logic does not comport with the nature of the created universe, but does comport with His sovereign, immaterial, unchanging character and nature. You have already conceded this possibility. Remember?

                  “”You asked me “how do you justify the existence of such standards in a worldview which denies God”. Your question assumes that the existence of God is a factor in the existence of universal standards.””

                  That’s because I have demonstrated how abstract, universal, invariants are accounted for WITH God, whereas you have yet to show how they are accounted for in your atheistic worldview. Unfortunately, I don’t suspect that there will be a rational justification forthcoming from you.

                  “”I will not allow you to insert assumptions like that into the discussion.””

                  Unfortunately, Cafeeine, I am not compelled to abide by self-imposed arbitrary standards that you do not abide by yourself.

                  You see, I could just as easily say that I will not allow you to use logic, truth, and knowledge in this discussion since they are (as of yet) unjustified assumptions on your part. Either account for them or relinquish using them.

                  “”Show me that a god is necessary for the existence of universal standards and then I may be interested in the question.””

                  You continue to demonstrate this fact in that you believe in universal standards, but cannot justify them in your non-Christian worldview, while they can be (and are) accounted for within the Christian worldview.

                  “”So from my statement that it applies in this discussion, yuo derived that I admit that it doesn’t apply in this discussion.””

                  No, I derived that from your refusal/inability to justify your knowledge claim regarding the application of your definition to this discussion. Again, if you don’t know that it applies universally in all places and at all times, then you have no rational basis for applying it here and now apart from blind faith. I am seeing a pattern here.

                  “”Opinions are not always faith-based assertions.””

                  Sounds like another opinion based on faith to me. Can opinions be used as valid logical proofs in your worldview?

                  “”The only way a God could grant you certain knowledge is by granting you omniscience.””

                  Are you certain of this? If so, how are certain? It’s one thing to make a claim, Cafeeine, but it is another thing to tell how you know for certain that the claim is true and cannot be false. So far, I haven’t seen you even begin to justify your knowledge claims here.

                  “”Since you’re not claiming omniscience, you can’t lay claim to revelatory knowledge, because you can never be certain you are not deluding yourself, even if you are feeling extraordinarily certain.””

                  ‘NEVER be’, huh? Again, how do you justify this universal negative in your worldview? How are you certain that any of what you stated above is true as opposed to being completely false?

                  I ASKED: “Are you certain of any of that though, Cafeeine? If so, please tell how you’re certain apart from the God of the Bible.”

                  YOU ANSWERED: “”More schoolyard tactics. Every time a question is difficult to answer, you evade.””

                  Hey, just because you don’t like having your knowledge claims challenged doesn’t mean they should not be challenged. Besides, I would be shocked if you didn’t feel at least a twinge of guilt as you wrote that, when your very accusation was put forth as a means of evading my request for you to justify certainty in your worldview. You have admitted that certainty is possible in my worldview, now I want to know how it is possible in yours. Well??

                  “”Even if I am completely wrong in my position, it doesn’t make yours correct, nor does it absolve you of the responsibility to defend it.””

                  I have defended it, and you have conceded that the defense is both logical and possible. I am still waiting for you to provide anything resembling a logical justification for how you can know things for certain to be true in your worldview so we can compare our claims. I hate to say it, Cafeeine, but I’m not getting my hopes up at this point.

                  “”There was a condition on that possibility that you don’t meet though. If you don’t have omniscience, you can never know if your god is tricking you.””

                  Unless of course He has revealed such that we can be certain (not just feel certain) that He is not tricking us (which He has). Again, if you are intellectually honest, you would be forced to admit that this is possible based upon your prior concession that God can reveal things such that we can be certain (not just feel certain) of them.

                  “”It also necessarily includes the ability to give you the illusion of certainty that the revelation is true when it isn’t. (which you can’t know he hasn’t).””

                  Not if He can reveal things to us such that we can know for certain that they are true and not an illusion of certainty (a possibility you have conceded already).

                  Again, though, I am happy to compare and evaluate our respective claims to certainty when (read: if) you decide to tell how you can know anything for certain in your worldview. Otherwise, your argument boils down to the equivalent of you saying ‘I can’t know anything for certain, but I am certain your claim is false’. Surely you can see the problem with that line of reasoning, no?

                  “”But as I explained, this is impossible to assertain, unless you become omniscient.””

                  This is getting silly, Cafeeine. If it is your claim that is impossible to ascertain certainty without omniscience, then how did you ascertain that knowledge without possessing omniscience? You have claimed many times to know what is possible and not possible, but you have never once justified any of those claims. Either justify them by telling how you know them for certain, or I will be forced to conclude that you can’t.

                  “”But I didn’t say knowledge was ‘beliefs consistent with our perception of reality’ I said ‘beliefs consistent with reality’.””

                  And how is it that you gain information about reality, if not by perceiving it via your senses and reasoning? Surely you would agree that not everyone’s perception of reality is valid, no? How do you know that yours is and that your senses and reasoning are providing you with reliable results?

                  “”You have yet to demonstrate the case for this impossibility.””

                  You are doing a fine job of that for me, Cafeeine. Again, if the proof of the Christian claim is that the contrary position is not rationally defensible (and therefore not possible), then it should not be hard for you to see how your inability to rationally defend your worldview (and to provide a reasoned account for the existence of the preconditions of intelligibility within it) only serves to substantiate the claim.

                  Everything that you write demonstrates that you know God exists and are trying very hard not to acknowledge that truth—hence the inconsistencies in your position.

                  Look, I have been involved in many of these discussions in the past, and they tend to get very lengthy (as this one already has). Feel free to respond to my comments here, but if your forthcoming response does not include your logical justification for the possibility of certainty in your non-Christian worldview, I will not respond. It just does not make sense to continue to entertain knowledge claims from someone who has no possible avenue to certainty in their worldview, as that would mean that everything you claim to know could, in fact, be false.

                  I’ll make it easy for you: tell me one thing you know for certain to be true and HOW you know it.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  “Just demonstrating the arbitrary double standard you are engaging in here. You see no problem justifying your presuppositions with rationally indefensible arguments and then call foul when I reverse the tactic. This of course is illogical, but par for the course.”

                  Except the two situations are not equal. I’m making the claim that logic, whose existence is not in question by either of us may be intrinsic to the universe, and therefore require no more justification. You’re adding two more elements to this, a god and the requirement that the universe requires this god to have logic. I’m trying to explain the observable while you’re trying to invoke the unobservable.

                  “t’s go for two here, shall we? God’s existence is intrinsic in the universe. He exists because He could not not exist. If this type of justification is valid for your presuppositions, then it should serve as valid proof for mine (if you are intellectually honest, that is).”

                  Sure would, as long as you provide objective observable evidence of your god, similar to that we have of logic. You see, I’m not presupposing logic, I’m observing it in reality. I don’t observe your god.

                  “e both believe in abstract, universal, invariants such as the laws of logic, but one of us (read: you) denies the only possible rational explanation for their existence. ”

                  I deny that a god could be a rational explanation for their existence, and you have yet to display a good reason that this should be the case. You don’t get to assert rationality.

                  “You see, it is the Biblical position that you do in fact KNOW that God exists, but you suppress that truth in order to avoid accountability to Him”

                  Why would the biblical position have any weight when there is no reason to accept it as true? Never mind the illogical status of the claim: If I did know that God exists, I would know that I CAN’T avoid His punishment after I die, so I might as well cop to it and enjoy my life, rather than wasting it talking to lousy apologists who are wasting their time trying to convince me that I already agree with them because it says so in their book.

                  “(i.e. arbitrary double standards and the inability to logically reconcile the necessary preconditions of intelligibility with your worldview) n other words, you live as if God exists and that the Bible is true, but you deny Him in your arguments and reasoning. I have a feeling this will be become more evident as this thread continues.”

                  You haven’t shown this. At best you’ve shown that my position is incompatible with your presupposition that a god and only a god can account for rationality, which is not a surprise, since I don’t share that presupposition. Your feeble attempts to slip your assumptions as the default position are not really fooling anyone.

                  “Correct! I have certain revelation from the God of the Bible that logic does not comport with the nature of the created universe, but does comport with His sovereign, immaterial, unchanging character and nature. You have already conceded this possibility. Remember?”

                  No, I explained the conditions under which certain knowledge could be provided by a god through revelation, and you don’t fit the requirements, namely omniscience. Therefore nothing you claim has been revealed to you qualifies as knowledge, for all your ignoring that part of my reply.

                  “That’s because I have demonstrated how abstract, universal, invariants are accounted for WITH God”

                  You haven’t demonstrated it, you’ve asserted that it has been revealed to you, and I have explained that this mode of acquiring knowledge is faulty, and therefore inadmissible.
                  In fact, it occurs to me now that an omniscient deity would know all this, and therefore any claim of divine revelation that purports to provide true knowledge can’t be genuine. Either it is the product of delusion, or the entity that provides it is being deceitful in claiming it provides certain knowledge.

                  “You see, I could just as easily say that I will not allow you to use logic, truth, and knowledge in this discussion since they are (as of yet) unjustified assumptions on your part. Either account for them or relinquish using them.”

                  But you’ve already admitted that logic exists, so it doesn’t matter if I can account for its derivation. You on the other hand can show neither the existence of god, nor that logic derives from a god. It’s not my fault that you are making additional claims here.

                  “Again, if you don’t know that it applies universally in all places and at all times, then you have no rational basis for applying it here and now apart from blind faith. I am seeing a pattern here”

                  Whether or not I’m using blind faith is of no importance, since I’m saying that I believe logic does apply here, so your claim otherwise is completely irrational.

                  “If it is your claim that is impossible to ascertain certainty without omniscience, then how did you ascertain that knowledge without possessing omniscience?”

                  I didn’t say that it is impossible to ascertain certainty without omniscience. I said that it is impossible to use revelation to arrive at certainty without omniscience.m

                  “Again, if the proof of the Christian claim is that the contrary position is not rationally defensible (and therefore not possible)”

                  A point which I have explained several times is an argument from ignorance and a logical fallacy.

                  “but if your forthcoming response does not include your logical justification for the possibility of certainty in your non-Christian worldview, I will not respond.”

                  I have included this before, but that hasn’t thrown you off script, has it?

                  “tell me one thing you know for certain to be true and HOW you know it.”

                  That I am thinking. I know this because it is a self-authenticating statement, it validates itself. And it was not revealed through revelation.

                  “Are you certain of this? If so, how are certain? It’s one thing to make a claim, Cafeeine, but it is another thing to tell how you know for certain that the claim is true and cannot be false. So far, I haven’t seen you even begin to justify your knowledge claims here.”

                  Of course you haven’t. That would require you going off your script.
                  I’ve laid out my rationale over several comments, I won’t repeat myself incessantly. Whenever a question gets too uncomfortable you punt to a requirement of absolute knowledge so that you can avoid giving an honest answer. You’re using a barrage of logical fallacies and when called upon them you question the existence of logic itself, but only for long enough to avoid the question, as in the next sentence, you’re claiming that you have incontrovertible proof that logic exists because of your god.

                  You’re not arguing in good faith. You are not arguing at all, you’re trying to circumvent arguing for your faith claims by demanding that as an atheist I argue from theistic presuppositions and threatening to take your ball and go home when I call you on it.

                  I’m done here.

                • scmike

                  I ASKED: “tell me one thing you know for certain to be true and HOW you know it.”

                  YOU RESPONDED: “”That I am thinking. I know this because it is a self-authenticating statement, it validates itself.””

                  So you know that you are thinking because your thinking tells you so? Nope, nothing at all illogical about that. ; )

                  Interestingly (and ironically) enough, it was atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell who pointed out the fallaciousness of the ‘Cogito ergo sum’ argument.
                  “”I’m done here.””

                  Don’t blame ya, Caffeeine. Best to get while the gettin’ is good. No need to hang around and have me ask you how you know that your thinking is valid at the outset and where you have observed the laws of logic (although it would be interesting to know that, as I’d like to have a look at them myself). Take care.

                • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

                  Our exchange will remain for observers to judge, and that’s fine with me :)
                  “Take care”
                  Likewise.

                • Houndentenor

                  LOL

          • WillBell

            You are making the positive claim, you have burden of proof.

            • scmike

              And where is the proof for THAT positive claim, Will?

              • WillBell

                Atheism is a claim about the non-existence of a being, therefore it is a negative claim, the burden of proof is proving the existence of a being. Otherwise we could make a lot of crazy claims and it would be up to skeptics to prove them wrong (“oh you don’t believe in fairies! well since you are saying fairies aren’t real it is up to you to prove they don’t exist”). You don’t really understand how logic works do you?

          • Houndentenor

            And then that’s between them and whatever they believe in. What does that have to do with the rest of us? If you are right, shouldn’t that deity be able to speak for itself and enforce its own rules?

            • scmike

              It has everything to do with ALL of us. According to the Bible, the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments. God has spoken for Himself and will hold everyone accountable for their sin against Him. Fortunately, He has provided a means of pardon for you, Houndentenor, through Jesus Christ. Repent and trust in Him and God will forgive you.

              • DavidMHart

                And according to the Koran, the whole duty of humanity (can we at least drop the sexist language?) is to fear Allah and keep his commandments, and he has provided a means of salvation through the teachings and example of Mohammed. Even if you claim that the god of Islam is ‘really’ the same god as the god of Christianity (and I’ll happily agree that they share a lot of backstory), the specific commandments are undeniably different, and each side is going to have to do better than just pointing to its respective holy book.

                Basically your whole argument here, as far as I can see, boils down to “I am right because an ancient book says I am, and that ancient book also says that my chosen god created logic, so no one else is allowed to use it without implicitly validating my chosen god”. That is an unsubstantiated assertion if ever I saw one.

                You said in a reply above that you ‘know’ that Quetzalcoatl doesn’t exist because the Bible tells you so, but how would you respond to a Quetzalcoatl enthusiast who said that the god of Christianity doesn’t exist because the revelations of the Mesoamerican deities tell him or her so? Admittedly there isn’t much in the way of surviving holy writ about Quetzalcoatl, but he was once a god in good standing, and even today, a few Christians (of the Latter Day Saints persuasion) apparently believe that Quetzalcoatl
                was Jesus.

                Or what would you say to a Muslim who says that you are wrong about the divinity of Jesus because the Koran tells them so? At least a billion people are just as convinced that you are mistaken as you are convinced that you are correct, for exactly the same reasons – namely, being indoctrinated into believing that one particular book has been written with divine input.

                Unless you can come up with a consistent, reliable set of criteria for determining whether or not a given book has been written by a god, criteria that all reasonable people (including reasonable Musims, Hindus, Sikhs and
                anyone else who venerates different books from the Bible as holy) would be able to agree with, and show that those
                criteria apply only to your chosen holy book and none of the others, our default position should be that all books are written by ordinary humans, and we should be no more inclined to consider the Bible to prove the existence of
                God than we should consider the Odyssey to be proof of the existence of
                cyclopses.

                • scmike

                  “”You said in a reply above that you ‘know’ that Quetzalcoatal doesn’t exist because the Bible tells you so, but how would you respond to a Quetzalcoatl enthusiast who said that the god of Christianity doesn’t exist because the revelations of the Mesoamerican deities tell him or her so? “”

                  I would ask them to provide their internally consistent, objective revelation which comports with reality and makes sense of abstract, universal, invariant concepts to substantiate their claim.

                  “”Or what would you say to a Muslim who says that you are wrong about the divinity of Jesus because the Koran tells them so?””

                  I would show them where the Koran states that the words of Jesus, David, and Moses are authoritative and then contradicts itself and their writings by denying the divinity of Jesus. Fish in a barrel.

                  “”Unless you can come up with a consistent, reliable set of criteria for determining whether or not a given book has been written by a god,..””

                  I’ll just go with the criteria of the Bible. It is a self-authenticating, objective revelation which can be examined by anyone, is internally consistent, comports with reality, and accounts for abstract, universal, invariant entities.

                • Santa

                  I’ve never seen someone in so much denial – or troll so extensively. Your your defense resembles that of Bill Clinton’s during the Monica Lewinsky case when he requested that sexual relations be defined for him. Everyone in the building knew what sexual relations are.
                  You’re being asked to provide evidence that God is real, to which you essentially reply “Define real…” or “Define evidence.”
                  Clinton knew damn well that he was having sexual relations with Ms Lewinsky, just as you know damn well that there isn’t any scientific evidence that supports the existence of God — or you’re just THAT stupid.

                  I feel like you’re that one kid that when told by one of his peers that Santa isn’t real, replies “Yes huh! How do you know he isn’t?” The answer to that is the same for any fairy tale: Because it’s not observable, the described properties do not exist in anything observable, and because grown ups fucking say it isn’t! :)

      • Baby_Raptor

        Prove your god exists before you go making statements about him.

        • scmike

          The proof that God exists is that without Him, you can’t prove anything or know anything for certain. There you go, BR.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

            That is not a proof. That is inaccurate assertion. Go away.

            • scmike

              Nice unjustified (and inaccurate) assertion, there Michael! A finer example of a baseless claim I have not seen!

              Hey in case you missed it, I posted a challenge to your claims regarding logic being man-made conventions and haven’t seen a response to it yet. I would like to know if the universe could have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were humans around to formulate the logical law of non-contradiction?

      • Houndentenor

        Actually, they are only accountable to the law and to the people who elected them.

        • scmike

          Are you certain of this Houndentenor? Sounds like a baseless claim to me.

          • DavidMHart

            What is baseless about it? We know that elected officials who fail to gain the approval of enough of their electorate when the next election comes will lose that election to a challenger who gets more votes. It happens all the time. And we know that an elected official who commits a crime is in principle open to prosecution (whether in practice that actually happens is a different question because in many criminal justice systems the way they pan out in reality, the elite get off more lightly than the poor, but this is a flaw in the administration of the law, it is not a flaw in the principle of the law itself, whereby everyone is accountable to it, whether an elected official or not).

            Is that enough of a base to be going on with, and if not, why note?

  • Edmond

    Ah, but which REPUBLICAN said it first? Trick question! Republicans don’t say things like this.

  • Slow Learner

    I think Jesse Jackson Jr’s version is best – he says “I put my hand on the Bible”, thus not presuming that everyone else swore on the Bible too.

  • A3Kr0n

    Can people put their hand on The God Disillusion, and uphold the Constitution?

    • DavidMHart

      I guess so. Since the Constitution itself provides that there should be no religious test for holding public office, there’s no reason why someone shouldn’t put their hand on any book they like … or better yet (since it makes life so much simpler) no book at all.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        Ob West Wing….

        Josh: You know, there’s nothing that says you have to be sworn in on a Bible.
        Bartlet: Is that true?
        Josh: You can be sworn in on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
        Bartlet: You think that’s a good idea?
        Josh: No.
        Bartlet: You sure?

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        Ob West Wing….

        Josh: You know, there’s nothing that says you have to be sworn in on a Bible.
        Bartlet: Is that true?
        Josh: You can be sworn in on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
        Bartlet: You think that’s a good idea?
        Josh: No.
        Bartlet: You sure?

    • Kahomono

      I’d probably go with On the Origin of Species.

      Or a picture of my wife & kids.

      • fsm

        Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy is a very common book for clergy of the FSM to hold while they are officiating a wedding. I would swear on my special, never been opened, leather bound copy.

        • DavidMHart

          Ah, but how do you know that the text inside is really the Hitchikers’ Guide? :-P

    • Stev84

      There is no requirement to swear on any book. It’s just a very silly tradition.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      Yes.

      For the US Congress, official oaths are taken on the floor without books, unless a new Senator or Representative wants to be carrying one. Re-enactments with books are common, but not required, and have included bibles, the Torah, the Qu’ran, gitas, and a number of different non-religious texts.

      Past US presidents have used bibles, a book of law (including a copy of the Constitution), a Roman Catholic missal, and no book at all.

  • Pureone

    I think that’s what’s known as a convergent quotation.

  • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

    Google Books turns up traces that footnote to a fuller and earlier version of the quote (still by Jackson) in the Congressional Record, July 12, 1996 at H7496 (try this, or searching here, as the whole speech is interesting in the hindsight of history):

    “When I came to Congress, I placed my hand on the Bible and
    swore to uphold the Constitution; now I am being asked to place my hand
    on the Constitution and uphold the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and
    other religious doctrine. The U.S. Constitution must remain the supreme
    law of the land.”

    Google Books, News, Scholar, and Groups do not seem to be turning up any earlier variants. It looks like Mr. Jackson gets the credit.

    • kaydenpat

      Good for Jesse Jr.

  • http://twitter.com/WoodwindsRock Emma

    I just still find it way too ironic that we have our officials get sworn in on a book that they all pick and choose. When they pick and choose the constitution it shouldn’t come as any surprise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurent.lambert.52 Laurent Lambert

    True, but nothing says that people can come up with this quote independantly.

  • Honor System

    Swearing on the Constitution to uphold the Constitution makes mechanistic sense because it relates directly to the oath one is making. It is ludicrous to swear that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” by declaring that the most precious thing to the oath taker is a religious text that includes injunctions to kill unbelievers and base civil laws on its doctrine.

    Any doctrine written by someone other than the swearer initiates a train of evading responsibility that propagates throughout the system. The bible is more self-contradictory than most books, something even the faithful acknowledge with sayings like “even the devil can quote scripture.” But it is the principle that the views and decisions of one under oath are not his own that allows him to claim that he is merely following the directives of someone else, and therefore not responsible for the consequences.

    The solution that would eliminate this perverse motivation and hold people accountable is to have a personal honor-based oath that applies to everyone. This would work for those testifying in court and other settings as well. It would eliminate the loophole of lying under oath under the guise of not being Christian, or of believers being given absolution.

    In an ideal world, violation of an oath would result in discredit. The fact that it has trivial consequences now is partly a result of the disjunction between responsibility to doctrine and to other people. Having this conflict creates the opportunity for a kind of ethical arbitrage, in which people pick and choose among the competing options to suit their own advantage. This also changes both civil and religious codes, as leaders interpret doctrine to appeal to customers and intimidate the competition.


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