The Christian Perspective
If Atheism is true, then Everything is ultimately the direct result of purely random, uncoordinated and undependable accidents. Note that "Everything" includes Our Conclusions.
If Our Conclusions are ultimately the direct result of purely random, uncoordinated and undependable accidents, then Our Conclusions are entirely random and undependable.
No Atheist believes that his own conclusions are random and undependable, so no Atheist really believes in Atheism.
What we have seen here is that if Atheism is true, there is no possibility of knowledge. However, knowledge is possible; therefore Atheism is certainly not true.
I suppose you're hinting at cosmological theories asserted by evolutionary theorists: that everything in the universe emerged without a designer. The real matter is that 'that' is an evolutionary cosmology theory - not an 'Atheist' theory. Just because a sizable number of atheists believe in evolution doesn't mean they all are evolutionists, naturalists, etcetera. I have atheist friends who believe in psychic power, ghosts and the likes, but have a lack of belief in god(s), and adamantly avert from any evolutionistic ideas.
So you just attempted to shoot down atheism, but you were actually aiming your gun at atheists who believe in the theory of evolution or other naturalistic ideas.
Please, do not confuse atheism to be a, belief-system, school or movement. You can have a political movement of atheist campaigning against social oppression unto them, or some form of 'evangelical' objective, but those are not endevours/doctrines/ideologies intrinsically associated with being an atheist. Atheism is technically only a component of one's worldview (held by religious/non-religious; naturalists/spiritualists persons) in which one has A LACK OF BELIEF in god(s). A LACK OF BELIEF IN gods is not the same as a BELIEF IN that there are no gods. To assert "I belief that gods don't exist" is as irrational as "I believe in gods" - you can't believe either way for there is not a shred of evidence; no verifying and/or falsifying method, thus no rational reason to do so.
This is the definition of Atheism I was using. Are there others? Sure. But this is the one I was using, and it is not wrong.
If I claim that there is no God, then (among other things) I am claiming that there is no intelligent intention coordinating all things. If this is what I am claiming, then is it consistent for me to also claim that I am not in any way the result of unintended, uncoordinated and random accidents? If I am in any way the result of unintended, uncoordinated, random accidents, then so is everything that is produced by me, including my conclusions.
The existence or nonexistence of ghosts and goblins is completely irrelevant.
For example: Dawkins asserts to be an atheist, then before we can argue with him, we must know what belief system or school he propagates. He will probably say he believes in evolution (not atheism). Then we know that he's an evolutionist, then we can proceed.
..ONLY THEN can you demonstrate against the particular belief system (say....naturalism) the questioner wants you to easily prove false.
And I must add, apart from the incongruent leaps you make from random/chaotic cosmology to random thinking, your 'demonstration' fails to disprove evolutionary theory and only demonstrates a lack in understanding of the inner workings of the real phenomenon that is Natural Selection, which is logical and systematic.
That definition is wrong. Just because it comes from a dictionary doesn't mean it's correct. To determine what atheism (,christianity, or anything for that matter) is, it is wiser to seek answers not from respectible dictionaries but from respectible proponents thereof.
As an actual atheist once said: "If atheism is a [doctrine], then 'OFF' is a TV channel."
...there are atheists, for example, who are proponents of a self initiating universe which self-sustains and self-regulates -- an idea from physics and non-related forms of godless spiritualism. Whether this theory is true or false, this proves that just because one is an atheist(your definition or mine), doesn't necessarily mean that one believes in a chaotic world or that we all evolved. So please re-answer the inquirer_
"There are atheists, for example, who are proponents of a self initiating universe which self-sustains and self-regulates..."
If the universe does these things WITHOUT intending to, then the processes are unintentional, uncoordinated, and accidental, and everything that is produced or even influenced by these processes is also unintentional, uncoordinated, and accidental. This form of Atheism is not in any way exempt from the argument above.
If the claim is that the universe does so WITH intention, then it is no longer Atheism that is being asserted.
I'm not really sure I understand why this argument is somehow rendered invalid in your mind if there are ghosts, or if the universe unintentionally started itself, or if we define atheists to be a group of people who lack a belief in God. None of these things have any bearing on this argument whatsoever as far as I can tell.
But what about leprechauns? Or space aliens? Or reincarnation? Or what if the Atheist thinks there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll? Surely my argument is invalid for Atheists who think JFK was not shot by a lone gunman?
If you want to talk about a definition you need to clarify what definition you are talking about....
When one looks at the etymology of the word ἄθεος for instance it is plainly clear that it actually means godless or without god. There is however with any word a history. The term has developed and therefore the two of you need to outline much better.
So far the two of you have been running like wild dogs over nothing. I will reflect on a few points briefly:
1) “Please, do not confuse atheism to be a, belief-system, school or movement. –
If you were actually aware of history or the historical development of philosophy you would know it was a school and it is a movement. “
2) “Atheism is technically only a component of one's worldview” -
Ontological arguments are bad….stay away from “is” unless you want to stay laughable at best. (see above for the reason of why you cannot say so easily of what is)
Okay sir, for this point you toke it a bit far. You can believe actually. You added a modus which you think you can add from a logical deduction. Pre-conceived ideas are bad. Please refer to Vienna circle. If you do not know what that is, I am a sad panda. With the debate in Vienna circle we got the point that God cannot be proved, but you cannot falsify him. Before you ever make any points about what there is and is not…be sure that you have actually read up on the history.
We aren’t special with the arguments and thoughts we bring up here. Most of these debates have been done in much more detail and in a much higher fashion if I may add.
5) Your arguments rest on very poor foundations. See Kant for the limits of reason…
That which is dependent upon random processes is randomly determined.
This means, as explained above, that if Atheism is true, knowledge is impossible.
The only logical fallacy here is Atheism.
You've still fallen prey to the genetic fallacy
Given foundationalism nothing is justified, for ultimately nothing justifiably justifies.
Coherent thought requires a coherent thinker behind it all.
However, even if knowledge meant that God exists, by no means does that justify worshipping Him, nor prove that He still exists, nor does it mean that there aren't multiple/infinite gods and this God is not in fact a very minor one.
If quantum mechanics is right, every particle interaction is purely random, uncoordinated and undependable accidents.
If Our Conclusions are ultimately the direct result of purely random, uncoordinated and undependable accidents, then Our Conclusions are entirely random and undependable.
No person believes that his own conclusions are random and undependable, so no person really believes in quantum mechanics.
What we have seen here is that if quantum mechanics is true, there is no possibility of knowledge. However, knowledge is possible; therefore quantum mechanics is certainly not true.
The problem comes in premise 2: Though each quantum events is random, they sum to non-random macro events in the same way that you can't predict a single coin flip, but you can predict that if you do it long enough, about half will be heads.
Likewise, natural selection can give us reliable cognition, if not true "aboutness"
If quantum mechanics demands unintentional, unplanned, uncoordinated, and purely random accidents on any scale, then it is without question a false picture of reality.
Your argument via the coin toss analogy assumes that the flip of a coin is random and accidental. It isn't. For anything to be NOT random and NOT accidental, none of its prior causes could be random or accidental... otherwise the result would be a random accident. If any coin toss (ever) were random and accidental, then everything affected by said coin toss (like your argument, which is based on your observation of coin tosses) would be a random accident.
Random coin tosses, should they actually exist, would have to be contained to a purely random and accidental reality that has no interaction whatsoever with our own, nor with the God who made us.
Of course, in such a reality, there would be no person to toss such a coin.
This is not the what was stated. It was said: "...they sum to non-random macro events in the same way that you can't predict a single coin flip".
A coin flip is entirely deterministic, but is extremely sensitive to initial conditions, so a small difference in speed, or angle of the coin flip can alter the outcome strongly. With a coin flip under normal conditions (like we have when deciding sides at the start of a game), we don't know the speed, angle, air speed, humidity, elasticity of the floor etc. well enough to predict the outcome of a coin toss, so it behaves like an ideal random event.
The rest of your argument is therefore irrelevant to the discussion.
If we have physical laws that tell us the world around us is predictable (such as a ball moving from point a to point b) does that not mean that nothing really is 'random'?
Also, are you saying that the first cause was 'purely random, uncoordinated and undependable' therefore, all that succeeds this cause is also 'purely random, uncoordinated and undependable'?
Sorry if my questions sound stupid.
Since absolutely nothing is random, how is it that you claim to know how something that is random would act?
"Are you saying that the first cause was 'purely random, uncoordinated and undependable' therefore, all that succeeds this cause is also 'purely random, uncoordinated and undependable'?"
Ultimately, if an atheist holds to a singular first cause, then the answer to your question is yes.
If an atheist holds to multiple first causes, then his multiple first causes are not intentionally coordinated (as they have no intent), so all that comes from their intersection is also unintentional (accidental) and uncoordinated (random).
If an atheist rejects first causes in favor of infinite regress, there remains no overarching intent, so wherever the unintentional manifests itself, the result is an accident, and all that it spawns is accidental.
Let me know if this is not clear.
I think you indirectly answered my second question in the reply to Niels. Though, I want to expand on it a bit more, I'm still confused about it.
You're saying that in atheism there is no authority to guide nature because there is no deity, but wouldn't an atheist say that physical laws/absolutes is why "Everything" can be coordinated without a deity? Unless, you hold the position that these absolutes are dependent on a deity.
I know I was making assumptions about the deity in my above statement, but that is what you are implying, is it not? Am I correct in saying that, in a nutshell, your argument is, "In atheism there is no authority to guide nature because there is no deity"?
Could you give your definition of knowledge in this context?
Without a self-justified Justifier, nothing is ultimately justified.
Strictly speaking, knowledge is merely the sum of the mind's transduction of the outside world from its' sensory organs; sight, touch, etc.
Because of this, knowledge is the result of what the mind is being 'told', in a manner of speaking. Therefore, knowledge is inherently subjective. It is not the product of reality, but merely the product of an approximation of reality.
If knowledge is subjective, it follows that the coherence or dependability of a person's knowledge cannot be demonstrated. This renders a person's opinion of how coherent their knowledge is irrelevant, as their knowledge is based on an abstraction of reality. While a person may believe that their knowledge is dependable and logical, it does not entail that it is. Moreover, there is no way of truly verifying whether knowledge is coherent or not.
From the evidence available, it cannot be concluded that knowledge is dependable or rational. Your belief that it is is a suspension of this evidence, which can also be called faith. This returns to the fundamental difference between Theists and Atheist; the latter depends only on evidence, whereas the former incorporates faith into their beliefs.
I'm essentially agreeing with you, but then elaborating on the argument and furthering it to the conclusion that an Atheist's belief of the rationality of his knowledge is irrelevant.
"Therefore, knowledge is inherently subjective."
If that isn't a self-defeating statement, I don't know what is. Or, to put it another way, how do you know that?
"If knowledge is subjective, it follows that the coherence or dependability of a person's knowledge cannot be demonstrated."
How do you know that?
"There is no way of truly verifying whether knowledge is coherent or not."
How do you know that?
"Even knowledge considered axiomatic is not definitely true, or objective in nature"
Another self-defeating statement. How do you objectively know that you can't objectively know?
"From the evidence available, it cannot be concluded that knowledge is dependable or rational."
Is this, your stated conclusion that you cannot draw this conclusion, dependable or rational?
"In short, a person's opinion that their knowledge is rational does not entail that it is in fact rational."
How do you know that?
"I'm essentially agreeing with you."
Of course you are, but you wouldn't know that you are if Atheism were true, as you yourself acknowledge. You do know that you are agreeing with me (you've stated as much), therefore Atheism is false.
How do you know that you think I am making a logical leap?
If atheism is true, you have no reason to trust that your senses are accurate. I'm not simply saying that it's possible they may not be -- I'm saying that you have no reason whatsoever to believe that there is any possibility that they ever could be. Under atheism, none of us would have any reason for claiming even a 1% possibility that our conclusions might even maybe be accurate. We wouldn't have a reason for anything, because there would be no reason for anything. If there is no reason... well, there is no reason.
Of course, we only say things like "if there is no reason then there is no reason" and we only recognize such statements as certainly true because there is a self-justified Justifier, one whose very name declares the Law of Identity: "I am that I am". Without a self-justified Justifier, there can be no justification for anything.
Except for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientific_theories_and_laws#List_of_notable_theories
and the fact that if something appears random you are not taking enough factors into account
and the fact that the universe is deterministic.
As I've said before, subjective is not necessarily recognisable as being irrational, which is what you're assuming with your "How do you know that you think I am making a logical leap?".
"There is no objective justification for any knowledge."
How do you know that?
As long as you are claiming that it isn't possible to know anything, your claims are self-defeating. This means that as long as you are claiming atheism, your claims are self-defeating, which is MY whole point.
I know that subjectively, I don't know that objectively. This is in no way self-defeating or in contradiction with my claim that objective knowledge has not been made evident.
This is the same fallacy as quoting thermodynamics to assail, say, evolution. The fallacious argument concludes something like this: Since everything tends towards disorder, then we can't have complexity.
This is a fallacy because local complexity is possible at the expense of global entropy. (e.g. Dissipative system
Wouldn't much of this come down to a problem with labels? For instance, to call someone an atheist, they must assert that there is no God. Does that mean the atheist must then directly fall under the "random processes beget random processes ad infinitum" theory? Would a simple "I don't know the answer to that, but I'm looking" not suffice? Or should atheists change their title to "scientists"? And scientists be called "Subject Matter Expert Scientists"? I'm guessing that most atheists base their "beliefs" off of the scientific method. And since science can't definitively explain the very beginning, we must all give a shrug and a determined "But I'm still looking!" The reason we don't hold to the "god" theory is the lack of evidence for it. Right?
If I claim that there is no God, then (among other things) I am claiming that there is no intelligent intention coordinating all things. If this is what I am claiming, then is it consistent for me to also claim that I am not in any way the result of unintended, uncoordinated and random accidents? If I am in any way the result of unintended, uncoordinated, random accidents, then so is everything that is produced by me, including my conclusions.
Labels don't matter: a belief that there is no god necessitates this conclusion.
However a disbelief in God does not mean a belief in just "chance", it ignores the very reason for Atheism (at least for me), the lack of proof.
I don't believe in God because I don't think there is enough evidence but similarly I don't think there's enough evidence for the idea of it just being chance or random accidents.
Atheists like myself pretty much abstain from suggesting any reason for absolute creation. I've always considered it completely arrogant for anyone to claim to know how the universe started. Of course if someone was to say "I believe the universe started by random acts" then your argument is a pretty good one to use considering.
If there is no God, is it still possible for absolutely everything to be intended?
Unfortunately, that statement is false. Emergent order and complexity *are* possible.
Why do you insist that coordination of things can only come from God? We have measurable fundamental forces such as gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and electromagnetism that change the random floating of quantum particles into ordered atoms that group together into things like stars, which produce heavier elements. Without any fundamental forces these particles would float randomly, but we DO have fundamental forces, and the results are not random. What, about the effects of these forces on matter, causes you to insist that an intentional intelligence is necessary?
1. the organization of the different elements of a complex body or activity so as to enable them to work together effectively.
2. the ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently.
For a system to be coordinated, the elements in the system must be working toward some intended goal. There is no way to say that they are "effective" unless they accomplish that intention. There is no way to say they are "efficient" unless they accomplish that intention faster and with less work than otherwise could have been the case.
Intention is required for a set to be ordered. Intention necessitates a person. The universe consistently acting according to a person's intention makes that person God.
Then by the definition you've just explained, people can be coordinated without God. And if people can be coordinated without God, then not everything is "purely random, uncoordinated and undependable" even if God doesn't exist. What you've proven with that definition (if it's correct) is that everything in the universe is uncoordinated except people.
Of course, that first premise (purely random, undependable, etc.) was utter nonsense to begin with. Things that are governed by the laws of nature are not "purely random." They're not "undependable" either; dependable predictions can be made using natural laws. I'm sure you'll argue that God is the only possible source of natural laws, but it's an assumption you cannot support; there are countless other conceivable explanations for natural laws. For instance, perhaps the universe itself is eternal or not bound by the laws of logic, as you surely believe about God.
The required assumption is not only that God created the universe originally, but that God is DIRECTLY responsible for EVERYTHING non-random that has ever happened. If you believe God gave us free will, then this is clearly false. You would otherwise necessarily believe that free will consists of "purely random, uncoordinated and undependable accidents," which would contradict the argument you just presented, as knowledge would be impossible.
If you simply remove the word "direct," then the argument means nothing. Even if the "first cause" happened at random or was a series of random events (which isn't a necessary premise for atheism at all), that wouldn't necessarily make later events random as well. The formation of the universe leads to the formation of natural laws, eliminating absolute randomness.
Your original argument relies on the idea that humans are incapable of making non-random decisions unless God exists. Can you support that idea?
You asked - "Your original argument relies on the idea that humans are incapable of making non-random decisions unless God exists. Can you support that idea?"
Every human is the result of something (or many somethings) unless we deny the principle of causality or posit an eternal human. I suspect you are not interested in either of those options. All of our decisions are the result of those same somethings by virtue of the fact that they result, at least in part, from what we result from. Whatever caused us is among the causes of our decisions. If we were caused via uncoordinated (random) and unintentional (accidental) means, then our conclusions are the result of those same random and accidental causes. It is a simple causal chain.
For further reference on free will, feel free to read these:
Not only do I see this position as being the most Biblical, and the most logical and rational, but it also appears to have been held to by Wycliffe, Luther, Melanchthon, Johnathan Edwards, and others; and currently appears to be held to by Sproul, MacArthur, Piper, John Frame and James White.
My point is that it is definitely not a radical new idea in Christendom, in spite of many Christian philosophers who claim the opposite, from my perspective, without real justification.
As I stated earlier, things governed by natural laws are not random. An entirely random first cause (which, again, is not a necessary condition for an atheistic universe) would not make all future causation random as well. Everything would be indirectly the result of something random, but not directly. The distinction between direct causation and indirect causation needs to be acknowledged.
Since you also used the words "uncoordinated" and "unintentional," I'll point out that anything with a mind is capable of coordination and intention by definition. Both words are purely conceptual, and were invented to describe a characteristic unique to entities that have minds. Even if a mind is directly caused by a random accident, the mind itself can still have intention and coordination.
Tim therefore very helpfully points out that these other Christian philosophers claim, from their perspective, that *he* has no real justification for what he believes, basing their views on exactly the same holy book. And they all end up chasing each other's theological tails round and round getting absolutely nowhere, which is precisely what happens when you base your world-view on a book of fairy tales.
It seems to me that you are asserting that when purely random accidents (uncoordinated and unintentional events) produce an inevitable result via essentially any means other than the human will, that result is random and accidental. However, when purely random accidents produce an inevitable result via the means of the human will, that result, which has the same randomly accidental foundation, is now labelled "intentional" and "coordinated".
Label it however you like. It is still the inevitable result of random accidents. Our conclusions still have the same groundless, uncoordinated and unintentional foundation that allows no possibility of justification for reasoning, logic, or evidential interpretation.
Under atheism, all our conclusions are random accidents no matter what label is put on them.
If you again ignore that an atheist can easily believe that there are no accidents (why is God the only possible source of non-accidents?) then perhaps. But indirectly being the result of an accident does not necessitate that every following event is also an accident in itself. If you accidentally cut your finger, your decision to bandage it would not be accidental, even if it is the result of an accident. Of course, if you believe God is inherently responsible for everything that happens, then neither are accidents, but you can't have an effective argument if it requires that presupposition.
Furthermore, you can't prove anything by using disputable definitions (especially when I can find no dictionary which implies that absence of coordination is exactly the same as randomness.) Consider any a priori proof of God's existence or non-existence.
"an atheist can easily believe that there are no accidents"
For there to be no accidents, there must be one singular intentional (and therefore personal) entity behind absolutely everything in the universe. Anyone who believes this is a theist.
"If you accidentally cut your finger..."
If atheism were true, my "decision" to bandage my finger would be the inevitable result of unintentional and uncoordinated events. Given this, there would be no more reason to expect that someone who cut themselves would put on a bandage any more than there would be reason to expect that they would microwave some popcorn, or stand on their head for a half-hour, or go pour gasoline on their garden, or flap their arms and fly to the moon.
In a universe not intentionally coordinated by a single communicating sovereign, there would be no reason to expect anything at all. There would be no justification for certainty about anything whatsoever. There would be no more reason to accept a tautology than there would be to accept a contradiction. There would also be no more reason to reject the one than there would be to reject the other.
There would be no reason for anything.
This is not the reality we live in, so atheism is plainly false.
Under Christianity, the single communicating sovereign who intentionally coordinates the universe has informed us that He is wholly consistent (Exodus 3:14; 2 Timothy 2:13; 1 John 1:5; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 1:12,13:8). He is who He is, He creates what He creates, He sustains what He sustains, He does what He does. If it is, it is. Christians recognize humanity's justification for accepting tautologies and rejecting contradictions. The justification is God and His trustworthy personal communication to everyone as described in Romans 1:18-20.
Christianity's claims match the reality we live in... a reality in which we all accept tautologies and reject contradictions; in which we believe in cause and effect relationships; in which knowledge, certainty, discovery, meaning, justification, etc are actually possible.
An intentionally coordinated universe.
That is debatable. An atheist could identify the force as "fate" rather than "God." Or simply say "I have no idea if there is any absolutely objective meaning to everything but there is almost certainly no God." Most probably don't belong to either category, but atheism can be extremely flexible since it is merely the rejection of one assertion.
From a third person perspective, that would be somewhat true regardless of whether or not God exists (except for the flying to the moon part.) While the person would most likely bandage their finger, they might, for all we know, not even care about the cut, deciding to make popcorn instead. But from a first person perspective, that person knows exactly what they will do because they have a conscious mind. Being "the inevitable result of unintentional and uncoordinated events" (how you don't see the contradiction between "random" and "inevitable" is beyond me) does not necessitate that the result itself is uncoordinated or unintentional, as long as a mind is involved.
You can't prove anything with uncertain or disputable definitions, and you most definitely can't prove anything with completely incorrect definitions.
An atheist could identify the force as "fate" rather than "God."
It would have to have intent (be personal) in order for it's results to be intentional. If we are talking about believing in an intentional entity in charge of the universe, we aren't talking atheism.
"'I have no idea...'"
How could such a person be certain that they have no idea? What is their justification for such certainty, since certainty can have no justification but God?
"...it is merely the rejection of one assertion."
The assertion it rejects is the singular prerequisite for reality to be coherent.
"except for the flying to the moon part"
Why should this be rejected in a universe in which there is no reason to reject contradictions?
"how you don't see the contradiction between 'random' and 'inevitable' is beyond me"
In any description of atheism, contradictions necessarily abound.
"...does not necessitate that the result itself is uncoordinated or unintentional, as long as a mind is involved"
But at this point, calling human conclusions "coordinated" or "intentional" is just meaningless window dressing. Anyone can label any event involving a magic 8-ball as being coordinated and intentional if they wanted. From every atheist's perspective that I have met though, conclusions coming from such "coordinated" and "intentional" magic 8-balls are not to be referred to as justified. Call human decisions "intentional" and "coordinated" if it suits you, but they are not substantially different than magic 8-ball conclusions in a world without God.
Further, in a world without God, since there can be no justification for rejecting contradictions, "uncoordinated" and "unintentional" don't have to involve minds at all. They could mean what they don't mean, as well as what they do mean. And no one can possibly justify having a problem with that, because nothing could be justified at all.
"you seem to be relying on the presupposition that the human mind cannot have intention or coordination independent of God"
How does intent necessitate being personal?
"Anyone can label any event involving a magic 8-ball as being coordinated and intentional if they wanted."
Sure, but they would be wrong. Humans think. Magic 8-balls don't. It's really that simple. Humans have incredibly complex brains and are self-aware, which science may not fully explain for a long time. Magic 8-balls have 20 possible answers, all given with no actual regard for the question.
"Further, in a world without God, since there can be no justification for rejecting contradictions,"
What makes you say there would be no justification for rejecting contradictions? Contradictions, with or without God, are simply not compatible with the way humans think. Two ideas that contradict each other cannot both be true because that would be inconceivable. God doesn't make it work that way, the human perception of reality does.
An argument which relies on an unprovable presupposition is never successful. You can make as many assertions based on that presupposition as you like, but it won't prove anything until you prove the presupposition.
The human perception of reality makes reality work? If humans don't perceive it, it doesn't exist? If this is not what you are saying, I definitely failed to understand you, and I apologize for my failure. However, if it is what you are saying, do you believe that humans have existed eternally? That the human race is permanent? If not, what caused the first human if nothing could exist outside of his or her perception, and his or her perception did not yet exist? Or, if the human race is permanent, and the entire universe is made by humans perceiving things, it seems to me that you are no atheist. You are a polytheist, believing yourself to be among the gods who control the universe.
"the original argument fails until he proves that God is a prerequisite for human thought"
Actually, though God is certainly a prerequisite for human thought, that has nothing to do with the argument. The argument is that an omnipotent, omniscient, singular and wholly sovereign God is a prerequisite for a coordinated and intended universe. Said God, who must also be a personally communicating God, along with said coordinated and intended universe are prerequisites for justified certainty, particularly regarding the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction. Justified certainty is a prerequisite for reason. Without reason, human thought, even if it did exist, is no different than the answer from the 8-ball.
So, can you have justified certainty without a God?
Well, if God didn't tell you that contradictions don't reflect reality, who did? And why did you believe them? Are they in charge of reality?
"Contradictions, with or without God, are simply not compatible with the way humans think."
Who told you that and why did you believe them?
"Two ideas that contradict each other cannot both be true because that would be inconceivable."
Who told you that and why did you believe them?
Further, as stated above, it doesn't seem clear to me why anyone would ever think that all of reality must be conceivable to humans, unless that person believed humans to be the creator gods of the universe.
Did you create the universe with your thoughts? And if so, why do you call yourself an atheist?
The issue is one of authority. By whose authority do you make assertions about reality? Your own? Do you have authority over reality? Are you God?
Or are you relying on someone else's authority? Who told you contradictions don't reflect reality and why do you believe them? Do they have authority over reality? If not, reality doesn't have to behave the way they want.
Justified certainty cannot exist without authority over the entire universe. If you yourself don't have said authority, then the one in authority has to personally make guaranteed promises directly to you about the nature of reality -- particularly those foundational premises like the laws of logic -- for you to know anything at all.
Otherwise, you're a magic 8-ball.
No, contradictions do not physically exist in reality; more relevantly, concurrence and consistency, which can be considered opposites of contradiction, do not physically exist in reality. All three terms are purely conceptual and used to further our interpretation of reality. They do not determine what reality actually is.
"that has nothing to do with the argument."
We're talking about the argument in which you concluded that knowledge cannot exist in an atheistic universe, correct? It requires that humans cannot think without God. The first premise requires it especially, because if humans can think without God, then not everything is uncoordinated or unintended in an atheistic universe.
That depends on what you mean by "justified certainty." I would argue that absolute certainly cannot exist as long as there are unfalsifiable propositions, such as the proposition that fairies exist.
By "justified certainty," I assume you mean certainty which requires the falsehood of such ridiculous but unfalsifiable propositions. If we were actually living in the the Matrix, many things you previously believed with certainty would turn out to be false. But we ignore such ideas for the most part because they're unlikely enough that we don't need to consider them when making decisions. So, considering how easily unfalsifiable propositions can be made, any reasoning we perform is based on some assumptions, but they're sensible assumptions which must be assumed if any progress is to be made.
And the William Lane Craig Prize for Circular Argument of the Year goes to...
"I would argue that absolute certainty cannot exist as long as there are unfalsifiable propositions."
I am referring to justified certainty about anything, not justified certainty about everything. I make no claim that any mere human can be justifiably certain about absolutely everything, but without justified certainty in some things (like the law of non-contradiction), "reason" is unfounded meaningless nonsense (as is everything else).
"We're talking about the argument in which you concluded that knowledge cannot exist in an atheistic universe, correct? It requires that humans cannot think without God."
You must be defining "human thought" differently than I understood as you used it previously. If by "human thought" you mean "coming to fully justified conclusions", then you are correct -- that is required by the argument. And it is proven by the impossibility of justified certainty apart from absolute personal sovereignty... which does not exist in atheism by definition
I didn't assume that was what you meant. I mean that nothing can be known with absolute certainty as long as an unfalsifiable proposition can be contrived to contradict what would otherwise be absolutely certain.
This should apply to human reasoning whether God exists or not, unless someone knows the mind of God.
If we define "justified certainty" as "roughly the closest we can get to absolute certainty," then I don't see how the existence of God would necessarily affect the existence of justified certainty.
"but without justified certainty in some things (like the law of non-contradiction), "reason" is unfounded meaningless nonsense (as is everything else)."
As I said before, the law of noncontradiction is conceptual only, and a part of the way we think. We're as certain of it as we can be.
What do you mean by absolute personal sovereignty? And how does atheism rule it out?
Actually, we are all completely and positively certain of it without exception. This is because God has innately revealed His perfectly consistent nature to everyone, as I explained. This is why we all use this law as a foundation for all thought.
Certainty is unjustified if there is any possibility whatsoever that the conclusion is not accurate. How can certainty be justified if you might be wrong?
It sounds like you agree with me, that if atheism is true, no one can possibly be justifiably certain that the law of non-contradiction reflects reality. Which means it may not.
Under atheism, if things are, they may not be.
"Reason" is meaningless.
It's inconceivable that it would be wrong because it's essential to our thought processes, but I don't believe in absolute certainty.
"It sounds like you agree with me, that if atheism is true, no one can possibly be justifiably certain that the law of non-contradiction reflects reality."
The "truth" of atheism isn't what makes it that way. I'd imagine it the same if I were a deist. Just my interpretation of the world.
I tend to use the word "certain" when referring to probabilities of 99.9999999% or so. I'm essentially certain that there is no Santa Claus; it's just easier that way. And, like I said, the law of noncontradiction applies only to concepts and human reason. The universe (reality) is indifferent to human reason.
"'Reason' is meaningless."
I wouldn't call it meaningless just because it relies on the falsehood of the extremely unlikely. It's essential to understanding the
Forgive me for the foolish line of questioning I now embark on. I ask as demonstration, not as mockery.
Are you certain you don't believe in absolute certainty? Is it possible that you do believe in absolute certainty? Is it possible that you are certain that you believe in absolute certainty? Is it possible that you have told us this? In this very conversation? Is it possible that you are so certain that you believe in absolute certainty that you have denied atheism and devoted your life to serving Jesus Christ?
If not... are you certain of that?
"I tend to use the word 'certain' when referring to probabilities of 99.9999999% or so."
Are you certain that the probability is anywhere near that? Are you certain that the probability is not in fact... 80%? Or how about 50%? Or 0%? Might the probability be 0%? If not, are you certain? Or what if the probability is both 99% and also 0%, at the same time and in the same way? Then the very concept of probability would be meaningless. Is that the way it is? Are you certain?
In fact, the concept of probability is meaningless without justified certainty regarding the law of non-contradiction. Every concept is meaningless if it's possible that the concept is identical to its negation. Without certainty on the issue of non-contradiction, talking about probabilities (or anything at all for that matter) is like talking about the smell of the color seven.
"...the falsehood of the extremely unlikely"
Are you certain that it is extremely unlikely? It might be very likely. Indeed, it might be the only thing that is possible. Or are you certain it is not?
"...it seems to result from any worldview that doesn't involve God giving us some absolute certainty. Many interpretations of deism and perhaps polytheism may fit into that category."
I agree with your assessment. Such worldviews demand a lack of certainty, which in turn necessitates meaninglessness.
"There could even be atheists who believe there is absolute certainty with some justification I haven't yet heard about."
I'm sure most atheists believe there can be absolute certainty, but they will not be able to justify their certainty without appealing to God, which they will not do.
I encourage you to recognize your own failure to obey your Creator (Romans 3:23), and to ask Him to forgive you (1 John 1:9). He has provided a Way for you be made right with Him (John 14:6) in spite of the fact that you have made yourself His enemy (Romans 5:10). The Way he has provided is trusting Jesus (Romans 10:9).
I suppose one could imagine a situation where I am wrong about my own beliefs, but that's definitely among the extremely unlikely. I'll say the same of the other questions in that paragraph. Unlikely enough to not be worth acknowledging for practical purposes.
"Are you certain that the probability is anywhere near that?"
Well I didn't do any calculations, it's just an estimate. Considering that there's no evidence giving any reason to believe in Santa Claus and every parent would have to be part of some massive conspiracy if Santa Claus really did exist, I would have added many more 9's after the decimal point if it didn't seem gratuitous.
Whether it's technically "certain" or not, I think it's justified to trust one of the most important principles of human reasoning. That the law of noncontradiction could be wrong is, again, unlikely enough to not even be worth considering for practical purposes, given the lack of evidence suggesting any such thing and the kind of explanation that would have to be contrived if the law of noncontradiction really was false. Not to mention the obvious practical benefits of using it.
Asserting that an argument is unsuccessful does not make it so.
An argument against atheism doesn't need to disprove Islam to be successful. If you are a monotheist, I would be happy to discuss Jesus with you. If not, your excuse for rejecting the argument presented here seems insufficient and insincere to me.
Are you certain it's one of the most important principles in human reasoning? Are you certain you think it is important to trust it? You continuously rely on God's divine sovereignty with every statement you make, using principles like evidence and probability that are only meaningful in a monotheistic universe, and asserting ideas that are certainly not their negation only because of God. Were atheism true, every statement you have made would be completely incoherent.
Yes I have.
How do you know that you trust your own senses? What does it mean to trust? Might trusting be the same thing as not-trusting? Might usefulness be the same as non-usefulness? Might evidence be the same as non-evidence? Is probability the same as non-probability? Are you certain of that? Are you certain you aren't convinced? Maybe you are. Your assertions have no meaning if they can mean what they don't mean. If atheism is true, "I'm not convinced" is not any different than "I am convinced" or "yellow smells like seven". It's all meaningless nonsense. Or are you certain I'm wrong about that? And if so, is your certainty justified? And if so, how is it justified?
The conclusion of the argument here is that atheism is false. If you want to know "why Jesus", why did you come to a page called "What's an easy way to demonstrate that Atheism is false?" If you really want to know "why Jesus", you can deal with my answers here:
And look at this argument that argues against the idea of a monotheistic God who we ought to obey yet offers no substitutionary atonement:
And see an argument in the comments section here against Islam specifically:
You're in the wrong ballpark on this page. Take your game somewhere else or you'll be playing by yourself.
The presence of such questions does not demonstrate that thought must be incoherent without absolute certainty. Otherwise, how can you justify that your life has any meaning when you might merely be living in a computer simulation?
What is this "induction" that you say "works"? Are you certain? What does it mean for something to "work"? Again, are you certain?
Your comments are meaningless without certainty regarding the law of non-contradiction, which atheism simply cannot allow for.
It is not my intention for you to doubt your senses. It is my intention to point out that if there were no God, you would not even know what it means to trust senses. We would not be capable of having this conversation, because everything said would be completely meaningless. Your senses are generally reliable only because we have justified certainty that the law of non-contradiction is valid, and we have that only because atheism is false.
The hypothetical computer simulation would not be a challenge to our foundation for thought. It would be a challenge to our inductive conclusions based upon that foundation. My challenge to you is not a challenge to your conclusions, but rather to the foundational premises for thought itself.
What is a "conclusion"? In a computer simulation, the concept of "conclusion" has the same meaning as it does outside a computer simulation. However, if there is no God, there is no concept of "conclusion" at all. The very concept is meaningless.
Why would it be meaningless just because there's no absolute certainty? All those questions you keep asking do not challenge the foundation of thought for the same reason "what if we're actually living in a computer simulation" doesn't challenge what you see every day.
"The hypothetical computer simulation would not be a challenge to our foundation for thought."
It wasn't supposed to be. It's as challenging to your daily life as your questions are to the foundation of thought without God. Are the things you see every day all made meaningless by a contradictory idea you cannot prove wrong?
They would be made meaningless by a lack of meaning, in which case I would not recognize them as "things", because "recognition" itself would be meaningless. However, said lack of meaning would only be the case in a contradictory, imaginary world where there is no God, not the world we actually live in. So daily experiences are what they are, and we generally have good reason for interpreting them the way we do.
Contradictory ideas are always wrong. The proof of this is that God is not contradictory. You know this as well as I do, and you demonstrate it with every assertion you make.
What would it mean? And are you certain of that?
It seems to me that I have made my case to you in every way that I can, repeatedly. I believe my case is correct and that I have demonstrated this thoroughly. You apparently disagree and remain unconvinced... although maybe you agree and are completely convinced -- you just aren't certain what your own position is. Or even if you have a position. Or what the word "position" refers to.
Yet somehow you seem pretty certain that you can't be certain about things.
I believe that you are certain (and justifiably so) about some things, and that every assertion you make demonstrates this, which means justified certainty is possible, which means atheism is false, as outlined above.
Beyond this summary, I no longer see the point of this conversation, Andrew. But I pray you will accept Christ, because He is the only way you can be right with your Creator.
Merely asserting a lack of meaning does not make it so. You have somehow reached the conclusion that a lack of absolute certainty results in a lack of meaning, it seems. To clarify my position, the law of non-contradiction is an essential part of human thought, and it is justified enough in that its usage produces results. I would call it and many other things justified, even though nothing is justified absolutely. There is justification beyond reasonable doubt, but never truly absolute justification.
"Contradictory ideas are always wrong."
What do you mean? That an idea which contradicts your worldview is always wrong? Or do you misunderstand what I said? I was asking if an idea contradictory to what you see every day makes all of that meaningless. I was not talking about an idea that contradicts itself or two ideas that contradict each other.
If you say so, but I think there is more to be said.
However,if the laws of logic *must" apply to god, then they must exist independent of god and therefore there is no need for the "god hypothesis". But if they *don't* apply to god, then there's no such thing as logical absolutes because the entirety of logic would be based on nothing but god's whim. Therefore your argument is absurd.
Are you certain about what you just said? Is your certainty justified? If not, it is unjustified and you may as well have said the opposite. If it is justified, how has your certainty been established? What makes you think that the use of Occam's Razor is ever warranted? Perhaps when it is warranted, it is unwarranted. If things can both be and not be, you couldn't possibly be justifiably certain that it is not the case that Occam's Razor is unwarranted. Without divine promises, you're simply simply asserting a bunch of nonsensical things you have no justification for asserting. Without divine promises of coherence in creation, anyone who asserts the negation of what you have asserted is equally justified in their opposite certainty -- equally justified because neither of you can be at all.
What I am discussing is not how we know a specific "x", like whether or not I am a brain in a jar, but rather how knowledge of anything at all is possible. The brain in the jar question really misses the point of the discussion.
Occam's Razor is a useful tool because it helps to differentiate between competing hypotheses, of which there are potentially an infinite number, particularly when one considers that one can always shore up a failing explanation with ad hoc hypotheses. Of course Occam's Razor doesn't state that the simplest explanation is *always* true or that more complex hypotheses can't be right. No-one ever said that it does. But it is efficacious, for the reasons that I've just stated.
The questions I've asked are absurd -- you are correct. They are absurd because God has created a world in which the law of non-contradiction really is valid, and He has sovereignly guaranteed this to each of us, so each one of us has justified certainty that the law of non-contradiction really is valid. Because of this, we don't have to establish it before we use it -- God has already done that for us.
However, if there is no God, He has not sovereignly guaranteed the validity of the law of non-contradiction to us. Therefore, it is not reasonable to reason from the foundational premise that this law is valid -- we don't know that it is! Instead, it's validity must be established before we use it to reason. Since, according to you, God has not established it's validity for us, you must establish it's validity if you want to use it as a premise in your arguments.
Good luck with that.
What I've done is not challenge your logic, but rather challenge your base premises or presuppositions. You have no justification for them if there is no God. No premise can possibly be justified if there is no God.
If your premises are unjustified, your conclusions are irrational by definition.
Friday afternoon typing fingers like sausages
1. There is one God.
2. He is omnipotent, and has full authority over our universe.
3. He is omniscient, so He is never confused about what He has done, is doing, or will do.
4. He is consistent, so He never contradicts Himself.
5. He never lies.
6. He is communicative.
7. His authority (consistency, truthfulness, etc) justifies our certainty in His claims and assertions, which are the basis for all human thought.
That's where every Christian begins epistemologically. All these things are granted if Christianity is true.
Here is what is granted if Atheism is true. I will probably never ask you to prove these things, because they are simply granted in your worldview. They are your starting points.
1. There is no God.
2. No one has ultimate authority over our universe.
3. There is no justifying authority for the claim that our universe is non-contradictory (or, as a result, any other claim at all).
That's where you begin. That's what your epistemology is based on. Those things are simply granted if atheism is true. You don't have to prove any of them to me, and I doubt I will ever ask you to. Instead, I should simply expect you to be consistent with them.
But you aren't... no atheist I've ever met is. As soon as an atheist makes any kind of truth claim, they have embraced theism.
My argument on this page and my continued defense of it in this comment thread has been that you are using my presuppositions. You are stealing my worldview. Logic and reason are presuppositions of theism, but not of atheism. Atheism is foundationally opposed to logic and reason. I don't ask you to prove atheistic foundational presuppositions -- I simply ask you to be consistent with them.
But the only consistent atheist is the mute atheist. The rest are all closet theists.
Completely irrational, as I have already pointed out.
I hope I don't have to point the glaring flaws.
Neither evolution nor Gravity is completely random
Scientific principals tend to coordinate themselves
All scientific theories are extremely dependable, otherwise they'd still be hypotheses.
An "accident" is when a sentient being does something said being did not intend. Unlike theists, we do not blame everything on anthropromorphic beings.
Your first sentence is way off, and everything after that falls apart.
If there is no reason behind our first principles, then there is no reason behind our conclusions either. Atheism is, simply by definition, intellectually bankrupt.
If evolution and gravity are coordinated, who coordinated them? To say that they coordinated themselves is to embrace animism. What goal were "scientific principles" trying to accomplish for which they maximized cooperation to increase efficiency? Are you genuinely suggesting that scientific principles have goals and are personal beings? This is a rejection of atheism.
If scientific theories are "dependable", who established the first principles to rationally determine dependability?
In atheism, everything is the result of unintended events, including your conclusions.
It is impossible to even speak of rational thought among humans without admitting rationally justified first principles. Under atheism, no first principle is (or can be) rationally justified. There is no rational justifier.
I think you seem to be setting up a false structure in assuming that the universe has to be guided.
In reality, it's just blind cause and effect. Natural selection is an inherent process, and it intrinsically excludes any kind of supernatural force from how it operates.
Likewise, gravity needs no coordinating entity either. There are different theories for gravity. Einstein's relativity theories and Quantum mechanics offer many theories, one being from Quantum Mechanics the concept of Gravitinos. Currently they are searching for a theory of everything that unites the four fundamental forces of nature.
So, these physical laws are entirely internally consistent, intrinsic processes. They need no external coordinating.
I hope that answers your original question.
I recommend you read books by scientists such as Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, and Lawrence Krauss.
Well, again, science explains this. The human body evolved over millions of years, and we were not the only human species in existence for most of our time. There were the Neanderthals, Homo Erectus, Homo Floresiensis, Homo Habilis, and the like. Even the eye evolved from simpler structures that accrued over time. Advantageous mutations and differences that prove to be an advantage towards reproduction are represented more in the gene pool.
Look at rats. Decades ago, scientists were coming out with new pesticides, rodenticides. At first, they worked massively, wiping out colonies of rats. Decades later, in about the late '70's, 10 percent of the urban rats caught in the United States were warfarin resistant.
What happened was evolution, natural selection. No supernatural forces involved.
To find out, researchers compared warfarin-resistant rat populations with still-vulnerable rats. They traced the difference to a gene on one of the rat chromosomes. A dominant allele at that locus was common among warfarin-resistant rat populations but rare among the vulnerable ones. And the product of the dominant allele neutralizes warfarin's effect on blood clotting.
"What happened" was evolution. As warfarin started to exert pressure on rat populations, the previously rare dominant allele abruptly proved adaptive. The rats that inherited the allele survived and produced more rats. The unlucky ones that inherited the recessive allele had no defense; they died. Over time, the dominant allele's frequency increased in all populations of rats exposed to the poison.
So you see, there was no god or any deity involved. It's just natural selection. Ultimately, it's all physics really in the end.
Thanks for the thoughts but I believe everything you said was irrelevant. To put it succinctly, there can be no reason for anything if there is no reason for it. Asserting that complexity can arise sans-god is completely off-topic (and false, but that too is irrelevant).
Do you believe your assertions are rational? What premises are your conclusions based on? Are those premises likewise rational? How about the very first conclusions you ever drew? What premises were those conclusions based on? Were those premises, your own First Principles, rational? If so, how are they rationally justified? Who rationally justifies your First Principles?
Any rational answer is God. And the alternative, the denial of rational justification for your own First Principles, necessitates the denial of the rationality of all conclusions drawn from them. Including every one of your assertions above.
I was just answering your statement that everything is the result of random, uncoordinated, undependable accidents, in the case of a non-existent god.
If you think that me bringing forth scientific, and thus rational arguments is in itself not rational, then you're wrong. Science is rational, not religion.
I think it's arrogant for you to claim that my point that complexity can arise without god is false. There's simply no evidence for god. Furthermore, the logical, scientific, and historical evidence overwhelmingly screams that god doesn't exist at all, or any deity, for that matter.
So instead of using dishonest tactics like calling my points irrelevant or asserting that the fact that complexity does arise without god is false, I'd appreciate it if you actually put forth relevant arguments.
The idea that Atheism is intellectually bankrupt is laughable.
Christianity is intellectually bankrupt. There's no evidence supporting ideologies like creationism, intelligent design, noah's ark, god creating man, and the exodus. Evidence overwhelmingly supports the opposite, that these events never occurred.
Concepts like satan, god, and the divinity of jesus were all created by men.
Overwhelmingly, science supports a metaphysical naturalistic point of view, not a view that comes from any religion, including Christianity.
Science and Atheism go hand in hand. Science is simply not compatible with religion
Centuries ago, people thought that god and/or demons created illness and gave disease. Now, we know that actually it is pathogens. What guides pathogenic behavior? Chemical interactions. What guides chemical interactions? Physics.
The problem is, Atheists actually make a rational defense for their ideas. Christians and other religious groups try to defend their beliefs, but it'll never work. It's because Christianity itself is not a rational system, and advances in historical research and science have proven this.
So please, instead of making false arguments and claiming that we Atheists are making irrational arguments, then please, bring forth some yourself. Also, stop claiming that some deity has to be coordinating forces such as gravity and evolution. They are entirely physical processes, which don't need to be guided at all.
Atheistic conclusions are not random and undependable. How would they be random? And how would they be undependable? They're not undependable, they're reasonable, unlike religion's.
Your arguments have no meaning.
When someone denies rationality at the root of everything, they deny rational justification for everything that grows out of that root.
If maybe you just read the works of individuals such as Bart Ehrman, Lawrence Krauss, and Richard Dawkins, you could see the light...
Take care, and Merry Christmas!
If you are not denying rationality, and you understand that without rationality at the root of everything then you would be denying rationality, then whose rationality is at the root of everything in your view?
BTW, I have read a few articles by Ehrman and Krauss and plenty of tweets by Dawkins. From what I have seen, they have nothing relevant to contribute to any conversation about God.
You have a merry Christmas as well!
"But the calculator does not itself rationally justify its first-principle that multiplication means doing such-and-such. It is the rational programmer that rationally justifies the calculator's first-principles."
One of the major problems with this analogy is that calculators don't think. They aren't conscious, or, indeed, rational. That the results are rational has nothing to do with the calculator, or a program, or a programmer, it has to do with the process being rational, which didn't require a programmer. If that calculator formed by "random accident", the results would still be rational because the process is rational regardless.
"So if any of our conclusions are rationally justified, we need a 'rational programmer'."
This is really the heart of the whole thing. What justifies god's rationality? You say _we_ can't rationally justify first principles, but I don't see how a god can do any better. Either the first principles _are_ first principles, in which case they are the base of rationality which cannot, as you say, be rationally justified, or they are not, in which case there could be some rationalization for those principles. If god doesn't construct those first principles (which makes no sense for him to do), then those first principles are primary to any form of rational thought, including any form of rational thought by such a god. Our belief in such can be obtained in the same way that god might obtain them, through observation and consideration.
This reminds me a lot of the Eric Hovind argument that you can't know anything unless an omniscient source tells you something.
Go to the search page (https://infidels.org/search.html) to find most any topic (articles on both sides of the issue). Your argument sounds like a variant of Plantings's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Put that in the search field, and you will see a number of articles that address the issue.
I give up.
Anyway, watch the video at this link.
- I'm not sure that makes sense. At least, I can't figure out what it means. Plantinga argues that natural forces (evolution) don't select for "true beliefs", so any belief we have would be unreliable, and belief in naturalism is self-refuting. He assumes, like Tim, that rationality is not a natural thing, which can only come from God. So I think the arguments are similar. I agree that Plantinga's argument is a mess, because he doesn't understand what evolution does. I also agree that Tim is making a presupposition without substantiation about rationality as something that can't arise from nature. As such, there is no argument to be made. At least Plantings tried to provide some kind of rationale for it - his ignorant understanding of evolution. Tim's version lacks even that. It's just bare assertion.
Premise 1: Any belief ultimately formed by non-reasoning causes is ultimately believed without reason.
Premise 2: If atheistic claims are true, every belief is ultimately formed by non-reasoning causes.
Conclusion: Therefore, if atheistic claims are true, every belief is ultimately believed without reason.
Or better yet, instead of all this back-and-forth, and spending all your time pointing to other people's videos and essays that don't seem relevant to anything, just answer the question I put to Phil. Which premise is incorrect and why, or, does the conclusion not follow from them (and why not)?
Other than that, your description of the show was waaaaaaay off. Shook was an amazingly rude jerk. Everyone other than Colin was fawning over him constantly, which (as much of a jerk as he was and as much as he said absolutely nothing of value about presuppositionalism at all) made me want to vomit. The host was a patronizing liar. I'm amazed Colin was such a tremendous gentleman through the whole thing, even though everyone treated him like scum from the get-go. The only person on the show with any sense seemed to be Colin.
What a sickening waste of 2 hours and 14 minutes. Last time I listen to you.
For other people's reference: https://youtu.be/qUE6EwzA9kk
- I disagree. He's talking about atheism, which is equivalent to naturalism for purposes of this argument. His claim is that naturalism can't account for reason. If reasoning is not natural, then it must be supernatural. This is not explicit in argument, but it certainly is implied. And that is identical to the claims made by Plantinga, in his EAAN, or others like Reppert, in his Argument From Reason. It's all about natural vs. supernatural.
"Premise 1: Any belief ultimately formed by non-reasoning causes is ultimately believed without reason."
- I have no reason to accept this premise. Observation of our world tells us that reasoning creatures evolve from non-reasoning matter. The ultimate cause of beliefs is the complex function of the brain, and many beliefs are not baseless at all. They are based in physical reality. They have a reason. Premise 1 is false.
Naturalistic and supernaturalistic are so vague as to be useless in today's vernacular. The argument is specifically & exclusively about God, not about ghosts & leprechauns, which are often considered "supernatural" but have no bearing on this argument. God has a "nature" that He behaves according to. That, in a real sense, makes God "natural." His nature is not a created nature though. The terms are not clearly identical.
The claim in my argument is that only a sovereign, rational, omniscient creator of all things other than Himself can rationally justify the conclusions we come to... even if He uses non-rational processes, like chemicals in the brain, to cause us to come to them. Chemicals in the brain are not themselves rational and thus have no reason for causing us to hold certain beliefs. If chemicals in the brain, or the big bang, or gravity, are the beginning of the causal chain, there is ultimately no reason behind any belief.
To claim that non-reasoning causes "rationally justify" beliefs is to claim that the set of "rationally justified" beliefs is merely a subset of "utterly irrational" beliefs.
If the belief is caused to be believed without reason, then it is believed without reason. And surely the big bang has no reason for the beliefs it has caused to be believed. If it did, it would be God.
But it would not be a leprechaun.
- I didn't say anything about ghosts or leprechauns. When I speak of naturalism, it it philosophical naturalism, which presumes no gods. I don't think that's vague. But if you prefer to call it atheism vs. theism, or something else instead of naturalism vs. supernaturalism, it doesn't really change the argument.
"If the belief is caused to be believed without reason, then it is believed without reason."
- I think you are equivocating. There is no ultimate reason for anything. But doesn't mean we believe without reason. Physical causes give us reason to believe things. Furthermore, the process of reasoning is a physical process. It's what brains do. I still have no reason to accept premise 1.
From my perspective you are claiming that even though there ultimately is and can be no reason behind anything at all, including your own conclusions, nonetheless, you claim your conclusions ultimately have reason behind them. It seems to be a blatant contradiction. Feel free to explain how exactly I am equivocating, but before you do, consider the following elaboration.
I suggest you think about the process behind the very first rational conclusion any human ever arrived at. Ask yourself about the premises for that rational conclusion, and where they came from. They themselves could not have been rational conclusions of the human, because we have already posited that those premises logically precede all rational conclusions of the human.
But if they were not the human's rational conclusions, were those premises then irrational? No, because any conclusion based on irrational premises is itself irrational. Thus, the premises of the first rational conclusion must also have been rational, or the first rational conclusion would not have been the first rational conclusion, and it was.
But how were they rationally justified, and whose reason justified them? Since they were not the rational conclusions of a human, human reason did not rationally justify them. Yet they must have been rationally justified, or the conclusion based on them could not have been. And it was, as we have posited.
The premises for the first rational human conclusion had to be rationally justified by someone other than the human himself. But who? Whose reason could rationally justify the premises behind the first human being's first rational conclusion?
Who rationally justifies any human being's "first principles"? Clearly, we ourselves cannot.
I suggest the atheist is necessarily claiming that at some point in history, a rationally justified conclusion was built upon irrational premises, which is impossible by definition. It is like positing a square-circle. Every atheist must have that square-circle at some point in their view of history. Somewhere between the cosmic accidents of the ancient past and the atheist's own "rational" conclusions, a square-circle must be invoked to enable the transition.
- As for the "first rational conclusion", you seem to deny that there could be basic beliefs that don't come from God. But I don't deny that, so I have no problem saying that there can be a first rational conclusion in a purely physical world. From my perspective, you really need to learn about non-theistic philosophy and epistemology. It's serious, it's coherent, and it doesn't start out from the presumption of a supernatural being.
I believe the equivocation is on your end, not mine. You seem to be using the word "reason" to describe both the concept of "rational justification" and also the concept of "cause". You claim that because the latter exists in your view, the former therefore does as well. I, on the other hand, am only referring to "rational justification" when I use the word "reason" in my syllogism. I never said there are not "causes" for what happens in our world according to your view. I said there is not "rational justification" for conclusions in your view. If "cause" and "rational justification" are the same thing in your view, then, in your view, every thought of every lunatic is rationally justified, because every thought of every lunatic is caused.
Presuppositionalism is a method of argumentation whereby we deal with my view on its own terms, and we deal with your view on its own terms. If either view claims rationality, we look for consistency in it. If one view that claims rationality necessitates the negation of what it holds to, it is to be discarded as incoherent. Atheists hold to both the possibility of rational justification for human thoughts, and a lack of divine revelation of any sort. However, these two things are demonstrably mutually exclusive, as my argument shows, so the view of the atheist is to be discarded. Christianity holds to the possibility of rational justification for human thoughts, and also divine revelation of rational processes. There is nothing contradictory in those premises. The logical proof of my view on this point (presuppositionally) is in the impossibility of the contrary.
Secondly, methods for discerning truth don't fail, full stop, even if there is some particular fact that they fail to prove. The scientific method fails to prove all kinds of things, yet it is wrong to say it fails, full stop. Even if it doesn't do something, that doesn't mean it doesn't do anything.
Or have I misunderstood you?
What I understand you to be saying is that the first rational conclusion was rational in spite of the fact that its premises were irrational. Since a conclusion based on irrational premises is irrational by definition (regardless of accuracy), the first rational conclusion was, in your view, irrational. Thus, "rational" beliefs, in your system, appear to be a subcategory of "irrational" beliefs, making all beliefs irrational under your view, as I conclude in my argument. Did I understand you correctly? If not, I fail to see how you are positing anything different than what I am claiming you are positing -- utter irrationality. You just label this particular irrationality "rational" for some reason.
(Well, for no reason, actually.)
How have I misunderstood your view?
- Again, you didn't read what I said. Start by taking Philosophy 101. Understand that rational arguments proceed from basic beliefs. Then do some reading to get at least some minimal understanding of non-theistic philosophy. As far as I can tell, you have none at all. I suggested a good source. I urge you to go there and learn. Only then would it make sense to talk further about whose premises are rational and whose aren't.
Providing a generic link to a search page on a site of encyclopaedic volume is effectively useless. You may as well have given me a link to https://www.google.com for all the good it will do. Do you have something more particular that explains how conclusions can be rationally justified when they are based entirely upon unwarranted, irrational premises, like you keep claiming? (Preferably something that will not take me over 2 hours to consume merely to discover that it doesn't really even address the issue, except to prove my point for me, as "2x" apparently experienced.)
Yes. He's blinded people to truth historically in the past, as we are explicitly told: Isaiah 6:9-10; John 12:40; Romans 11:7; 2 Corinthians 3:14. What's more, throughout the New Testament we see Christians (not just the reprobate) coming to errant conclusions, and being corrected by Christ and / or the apostles. Christians are not exempt from being incorrect (ie, ultimately, blinded to the truth of some particular fact by God Himself).
My understanding is that those with saving faith in Jesus Christ cannot be deceived to the degree that they will cease to believe those facts that must be believed to be saved. I'm sure not all self-described Christians will agree with me on that point, but it would be my position. (Matthew 24:24; 1 John 3:9; Hebrews 10:14... the "P" in Calvinism's TULIP)
Have I now responded in a way that actually addresses your question? If not, I apologize -- please let me know what I've failed to understand.
How can I know if I am in error about something that may be hidden from me, since God may cause me to be? Clearly, I may not know. Not everything falls into the category of those things that may be hidden, though, or humans could not be rational, since all beliefs would then be unjustified, as in atheism.
Noncontradiction would be an example of something outside the category of things that God may hide from a rational human, as, if He did, the human would not be rational. The result would be absurdity, which is logically excluded.
I hope this answers your question for me.
Would you agree that God could, for his glory, will a state of affairs to exist such that (a)you are in error, (b) you do not know that you are in error, but rather (c) you are convinced that you are not in error?
I do not see how you could disagree, given what you have said previously. Since that is the case, your claim to "know" anything, in the sense of having justified true belief, is false.
Worldview 1. God does not exist.
Worldview 2. God does exist but He does not rationally justify human conclusions.
Worldview 3. God does exist and He also rationally justifies human conclusions.
A person could choose to hold to any of those views. However, the first two necessitate a lack of rational justification for any conclusion that person would draw, making it impossible to rationally affirm them, making them logically absurd and therefore self-defeating. Worldview 3 does not appear to have that same problem.
Your suggested objection to my view necessitates that my view is view 2. But it isn't. My view is 3.
You accepted above that god has "blinded people to truth". Note that there is no sense in which god can be said to have simply "permitted" this to occur. Everything that comes to pass, including the erroneous beliefs of both the reprobate and the believer, comes to pass because in so happening, god will bring most glory to himself.
He has sovereignly ordained that some people believe that which is not true. Simply put, he causes people to believe an untruth. Even more simply put, he lies.
But you claim that he cannot lie.
This is a contradiction, and according to you a worldview which entails a contradiction is irrational and false.
Presuppositionalism is therefore false.
If he has sovereignly ordained that others be in error, he *could* have sovereignly ordained that you be in error and you would *not* know if he sovereignly ordained it to be so.
There is *nothing* which could prevent him from sovereignly ordaining that that state of affairs exist.
This of course is the primary problem when one begins, epistemologically, outside oneself.
(A) Blinding people to the truth, and lying, are not the same thing with respect to what God can and cannot do. When the scriptures tell us God cannot lie, this indicates that when He states something, as in revelation, or promise, it is true. When God blinds someone to something, there is no concept there of a falsehood being stated by God. Therefore, since 2 completely different concepts are in view, this is no contradiction.
(B) I never claimed God could not blind me to the truth of a particular claim. Not sure where you got that idea from. Instead, my view is that God rationally justifies those beliefs that humans hold that are rationally justified. Otherwise, humans hold no beliefs that are rationally justified. (C) The fact that humans hold some beliefs that are true and some that are false is irrelevant to my argument. What is relevant is that some of our views as humans are rational, and this necessitates a rational God who rationally justifies.
(D) If one does not begin epistemologically outside oneself, then oneself is God, the creator of the universe. Otherwise, one's thoughts about the universe are not rationally justified.
In sum, you seem to have misunderstood my claims (B), you seem to be asserting contradictions in my view that do not exist (A), you seem to be insisting that there are problems when there are none (C), and the only alternative you have to offer makes you divine (D), which I assume you also reject.
Do you accept that nothing happens unless god has sovereignly ordained it?
Do you accept that some people have false beliefs about god's will, revelation, scripture, etc?
Do you accept that when false beliefs exist in our minds, god causally ordains this?
If so, then god lies, because causing false beliefs to exist in the mind of others is the very definition of lying.
"When scriptures tell us god cannot lie, this indicates that when he states something...it is true".
How would you know if god's revelation or promise was true if he had blinded you to the truth?
Since god has blinded others to the truth, you have no idea if he has blinded *you* to the truth, and therefore no idea whether what you believe is true or false, no matter what you think is rationally justified.
I assent to your first three questions, but not the conclusion you draw from them.
Simply because you choose to define a word a particular way, it does not follow that when someone else uses it differently, they are objectively wrong. The senses of the word "lie" in which I say "God cannot lie" and you say "Tim's God lies" are not the same senses. Therefore there is no contradiction, even if we were both correct in our respective senses, because our senses are different. Argue about how you want the word defined all you like, it doesn't make my own view internally contradictory.
Additionally, there is a significant difference between "at least one human has at least one rationally justified belief", which is all I assert to necessitate worldview 3, and "if one person believes one thing incorrectly, then no human belief is rationally justified," which is both faulty logic and also what you are claiming I believe.
1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood
2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture
3. an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood
4. the charge or accusation of telling a lie
5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive
6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.
I do not "choose" to define words in particular ways which suit me - pardon me for saying so but that's more your style.
If you assent to my first 3 questions, the conclusion that god lies is inescapable (and has biblical support e.g. Jeremiah 20:7) no matter how much you might not like it.
3. A false statement. This is a definition that I'm using.
5. To speak falsely. This is a definition that I'm using.
2. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression. This is a definition that you are using. But I am not.
6. Convey a false impression. This is a definition that you are using. But I am not.
These are different definitions, as the dictionary clearly points out. QED.
Equivocating between them does not a contradiction make.
In my last comment, I was merely intending to emphasize the "statement" aspect of it, not to deny or downplay the "intent" aspect of it. You seem to be using a definition of "lie" that does not necessarily have any "statement" aspect to it. That seemed to be where we differed. You seem to equate "deception" with "lie", whereas I see "lie" as a subcategory of "deception" that specifically involves "statement".
Nonetheless it has been interesting and instructive discussing these things with you, and I wish you all the best.
Thanks for your persistently consistent strawmen and ad hominems. You just wouldn't be the same without them.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Let's grant that atheism is what you say it is (it's not. There are more than one definition) Everything was random. Chance. How do you get from there to knowledge is not reliable?
If you dip your bare hand in wster does it not get wet. That is a fact.
Even with a random universe, the properties that emerge can be quantified and knowledge about reality can be gained.
Very poor argument. Many fallacies you have.