Christian apologist Michael David Rawlings is no exception to this frequently encountered quagmire. He has come posting on my blog under the guise of wanting to learn about Objectivism and peddling a highfalutin perspective on Christianity backed up by “credentials” which he never specifies. His pockets are loaded to bear with reality-denying assumptions and ten-cent theological jargon to give the impression that he has the answer to the age-old question, “Where’s the beef?” In practice, Michael Rawlings doesn’t even really try to back up his assertions. On the contrary, he simply gets furiously angry when others don’t accept what he says on his mere say so. And this is a guy who says that Christianity does not affirm the primacy of consciousness when human consciousness is involved.
As the discussion has moved along, Michael has made less and less effort to contain his contempt and keep his bad attitude at bay. He has no qualms expressing his spite for atheists. On 7 Dec. he wrote:
Atheists really are notoriously bad thinkers, you know, and dishonest too boot. After all, atheism is a form of psychopathy.
For the believer, there are three kinds of people, and the devotional program prescribes a clear-cut mode of conduct toward each. There are: (1) ordinary unbelievers, (2) believers, and (3) missionaries of a conflicting or competing “false” gospel. The Bible presupposes relatively little depth of contact between believers and ordinary unbelievers. The objects of evangelism, unbelievers are often referred to collectively as “crops” of various kinds to be “harvested,” or “fish” to be “netted.” Precious little is said on handling contacts with them. One very crucial specific instruction on evangelization is given by Jesus to the apostles: “And whosever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” [Luke 9:5] The context of the instruction indicates peripatetic movement of the apostles from one place to another, spending little time in one place. Abundant numbers of evangelistic contacts, not depth, are being mandated. If one does not get an immediate positive response, one is not to persist. When the believer is in the presence of an unbeliever, it is to preach and “witness,” not to listen. (The Mind of the Bible-Believer, pp. 172-173)
On a related note, Cohen points out the following:
The substance of the nonbiblical view confronting the believer becomes completely irrelevant. Inasmuch as all merely human views are inherently defective, the argumentum ad hominem becomes a fair argument, and the blow is softened by that argument’s equal validity and “impartial” applicability against all, including the Christian if he weakens and lets his thinking stray outside biblical premises. Critical thinking about human affairs is simply despaired of as futile. While the Bible does not explicitly say that independent thinking is the cardinal sin – to do so would give away the game – … it is the crux of any biblically authentic definition of sin. (Ibid., p. 179)
Christianity and Its Adherence to Metaphysical Subjectivism
Central to much of my discussion with Michael David Rawlings is the issue of metaphysical primacy, i.e., the relationship between the subject of consciousness and any objects it is said to be conscious of. While this is the most fundamental issue in philosophy (since philosophy is the attempt to provide a comprehensive view of life and reality, and necessarily involves consciousness, and therefore its objects; in his book Ayn Rand’s Theory of Knowledge, Porter writes: “I think the primacy of existence is the most important issue in philosophy” – p. 198), it is never addressed in any self-conscious manner anywhere in the Christian bible. And it is not something you’ll find commonly addressed in theological and apologetic texts. As I pointed out in a comment to the previous blog, “We don’t see Christians saying, ‘Hey, that’s got to be false since it contradicts the primacy of existence’.” And we certainly do not see this anywhere in the Christian bible.
So when the issue of metaphysical primacy is raised in objection to Christianity, we can expect a mixture of confusion and hostility on the part of the Christian attempting to defend his mystical worldview from this type of criticism. It cuts to the very foundation of any worldview, and it quickly exposes a number of fundamental inconsistencies lurking in the believer’s worldview. It gets even messier when another Christian steps in and makes pronouncements underscoring the presence of previously undetected inconsistencies inherent in the theistic view of the world.
Michael asks: “Where does the Objectivist get the idea that existence has primacy over consciousness?”
The answer is simple: We get it from reality, by observing reality, by identifying what we observe, by grasping the nature of the subject-object relationship. We certainly do not get it from the bible. The bible nowhere affirms the primacy of existence, even in the case of human consciousness (contrary to assertions made by Michael himself, as we will see below); on the contrary, the Christian bible repeatedly and emphatically affirms the primacy of consciousness. The primacy of consciousness affirms the metaphysical primacy of the subject of consciousness over its objects. This is known as metaphysical subjectivism, since it holds that the objects of consciousness conform in some way to the subject of consciousness. The alternative to this is metaphysical objectivism, i.e., the consistent and explicit recognition of the fundamental fact that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of the conscious activity by which the subject is conscious of them. Hence, Objectivism, the Philosophy of Reason.
Examples of metaphysical subjectivism in the bible are abundant, and include the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of divine sovereignty (everything in the universe conforms in terms of identity and action to the will of the supernatural ruling consciousness), the doctrine of miracles, the doctrine of salvation through faith (belief and confession, as opposed to “works,” lead to “spiritual cleansing”), the doctrine of prayer, the doctrines of angels and demons, and many, many more.
Michael has made statements to the effect that such “power over existence” is reserved only for Christianity’s god. He states “Nowhere in scripture is it asserted that a finite mind (subject) can have primacy over an existent (object),” where “finite mind” is supposed to denote human consciousness as well as the consciousnesses imagined by Christians to belong to demons and angels. Presumably it also denotes the conscious faculties possessed by non-human animals, like dogs, cats, elk, weasels, ladybugs, etc.
Unfortunately, Michael offers no biblical citations which make any explicitly statement about the orientation between consciousness and its objects, particularly with regard to human consciousness; its authors will only strike those informed on the matter as utterly oblivious to it. Indeed, one gets the impression that Michael has not examined the content of the Christian bible now that he has become at least somewhat familiar with the issue of metaphysical primacy. Meanwhile, certain passages in the New Testament attributing the cause of diseases to demons, for instance, are a clear-cut case of affirming metaphysical subjectivism on the part of consciousnesses other than the Christian god itself.
Then of course there’s Matthew 17:20, which puts the following statement into Jesus’ mouth:
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Other examples would include Peter walking on water by merely believing that he can (here the physics of relative density between the human body and a body of water conform to the contents of one’s beliefs, an obvious case of metaphysical subjectivism), merely thinking lustful thoughts resulting in guilt of adultery, the various “ask and ye shall receive” passages in the gospels, faith healings, etc.
If Michael doesn’t think that these qualify as examples of a “finite mind” having “primacy over an existent (object),” one can only wonder what he thinks would qualify as such. That he insists that the bible nowhere portrays a “finite mind” as enjoying metaphysical primacy over the objects of its consciousness, only suggests that he has not grasped the issue of metaphysical primacy very well.
But Michael seems to think that Objectivists have no justification in affirming the primacy of existence consistently. He listed two propositions:
1. Existence has primacy over our consciousness.
2. Existence has primacy over consciousness.
Again, Michael is operating here on the question-begging basis of two false dichotomies: on the one hand, there is the dichotomous division of existence into “univocal” vs. “analogical” realms. Operating on the primacy of consciousness, Christianity divides reality into two opposing realms: the realm of concretes, flesh, blood, finite consciousness and reason; and the realm of “transcendence” which man can access, not by means of reason and objective input from reality, but by means of introspecting the contents of scripturally guided imagination. At no point in the bible do we find a philosophically charged concern for distinguishing between reality and imagination at the foundation of knowledge. Religious imagery, constructed from various allegorical tropes and selectively culled into the indoctrinated imagination of the believer, seems immediately real to the believer given the fact that it does reside in his imagination and his ability to distinguish between reality and fiction has been systematically crippled. Given Christianity’s assumption of the primacy of consciousness, the bible could offer no consistent guide on this fundamental distinction. To do so would be directly fatal to its religious impulse.
In fact, however, there is one reality, and that’s all. Existence exists. There is no objective justification for positing some supernatural or “transcendent” realm as something real when in fact it is merely imaginary. The assumption of the primacy of consciousness lying at the root of Christianity assures us of this fact. A belief system premised on the primacy of consciousness cannot contain its subjective influences to one aspect of that belief system; it corrodes the entire artifice. Many believers sense deep down the fact that there is no objective basis to their belief system, but they choose to suppress it, submerging it into the darker labyrinths of mystic delusion and pretending that the immediacy of imagination cancels out this concern. In the final analysis, however, the Christian’s belief in such a realm comes from a sacred storybook, not from facts he observes in the world around him; even on his own terms, his “religious truths” are not something that can be discovered by reason: according to Christianity, they need to be “revealed” from an agent imagined to exist in that “transcendent” realm. Blur the distinction between the real and the imaginary: that is the primary gimmick of religious inculcation.
On the other hand, there’s the false notion that there is such a thing as an “infinite consciousness,” which is implied by Michael’s continued references to “finite consciousness.” Michael knows that the notion of an “infinite consciousness” is not accepted among those he’s trying to persuade, and yet he’s offered no sustainable justification for continuing to affirm such a notion. It is a fantasy, an imagination which is as incoherent as “pure five.” We’ve already been through this. But Michael can’t make his points without making use of already discredited ideas. He apparently thinks the fact that well-known thinkers throughout history have endorsed this idea should be sufficient basis for anyone else to accept it. It’s not.
Also, the Objectivist affirmation of the primacy of existence as a general, absolute principle is in no way “gratuitous.” If Michael were truly concerned with avoiding worldviews premised on gratuitous notions, he would have rejected Christianity long ago. By contrast, the Objectivist view finds only confirmation of the primacy of existence in every species of consciousness objectively observable, whether it is human consciousness, canine consciousness, bovine consciousness, avian consciousness, reptilian consciousness, etc. All evidence supports the primacy of existence. The only alternative is something we must imagine, but the imaginary is not real.
Moreover, the consistent affirmation of the primacy of existence in no way violates any objectively knowable facts. I explained to Andrew Louis, who also piped into the discussion, that appealing to facts implicitly acknowledges the primacy of existence, and thereby the truth of Objectivism, since such an appeal implicitly recognizes that statements about reality need factual support to substantiate them, and also that such appeals imply awareness of the fact that wishing doesn’t make it so – i.e., implicitly denying the primacy of consciousness. Indeed, there is no objectively available evidence of a consciousness to whose contents reality conforms. Again, this is a fantasy, an imagination that has run away with itself.
So it should be clear that Objectivism’s affirmation of the primacy of existence is (a) supported by evidence, (b) internally consistent, and (c) unchallenged by any legitimate evidence to the contrary. Very simply, there is no evidence to the contrary. The very proposition that there is evidence for a position or against it, assumes the primacy of existence to begin with for the reasons indicated above. So even an attempt to cite evidence to the contrary would imply the truth of the primacy of existence. There is no escape for the theist here. Assuming the truth of a principle in an effort to deny or undermine it, does not lead to non-contradictory conclusions.
So no, it is not the case that human consciousness “tells itself that” as though this were some arbitrary position one simply prefers to be true. Here we can see that Michael’s would-be objection itself assumes the truth of the primacy of existence, the very view which he is seeking to undermine: what possible objection would one have to the view that a position is true because one prefers that it is true, if not the fact that it violates the primacy of existence? Blank out. On the contrary, the primacy of existence is not something we simply affirm as a result of preferences; rather, it is something we discover repeatedly without exception throughout nature, and subsequently identify on this basis. It is thus a fundamental recognition. It is not confined merely to human beings. It is the consistent testimony of the facts we discover in the case of any actual consciousness. Discovering facts and identifying them by means of consciousness are operations consistent entirely consistent with the primacy of existence. There is no inconsistency between object, method and identification on the part of Objectivism here.
Michael wrote: “God is talking to us all the time. God is talking to Dawson when He tells him that the only thing that may be extrapolated from the question’s inherent imperative is the first proposition. The second is an illusion.”
We can all imagine a supernatural being “talking” to us and telling us what Michael gratuitously asserts here. Jim Jones did this. David Koresh did this. Marshall Herff Applewhite did this. Michael can call the phantasm he imagines “God,” the Muslim can call the phantasm he imagines “Allah,” the Lahu tribesman can call the phantasm he imagines “Geusha,” and the Blarkist can call the phantasm he imagines “Blarko.” But either way you slice it, it all comes up imagination. Unlike Christianity, Objectivism recognizes explicitly the fundamental distinction between reality and imagination. “Revelation” in one form or another is the mode of “knowledge” affirmed by all expressions of mysticism, for mysticism assumes the impotence of human consciousness when it comes to knowledge: man is depraved, impotent, incompetent, soiled and besmirched; he cannot overcome the “noetic effects of sin” on his own. So any knowledge that he does possess must come from some supernatural, omniscient source; he must “think” his god’s thoughts “after him,” fancying his imagination as a means of reading a supernatural mind. On such a view, knowledge is not something man discovers through his own cognitive effort. Driven by the primacy of consciousness, believers are in fact just making it all up on the basis of storybook motifs which are accepted as non-negotiable, indispensable absolutes at the basis of his “system.” It all seems “logical” because a semblance of logic is applied to tie tangents, speculations and other cognitive wanderings to the bedrock of these storybook motifs. Logic is a formal concern which any worldview can adopt; but whence comes the content? For Objectivism, the content comes from reality. For religion, it comes from a reality-denying storybook. Appeals to logic, then, cannot immunize a position from scrutiny; a microwave will heat horse manure just as well as last night’s leftovers. On the religious view, man, given his fallibility and non-omniscience, can only wind up with error if he relies on his own mind. What is missing in all this is the very epistemology man needs in order to identify and integrate the reality in which he actually exists, namely reason.
Michael writes: “Passive entities don’t know or say anything. Persons do. Since I don’t have primacy over existence and a univocal existence cannot know or tell me anything about itself, what is this existence that has primacy?”
Metaphysical primacy as Objectivism informs it does not mean reality “saying anything” or “telling anything.” Saying and telling are actions of consciousness. Nor does the primacy of existence imply that consciousness is “passive.” As I’ve pointed out to Michael before, consciousness is a type of activity; the primacy of existence recognizes this outright and explicitly. Indeed, that consciousness is a type of activity speaks to the very point of affirming the primacy of existence: it tells us that, regardless of what action consciousness takes, the only right action with regard to truthful knowledge about reality must be constrained, volitionally – i.e., by means of self-regulation, by the recognition that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of whatever action one’s consciousness might perform. This is why the primacy of existence is found at the root of the recognition that “wishing doesn’t make it so.”
The existence that has primacy is every thing, existent, attribute, etc., that actually exists, including consciousness itself (as an actually existing attribute of some organisms and also as a secondary object). “Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification” (Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged). It’s not a matter of anything “say[ing] anything” or “telling me anything about itself,” as though existence were itself a conscious entity. That’s absurd. (And such absurdity is religion.) Rather, it is a matter of some entities in existence possessing a faculty of consciousness, particularly those capable of conceptual knowledge, and those entities being aware of things that exist, including themselves, and the cognitive actions they take to identify and integrate the things they perceive according to what they perceive by means of concepts. This is called reason. Notice that Michael’s analysis does not allow for reason. It systematically and gratuitously leaves reason out of the entire equation.
Michael summarily equates this existence with a supernatural consciousness, gratuitously asserting “It’s a Person.” He offers no factual substantiation in support of this assertion. Rather, he puts on display for us his own primacy-of-consciousness “epistemology”: Michael has appointed himself the “teller,” telling us what reality is, offering no explanation of “how” he “knows” this and presumably having no need to do so. He just pulls it “out of thin air,” as in the case of all mystical “revelations” before it. There’s no application of reason in all of this. It is not an issue of discovery on Michael’s part, for if it were, he would gladly point to the facts which informed his discovery. Rather, it is an exemplification of how his worldview infests its “epistemology” with the primacy of consciousness: it’s “true” because he believes it, and he believes it because he imagines it, and the worldview which he has accepted does not allow him to consistently distinguish between what he “knows” and what he imagines, for it does not allow him to consistently distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary. Without imagination, there would be no Christianity. And an epistemology which restrains one’s imagination to what is rational (i.e., an epistemology constrained by the primacy of existence) would never allow what Michael affirms as “truth” to be accepted as such. This is why authors and characters of the bible repeatedly appeal to faith instead of reason. Michael has been careful to ignore the role of faith throughout his asseverations since by doing so he thinks he avoids giving away the game. But we know better than this, and we won’t be suckered in by his apologetic suppression of faith, even though they lurk in the background all along. It’s all about maintaining a façade.
Michael says: “God is talking to us all the time. Dawson only listens to himself.”
Here’s an example of Michael’s faith spilling into his pretense of rationality and his personal resentment of me clouding his judgment. He can’t contain these because they cannot be constrained once Christianity’s mystical premises have been accepted. Michael is a victim of his own worldview’s self-immolation on the pyre of fideism. Indeed, contrary to what Michael states here, Dawson listens to many people, people who claim all kinds of things. Dawson considers what he hears others say according to the strictures of reason, and those who propose things that are contrary to reason resent this. Also, Dawson knows that there is a fundamental difference between reality and imagination, and he knows that many who think they are hearing the voice of a supernatural being are in fact merely imagining things and misidentifying what they think they’ve heard as a “voice” from some transcendent realm, just as some middle aged housewife on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will insist that the burn patterns on a tortilla are really the image of Jesus miraculously looking back at her in the heat of her religious hysteria. It’s imagination provoked by irrational fear, guided by religious suggestion and tailored to suit religious expectation, that leads to Michael’s “Twilight Zone abruptions of crazy” as well as to the middle-aged housewife’s “interpretation” of religion-confirming burn marks on a tortilla.
And Michael thinks what I say is embarrassing? Wow! Just wow!
Michael writes: “Until you show me otherwise, I have no reason to believe that you haven’t been disingenuous. All of your arguments against the existence of God, for example, amount to you obviating your own conclusions with the nonsense that God is B when in fact divine perfection is A!”
Since Michael first inserted himself into my blog’s comments, all he has presented are subjective assertions about this god he’s enshrined in his imagination. And now he’s expecting me to prove that I’m not being disingenuous? There is really only one “argument against the existence of God” that I have shared with Michael in my discussion with him, and that is the following (from this blog):
Premise 1: That which is imaginary is not real.
Premise: 2: If something is not real, it does not actually exist.
Premise 3: If the god of Christianity is imaginary, then it is not real and therefore does not actually exist.
Premise 4: The god of Christianity is imaginary.
Conclusion: Therefore, the god of Christianity is not real and therefore does not actually exist.
If Michael thinks he can demonstrate that his god is real rather than imaginary, let him try. It is this very task that he would need to take up in order to sustain the charge that my argument with obviating its own conclusion “with the nonsense that God is B when in fact divine perfection is A!” And yet back on 7 Nov., in this blog’s comments, Michael already announced:
I have no interest in proving the Christian God's existence to anyone or proving that the Bible is a direct revelation from Him. That's silly. Each person will decide what he will or will not believe for himself.
BTW, the conclusion of my argument from divine lonesomeness is that Christianity “begins with a starting point of divine solipsism, which is, according to a rational worldview, the ultimate expression of subjectivism” – this is not the same as a conclusion affirming that the Christian god does not exist. Even here, when I spell out the nature of my own argument’s conclusion, Michael seems to have confused himself. Even worse, Michael’s own explicit affirmation that “according to Judeo-Christianity, ultimately, consciousness does have primacy over existence,” can only mean that his “divine perfection” ultimately reduces to divine solipsism.
Michael recently stated: “Dawson is not merely failing to listen carefully in regard to his arguments against God’s existence. He is intentionally pretending not to understand. He is well past the point of mere errors of cognitional transitions.”
And yet, the only argument that I have proposed which seeks to argue “against God’s existence” is the argument I quoted in full above – namely the argument which concludes that the Christian god does not exist on the basis of the sub-conclusion that it is merely imaginary. I posted the above argument back on 9 Nov. in the comments of this blog where my discussion with Michael began. But Michael has not interacted with this argument. He has completely ignored it. Should this surprise us? I trow not.
Instead, he has focused on another argument of mine, one which he apparently believes can be answered by reciting nonsense phrases like “divine perfection” and “the eternally existing now!” which, when examined, are exposed as simply destroying the very concept of consciousness to begin with, namely by completely obliterating its objective context while retrofitting it with imaginary attributes that carry emotional weight in believer’s minds (like “omniscience,” “omnipotence,” “omnipresence” coupled arbitrarily with consciousness), all the while detaching the concept of consciousness from reality, denying its active nature in order to project it outside the “time-space continuum,” and making what Michael himself has called “Twilight Zone abruptions of crazy” such as “The American Revolution is occurring for God right now, as is the creation of the cosmos within which it was fought . . . not merely in His mind, but as actual existents apart from Him” as an attempt to provide his god with some mind-independent object prior to it creating anything independent of itself. And while such blathering is simply bewilderingly incoherent, it ignores the point, which I raised, that Michael’s own affirmation of the primacy of consciousness can only entail that, for the Christian god, there could be no mind-independent objects for it to have awareness of in the first place. As pointed out above, Michael’s “divine perfection” reduces to divine solipsism, and a mountain full of garbage comes along with it. All of this pours hot coals on Michael’s already fuming head as he erupts with another episode of fits and tantrums, name-calling and condescension.
Michael’s Confused Yammering about Infinity
In regard to our disputes over the notion of an “actual infinity,” I stated:
Indeed, I really have no idea what an “infinite consciousness” could be. It is literally and utterly nonsensical.
”Infinite” does not mean large; it means larger than any specific quantity, i.e., of no specific quantity. An infinite quantity would be a quantity without identity. But A is A. Every entity, accordingly, is finite; it is limited in the number of its qualities and in their extent; this applies to the universe as well. As Aristotle was the first to observe, the concept of ‘infinity’ denotes merely a potentiality of indefinite addition or subtraction. For example, one can continually subdivide a line; but however many segments one has reached at a given point, there are only that many and no more. The actual is always finite.” (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, pp. 31-32).
The always finite number of segments for a finite consciousness has no bearing on the issues of identity and actuality proper.
Well, the notion of segments is only introduced in the sense of dividing something, an area where Objectivism holds that the concept ‘infinite’ has at least some legitimacy (the other being the ability to continue adding to something). It is not fundamental. Entities are fundamental. That is where Rand/Peikoff are working from. Entities have identity. (I’m guessing we both would agree on this?) Where we seem to part ways is over the implications that identity has for finitude. The Objectivist view makes complete sense to me: to be actual is to be specific, and the specific is always finite. The view you seem to be proposing – which seems to have in mind no definable identity that I can grasp at this point – defies rational comprehension.
Notice also that Objectivism is not denying the hypothetical potential, which is what mathematicians have in mind, to continue adding or dividing units without end. What needs to be emphasized is that this is a conceptual process, and therefore not a metaphysical fundamental; the potential to continue adding or dividing segments does not denote a concrete entity that exists in reality apart from the mental process of conceptual integration. What is metaphysically fundamental are entities – concretes that exist apart from and prior to conceptual activity. It is here where Objectivism affirms that “the actual is always finite.” And it is here where the theist needs more than his mere say-so to substantiate his assertion of the existence of an “actual infinite.” And indeed, it is here where Michael has not succeeded in substantiating his position or his objections against Objectivism on this matter. This should be clear to anyone who reads the quote from Peikoff carefully and considers the distinctions he makes in that quote against the reactions which Michael has offered in response to that quote. This will be important to keep in mind below.
Michael had also stated:
Simultaneously, the finite mind readily apprehends that any divisible entity may be divided without end. That is a perfectly rational, mathematical axiom. It follows, infinity is that which is indivisible, immutable and has no beginning or end. That’s its identity expressed philosophically.
Even if we grant that “it follows” from the assumption that “the finite mind readily apprehends that any divisible entity may be divided without end” that “infinity is that which is indivisible, immutable and has no beginning or end” (and I’m not even sure I would grant that without more context to support it), it does not follow that the concept ‘infinity’ so-defined denotes something that is actual. And that’s the dispute we seem to be having.
As for infinity’s actuality, on the contrary, what we have here is a very strong reason to believe that some actual realm of origin exists beyond the divisible realm of the finite, something that can divide the divisible without end. Otherwise, we are aware of a mathematical axiom that is impeccably cogent if not inescapable, yet gratuitous?! That’s odd. That’s very, very odd. . . .
In response to Michael’s overall statement, I wrote:
I’m not sure I follow. Again, suppose that I’m dense as a pile of bricks here. You seem to be saying that our ability (in this realm) to divide a divisible entity without end (and here Binswanger would disagree that this ability is itself actual or realizable; he considers it merely hypothetical) is “a very strong reason to believe that some actual realm of origin exists beyond the divisible realm of the finite.” Am I reading you correctly? If so, it’s not at all clear what you think this “very strong reason” is, unless it’s a disguised appeal to ignorance or incredulity.
Our ability? Who said anything about our ability in this regard? The obvious meaning of the phrase “something that can divide the divisible without end” is that we, you and I, can’t! which makes all the difference in the world. Oh, you followed that alright as your misrepresentation is the very essence of your evasion. “Dense as a pile of bricks”? Did I say that? I misspoke. Let me revise that. Liar. Punk. Whore. Snake. Coward. Sociopath
Seriously, this guy Michael does not come across as a worthy spokesman for what he styles as both the creator of the universe and “Truth and Love.” If anything, it seems he should exhibit more patience, if not a thicker skin. But this is to be expected from Christians when their bluff is called. They have nothing else but emotion to go on, and when it spills out as it has in Michael’s case, it’s clear that this is all he really has to go on. All his theological jargon is merely part of the grandiose self-important façade he’s trying to maintain.
Picking up on my previous line of thought, I wrote:
As for our awareness of what you call “a mathematical axiom,” Objectivism would say that this is implicit in the very process of concept-formation. (This might explain why it seems appropriate to call it an axiom.) Rand notes:”A concept is not formed by observing every concrete subsumed under it, and does not specify the number of such concretes. A concept is like an arithmetical sequence of specifically defined units, going off in both directions, open at both ends and including all units of that particular kind. For instance, the concept ‘man’ includes all men who live at the present, who have ever lived or who will ever live. An arithmetical sequence extends into infinity, without implying that infinity actually exists; such extension means only that whatever number of unit does exist, it is to be included in the same sequence. The same principle applies to concepts: the concept ‘man’ does not (and need not) specify what number of men will ultimately have existed – it specifies only the characteristics of man, and means that any number of entities possessing these characteristics is to be identified as ‘men’.” (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, pp. 17-18)So far from suggesting that “infinity” really exists, or that an actual entity can in fact be “infinite,” the mathematical axiom which you have mentioned really points to our ability to conceptualize, not to something existing in some supernatural realm. Again, I can’t over-stress the importance of a good theory of concepts. I’ve found no theory of concepts in the bible, not even a bad one. But again, perhaps I’m just dense.
In fact, however, certain statements of Michael’s only indicate that he has not understood the Objectivist position at all very well. For he continued, stating:
What does appear to be an instance of circular reasoning is Peikoff’s notion that only the finite can exist. He seems to be arguing that because consciousness can only apprehend the potentiality of infinity, but not its realization, infinity doesn’t exist. More at, infinity allegedly has no identity that consciousness can pin down with anything but a referent and, therefore, cannot be said to have any discernable actuality. But that appears to suggest that some sort of consciousness is imposing a constraint on existence.
Notice that [Peikoff] says that “an infinite quantity would be a quantity without identity.” He bases this observation directly on the definition he just gave, namely that ‘infinity’ “means larger than any specific quantity.” Since the actual always exists in some (i.e., specific) quantity, the actual is therefore always finite. He’s not saying that anything here which suggests or implies that consciousness puts some kind of constraint on what can or cannot exist. He cites the “potentiality of indefinite addition or subtraction,” not to prove his point (since it’s not based on this), but to demonstrate it in action: “however many segments one has reached at a given point, there are only that many and no more,” i.e., finite.
But it still appears that Michael has not understood the Objectivist position on the matter. This impression persists when we read the following belligerent comment by Michael:
For example, [Dawson’s] nonsense about the mathematical axiom of division! Are you friggin’ kidding me? That’s a basic, necessary, indispensable mathematic imperative. We cannot even begin to comprehend mathematics, let alone deal with calculi of algebra, geometry, trigonometry or calculus without accepting the obviously rational fact of a linear scale of numeric infinity on either side of the “0”. What do you think the implications of PI and the apparent impossibility, albeit, constructional necessity of squaring the circle are? Peikoff and Dawson are prattling lunacy! No wonder Objectivism is not respected by the academic community at large. Pseudo-mathematical blather! And you drooling idiots are giving him a pass on that?
The Anti-Conceptual Implications of Christianity’s “God”
Michael writes: “1. First you argue that God cannot have an actually existent object by imagining Him to be an entity trapped inside the space-time continuum, obviating your conclusion. Rather, you began by arguing that he is not trapped inside the continuum and then shift your premise to the other without notice. When you’re shown that your god, your B, could not possibly be what is conceptually understood in the history of philosophical and theological proofs to be an entity of divine perfection existing outside the space-time continuum, you respond as if you don’t understand.”
I’ve explained all this repeatedly, and still Michael is flailing away at his own confusion. He cites “what is conceptually understood in the history of philosophical and theological proofs to be an entity of divine perfection existing outside the space-time continuum,” and yet even this characterization betrays a profound ignorance of the nature of concepts. Theology is riddled with stolen concepts, floating abstractions, and other anti-conceptual notions which ultimately reduce to the primacy of consciousness metaphysics which Michael has denied on the part of human consciousness. And yet it’s present throughout his theology, infecting every morsel of what he accepts as religious ‘knowledge’. And here we have a prime example of this.
He makes use of the concept ‘consciousness’; on an objective orientation to reality (i.e., on one which consistently adheres to the primacy of existence metaphysics), this concept has meaning, and its meaning cannot simply be wiped away in order to make room for the imaginary. But the context in which Michael projects consciousness completely strips it of meaningful content. He likely doesn’t grasp this point since he is so accustomed to misappropriating concepts on behalf of mystical notions which can have meaning only in the confines of religious imagination, and of course he wants to think this is perfectly legitimate. It’s not. The “consciousness” he imagines in the “transcendent” realm is loaded with gratuitous denials of what we know about consciousness by objective methodology. For instance, his god-consciousness is not active (it couldn’t be since it’s “outside” time); it is not dependent on biological structures (it’s magical, like Puff the Magic Dragon); it has no existential purpose (it doesn’t need to identify things that it needs to live – it’s indestructible, immortal, eternal, in need of nothing), etc. It’s “pure five.” It’s nonsense. My argument has only helped to expose these gratuitous departures from reality.
I explained this in an earlier comment where I stated:
To illustrate this, consider an analogous, though more benign example. On a rational view, the concept ‘five’ denotes a number following the number four and preceding the number six, and it assumes equal measure in its units. But suppose someone comes along and says there’s an ultimate “pure five,” and this “pure five” can do all kinds of things that the concept ‘five’ as we know it cannot do, but at the same time it’s clear that he does not think it follows four, it does not precede six, its units are not equal in measure, it is not half of ten, and it is not the square root of 25. It’s “pure five,” so we would be fools to expect it to be like “ordinary five.” On this basis he affirms such “Twilight Zone abruptions” as “five plus four are sixty-two” and “five times five times five are one.” Naturally you and I would find this completely absurd, given its blatant anti-conceptualism. But this is essentially what Objectivists see happening in the case of the Christian’s (mis)use of the concept ‘consciousness when he projects it into this “transcendent” realm he imagines: he takes a concept that is perfectly legitimate in “this” realm and applies it to a realm which is fundamentally different from (if not opposed to) ours, all the while denying its biological nature, it need for genuinely mind-independent objects, its biological purpose, its active nature, etc. It is clearly a case of anti-conceptualism, and given its fundamental (axiomatic) importance, it is far more devastating to one’s philosophy than the fellow who affirms the “pure five” described above.
Also, as I have pointed out, and Michael still seems not to grasp, the fact that his ascribing metaphysical primacy to his god-consciousness can only mean that ultimately there are no mind-independent objects for it to be aware of. He ends up simply chasing his own tail here, since these are problems of his worldview’s own anti-conceptual making, and in his frustration he seeks to lash out at me and others personally, as though this will somehow make the problem go away and/or make us come around and nod our heads in mindless agreement with his worldview. Indeed, none of this mess in Michael’s worldview is my doing. But still he gets sore at me. Observe:
Michael huffed: “Fine. You’re not a liar, you’re stupid.”
No, I am not a liar. As for being stupid on these matters, I’ve been listening to Christians all my life. It is not my fault that they cannot connect their mystical claims to reality. I simply point this out. There may be some stupidity here, but it’s not on my part. Also, I am not a mind-reader. If Michael has something in mind that I am failing to understand after repeated efforts on my part to get his story clear, concise and consistent, I am not the blame for this. It is Michael’s worldview which affirms the primacy of wishing over facts, anti-conceptual mishandlings of otherwise perfectly good concepts, floating abstractions, stolen concepts, unargued assertions about the nature of reality, and apparently condones his belligerent and increasingly foul-mouthed fits of condescension.
And while he states explicitly here that I am not a liar, he later came back and repeatedly called me a liar. He cannot seem to get his own ad hominems straight. As we saw above, he found it necessary to label me as follows:
Liar. Punk. Whore. Snake. Coward. Sociopath.
Michael continued: “2. When you are shown that the limitations of finite consciousness (your god, your B, in fact, yourself nancing about and spouting stupidities) are categorically distinct things from the issues of identity and actuality; when you’re shown that infinity is a definitive, axiomatic, mathematical principle of necessity: you respond as if you don’t understand!”
See, Cohen is right: “When the believer is in the presence of an unbeliever, it is to preach and ‘witness’, not to listen.” I addressed Michael’s feeble attempts to refute Peikoff’s argument, and I explained the conceptual basis of the concept of infinity – i.e., as it is legitimately understood. It is apparent that it was Michael who has not understood. He confused Peikoff’s example of application with his proof. Then he proceeded to indulge in gratuitous, self-serving assertions which completely ignored the points raised against his imaginary “infinite consciousness.”
Michael huffed again: “You’re not a liar, you’re stupid!”
There there. Perhaps Michael thought that this outburst would make him feel better. It didn’t. His contempt is unsatiable.
Michael wrote: “3. When you are shown that your god, your B, is bound by volition rather than nature and, therefore, that the construct of perfect divinity could not possibly or logically be this strawman of yours, you respond as if you don’t understand.”
Here Michael is in need of correction again. For one thing, he seems to be confusing me with Rick Warden. Moreover, Michael has failed to understand my point that his assertion of the primacy of consciousness cannot be consistently maintained since it can never be complete, making it necessary to borrow from the primacy of existence. Michael even gives me the rope to hang him with in his very objection here. The view that his god is bound by its nature is evidence precisely of this: it did not create its own nature; its nature is not a product of its own conscious activity; its nature is not bound by its volition. Affirming that something is bound by its nature is an implicit affirmation of the primacy of existence, even in the confines of an imagination bent on leaving reality completely behind, as in the case of theism. And yet, on top of this, Michael states that “according to Judeo-Christianity, ultimately, consciousness does have primacy over existence.” He has inconsistent metaphysics coming out his ears, and he doesn’t even realize it. But he still wants to say I’m the stupid one.
Michael continued: “4. When you are shown – what was, in fact, self-evident all along, i.e., that ultimate existence relative to divine perfection (A!) necessarily is divine consciousness, that the two are one and the same thing – you still defend following claptrap of B as if you don’t understand!”
Quoting me: [Y]ou have one foot on the primacy of existence, and another on the primacy of consciousness. Now, perhaps I should have worded it this way, but I didn’t expect my point to raise your ire as it has.”
My point is completely accurate, and it’s so clear and obvious that it’s troubling that he continues to kick against the pricks in such a huffy manner as he does. Michael is the one who has proposed an “analogical” model of reality, where the primacy of existence applies to human consciousness in “this” realm, and that “ultimately, consciousness does have primacy over existence” originating in some “transcendent” realm. His attempts to compartmentalize all this only worsen the matter; they cannot be integrated without contradiction. Either he is simply in denial over this point, or he simply has not grasped it yet. But there’s no question that the primacy of existence and the primacy of consciousness are incompatible and mutually exclusive. There’s also no question that the primacy of existence is the orientation between the subject of consciousness and its objects found in all instances of consciousness in the non-imaginary realm of existence.
Michael goes on: ‘No. You shouldn’t have uttered this stupidity at all. But I offered you an olive branch, an opportunity recant unsustainable arguments due to your failure to grasp this particular aspect of the problem and to do so with dignity. Instead, you respond with more of the same idiocy and have the temerity to make me out to be the bad guy, the one who doesn’t get it. LOL! You are beyond my ire. It’s my contempt with which I regard you now.”
Michael’s contempt has been variably evident from the very beginning of his participation in this discussion. It is nothing new. I strongly doubt that I am the cause of his contempt. His contempt is likely something he’s been carrying around for many years, and he’s simply looking for new victims to cast it on. I am not a victim, and Michael will never be able to victimize me. I still stand solid and sure, and that will only take his contempt to new heights. It is not my problem.
Michael’s worldview, premised as it is on the primacy of consciousness, can only lead to the primacy of a bad attitude in its adherents. Michael is a living example of this.
Michael says that “The problem of existence and, therefore, the construct of divine perfection is objectively self-evident to all. In other words, the idea of God objectively exists in and of itself; it imposes itself on our minds without our willing that it do so. It’s axiomatic. It resides at the base of knowledge, and the atheist proves this every time he opens his yap to deny that there be any actuality behind it.”
In order to accept any of this “claptrap,” I would have to ignore and systematically deny the fundamental distinction, which I know exists, between reality and imagination. I can imagine Michael’s god just as I can imagine the Lahu tribesman’s Geusha. But nothing will ever be able to alter the fact that what I’m imagining is not real, no matter what labels we want to fix it (e.g., “divine perfection,” “the eternally existing now!” etc.).
Michael writes: “In his stupid argument against theism (‘Divine Lonesomeness’), Dawson necessarily acknowledges that the idea of God refers to a Being Who existed prior to all other existents as the Creator of all other existents apart from Him, WHICH OBVIOUSLY INCLUDES THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM!”
This is like saying “God caused causality.” It is utterly incoherent. Prior to this creative act, there could be no action whatsoever, since causality is the identity of action. Similarly with the notion of creating “THE SPACE-TIME CONTIUUM.” This attempt to rebut the argument incoherently (and gratuitously) posits consciousness outside of time. But as I pointed out, consciousness is a type of activity, and activity implies time – i.e., action over time. On the view Michael proposes, there could be no conscious activity prior to his god creating “THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM,” including its own alleged conscious activity. It’s just more fantasy bottled up and put out for sale as “philosophy.” It’s completely anti-philosophical, completely anti-rational, completely anti-conceptual.
When Michael states: “Dawson simultaneously argues the eternally existent now and argues against it, proving it’s [sic] cogency as encompassed by the construct of divine perfection.”
Now Michael is straw-manning me. I did not “argue the eternally existent now”. Michael is confused. I simply explained why the notion is incoherent given the attempt to package it with consciousness. All this has gone straight over Michael’s head, and he has allowed his contempt to prevent him from understanding all of this. Michael’s devotion to a set of imaginary constructs informed by notions completely devoid of objective content while using the cover of legitimate concepts which have been gratuitously ripped from their rational context, has set the tone of his mission to accomplish nothing in particular in his discussion with me, save perhaps to find a new object for his growing contempt.
Michael then flares his nostrils: “Dawson, the nincompoop of nincompoops is arguing that the idea of a self-subsistent Creator Who resides outside and independently of the space-time continuum is irrational because this idea of a self-subsistent Creator Who resides outside and independently of the space-time continuum would not have an actually existent object to apprehend apart from Himself in His timeless because He doesn’t reside outside and independently of the space-time continuum!”
Actually, the incoherence in Michael’s god-belief is even worse. He makes use of the concept ‘consciousness’ while denying its genetic roots, including the temporal implications of action. Consciousness is a type of activity. But positing consciousness “outside and independently of the space-time continuum” can only mean the consciousness in question is not capable of any action. But in this state of being “outside and independent of the space-time continuum,” Michael still treats it as though it were capable of action, namely creating the space-time continuum in the first place. It all collapses into stolen concept upon stolen concept, which is the hallmark of mystical incoherence. But we should use caution here: pointing this out will only leave mystics roasting in their own fumes of contempt. Want evidence? Observe Michael’s behavior in the comments of my blog.
Instead of regaining lost ground, Michael simply digs his hole deeper and deeper.
Michael gratuitously asserts: “The possibility of God’s existence cannot be rationally denied out right. It cannot be done! Any such argument will always entail an inherent, self-negating contradiction!”
For one, if there is no rational justification for positing “the possibility of God’s existence” in the first place, then there’s no need to deny it: it is simply inadmissible at its first mention. And of course, there is no rational justification for positing “the possibility of God’s existence.” There is no “inherent, self-negating contradiction” in pointing any of this out. Nor is there any “inherent, self-negating contradiction” in the following anti-theistic argument:
Premise 1: That which is imaginary is not real.
Premise: 2: If something is not real, it does not actually exist.
Premise 3: If the god of Christianity is imaginary, then it is not real and therefore does not actually exist.
Premise 4: The god of Christianity is imaginary.
Conclusion: Therefore, the god of Christianity is not real and therefore does not actually exist.
Michael fumes: “So Judeo-Christianity has no epistemology, eh? Well, one thing’s for sure, unlike Judeo-Christianity, no atheistic system of thought can point to a rationally coherent foundation for its epistemology.”
Actually, Objectivism can: we have the primacy of existence. This is not a principle that one will learn about in the pages of Leviticus or the First Epistle to the Corinthians. It is completely incompatible with the religious view of the world, and yet one must assume it even in denying it. So Michael is simply spouting absolute falsehoods here.
What Michael does next is an attempt to assimilate Objectivist principles as if they properly belonged to Christianity. I guess I can’t blame him: since Objectivism’s principles are undeniably true, one could only hope that they were on his side. But Objectivism’s principles are clearly not on any theist’s side. He has to deny them, even though such denial is self-refuting and incoherent.
Meanwhile, Michael’s newly adopted sidekick Nide piped in with the following comment: “These fellows haven’t been reflecting. They need to search their souls. Where the soul is, there you will find God.”
In other words, one must turn the focus of his awareness inward to “find God.” Talk about slips of the tongue! This is a dead give-away that what the Christian calls “knowledge of God” is really just his own imagination. He turns his focus inward, to his imagination, and that is where he “finds God.” But Objectivists have been pointing this out for decades. No wonder Michael’s contempt continues to break the bounds of adult civility in our discussion. He’s performatively making my case for me.
Michael writes: “The impression comes to us immediately and all at once: either (1) matter has always existed in some form or another, in some dimensional estate or another, or (2) it was caused to exist by a being who has always existed, a necessarily transcendent being of unlimited genius and power. In other words, the First Cause is either inanimate or sentient, immanent or transcendent.”
Michael’s false dichotomy here notwithstanding, what the Christian needs to do is demonstrate the objective validity of the notion that matter was created by an act of consciousness. Surely we can imagine this. But imagination is not fact. If Michael has any evidence to support the assumption that matter can be created by an act of consciousness, he is welcome to present it. But if he has no such evidence, then he should come out of the closet on the matter and openly concede that he does not.
As for me, I know of no evidence to support the notion that consciousness can create matter. Which means: I have no legitimate basis to accept such a notion as a distinct possibility. Simply imagining it is not a sufficient basis to accept it as a real possibility, let alone an actual phenomenon. Throughout my discussion with Michael David Rawlings, I have repeatedly pointed out to him that, given its emphatic affirmation and adherence to the primacy of existence, Objectivism explicitly recognizes the fundamental distinction between reality and imagination. Michael has consistently avoided interacting with this point, and we should not be surprised by this: Christianity is all about building up phantasm-constructs in the imagination of the believer which compel him through fear and break his spirit as a human being. Without these imagined phantasm-constructs, Christianity is absolutely contentless. So acknowledging the fundamental distinction between reality and imagination will only be fatal to Christian theism. So Michael’s aversion to interacting with this point is to be expected: it’s the one pin-prick that brings the whole artifice of Christianity crashing down on itself.
Inconsistent Metaphysics at the Root of the Christian Worldview
One of the observations I had made in my discussion with Michael is the fact that Christianity cannot maintain a consistent stance on the issue of metaphysical primacy. Above we have already saw Michael’s admission that “according to Judeo-Christianity, ultimately, consciousness does have primacy over existence.” He insists that “God’s primacy over existence is absolute.” So Michael admits outright that Christianity affirms the primacy of consciousness metaphysics. The primacy of consciousness is the root of metaphysical subjectivism, since it grants metaphysical primacy to the subject of consciousness in the subject-object relationship. So by affirming the primacy of consciousness, Michael admits that the essence of Christian metaphysics is subjective in nature. It’s a worldview essentially premised on the view that wishing makes it so.
Another Christian commenter, Rick Warden, sought to refute my argument that Christianity affirms the primacy of consciousness by claiming that the dogmatic premise that the Christian god did not create itself can only mean that the primacy of existence is the proper metaphysical orientation of Christianity. Of course, it is easy to see that Warden’s line of argument is a non sequitur: it would not follow simply from the premise that the Christian god did not create itself, that the primacy of existence is thereby consistently affirmed throughout Christianity.
But Warden’s objection did introduce a point which I have made in past writings, namely that even with respect solely to the Christian god, the Christian cannot maintain a consistent metaphysics. The issue here is very simple, and it should not be difficult for Michael or any other Christian to grasp. Keep in mind that Christians say that their god is conscious. So there are two things to consider here: one, the orientation between the Christian god as a subject and anything it is said to have created, such as a flower, as an object of its consciousness; and two, the orientation between the Christian god as a subject and itself as an object of its consciousness. Neither of these considerations should, so far, be controversial for the Christian: the Christian maintains that his god created the flower and has awareness of it, that the flower is an object of his god’s awareness; and Christians typically hold that the Christian god is self-aware, that it can have itself as an object of its own awareness, just as we can. So the Christian should not be protesting the setup of our examination, unless of course he’s afraid of where it may lead and is simply not emotionally prepared for what may come.
Michael’s response to this line of inquiry has consisted of reciting a mantra phrase, namely “divine perfection,” and charging that my line of inquiry does not accurately take into account whatever this is supposed to mean. He says that “the construct of divine perfection… is universally self-evident,” and yet, even if this were true (it’s not; if Michael actually thinks it’s self-evident, it’s because this notion is so entrenched in his imagination that it seems immediate to him; one has direct, introspective awareness of things he imagines), it would not obviate my line of inquiry since the Christian god is still maintained to be conscious of the things it is said to have created as well as of itself.
Indeed, note the line of argument proposed by Rick Warden: Warden insisted emphatically that the primacy of consciousness is not the proper metaphysics of Christianity. This is in direct contradiction to explicit statements made by Michael. In opposed restricted senses, both are correct: on the one hand, Warden is correct that a consciousness not creating itself implies the primacy of existence, though it would not follow from this that other statements about this consciousness are consistent with the primacy of existence; on the other, Michael has affirmed outright that “according to Judeo-Christianity, ultimately, consciousness does have primacy over existence” and that “God’s primacy over existence is absolute.” The fact of the matter, however, is that neither of these two Christians can hold the metaphysical position they have affirmed consistently. True, the Christian god is portrayed as a consciousness enjoying metaphysical primacy over the objects it has created: it created the flower, it determined how many petals it has, it determined its quantity of pistols and stamens, it determined when and where it would grow, and how long it would live, etc. So the primacy of consciousness is the metaphysics involved in the subject-object relationship of the Christian god’s consciousness when the object under consideration is something it is said to have designed and created. It is in the context of such a relationship that the Christian god’s wishing makes it so.
But when the Christian god is the object of its own awareness, when the relationship under consideration is that of the Christian god’s self-awareness, as Warden was concerned about, the picture changes fundamentally. Here the Christian cannot maintain the primacy of consciousness, since, as Warden pointed out, Christianity holds that the Christian god did not create itself. And clearly it did not design and create its own nature, whatever that nature might be. Its nature as a “divine perfection” is not something it wished into being at some point. So when the subject-object relationship of the Christian god’s consciousness has itself as its own object of awareness, the primacy of consciousness cannot be maintained. Here the Christian has no choice but to borrow the primacy of existence from the Objectivist and apply it internally within Christianity, where it, too, cannot be consistently maintained.
This metaphysical inconsistency is apart from and in addition to the metaphysical inconsistency we saw above with respect to how the Christian worldview treats human consciousness. Recall above that Michael had insisted that “Nowhere in scripture is it asserted that a finite mind (subject) can have primacy over an existent (object).” And yet, we have already seen sufficient indication “in scripture” where the primacy of consciousness is unmistakably affirmed in the case of human consciousness.
Michael’s belligerent denials and repeated resorting to name-calling on both of these topics can only indicate that he has not fully grasped the issue of metaphysical primacy in terms of the subject-object relationship, which is an open question when any conscious activity is in play, whether that conscious activity is actual (as in the case of human consciousness) or imaginary (as in the case of theism). Or, alternatively, it indicates that he does grasp these points, but resents their implications for his position and consequently finds it necessarily to aim his hostility at those who point it out. Neither alternative justifies his frequent resorting to name-calling and other hostile actions, such as commanding other commenters to “shut up.” Such behavior only suggests that he cannot handle the truth and is frustrated by repeated attempts to confront him with the truth. Nor does such behavior rescue his worldview from the internal collapse of its debilitating stolen concepts.
When I stated that “I really have no idea what an ‘infinite consciousness’ could be,” Michael replied:
Really? Now, were you suffering from this bout of amnesia before or after you premised your argument on it in “Divine Lonesomeness”? that is, before you switched your premise in your futile attempt to make your argument work, a bit subterfuge that evinces a very good understanding of the distinction between them and, thus, their respective identities.”
When I point out that the notion of an “infinite consciousness” is “literally and utterly nonsensical,” Michael replies:
Right. And Aristotle and Moses were buffoons. But tell me something, genius, since you don’t grasp the axiomatic, mathematical necessity of infinity (you know, the pertinent imperative you left out of my argument), how did you refute you the A of divine perfection? Are you saying that you don’t grasp the mathematical axiom and so that’s why you left it out? Or are you imply [sic] that you do get it, but need not directly refute it?
As for Moses, the character in the Judeo-Christian storybook, there is much in its stories that make him look like a buffoon. Indeed, the bush that was burning on the top of Mt. Sinai must have been cannabis. If Moses really existed as described in those stories, he was just one in a long line of primitive witch doctors. Michael is welcome to worship at his feet if he so chooses.
As for “the axiomatic, mathematical necessity of infinity,” the mathematical use and application of the concept ‘infinity’ in no way assumes or implies that “infinity” is some conscious, transcendent agent that created the universe and has the ability to revise the identities of its contents willy-nilly. The “argument” for such a notion rests on non sequiturs and a hugely false theory of concepts. There is no objective relationship between the concept of infinity as it is used in mathematics and the Christian god whatsoever. And Michael hasn’t shown any. My, how surprising!
With this, we can be assured that the headstone for Michael’s Christianity can be lowered into place. The decomposing cadaver of his worldview has caused quite a stink, but time has come to lower the casket into the bowels of the earth now that the final nail has sealed it shut.
by Dawson Bethrick