The subjective choices of religion


Our old friend Murk has returned with a reply to a comment on one of my older posts. Rather than let it languish in the past, I’d like to reply to it up front. Let’s start by reconstructing the thread of the conversation so far.

KEVIN: Yeah, murk. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. You see, there’s this little problem you theists have. It’s one of a plethora of choices. You claim that your choice is the correct one. OK, fine. But every single person who believes in the supernatural makes the same claim.

MURK: Let me see if i get this straight – many choice = non-existence? by analogy then since there are many counterfeit moneys there is no real one? the counterfeit is dependent on the real my friend.

DEACON DUNCAN: Not quite. The problem is not just that there are many choices, it’s that all the choices are based on subjective preference, in the absence of any objective means of demonstrating that any of them is actually true. After all, if you had objective proof that any of them were correct, you’d be walking by proof, not walking by faith.

So far so good, eh? Granted, Murk is making a bad analogy with his counterfeit money example, and I didn’t address that specifically. I wanted to focus on the weakness of the theological argument, which is the lack of a “gold standard” against which you can apply the various conflicting theological positions. We know that counterfeit money is fake precisely because there is a real-world standard to compare it to. No similar standard exists for the innumerable, conflicting versions of the story about what god(s) ought to be, and what he/she/it/they expect from us.

Turnabout’s fair play, so Murk wants to pick apart my response and see if he can find any weaknesses in it.

” it’s that all the choices are based on subjective preference,” is this an objective claim? if so by what standard?

My replies are below the fold.

Is my argument an objective claim? And if so by what standard? That’s an easy one. There’s only one standard for objective claims, and that’s objective reality itself, aka material reality. (Material reality, remember, is all that exists in and of itself, apart from our perceptions of it–it’s far more than just those things which are made of atoms.)

You might object that material reality is too broad a standard. How, specifically, do I justify my claim that religious choices are based on subjective preferences, in the absence of any objective means of demonstrating that any one of them is true? There are many ways, of course. Material reality is consistent with itself, and religious claims concerning God have so many real-world implications that we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to making objective observations more consistent with the conclusion that God is a myth.

For example, take presuppositionalism. Presuppositionalism claims to provide objective proof that the Christian God is real, but in order to reach that conclusion, they have to make the assumption that a thinking, purposeful Being is responsible for the existence of order in the cosmos, including the order implicit in logic and reason itself. This is a subjective and superstitious assumption, based on confusion about what the word “being” means in the philosophical term “necessary being.”

Most unfortunately, the term “being” in English has two senses: being in the sense of existence, and being in the sense of a person. When some branches of philosophy speak of “necessary being,” the correct understanding of “being” is the first one: being in the ontological sense of the nature of existence. The logical, rational order of reality is true “necessary being,” because it is part of what it means for reality to be consistent with itself. It exists and is true because it is impossible for it to be false and/or non-existent.

Presuppositionalists, however, are superstitious. That is to say, they do not understand the world by working out the details of the material patterns of cause and effect, or of condition and precondition (though they may go through the motions of doing so). Instead, they understand the world by attributing things to the intentional whims of some invisible magical “Being,” meaning Person. Being vs “being,” you see. When a presuppositionalist reads the phrase “necessary being,” their superstition kicks in, and they immediately think, “Aha, a being is a person, and the only ‘necessary’ Person is God! God must therefore be the Necessary Being/Person required by philosophy!” It’s not reasonable or rational, it’s just the kind of conclusion that superstition likes to jump to.

We, on the other hand, can see that logical, rational order must necessarily exist by considering what reality would be like without it. Think about it: no law of identity–things are not the same as themselves. No law of non-contradiction: “x exists” and “x does not exist” become two statements neither of which is any more true than the other. Truth is no more consistent with reality than falsehood is; non-existence is no less consistent with reality than existence is. Meaning itself is not the same as meaning. Nothing exists. Apart from the necessary precondition of logical, rational order, you can’t even make a meaningful statement like “nothing exists”!

Without this fundamental order, without the underlying preconditions we call “logic” and “reason,” the very terms “true,” “false,” “real” and “non-existent” are terms which have no meaning. Logical order must be true because it cannot be false, since the meaningful distinction between true and false is part of this logical, rational order. Nor can logical, rational order be caused by any prior precondition, since logical/rational order must exist in order for cause and effect and condition and precondition to exist in any meaningful sense. Thus, logical order exists of necessity and only of necessity–it is literally and undeniably the “necessary, non-person being” of correct philosophy, the ultimate precondition for everything else that exists.

This, naturally, makes any non-pantheistic God a contingent being. God himself (if he existed) would not be able to exist apart from the precondition of logical, rational order as a necessary characteristic of reality itself. Imagine God to be as powerful as you like. Give him all the knowledge and wisdom you like. Make him as loving and noble and flawless as you like. If existence itself does not exist, then no god can exist. The existence of any god(s) is necessarily contingent on reality possessing the inherent qualities of logical, rational order, which means logical, rational order does not require any God for its own existence. And that completely overthrows any presuppositional claim to have proven the existence of any god.

Presuppositional assumptions are thus subjective, being superstitious (and also factually incorrect), and the same is true for other varieties of theology as well. Thus we can say, inductively, that theists suffer from the problem of subjectivism. They tell us all these tales about gods, but the tales turn out to be mere superstition–credulous believers trying to understand the world in terms of the presumed intentions of an invisible magical being/person. Finding real-world examples of this is trivial.

We can also say, objectively, that all theism suffers from this problem, due to the subjective nature of faith. It’s not just that some god beliefs are the “counterfeit money” of rational thought. They are all equally counterfeit, and are based on subjectivism rather than on verifiable, repeatable, objective observation.

Think for a moment about the difference between religious faith and scientific skepticism. Scientific skepticism means withholding belief in the absence of evidence, and changing belief when confronted with evidence that conflicts with your original conclusion. Because skepticism involves withholding and abandoning beliefs in light of the evidence, it is sometimes confused with denialism, but the two are very different. Denialism means perversely rejecting conclusions that are best supported by the available evidence, and thus denialism, like faith, is the opposite of skepticism. Skepticism may reject conclusions that are unsupported or contradicted by the best available evidence, but it nevertheless requires us to accept the conclusions that are best supported by the evidence, even if this requires changing our understanding.

Faith, by contrast, is defined in terms of loyalty to one’s initial beliefs and dogmas. The presence of religious faith is indicated by a person’s willingness to believe what they are told in the absence of objective, verifiable evidence supporting that belief. In fact, if we continue believing something even when confronted by evidence that is inconsistent with our beliefs, that’s an indication of even stronger faith. What’s more, if the evidence leads us to abandon our original beliefs, the religious term for our decision is not “learning,” but rather “apostasy,” a very negative term. We have shown disloyalty to our teachers and our dogmas, we’ve broken at least some of our relationships, and have become outsiders.

Belief, loyalty, self-identification with a particular sect or culture–these are subjective things. These are the things that religion depends on to promote and maintain theism. It is the primacy of these subjective obligations that makes all theism dependent on subjective preferences and assumptions. This is not to say that a religious person cannot put objective considerations first, or that a theist cannot decide to voluntarily limit themselves to believing only those conclusions which are verifiably and objectively consistent with material reality. The problem is, as soon as they start doing that, they are no longer practicing faith, they’re practicing skepticism–the opposite of faith!

The theist can try to practice genuine skepticism, but doing so will require them to withhold belief and abandon beliefs in a way that violates the definition of faith. Changing our beliefs requires that we first admit our original belief was wrong. That’s not a problem when our beliefs are founded on reality, because our willingness to learn in no way implies that reality is an unreliable source of information. The theist, however, has no such freedom. To admit that original Apostolic doctrine was wrong is to overthrow the whole foundation of divine revelation. The very nature of skepticism is poisonous to faith, and thus the theist must abandon it. The only compatible substitute would be a pseudo-skepticism based on letting dogma define what conclusions they’re going to reach, and then using such arguments as can be devised to try and justify that conclusion, regardless of material reality. In other words, apologetics.

But again, putting subjective beliefs ahead of skeptical conclusions is ultimately basing your conclusions on subjective preference, rather than on verifiable material evidence. The religions of the world, with all their numberless variety of gods, and even Christianity, with its endless supply of denominations and incompatible dogmas, are equally powerless to satisfy the demands of scientific skepticism–a fact for which they all blame skepticism, thus showing their hostility to the objective, reality-based approach to understanding. The only “belief system” that has consistently applied the principles of skepticism is secular science, and that’s a set of conclusions that has greatly improved our quality of life—without finding any gods outside of human superstition.

 

Comments

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Begging the question, yes. “Simply,” not so much. It’s about as convoluted and obscure as they can make it. ;)

  1. murk says

    “The only “belief system” that has consistently applied the principles of skepticism is secular science, and that’s a set of conclusions that has greatly improved our quality of life—without finding any gods outside of human superstition.”

    science is good i agree – but it cannot function apart from comprehensive universal metaphysical commitments:
    which science itself cannot demonstrate – it rests on them – if they were not science would be impossible,
    such as:

    uniformity of nature,
    connection between laws of thoughts in the mind of the person doing science and reality outside of the mind. This necessitates that there is an order between the two and order out there so we can recognize relations between separate events and objects
    immaterial, non-temporal characteristics of the laws of logic
    validity of induction

    and there is no way you can get there in a world where Deacon Duncan is king

    your claim to the supremacy of objective reality – means you hold to the rationality of the universe – since your mind is able to think through all the “facts” and try as you might you cannot not set aside contradiction- yet simultaneously you deny that the universe proceeds without a determinate mind and purpose which controls everything – thus it is ultimately irrational
    you have an irresolvable contradiction – i understand this – i wished this was not so in my younger years – so that i could do what i want – but alas it is so.
    You do not have an intellectual difficulty with Christianity – you have an intellectual difficulty with your espoused worldview

    furthermore you cannot know anything about objective reality without first holding as true that your mind is reasonable and your thoughts correspond to the real world

    thus your ability to reason is more foundational than “objective reality”
    and what do you have to believe to be true prior to making your own mind ultimate?
    what is your ultimate authority Deacon?

  2. murk says

    “Scientific skepticism means withholding belief in the absence of evidence,”

    other than the many things (see above post) that the scientist has to believe to practice his craft….

    attempting to withhold belief entails one BELIEVE that their own mind is sufficiently ultimate to describe or prescribe reality

    you to have your beliefs – nice try

    yet the mind has to rest on necessary supports in order to make itself ultimate (sounds like a contradiction to me)

    not sure if i missed the answer to my question if the laws of logic existed before man showed up?

    murk kind of busy – ill try to read through post thoroughly at a later date and respond

    thanks for your responses and the opportunity to dialogue Deacon

    • Sines says

      If he didn’t say it here, he’s said it elsewhere. DD has said that the laws of logic are an inherent and necessary part of reality. The laws of logic are dependent on the existence of man only in the sense that the actual words “Laws of Logic” did not exist before humans.

      Also “withholding belief in the absence of evidence” does not mean “withholding belief”. It just means not believing certain things. Things which lack evidence. The belief that our perceptions have some basis in ultimate reality, and can be used to make judgments about what will happen in the future, has as much evidence as anything can, barring a slide back into solipsism. The alternative is that our perceptions have no basis in reality, in which case we might as well act as though they did, because there’s no harm in following perceptions that are completely meaningless, because we have no better basis for decisions.

      Bringing things back to the “Are we living in the Matrix” problem gets you nowhere, because it cannot be escaped. Divine intervention could take you out of it, but it could also take a perfectly perceptive mind, and stick it in the Matrix. And we’d never know the difference. No-one can boot-strap themselves out of that with absolute knowledge, so there’s no point in requiring people justify it.

  3. haitied says

    Ok, without assuming that the universe exists and we can observe and learn about it we actually cannot have any real discussions or learn about anything. Those 2 things are the “many” things Everyone has to believe to accomplish anything, not just scientists. Those are axioms. There is no conversation without them. People can choose to not believe in reality all they want, but my keyboard feels pretty real right now.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Right, but the presuppositional gambit is a bit more subtle than you might think. The basic idea as that they do not reject the fact that rational order is required for any rational discussion, though they may sound at times as though they do. Rather, they use this fact to assert their superstition that rational order can only be imparted by a Christian God. To the presuppositionalist, every time a skeptic uses a rational argument, they are effectively refuting themselves, since their use of logic “proves” (in the believer’s eyes) the existence of the alleged Source of all logic.

      • haitied says

        It’s almost akin to god of the gaps at that point though. “Logic exists, you can’t tell me exactly where or when it came to be, therefore so does my very specific deity whose lore is thoroughly refuted for the most part”? I guess I’d have more patience for PSA arguments for a generic creator, some absentee landlord of gods, but that rarely seems to be the case.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        And in fact it’s even worse than a god of the gaps argument, because it’s based on the concept of necessary being, and necessary being means “that precondition for all other things that can have no preconditions itself.” In other words, once you arrive at the thing that is really and truly the necessary being, you’re not going to be able to tell what caused it because it won’t have any causes. Logical order is the genuine necessary being, since the distinction between true and false, and real and unreal, is part of the logical order of reality. Without logical order, nothing can be true or be false or be real or be unreal, because those qualities only exist in the context of a logical, rational reality. Therefore logical order must exist as the precondition for anything else, including any god(s). It is literally the necessary precondition, for which no other preconditions can exist, nor any prior causes.

        Murk’s “rebuttal” of this fact is to object that skeptics propose nothing to provide the preconditions and causes for logical order. In other words, he argues that logical order cannot be the necessary being because it possesses exactly the lack of preconditions needed by genuine necessary being! Kind of hard to disprove someone’s point by affirming that they are exactly correct, especially when his preferred alternative is to dogmatically assert the existence of a being who could not exist apart from the necessary precondition of logical order. Without a distinction between true and false, real and unreal, his “necessary” creator god could not be any more real than any other mythical fantasy creature. So his “necessary” Being turns out to be not only unnecessary, but contingent upon the necessary being that logic demands. The only way around this hard reality is to reject logic itself, which makes it kind of hard to use logic to disprove atheism.

      • murk says

        “Without a distinction between true and false, real and unreal, his “necessary” creator god could not be any more real than any other mythical fantasy creature”

        and this from a man who spent 40 years of his life working to remove according to himself a figment from his imagination. (i caution you at this rate you could only deal with 2 errors in your thinking in your lifetime) Seems to be that reality and appearance of reality sometimes conflict. How can you know what is real ? (without first positing a comprehensive view of reality)

        is it absolutely wrong to lie?
        are the laws of logic eternal?
        if not when / how could they have begun?

  4. murk says

    “If he didn’t say it here, he’s said it elsewhere. DD has said that the laws of logic are an inherent and necessary part of reality. The laws of logic are dependent on the existence of man only in the sense that the actual words “Laws of Logic” did not exist before humans.”

    the irony is glaring: see above comment re: presuppositionalism: “Begging the question, yes. “Simply,” not so much. It’s about as convoluted and obscure as they can make it.”
    You just revealed that you guys hold to your presuppositions to ! (that the laws of logic are an inherent and necessary part of reality) – not being able to not use them does not provide their foundation..
    You hold to the universal validity of metaphysical things that you cannot know apart from knowing everything. Come on if you are going to use presuppositions it would be honest to admit that you are using them and that you cannot provide a foundation for them within your view of reality.

    “Also “withholding belief in the absence of evidence” does not mean “withholding belief”. It just means not believing certain things. Things which lack evidence. The belief that our perceptions have some basis in ultimate reality, and can be used to make judgments about what will happen in the future, “
    “Things which lack evidence”

    things like uniformity, logic, correspondence of your mind to external world, all of which must be assumed prior to even coming up with a method to attempt to gather evidence?

    It gets even better you cannot make judgments about what will happen in the future without first presupposing that the future will be like the past.

    Do you know this? or is it just probable?

    Furthermore do you not require the future to be like the past in order to reason about anything – thus this would include reasoning about how we got here which requires that the future was not like the past in a worldview which proposes that history is not an expression of God’s will?

    why do laws dictate what is possible to material things?

    have you ever seen a legal law legislated or interpreted by non-intelligence?

    You are right our perceptions have some basis in ultimate reality – because we are made in His image and live in His world and He formed our minds and imparted the laws of thought by which our mind operates to correspond to the external world and the laws by which it operates which and both are contained within Him – (Acts 17:28). Apart from this we are driven total skepticism.

    “has as much evidence as anything can, barring a slide back into solipsism.”

    evidence presupposes many things that must be universal in nature – and invariant and immaterial in nature as well. How can you know these things if you cannot verify them? You cannot verify them without first accepting them to be true (presupposing) You must break your own claim of not believing certain things without evidence. You cannot get out of the starting gate within the confines of your own given limitation. Atheist presuppositionalists – who would have thought?

    “The alternative is that our perceptions have no basis in reality, in which case we might as well act as though they did, because there’s no harm in following perceptions that are completely meaningless, because we have no better basis for decisions.”

    But then it would be meaningful that there’s no harm in following meaningless perceptions (if there is no meaning) you expose the fact that there is no way around meaning – which implies purpose – something which must be rejected to anyone who attempts to deny the Purposer. (yes I just invented a word:)) – You confirm very clearly that His invisible qualities, eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen being understood from what has been made… No one can do anything against the truth but only for the truth my friend.

    “Bringing things back to the “Are we living in the Matrix” problem gets you nowhere, because it cannot be escaped. Divine intervention could take you out of it, but it could also take a perfectly perceptive mind, and stick it in the Matrix. And we’d never know the difference. No-one can boot-strap themselves out of that with absolute knowledge, so there’s no point in requiring people justify it.”

    So there would be no point in justifying your universal claim that its pointless requiring justification either? Yet above you stated that we should not believe things that lack evidence. So why is arbitrariness aloud when it comes here (when it comes to starting points)?

    Your point is valid – unless of course the Divine one cannot lie and the law of contradiction is a reflection of His nature (the laws of logic are contained with Him – they are not out there beyond Him.) Therefore claims about primacy of existence have some merit – but only on the correct (read true) starting point. The laws of logic do not change because God does not change) and therefore we have the only possible foundation for the laws of logic and the only possible avenue to certainty. (and you admitted in previous paragraph that certainty is certainly not possible – (since you cannot know that you are not in a brain vat )

    without His unfailing love we cannot bear truth – Take heart He loves you

    murk

    • Sines says

      Alright, fine. Let’s go along with you. It’s not enough for me to work on a practical assumption for the purpose of escaping from solipsism, and I need a god to do so. Sure, why not.

      Please link this necessary requirement for logic to exist at all to your god. The Trinitarian (I’m assuming) god who had the jews as his chosen people. Explain to me why a deistic god is insufficient.

      And make sure to include in there why this necessary entity is all-knowing and cannot lie. Otherwise, you would be guilty of the same calibur of unjustified beliefs as I am.

      • murk says

        “Alright, fine. Let’s go along with you. It’s not enough for me to work on a practical assumption for the purpose of escaping from solipsism, and I need a god to do so. Sure, why not.”

        ok (that and you haven’t got a practical assumption because you admitted you could be in a Matrix world)

        “Please link this necessary requirement for logic to exist at all to your god. The Trinitarian (I’m assuming) god who had the jews as his chosen people. Explain to me why a deistic god is insufficient.”

        He has revealed that the external world is real, that history is an expression of His will,
        If He did not exist then:
        there would be no purpose or direction to the happenings of the universe (as is well documented by many atheists)

        But then we are left with chance as the force behind everything. “a blind indifference” which means nothing can be known – then there is no reason to believe the future will be like the past – (and the concept of reason and belief would be meaningless along with definitions of English words and meaning and so on – think about it) -result utter skepticism. But then one has to hold to the law of chances (which is a contradiction) or appeal to probability (which assumes the most likely outcome therefore it trumps chance – probability also rests on uniformity which vetoes chance again) there is no escape – to reason about anything requires presupposing order and uniformity and reasonableness of reason – thus universal / immaterial / invariant nature of logic – again vetoes chance.

        knowledge would be impossible in a universe without Him – because then anything can happen –therefore everything observed would be an illusion as universe chugs along. But even this is knowledge claim therefore self refuting.

        Deism – if god made the place and butted out – the Bible is false (for it clearly reveals that”all things have been created by Him and for Him”) A clock maker can make a clock and wind it up and leave the room and it will still work. But only because nature is uniform and the future will be like the past.

        The ultimate one determines how every eventuality unfolds according to His purpose – it is impossible for an absentee God to be ultimate. and if God is not ultimate He is not God.
        If laws of logic were outside of God they could change. He does not change (as He revealed) thus we have the only possible guarantee for their continuance.

        What can account for uniformity, future will be like the past, causation, possibility of knowledge in your worldview?
        the thing is to get it you have to do what He says (John 17:7)

        Furthermore the Bible reveals that we are dead, depraved, deceived – a dead man cannot get himself to “raise from the dead medicine” God reveals that no one can come to Him except through Jesus and that no one can come to Jesus except the Father draws them. which would be impossible for a deistic God who is off camping somewhere.

        In Him we live and move and have our being – this is why you can reason.
        Why the God of the Bible – He is the only one who has revealed Himself from the beginning – He accounts for laws of logic, Christianity is also the only belief in which it is impossible for man to dig himself out of the mess he’s in. After all He died for us – if we just had to correct some syllogisms it could have been accomplished by teaching. Our way out is therefore necessarily initiated by Him which is impossible for a deistic demi-god.

        Could you be wrong about everything you know?

        Every other belief depends on man to do something about his condition – which the Bible accounts for.

        “And make sure to include in there why this necessary entity is all-knowing and cannot lie. Otherwise, you would be guilty of the same calibur of unjustified beliefs as I am.”
        i won’t spend much time on why it is extremely interesting that requiring justification requires the Bible to be true (note this does not mean anyone has to have read it)
        After all what is justification in an anything can happen universe?

        If He wasn’t all knowing you could not know anything. You do know things – this entails……
        He is truth – He is all powerful and can make happen what He says – He is not limited like us (eg. we may forget or get sick so we cannot fulfill a promise)
        He has revealed that He cannot lie.
        Why is lying not allowed in your worldview? You must borrow from mine to invoke the concept of a lie – since a lie means not true – and true means actual state of affairs – which you cannot have without God maintaining everything. Unless of course you have solved the unity / diversity problem or the problem of uniformity / chaos, the problem of the irony of the law of chances, etc. Only the Bible resolves these things.

        Let me know if you want me to expound on anything please.

    • J. Simonov says

      @murk

      Oh, OK, I see that you are indeed pretending like you have some kind of effective argument to lay out. How about a quick refresher course in the many ways in which your worldview is a catastrophic failure?

      You contend that no-one can legitimately reason without a basis for trusting reason, but the only way to get that basis is with reason. But because the use of reason is never legitimate without first having trust, acquiring trust in that way can never be legitimate, itself. Meaning one can never legitimately trust reason, and therefore never legitimately reason.

      You also contend that reason underpins all knowledge.

      Put them together, and there is no such thing as legitimate knowledge, according to you.

      Boom. You’re done. There’s nowhere for you to go from there. All of your attempts to make any kind of claim are wholly futile.

      As if that weren’t bad enough, even if we ignore the way in which presuppositionalism self-destructs in your framing of it, you also disproved the existence of the Christian God, at least as you conceive of it.

      You contended that God does not lie, in the teeth of clear evidence, direct from the Bible, that God absolutely has lied before.

      Meaning you have to choose between your conception of Yahweh as an absolute truth-teller (a notion that you strongly committed yourself to, as being part of the definition of the Christian God), or the fidelity of the Bible itself. Either way, your belief in the Christian God is untenable.

      Additionally, you were royally stumped when I pointed out how omnipotence contradicts itself. Remember how God is unable to make a rock that He Himself would be unable to lift? You couldn’t argue out of that particular hole. You’ve got no basis, as it stands, for believing in an omnipotent God, and I feel obliged to warn you that you never will. There’s no way to salvage a self-contradictory attribute like that.

      The only way out of this mess, for you, is to admit it’s impossible for presuppositionalist Christianity to be true. Which is in fact the case, so you may as well spare yourself the further embarrassment of continuing to flog this dead horse.

  5. murk says

    @ Siminov

    point 1. reason – revelation underpins all knowledge
    why do you trust your ability to reason again?
    your answer will be circular – all reasoning chains must start somewhere so they are all circular – but only one makes sense or is coherent and that is the one revealed by the beginning and end

    ofcourse i have to trust that my eyes are not deceiving me when i read the verse that states “don’t lean on your own understanding” i also have to believe the existence of meaning and its continuance, and so on but my starting point is the Bible and as i read it and live my life – lo and behold it is the only one which makes sense

    point 2 . God revealed that He does not lie – if you want to question him be my guest
    (but why is lying (contradiction) not allowed in a worldview without Him?)

    point 3. Rock to big to lift – As i stated before if we start with the existence of God (reality – if it isnt it isnt true: but then truth would be impossible…) then a rock that is to big to lift is not possible. it is a complex or loaded question.

  6. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    why do you trust your ability to reason again?

    Loaded question. Where does trust come from, murk? Answering this question will show you why alleging that one “trusts” ones reasoning is an inappropriate framing of this issue.

    your answer will be circular

    I have explained to you, at considerable length, why my epistemology does not collapse into vicious circularity. Deal with what I’ve said.

    all reasoning chains must start somewhere so they are all circular

    Mine is not circular, as I demonstrated. Deal with what I’ve said.

    my starting point is the Bible

    Your starting point is not, and cannot, be the Bible, as I explained to you at length. Deal with what I’ve said.

    God revealed that He does not lie – if you want to question him be my guest

    Do you understand that Owlmirror demonstrated, in the previous thread, that the Bible clearly claims that God lied? Yes or no. Deal with what I’ve said.

    it is a complex or loaded question.

    Yes, it presumes omnipotence is possible. It isn’t. Therefore, God is impossible. Deal with it.

  7. murk says

    for the first 3 years of your life how did you survive? How did you not panic because you could not get your own food? How is it possible to have a girlfriend / boyfriend? How can any business relation occur? How do you know 3+3 = 6 tomorrow? You cannot evade trust – you must trust that your next breath contains proper mixture of gases. Thus you must believe (unless your omniscient and omnipotent which i’m wondering if you think you actually are.

    it is a complex or loaded question.

    Yes, it presumes omnipotence is possible. It isn’t. Therefore, God is impossible. Deal with it.

    wow that is a lot to know – in fact to know this you must be omnipotent. Not bad for someone with a birth date.

    • J. Simonov says

      Not dealing with anything, I see. I guess you have no sense of shame. Oh well, you’re an OK chew toy.

      in fact to know this you must be omnipotent

      Oh yeah? Prove this assertion, if you can. I won’t hold my breath.

      Here, let me get you started. In order to show that I have to know literally everything in order to know this one particular thing, you have to demonstrate, with logic, how it is impossible for me to have come up with the logical disproof of omnipotence we talked about previously without first knowing everything. Of course, you yourself would then have to know everything by this very standard you’re proposing, so your effort will be, as usual, doomed to immediate self-contradiction.

      • murk says

        Your assertion (omnipotence is impossible) is a universal conceptual limitation.
        This cannot be known unless the universe follows the direction of the omnipotent one

        Not only that, but to assert something negative (omnipotence is impossible) you must also assert something positive (to support this)
        You have to hold to a comprehensive view of reality in which to make this knowledge claim.
        Yours deny that everything is directed according God’s plan – since you claim it is impossible that He exists.
        thus everything is indeterminate. And in this fabric you have determined what is possible.

        Does the irony elude you?

        Your interpretation of the indeterminate universe is therefore viewed as an original interpretation. In effect you are attempting to legislate what the nature of reality is. (and that is why you must be omnipotent in order to claim that omnipotence is impossible) an indeterminate universe entails that anything is as likely to happen as anything else. Thus impossibility and absolutes have no home for anyone trying to be a consistent atheist.

        everything is indeterminate – so the one who denies what He knows has determined:)

        It gets better – you can only know this if the atoms crashing around in your head that produce your thoughts correspond to what happens outside of your brain. So you can only know that things are indeterminate if they are not.
        You constantly stand on the truth of the Bible in order to make your assertions that the Bible is false.

        re: your argument that i must know everything to refute you -you are forgetting that to know anything one has to know everything or someone who does – and this requires trust:)

  8. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    I’ve explained to you exactly why reality necessarily precludes the existence of your deity, why reality is inherently self-consistent and intelligible, and how my epistemology succeeds without any God.

    Show some integrity and address what I’ve said.

    re: your argument that i must know everything to refute you -you are forgetting that to know anything one has to know everything or someone who does – and this requires trust:)

    Well, clearly you don’t know everything, so you must be saying that you do, in fact, know someone who does.

    How did you determine that you know this person? As per your previous statements, you must have done it with reason, and you must have done it without knowing everything.

    Your task now becomes demonstrating why this is fine, but no one else can know anything at all in this fashion. Not to spoil it for you, but you can’t do this, so….yeah. Good luck?

    And this is not even getting into the fact that omniscience is self-contradictory, and contradicts omnipotence and omnibenevolence in various ways. Since you didn’t seem to be aware of omnipotence’s logically impossible nature before I brought it to your attention, I feel it’s only fair to warn you not to commit yourself to more nonsense.

    what is your ultimate authority?

    I don’t have a person whose dictates I trust for no reason. Kindly stop asking.

    • murk says

      “I don’t have a person whose dictates I trust for no reason. Kindly stop asking.”

      until you are willing to face the truth that you have an ultimate authority and what / who that is we can go no further (again)

      your reluctance to answer this question points to the ethical nature of the intellect

      For arguments sake – Lets assume God exists – Could He reveal things to us so we know them for sure?

      His thoughts and ways are not like ours. We are deceived but He can still access us and give us knowledge and certainty. This being the case it is more foundational or axiomatic than reason.

      reason is a tool; an honest use of which leads anyone to conclude that reason is in invalid without the only possible guarantor for its validity. So either one starts with God as ultimate and utterly reliable or we trust something else as our starting point. And if we trust anything but Him we end up with absurdity. The thing is we cannot not trust – we must serve something. You have made it clear what you serve but you will not articulate it. (how do i know this? because the Bible reveals it)

      Rather you keep on dodging – refusing to admit you to must trust in logic, uniformity, absolute morality and such to make your case against the only possible support for these things. And then you refuse to answer by what authority you are attempting to do this.

      Remember a small child can only slap his father in the face if the father supports him on his lap
      God cannot be mocked

  9. J. Simonov says

    Oh yeah, while we’re at it, is reason inherently unreliable, little buddy? Do you have to have access to something beyond reason to make it work, access that you can only get with reason itself?

    Cause if your answer is still yes, then you’re still incapable of making claims. Or doing anything that requires thinking. Be very careful how you answer, champ!

    • murk says

      why do you trust your ability to reason again?

      Or why do engineers design high rise buildings to sit on bedrock?

      Everyone, thus including Simonov must hold to things more ultimate than reason in order to employ reason

      Maybe refresh yourself with what happens when reason is made ultimate (as if that can be done) – eg. French Revolution when human heads were used as soccer balls in the streets…

      i know that you know that if you face the music, the house of cards that you have so carefully built and love dearly. will crumble. But take heart if you build your house on Him then when the winds and rains come your house will stand. It is futile to hang on to the one that you know will fall.

      “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”

      • J. Simonov says

        @murk

        Ok, so reason is still inherently unreliable on its own. Your goose is cooked; there’s nowhere for you to go from there. You can’t think or make claims of any kind. Here’s some nonsensical gibberish for you; it’s about on your level.

        Wizzle! Woop woop bang! Balalala ding dong.

        But hey, I realize you are in actual fact stealing from secular philosophy constantly just to function. So I’ll indulge you some more.

        until you are willing to face the truth that you have an ultimate authority and what / who that is we can go no further (again)
        your reluctance to answer this question points to the ethical nature of the intellect

        You mean, we can’t go any further along your script. Sorry, but that’s not how this works.

        I’m not reluctant, I have clearly and unequivocally answered your question.

        For arguments sake – Lets assume God exists – Could He reveal things to us so we know them for sure?

        Ok, sure, let’s ignore the impossible characteristics of God, just for now. In order to answer this question, I need you to explain precisely what the process is by which you acquire knowledge. Otherwise, I simply can’t answer this question; I don’t know what it is you’re talking about. I’ve explained to you how I acquire knowledge, now it’s your turn.

        His thoughts and ways are not like ours. We are deceived but He can still access us and give us knowledge and certainty. This being the case it is more foundational or axiomatic than reason.

        Given that you have to explain all of that in more foundational and/or axiomatic terms, no. You’re mistaken.

        reason is a tool; an honest use of which leads anyone to conclude that reason is in invalid without the only possible guarantor for its validity.

        Asserting this part of your script over and over won’t make it true.

        So either one starts with God as ultimate and utterly reliable or we trust something else as our starting point.

        You don’t “trust” your starting point, for crying out loud. Trust is a higher order concept that comes after you proceed from your actual epistemological foundation. It cannot be a precondition; as with almost everything you say, what you’re insisting is foundational requires the very properties it supposedly validates in the first place.

        Rather you keep on dodging

        I wouldn’t point the finger, buddy. How did you formulate the idea of “trust”? This is a question that you are apparently terrified of answering, being as you steadfastly refused to even try answering it for months.

        Remember a small child can only slap his father in the face if the father supports him on his lap

        Or if ones’ father happens to have a face near ground level for some reason.

        is change a property of the universe?

        Clearly it is.

        why do you trust your ability to reason again?

        Never once have I said that I do.

        Maybe refresh yourself with what happens when reason is made ultimate (as if that can be done) – eg. French Revolution when human heads were used as soccer balls in the streets…

        Right, because France was a beacon of justice before, in which no one was brutally murdered for any reason. Certainly not under the orders of the clergy, or the monarchs who ruled by Divine Right.

        Not to say that I endorse the Reign of Terror, which I don’t. But picking the French Revolution generally is probably not your best rhetorical move. It sparked the liberal democratic revolutions of the West, and I rather enjoy living in a modern liberal democracy.

        i know that you know that if you face the music, the house of cards that you have so carefully built and love dearly. will crumble.

        I find the chances that you, personally, will knock over my “house of cards” to be poor, given how badly you’ve done so far.

  10. murk says

    “Oh yeah, while we’re at it, is reason inherently unreliable, little buddy? Do you have to have access to something beyond reason to make it work, access that you can only get with reason itself?”

    you admit change is a property of the universe

    how do you know that the necessary supports for reason, will not change?

    one of these supports is non-change or uniformity:)

    • Deacon Duncan says

      This is actually a fairly easy one. The fundamental, uncreated, rational order of reality itself is the necessary being—that which must be real and true because it cannot be unreal or false. As the necessary being, it can have no preconditions. Thus, time itself cannot be a precondition for the uncreated rational order of reality. In fact the uncreated rational order of reality is a precondition for the existence of time itself. Every moment of time that exists is contingent upon having, as its context, the uncreated rational order of reality.

      Change is simply a difference in conditions between one point in time and another. Thus, change has time as one of its preconditions, and time has the uncreated order of reality as one of its preconditions. Since the preconditions for time must be met across all of time in order for time to exist, they must be uniform across all of time, because if the preconditions changed depending on what time it was, that would make the preconditions for time contingent on time itself, which is a contradiction. A thing cannot be the precondition for its own preconditions.

      Since the uncreated rational order of reality itself must be uniform across all of time, it is not possible for this order to undergo changes, since change is when conditions are different depending on what time it is. Change only applies to things that are contingent upon time, and thus does not apply to the things (i.e. the laws of logic) upon which time itself is contingent. Purpose and meaning can change, because they are not part of any necessary being. The fundamental, uncreated order of reality cannot.

      • murk says

        i agree because if time always existed the present moment could not have arrived

        So we agree that time had to have a beginning – without breaking causation how can this be in an irrational universe?

        “Purpose and meaning can change, because they are not part of any necessary being. ”

        so the purpose and meaning of this statement is arbitrary?

        You require the purpose and meaning of the laws of logic as preconditions for you to be able to use them
        in order to attempt to deny constancy of purpose and meaning.

        the inability to set aside the laws of logic does not provide their own foundation

        is the universe determinate or indeterminate?

  11. murk says

    “Ok, so reason is still inherently unreliable on its own. Your goose is cooked; there’s nowhere for you to go from there. You can’t think or make claims of any kind. Here’s some nonsensical gibberish for you; it’s about on your level.

    Wizzle! Woop woop bang! Balalala ding dong.”

    the only way you can know change is a property of the universe is if the metaphysical things you need to reason this are not.

    how do you distinguish between what must be constant (in order for you to apprehend change) and what can change?

    Are commitments to a comprehensive scheme of the universe required before knowledge claims?

    Is justification for this comprehensive scheme required before we can hold it as true?

    (ie which one is primary? or are they?)

    How does the property of change fit with this?

    i’ve asked this in many ways before but ol dodge believes that what he knows precedes what he believes –

    (notice the two believes:)

  12. murk says

    “Trust is a higher order concept that comes after you proceed from your actual epistemological foundation.”

    What is the extent of knowledge?

    What is the criteria for knowing?

    Have fun answering without breaking your above statement.

    Re: secular philosophy are you serious about me borrowing from them?

    Perhaps provide one or two philosophies as examples, i dont know where to begin otherwise since
    so many have been abandoned.

  13. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    Uh uh. No. We’re not playing this bullshit game again.

    You came in here and dropped a bunch of questions which, just like last time, were either loaded, previously answered, or both. You must now repair your loaded questions, and deal with the answers that have been provided to you, rather than furiously scurrying away from said answers while firing off a new round of bad-faith questions.

    I’m not going to field a single one of your new questions until you do these things.

    So, to wit;

    1. How do you escape the rationality trap you are in? If reason is inherently unreliable then you cannot reason your way to a solution in which it is. Solve this problem. Now. Until you pony up a solution, all you really deserve is mockery.

    2. How did you formulate the concept of “trust”? I explained to you exactly, step by step, how I formed the concept of “lying”. You keep alleging that I must trust my reasoning, but you can’t apparently explain how humans come up with the idea of trust. This is a gigantic exercise in stealing a concept from outside of your worldview, and applying it in an inappropriate manner that renders your allegations meaningless. Fix this problem, now. I’m not engaging you on this until you do.

    3. Explain exactly how you acquire knowledge, step by step, as precisely as possible. I have been kind enough to explain the axioms that ground my worlview, and the origins of logic, concept formation and inductive reasoning. Now it’s your turn. Until you do, your claim that God just plants knowledge in your head is gibberish.

    4.You can’t require omniscience as a guarantor for knowledge when you yourself, and all humans for that matter, are not omniscient. This is a glaring hole that I require you to acknowledge and expunge, on the record, from your thinking. You must do this before I will move on and attempt to engage you again. You are holding others to a standard that you admit no human, including you, meets. Pure hypocritical, self-contradicting nonsense. It’s gotta go, and you gotta admit that it’s going.

    • murk says

      1. How do you escape the rationality trap you are in? If reason is inherently unreliable then you cannot reason your way to a solution in which it is. Solve this problem. Now. Until you pony up a solution, all you really deserve is mockery.

      Reason is not unreliable but honesty requires addressing foundation of why it is reliable. If reason is taken as ultimate we have a problem. To utilize reason requires believing that necessary supports for reason do not change, are universal and are immaterial. It also requires that what happens in our minds corresponds to external world. This requires unity in the external world and between the two. Thus a comprehensive view of reality is required that accepts that there is a connection between separate events BEFORE reason is applied. Your view is arbitrary because you base rationality on irrationality (because you attempt to hold that there is no purpose and direction. You guys keep talking about necessary being – He has revealed himself and He has a name – it would be honest to acknowledge this. I keep expounding on this in different ways but you cannot / will not see it – instead I get boom your done comments.

      2. How did you formulate the concept of “trust”? I explained to you exactly, step by step, how I formed the concept of “lying”. You keep alleging that I must trust my reasoning, but you can’t apparently explain how humans come up with the idea of trust. This is a gigantic exercise in stealing a concept from outside of your worldview, and applying it in an inappropriate manner that renders your allegations meaningless. Fix this problem, now. I’m not engaging you on this until you do.

      How do you know that the meaning of words will not change between when you speak and when they reach someone’s ear? How did you get through your first 2 years of life? How can you account for preconditions for validity of reason without trust? When people eat at a restaurant they get food, eat and then pay. Restaurant owner trusts they will pay, people trust food is not poison. If people have to pay first (like fast food) the customer must trust that the food will come to them. There is no way around this.
      People did not come up with this. It is how God determined reality. You trust every moment you live. You must even trust to attempt to deny trust.
      To disagree with me requires you appeal to absolutes. You must trust that your apprehension of these are valid and that they will not change.

      Explain exactly how you acquire knowledge, step by step, as precisely as possible. I have been kind enough to explain the axioms that ground my worlview, and the origins of logic, concept formation and inductive reasoning. Now it’s your turn. Until you do, your claim that God just plants knowledge in your head is gibberish.

      knowledge is only possible through revelation. This revelation has three aspects.
      1. internal – conscience – you know what is right and wrong where does this come from? Bible accounts for it.
      2. Created things – whether laws that govern or the material things they govern, also includes existence of things like dignity, beauty, purpose, morals (to attempt to deny any one of these requires invoking them or going to stupid land)
      3. Codified – the Bible

      your gibberish comment is rather revealing of your inability to understand what I write

      4.You can’t require omniscience as a guarantor for knowledge when you yourself, and all humans for that matter, are not omniscient. This is a glaring hole that I require you to acknowledge and expunge, on the record, from your thinking. You must do this before I will move on and attempt to engage you again. You are holding others to a standard that you admit no human, including you, meets. Pure hypocritical, self-contradicting nonsense. It’s gotta go, and you gotta admit that it’s going.

      I have written that to know anything a person must either know everything or someone who does who is good and shares. I cannot make this any simpler.
      You cannot have any knowledge unless you are God or trust what He has revealed.

      did i do good? did i pass the tribunal? will you now answer my questions?
      Why are you so passionate about belittling me if purpose and meaning do not exist?

      • Deacon Duncan says

        I have written that to know anything a person must either know everything or someone who does who is good and shares. I cannot make this any simpler.

        What you are saying here is that none of us can possibly have any reason for believing what you tell us. You are not omniscient yourself, so we have no reason to believe that anything you say is true. And even if you think someone has told you the truth, the rest of us cannot possibly have any reason to believe that this is in fact the case. And even if someone did tell you the truth, your argument means that we cannot have any reason to believe that, after hearing the truth, you reported it to us accurately. After all, we can hardly reject the authority of reality itself, and then turn around and believe things just on your authority, after all you’ve told us about how that’s a wrong thing to do.

        To be consistent with your own standards, your comments here must count as a complete waste of your own time and everyone else’s as well. Likewise all preaching and all Bible study, since none of the preachers, prophets, or apostles were omniscient. If we poor mortals cannot acquire a knowledge of the truth from any other source but a good omniscient being who is willing to reveal it to us directly, then the only valid expression of the Christian faith is not to express it at all, but to wait quietly for God to do the revealing that no one else can do for him.

        Now if only all true believers would see the wisdom of your argument and keep their religions to themselves, we might all have a better life. ;)

  14. J. Simonov says

    Thus a comprehensive view of reality is required that accepts that there is a connection between separate events BEFORE reason is applied.

    And how would you get this comprehensive view BEFORE applying reason?

    Blank out.

    That’s it. You’re done.

    Nothing more needs to be said, really.

    • murk says

      This is true for me as well as for you my friend

      no one can escape this as a precondition for knowledge. You claim to have an adequate epistemological foundation and you don’t know this?

      you would do well to examine my two questions on knowledge

      for someone who makes as many absolute knowledge claims as you do without understanding the possibility and definition of knowledge is astounding.

      The implication of your absolute claim (blank out , you’re done) reveals that you know that things apply universally. Thus you have a worldview or network of beliefs about the entire nature of reality only within which you can make knowledge claims.

      How can you know anything without first prescribing to a comprehensive view of reality?

      can anything happen?

      How do i know – the same way you do – Revelation by the maker

  15. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    This [requiring a comprehensive view of reality before applying reason] is true for me as well as for you my friend

    No, it is not true for me. If you carefully read back over what I have said, you will note that I have never affirmed that the use of reason simpliciter is in some way viciously circular or standing in need of justification prior to its application. You are the only one who has affirmed as much here, and therefore it is you who has unavoidably cut their own legs out from beneath themselves, not I.

    You can’t repair this mortal error from within the bounds of presuppostionalism. As we can see here;

    How do i know – the same way you do – Revelation by the maker

    As you previously admitted, this is a claim supposedly known with reason. But reason can’t be applied without first having in place a comprehensive view of reality, according to you, which is what you’re ostensibly acquiring with reason, here.

    So you’re still trapped in the vicious circle you’ve placed yourself in.

  16. murk says

    i’ve given you my ultimate authority,

    i know why you’re reluctant to reveal yours but come on put on your big boy pants and lay it on the table.

    then we’ll see which one is the only one that makes knowledge possible

  17. J. Simonov says

    Yawn. Trapped pre-bullshitter is still trapped.

    Oh hey, look at this;

    You cannot have any knowledge unless you are God or trust what He has revealed.

    Well plainly you aren’t God, nor do you trust what you take God to have revealed, given that you deny that God lies. Which the Bible clearly states He does.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      It’s not exactly hidden, considering what he and others have been saying all along. When it comes to real-world truth, there is only one ultimate authority, and that’s material reality itself. If there were a God, and he contradicted reality, that would be called “lying,” because what he was saying would not be true. Reality itself is a higher authority than any God (or at least any non-pantheistic God).

    • Deacon Duncan says

      By the highest authority that can possibly be real, of course—reality itself. And notice, I have not just given you the authority for my claim, but I have pointed you to the means by which you yourself can verify that what I tell you is the truth. Truth is defined by reality (meaning real-world truth and not just some subjectively perceived and experienced “truth,” of course). God himself, if he existed, would have no authority to contradict reality. If he did contradict reality, that would be lying, by definition. If we say, “I would reject real-world truth in order to believe God’s lies,” then what we have is not faith, but merely gullibility.

      Then again, God does not show up in the real world, so you’re not really putting your trust in God’s lies, but rather you are putting your trust in the stories of men—all the things men (including yourself) think and feel and imagine about God, without measuring these beliefs against the rigorous, infallible and unbiased standard of objective reality. And by your own arguments, it is impossible for you to have any good reason for trusting what you believe in.

      So yes, reality itself is the highest possible authority, higher than any non-pantheistic God. You can reject this authority only if you wish to be gullible and to believe things you have no good reason for believing.

      • murk says

        Deacon i agree with the premise that there is objective reality whether we like it or not.

        However if the Christian worldview were untrue this could not be known

        You must know that God does not exist and determine reality according to His plan

        Thus prior to holding objective reality as your highest authority you have to rest on a belief (there is no sovereign) that you cannot justify
        (apart from being omniscient which i know you know is absurd)

        If you hold that He does not exist and therefore there is no sovereign according to whose plan history unfolds,
        then contingency is king – and objective reality is out the window

        As for him not showing up – He has made it clear to all men that He exists (his words not mine)

        One way he did this is by making us in such a way that we need certainty to make any claim
        but we cannot attain certainty autonomously. Even denying certainty requires invoking it.
        eg. “we cannot know anything for sure” is self refuting
        It is self refuting because it breaks the law of contradiction
        in a contingent universe (if there is no God according to whose plan history unfolds) there can be no law of contradiction
        there also can not be objective reality – since contradiction, causation, logic would have to be utilized to determine that they were broken in the past to explain the origin of the existence of anything
        further more irrationality would be behind everything
        and objective reality is out of the window once again

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Deacon i agree with the premise that there is objective reality whether we like it or not.

        However if the Christian worldview were untrue this could not be known

        I hear what you’re saying, but according to everything else you’ve said, you believe that you have to trust in a particular belief system—the Christian worldview in your case—in order to arrive at conclusions like “reality cannot be known if the Christian worldview is untrue.” That’s circular reasoning: you arrive at the conclusion that your worldview is the sole reliable means of determining truth because you have chosen to assume that your worldview is the sole reliable means for determining truth. In your zeal to deny the possibility that skeptics could have any valid reasons to criticize your assumptions, you have also eliminated any possibility that you could have valid reasons to assume them.

        This is what happens when you fail to acknowledge and submit to objective reality as the supreme, authoritative, and infallible standard of real-world truth. By deciding to embrace a worldview founded on the practice of rationalizing the evidence to fit your faith, you have deprived yourself of the opportunity to have good reasons for what you believe. However comforting that may feel, it does not give you a very good argument to use in public. All you end up doing is putting your hands over your own eyes and declaring all men blind. But the rest of us can see just fine.

  18. J. Simonov says

    Really, even deigning to discuss issues of fundamental metaphysics or epistemology in terms of “authority” is granting too much to murk and his ilk. Murk wants to play out their script on the unstated presumption of a kind of metaphysical subjectivism, in which wishings or imaginings dictate reality. Murk won’t state this openly because it sabotages the whole game; the best they can do is repeatedly ask opponents whose wishes or imaginings dictate reality, under the guise of asking what one’s “authority” is. Replying that reality itself is one’s “authority” grants it a personal nature that isn’t there, but which murk’s lot are desperately fishing for.

    • murk says

      not quite

      all i am trying to get you to see is that one cannot make a knowledge claim without first having a commitment to the nature of reality – a belief if you will – now this belief can be arbitrary or subject to justification bringing it back to epistemology

      once view of reality (metaphysics) and theory of knowing (epistemology) are interdependent on one another and neither is primary. So circularity is unavoidable for anyone – but only one foundation can be true thus knowledge is a matter of ethics.

      or put another way no person can answer how do we know without first answering what do we know
      go ahead give it a go:)

      and this is objective reality that we all face my friend

      Can the captain of a ship navigate without an external reference point? (north star, Earths magnetic field,
      known time at port he left, GPS satellites, perhaps others?)

  19. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    all i am trying to get you to see is that one cannot make a knowledge claim without first having a commitment to the nature of reality

    No, what you have been saying is that one cannot apply reason without first having a comprehensive view of reality. I don’t know if you’re too dumb to remember what you’re arguing, to understand the difference, or if you’re simply a brazen liar.

  20. J. Simonov says

    You know what, that’s needlessly antagonistic, and I apologize. All I want to say is that you can’t keep your story straight, without getting into character flaws.

  21. murk says

    No worries on antagonism – believe you me i am a sinner to – in fact i must consider you to be better than myself (as per instructions from you know where:)

    Simonov “No, what you have been saying is that one cannot apply reason without first having a comprehensive view of reality. ”

    Murk “all i am trying to get you to see is that one cannot make a knowledge claim without first having a commitment to the nature of reality”

    either one stands

    (knowledge = justified, true belief
    reason = determine logically)
    reason is a tool which rests on invariant universal laws of thought which allow us to understand the external world (within our minds) thus acquire knowledge. It thus must rest on first principles which are dictated by our worldviews…

    Reason is not an authority for that would lead to silly land…(which we’ve discussed a lot)

  22. murk says

    i could have better stated that our world views dictate what first principles are allowed…
    (therefore ethics are intertwined with knowledge and views of reality)

  23. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    Simonov “No, what you have been saying is that one cannot apply reason without first having a comprehensive view of reality. ”

    Murk “all i am trying to get you to see is that one cannot make a knowledge claim without first having a commitment to the nature of reality”

    either one stands

    Those are not interchangeable. The mere act of reasoning is not the same as making a claim to a justified, true belief. Not all facts that we identify with reason stand in need of justification, nor may they be properly considered to be claims that could potentially be false. Justification is really just the art of making that which is not self-evident, evident. Axiomatic facts are by their nature self-evident; not only is there no need to justify them, any attempt to do so would be inappropriate as they are themselves the precondition of justification. Moreover, they are necessarily true. They are not mere claims; they cannot fail to be true, and any misguided attempt to deny them implicitly affirms them. They are the proper metaphysical base of knowledge.

    The point here is that you’re trying to trap your rhetorical opponents into a form of vicious circularity in which everything is a knowledge claim, and therefore in need of justification which can only be supplied by more claims that are in need of justification themselves.

    But atheists such as you have encountered here are not susceptible to this rhetorical trick. The only person here whose worldview self-refutes is you, and you’re not going to be able to drag us down to this level.

    • murk says

      Never said they were interchangeable, rather both require a framework within which to work
      (if you read the definitions i gave you will see that i know they are distinct – (although related as part of a system)

      How does one justify what knowledge claims need justification and which ones don’t?

      What happens if 2 people disagree? (such as you and i?) To what do we appeal?
      If we leave truth as person relative then it is absolutely true that truth is person relative and all we have done is move the goal posts.

      Since you have given up justification thereby collapsing knowledge into true belief (which has dire consequences since we no longer need warrant) it is futile for me to carry on.

      By your measure, i can (and do) assert God is self evident – the only possible starting point on which all subsequent axioms can stand and there is nothing you can say to disagree with me if you are consistent.
      (why should you be allowed to ditch justification and not another?)
      You tell me on one hand that ultimate starting points do not require justification and then require justification from me – even accusing me of tricks just for asking the question.

      “The point here is that you’re trying to trap your rhetorical opponents into a form of vicious circularity”
      and this is a lot to know, oh wait i forgot you don’t need justification – my apology

      Is it possible that i’m just exposing that you are in a trap? It will not help to shoot the messenger as part of
      your dodge.

      i hope and pray you have a few sleepless nights so that you get to the point of honestly facing up to objective reality.

      I plan to check back in a little while to see if anything has changed

      take care all

      • says

        Murk – This has been fascinating to read!

        It doesn’t matter that you claim God is self evident. “Self evident” means evident to all observers without further explanation. That’s clearly not true of the entity you’re trying to claim. The thousands of gods claimed throughout history compete with yours against natural explanations that don’t require the special pleading you attempt to employ.

        The field of apologetics exists because the God you claim cannot defend himself. Your particular apologetics fail because you divert attention away from your lack of good arguments for God, and turn your focus on epistemology and other topics because the presuppositional script tells you to. What your script doesn’t tell you is that it’s employing an argument from ignorance. Your script doesn’t tell you that people can detect it a mile away. It’s of no use to anyone who cares about rational argument.

        Can you stick to the main topic and make a positive argument that God exists?

      • John Morales says

        murk:

        How does one justify what knowledge claims need justification and which ones don’t?

        All knowledge claims need justification, definitionally, otherwise they’re but belief claims.

        What happens if 2 people disagree? (such as you and i?) To what do we appeal?

        Empiricism at the first level, and Occam at the next.

        i hope and pray you have a few sleepless nights so that you get to the point of honestly facing up to objective reality.

        Translation: You think your interlocutor is dishonest, but are too mealy-mouthed to phrase it plainly.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Murk –

        You shouldn’t be too surprised if nothing changes. After all, you have not merely failed to provide us with any good reasons for believing what you say, you have vigorously argued against the very possibility of having a good reason to believe you. Your core premise is that no one can know anything at all unless they are omniscient. That means that you yourself have no way to know whether anything you say is remotely realistic. It does no good to claim to have knowledge based on trusting divine revelation, because you are not omniscient. That means that among all the other things you cannot know, you cannot know whether any god exists, or whether he has revealed anything, or whether his revelations are true, or whether men recorded them accurately, or whether you have listened to the right men, or whether their stories mean what you think they mean. Everything you think you know is merely a conclusion or rationalization founded on your naive trust in the stories men tell about God.

        Please don’t think that when I say “naive,” I am merely indulging in a dismissive put-down. “Naive” means “without the knowledge gained by experience.” Since your whole argument is founded on the premise that you cannot possess knowledge until after you trust, your trust must necessarily be naive, if not downright gullible. What’s more, you refer to God’s revelation in the past tense, since it’s something that is supposed to happened thousands of years ago, to people who are all dead. That means your naive trust isn’t even in God’s revelation—it’s in the stories told by men who, according to your philosophy, are also incapable of knowing whether God exists, whether he reveals things, whether his revelations are true, and so on. According to your philosophy, neither you nor they have ever truly known anything. Their beliefs and yours are merely an extension of your initial decision to naively trust in whatever you or they perceived to be “revelation”. And if you cannot know the truth about anything, as your basic premise insists, then any perceived revelation you initially believed in must be a lie, and all your subsequent conclusions must be based on believing a lie.

        The only way you could even begin to know any of the things you claim as “truth,” would be if the basic premise of your whole argument were false. But why should any of the rest of us give up our reality-based philosophies in order to embrace a philosophy based on a false premise?

        If your worldview were actually based on reality and consistent with real-world truth, you wouldn’t be coming here trying to convince us that it is impossible for us to know what the truth is, because doing so would undermine your Gospel. Skeptics, by contrast, defend objective reality as the ultimate, authoritative source of knowledge not the least because skepticism is rooted in reality and reality supports it perfectly.

        But if you reject objective reality as the authoritative standard of truth, and try to argue that you cannot know anything unless you are omniscient, then you’ve surrendered before you’ve even begun to fight, because one of the things you can’t know, in that case, is that you can’t know whether or not knowledge requires omniscience. And no, having an “omniscient” friend won’t help you, because it cannot be true both that it’s impossible for you to know anything on your own, AND that you know your friend is omniscient, as well as knowing what he has revealed to you, and knowing that what he has revealed is really true. Either there are some things you can know on your own, and your basic premise is false, or else you can’t, and thus your friend cannot help you because you can never know what he is trying to reveal, or whether it’s true.

        So honestly, credit for effort and all that, but you can’t seriously expect a reasonable person to be convinced by presuppositional arguments. The whole point of presuppositional argument is to claim that all “knowledge” is merely a reflection of one’s original presuppositions, irrespective of the truth. If you take that as your starting point, you necessarily commit yourself to the concession that your own conclusions are merely a reflection of your own unfounded, naive, and superstitious assumptions.

  24. J. Simonov says

    @murk

    If you didn’t want those two claims to be taken as interchangeable, why did you try to switch the discussion to the former after I disproved the latter, and then go on to claim that “either one stands”? Your comments lack clarity in this regard.

    How does one justify what knowledge claims need justification and which ones don’t?

    One makes a reasonable case for which knowledge claims are evidenced, and which are not, I suppose.

    Since you have given up justification

    Stop right there. I said that axiomatic facts do not need justification as such. Not all facts are axiomatic.

    You tell me on one hand that ultimate starting points do not require justification and then require justification from me

    For the non-axiomatic claims you’ve made, yeah, I do. There’s no inconsistency on my part here.

    i hope and pray you have a few sleepless nights so that you get to the point of honestly facing up to objective reality.

    I sleep like a baby, buds, but thanks.

  25. J. Simonov says

    The first sentence above should read “switch to the latter after I disproved the former.” As in, you switched to “can’t make knowledge claims” after I dispensed with your claim that one “can’t apply reason” without first having a comprehensive view of reality.

  26. J. Simonov says

    @Deacon Duncan

    Since your whole argument is founded on the premise that you cannot possess knowledge until after you trust, your trust must necessarily be naive, if not downright gullible.

    Yes, quite so. This is clearly why murk has steadfastly resisted providing any explanation for how human beings come up with the concept of trust; an honest appraisal of the process notes that trust is the product of successful reasoning, not its precondition, standard or validation. Explaining how trust is earned would utterly sabotage murk’s desire to ground an entire worldview on arbitrarily granted trust.

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