Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TAG Defeated in One Fell Swoop

Proponents of TAG paint themselves into an unavoidable corner. They say that their god is an “absolute God” which can only be proved by means of a “transcendental argument.” For example, Cornelius Van Til proclaimed:
Now the only argument for an absolute God that holds water is a transcendental argument.
Also, as a central tenet of their apologetic scheme, presuppositionalists claim that one cannot “make sense” of anything apart from “presupposing” the existence of the Christian god. Or as Greg Bahnsen baldly asserted in his debate with Dr. Gordon Stein: “without Him it is impossible to prove anything.”

The acronym “TAG” refers to what apologists call the “transcendental argument for God’s existence.” So it is intended to denote a specific argument. Broadly speaking, an argument is the attempt to infer a conclusion from a set of premises. But there’s a significant problem here, and it’s insurmountable:
Do the premises of this argument assume the truth of the point in question – namely the assertion that the Christian god exists?
If yes, then such an argument, given that it is presumably an attempt to infer a conclusion from a set of premises, can be dismissed as fallaciously circular.

If no, then the argument itself performatively concedes that its premises make sense independently of the presupposition that the Christian god exists, a situation which contradicts the very thrust of presuppositionalism – namely that one cannot make sense of anything without presupposing the Christian god.

So, logically, the whole edifice of presuppositionalism collapses in self-defeat.

Of course, presuppositionalists will cry foul here, accusing me of not understanding the nature of a “transcendental argument,” as if a type of “reasoning” (I use this term quite broadly here) should be considered automatically immune to the types of problems I’ve detected above simply because one slaps the label ‘transcendental’ on it. Such objections only serve to mask the presuppositionalists’ fundamental problem: their lack of an objective starting point. If they had an objective starting point, they would not busy themselves with promoting some “argument” by which their starting point is supposedly inferred. An objective starting point is not something that one needs to infer in the first place. That presuppositionalists would even think that they need to establish their (alleged) starting point by means of argument, is simply an announcement to the world that whatever they think their starting point may be, it is far from objective.

I’m glad these aren’t my problems!

by Dawson Bethrick

Labels: ,

66 Comments:

Blogger NAL said...

I hadn't realized that the TAG was a presuppositionalist argument for the existence of God. I thought the whole purpose of presuppositionalism was to avoid any argument of the existence of God.

That presuppositionalists need an argument for God demonstrates their feelings of worldview inadequacy.

June 27, 2013 8:35 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 27, 2013 11:12 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

That TAG is absurd is obvious from the definition of "transcendental", for it means:

1. Of or relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm.
2. (in Kantian philosophy) Presupposed in and necessary to experience; a priori.

or

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/transcendental

1. Philosophy
a. Concerned with the a priori or intuitive basis of knowledge as independent of experience.
b. Asserting a fundamental irrationality or supernatural element in experience.
2. Surpassing all others; superior.
3. Beyond common thought or experience; mystical or supernatural.
4. Mathematics Of or relating to a real or complex number that is not the root of any polynomial that has positive degree and rational coefficients.

But there is not any a-priori knowledge that somehow obtains independent of reality because knowledge is either perceptual or conceptual in nature and as such can only be sourced from material reality. We know this because of Objectivism's metaphysical axioms, the metaphysical primacy of existence, objective concept formation theory, becasue information only occurs as an encoding embodied in material particles, and because there isn't any existence other than existence from which mystics can acquire "transcendent" magic a-priori knowledge.

That proponents of TAG try to pass off the flimsy reed as a crutch for religious faith is an open admission their case lacks any strength. Sigh. The deluded will regale in their delusions. What is one to do? My answer: make as much money as one can and enjoy life for one's own sake.

June 27, 2013 11:15 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello NAL,

It’s always nice to hear from you.

You wrote: “I thought the whole purpose of presuppositionalism was to avoid any argument of the existence of God.”

I think you’re well justified in having this impression. For in practice, presuppositionalists continually prove themselves conspicuously short on argument, and long on asserting their way to their conclusion. What seems to be important to them is that they *talk about* some argument they want to feel they have for their position. TAG is one of those things its proponents love to *talk about* but rarely cough up. And when a version is finally produced, it’s always presented with some disclaimer or other that it still needs work and its proponents do not expect it to convince very many. Sounds like a confidence deficit to me.

The real (yet unstated) purpose of presup is to undermine man’s confidence in his own mental faculties, from the reliability of the senses to alleged problems in induction, logical absolutes, meaning, etc. In each area of knowledge that they touch, they issue only negations. They never provide any comprehensible solution on epistemological issues that lighten the way to knowledge. Should we consider it ironic that they prefer darkness?

But it should be clear: the religious program of Christianity cannot be promulgated among people of sound mind and happy disposition. Evangelists have long known that a person who is at a low point in his life is most vulnerable to religious suggestion. Someone going through a divorce, wrestling with an addiction, or who just lost a job, or whose loved one has passed away, someone deep in the pits of chronic depression, etc., these make for prime targets of proselytizing efforts. Presuppositionalists attempt to do essentially the same thing – victimize the vulnerable – but in areas of worldview/philosophy as opposed to circumstances in one’s life. Apparently the underlying rationale here is that evangelizing people in the doldrums is not so promising. Since many people going through a temporary crisis in life might otherwise be fulfilled, they need to be attacked at the core – the very foundation on which any fulfillment is possible. That’s precisely where this most insidious kind of apologetic steps in.

Regards,
Dawson

June 27, 2013 3:25 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Robert,

You’re entirely correct in pointing out that TAG inherently assumes the legitimacy of “a priori knowledge.” This is taken for granted by many thinkers, thanks in part to the damage done in philosophy by those who presumably sought to defend knowledge that is a posteriori. Lurking underneath is the division of knowledge into two opposite realms: the empirical and the logical, which in turn gives away to the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, as Peikoff has as shown.

That the assumption of the legitimacy of “a priori knowledge” is inherent in the presuppositionalist theorizing of TAG is stated explicitly by Michael Butler in his paper The Transcendental Argument for God’s Existence, where he writes:

<< A TA takes on (roughly) the following form: For x to be the case, y must also be the case because y is the necessary precondition of x; since x is the case, y must be the case. By itself there is nothing particularly distinguished about this form of argument. For with it I could argue that having parents is the precondition of having grandparents and since I have grandparents I must have parents. Though this shares a structure similar to that of a TA, it is not a TA because it appeals to a posteriori knowledge – in this case, knowledge of basic biological facts. TAs are distinguished from this type of argument by the fact that they appeal only to a priori knowledge – what we can know without any appeal to experience. From this it follows that form alone is not the distinguishing feature that sets TAs apart from other arguments. Most recent commentators are in agreement with this conclusion. >>

So arguments that are formed in such a way as to “share a structure similar to that of a TA” are not to be classed as TAs simply because of their similarity in structure. While the form is suggested (to qualify as an argument, it would need *some* form, and Butler provides a model), the “appeal only to a priori knowledge” is the distinguishing feature of a TA.

So in order to legitimize the very idea of a TA, it seems one would first have to defend the notion of a priori knowledge. Where is that defense? We never see it. Not from presuppers anyway. It would seem then that the legitimacy of a priori knowledge is one of presuppositionalism’s “presuppositions” – however many others there may be and what specifically they are, is never made clear. But if one has sufficient reasons to reject the very notion of a priori knowledge, then one is justified in rejecting TAG in toto.

Can the appeal to a priori knowledge be excised from TAG such that it remains a TA? Given what Butler says above, I would say no, since “appeal only to a priori knowledge” is an essential feature of a TA.

Yes, I’m really glad these aren’t my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

June 27, 2013 3:25 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

I like this post Dawson. Thanks.
And Robert your comment was perfect.
Tangentially, has anyone studied Chomsky's work? A presupper pulled that one out in connection with Kant and Hume (not “accounting for” causal induction). Basically, he was trying to say that Chomsky showed that humans (children) have more "knowledge" of language then they have been taught at any given point and that we order our mental processes according to linguistic order. A few things seem off to me about that.....

June 28, 2013 6:54 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Good Morning Dawson. Thank you for mentioning Michael Butler's exegetical discussion of the transcendental argument and his crucial distinction of a necessary appeal to "a priori" knowledge to produce a valid T.A.G. The rub then for our opponents is in how to attack Man's reasoning ability, Man's ambitions and self-esteem, Man's mind, and ultimately Man's means of survival. Seems obvious that the presuppositional religious apologists are in fact the enemy of Man. Lucky for them they lack actual conviction of their religious worldview, for then there would be a state of continuous war (Jihad perhaps) between them and anyone else who would not submit to their dictatorship.

Ms Rand wrote in her essay "Tax Credits for Education":

Politically, the goal of today's dominant trend is statism. Philosophically, the goal is the obliteration of reason; psychologically, it is the erosion of ambition. The Political goal presupposes the two others. The human characteristic required by statism is docility, which is the product of hopelessness and intellectual stagnation. Thinking men cannot be ruled; ambitious men do not stagnate.

Is it little wonder, American "conservatives" are as strong advocates of statism as they are proponents of religious faith?

June 28, 2013 7:00 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Daniel,

You wrote: "Tangentially, has anyone studied Chomsky's work?"

I can't say that I have. I've heard or seen him talk on radio and television from time to time, but I can't remember anything he said. Here and there, I've also seen progressives citing him and/or his work, but I can't remember any specifics of that, either.

However, I can tell you that he's mentioned by Ayn Rand in the book: Journals of Ayn Rand. On p. 683, in an entry dated May 21, 1961, it reads:

"[AR made the the following notes while attending a conference on 'Methods in Philosophy and the Sciences' at The New School in New York City]

[Speaker: Noam Chomsky, 'Some Observations on Linguistic Structure.']

Noam Chomsky (an expert social-metaphysical-elite witch doctor]:

'Studies' should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Simple trees [i.e., diagrams used in modern symbolic logic]: is the manner of presentation always in mid-stream, assuming previous knowledge?

Pure Rube Goldberg. [Goldberg was an American cartoonist who drew absurdly complex mechanical devices.]

How many trees would I need to build in order to understand Atlas Shrugged -- and in how many volumes?

Is Chomsky trying to systematize all conceptual relationships in language?"
_______________________________

Cleary, judging by this brief entry, Rand wasn't very impressed with what Chomsky had to say.

But I offer it, not in disparagement of Noam Chomsky, but only as a way of answering your question with at least something -- in this case, just an interesting historical tidbit.

Ydemoc

June 28, 2013 11:20 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Daniel: you mentioned: he [a presupper] was trying to say that Chomsky showed that humans (children) have more "knowledge" of language then they have been taught at any given point and that we order our mental processes according to linguistic order.

This is very disingenuous on the part of the presuppositionalist because her/his whole point is that human cognition is entirely caused by and dependent on "supernatural" magic that can't be detected by any means of sensation, perception, or instrumentation. (If "supernatural" can't be detected by any physical means, then it can't interact with material reality.)

Chomsky, by virute of holding a socialist-collectivist philosophical position, is probably some kind of materialist/naturalist who holds consciousness is an expression of brain function and not a "supernatural" phenomena as the presupposition religious adherent likely claims. Appeal to Chomsky, is thus, a performative inconsistency on the presuppositional adherent's part.

Additionally and besides, the brain is a patchwork of cerebral systems that have separate evolutionary histories. The presuppositional adherent is assuming her/his god created humans by magic with a whole systems paradigmn, so appeal to brain functions is another perfomative inconsistency.

The fetus's brain starts learning while still in gestation. At the time when the fetal brain first begins learning, it can't have any knowledge, but it can have instincts and it's language areas are genetically predisposed so that those conglomerations of cells are capable of learning language. To the best of human knowledge, language learning is purely biological function. There's isn't any magic going on when Broca's, Wernicke'and Sylvian fissure areas are exhibiting metabolic activity. Here's a link to an interesting page about the speech areas.

http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/la4.shtml

June 28, 2013 1:36 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Thank you, Robert. I did answer something along the lines of the natural predisposition that you mentioned and did a bit of research on him before I did. It was very reassuring to come here and see your post. The performative inconsistencies are priceless...THANK YOU.

June 28, 2013 7:01 PM  
Blogger Luiz Claudio said...

Enlightening post,Dawson.Thanks

June 28, 2013 8:22 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Daniel,

Chomski's work is about linguistics and grammar. What he has shows is that children learn/infer the language's grammar quickly from experience and thus give the appearance of having more linguistic knowledge than they would have seemingly been exposed to. That's very different to knowing more than they have actually experienced.

There's more. We all do a lot of context-dependent linguistic inferences, which would make almost anybody appear to know more language than taught. These inferences often lead to wrong use of words and the evolution of language, by the way.

Your presuppositionalist was being quite dishonest (what a surprise!).

See ya.

June 30, 2013 6:46 AM  
Blogger Noogah said...

Good day chaps!

You seem like a familiar bunch, so let me briefly introduce myself: I'm a Christian myself, who's recently gotten serious about his study of apologetics. I'm no "presuppositionalist", at least not by my reckoning, and I'm not too very impressed by Bahnsen and his strain at the moment.

But I wasn't very impressed by this post either. It wasn't a famously useful retort of the transcendental argument.

The transcendental argument has merely one premise: "If there is no God, knowledge is not possible."

You complain that the premise presupposes the conclusion, and it seems to me that you have thus made the mistake of calling it a circular argument. (Please forgive me if I’ve missed the point)

But that's not true at all. All you've really done in this post is define what an argument is.

An argument like the Transcendental argument, is one in which an initial premise is shown to be the same thing as its conclusion.

Example:

1. Ed is a bachelor.
2. All bachelors are unmarried.
3. Therefore, Ed is unmarried.

A bachelor and an unmarried man is, in fact, the same thing. But complaining about that is useless, since that's the whole point of the argument: to show that the premise is logically equivalent to the conclusion.

The only way you can defeat TAG is by showing that its initial premise is actually FALSE, and I don't see how you've even attempted to do that in this post.

The argument is definitely valid.

Immanuel Kant seemed to agree with Van Til's quote in your post, when he wrote his very succinctly titled "The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God".

With this kind of a legacy, I do find it unlikely that you will figure out a way to defeat TAG "one fell swoop".

June 30, 2013 12:36 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

"If there is no God, knowledge is not possible"

The burden can be met. This premise can be invalided by showing that the inherent metaphysical subjectivism of the statement far from affirming that knowledge is possible makes it actually impossible. If god, then no knowledge.

June 30, 2013 2:26 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Noogah,

Thanks for posting your comment.

You wrote: “You seem like a familiar bunch, so let me briefly introduce myself: I'm a Christian myself, who's recently gotten serious about his study of apologetics. I'm no ‘presuppositionalist’, at least not by my reckoning, and I'm not too very impressed by Bahnsen and his strain at the moment.”

I’m glad you stopped by. I’m curious, though, why don’t you post under your real name? It seems that if you really wanted to introduce yourself, you’d tell us who you are.

You wrote: “But I wasn't very impressed by this post either. It wasn't a famously useful retort of the transcendental argument.”

Oh darn!

You wrote: “The transcendental argument has merely one premise: "’If there is no God, knowledge is not possible.’"

Hmmm, that’s not what presuppositional theorists themselves say. For instance, see the Michael Butler quote in my comment to Robert above.

You wrote: “An argument like the Transcendental argument, is one in which an initial premise is shown to be the same thing as its conclusion.”

Can you cite any authorities on TAs who affirm this?

The example argument you give (“Ed is a bachelor”) essentially says that the conclusion is true by virtue of the definition of the terms contained in the premises. But if that’s the case, then TAG is clearly a case of trying to rig an intended outcome, in which case we can dismiss it: if there were truly good reasons to believe its conclusion, defenders of TAG would not need to do this.

But this is not how TAG seeks to draw its conclusion according to what Butler says. He writes (in the same paper) that “Transcendental arguments attempt to discover the preconditions of human experience,” and the model he proposes is clearly geared toward establishing a preconditional relationship between the terms involved, and that relationship is not definitional. In fact, in TAG’s case, it appears to be entirely stipulative: the presupper simply *asserts* that his god is the necessary precondition of knowledge (as opposed to Butler’s claim that TA’s “attempt to discover” this precondition).

Even more, the rendition of TAG that you offered above (“If there is no God, knowledge is not possible”) does not appear to apply the same means of establishing its conclusion (whatever it may be) by means of mere citation of a definition of one of its premise’s terms.

And frankly, my view is that TAG as it has been formulated by Butler, Bahnsen, etc. (even yours) starts midstream. I would suggest that before one seeks to affirm some dependence of knowledge, human experience, predication, what have you, on the Christian god, that one first establish the existence of this god in the first place. Otherwise it appears that the presupper is simply trying to package his god-belief into something we already accept by illicit means – like a smuggler trying to hide cocaine up his anus. Again, it seems that if the Christian god were real, its defenders would not need to do this.

[continued…]

June 30, 2013 3:06 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “The only way you can defeat TAG is by showing that its initial premise is actually FALSE, and I don't see how you've even attempted to do that in this post.”

Your statement here suggests that TAG prevails by default if it is not successfully “defeated”. But what arguments enjoy such privilege? Rather, I would say that unless TAG can be shown to be sound, it is worthless. But of course, I’ve raised numerous criticisms against TAG (as have others) elsewhere on my blog. This is just one of many posts on the matter. And in one of my comments above (where I quoted Butler), I point out that Butler makes it explicitly clear that TAG assumes the legitimacy of “a priori knowledge.” This means that if one has good reasons not to accept the underlying premise that “a priori knowledge” is legitimate, TAG has no chance. Thus TAG is defeated on this point alone “in one fell swoop” – indeed, before there’s even any hope that it can get off the ground in the first place.

But suppose one could eliminate TAG’s reliance on the assumption that “a priori knowledge” is legitimate. What then? I say that TAG still faces the challenges I raise here: if its conclusion assumes the truth of any of its premises, then it’s fallaciously circular (you might want to look up what petition principii is); if it doesn’t, it tacitly grants that one can make sense of its premises apart from presupposing the existence of the Christian god. Looks like a fell swoop to me: it leaves no out for the presupper.

But even worse, interactions with Christians here on my blog and elsewhere show over and over and over again, that the Christian cannot explain to us to any persuasive degree how we can reliably distinguish what he calls “God” from what he may merely be imagining. Thus if TAG is “valid,” so is TAB:

:: If there is no Blarko, knowledge is not possible. ::

This retains the modality which is presumably vital to a TA, and it points to an invisible magic being (Blarko) just as TAG does. But clearly it’s not the same argument for Blarko is not the Christian god. For example, Blarko did not have a son. So we’re dealing with two competing preconditions here. How can a mystic sort this out?

Meanwhile, as Objectivists, we know what the necessary preconditions of knowledge are already. They are identified by the axioms, the primacy of existence, and the objective theory of concepts, all of which the Christian worldview denies while borrowing at the same time. We have another fell swoop!

Regards,
Dawson

June 30, 2013 3:06 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Noogah,

«and I'm not too very impressed by Bahnsen and his strain at the moment»

Well, you are not impressive whatsoever. One little comment and you have already shown that you have no idea about logic. (Well, the moment someone declares to be a Christian and one who is studying apologetics "seriously" ...)

«The transcendental argument has merely one premise: "If there is no God, knowledge is not possible."»

Then it would not be an argument but an assertion. Therefore we can dismiss it outright. Done!

«The only way you can defeat TAG is by showing that its initial premise is actually FALSE»

If that was the way it worked then just asserting things would suffice: "the TAG premise is false." Now it is your turn to prove that my assertion is false. See the problem yet?

«The argument is definitely valid.»

Definitely not.

«Immanuel Kant seemed to agree with Van Til's quote in your post»

Oh! I am so impressed! Could this be an argument from authority? Naaaaaah!

Generally those who learn the TAG either lack proper logic, or learn quite well to be dishonest. We will see which one is you soon enough.

June 30, 2013 4:42 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 30, 2013 4:58 PM  
Blogger Bachalon said...

Very off topic, but check out what Sye has been up to lately: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201465379498118&set=a.4706788669394.189058.1284607839&type=1

Good to see him doing his best to elevate the level of discourse. I'm surprised he didn't challenge the monument to a debate.

June 30, 2013 5:42 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

Let me rethink that.

June 30, 2013 6:20 PM  
Blogger James Jordan said...

You do realize that only Calvinists use this argument right? Its a very Calvinist way of arguing: "I presuppose Calvinism true, therefore it is true." And then no matter what you say to disprove Calvinism, "Calvinism is true because I already presupposed that it is true." This is the same way they argue with other Christians. All they've done here is extend their idiotic approach to dealing with atheists.

Everyone interprets the world through certain presuppositions, of course, but these should be few in number. Presupposing an entire system like Calvinism is insane. If they really did only presuppose the existence of God, that would be fine. Especially if they only presupposed the existence of God, not also that God is a Trinity which makes no sense to presuppose. But judging from the existence of the world and the shear impossibility of it coming into existence out of nowhere, it obviously makes sense to presuppose the existence of God (but more of the Jewish or Deist God than the Christian one...you've got to start of small when it comes to presuppositions).

Anyway, you don't accomplish anything of value by disproving the Calvinist presuppositionalism, an argument that is clearly nothing but na-na-na-boo-boo to begin with. If you've really spent 8 years fighting this argument that's pretty sad on your point. Go read some real apologists who use actual arguments and see if you can disprove those. Oh wait, I guess that's why you've wasted 8 years disproving the Calvinist na-na-na-boo-boo because you only want to deal with an argument you know can't go anywhere.

July 02, 2013 2:28 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello James,

Thanks for your comment.

You write: “judging from the existence of the world and the shear impossibility of it coming into existence out of nowhere,”

I’d just like to see a really good argument that the world, the universe, that reality, that any thing I or anyone else perceives, “came into existence” as a result of some type of conscious activity.

After all, this is the essence of the Christian view (as well as certain other religious views), is it not? I have asked Christians to explain why I should suppose that a rock that I find in my backyard was “created” by an act of consciousness. Isn’t that what the worldview they affirm and publicly assert states, regardless of apologetics methodology? Doesn’t Christianity hold that every physical thing in the universe was created by an act of consciousness? Isn’t this Christianity’s view regardless of who ascribes to it, regardless of what method one uses to defend it, regardless of what particular arguments one uses to vindicate Christianity?

If this is what Christianity affirms about everything in existence, including a little rock I find in my backyard, what evidence is there that any rock that I pick up was created by an act of consciousness? What feature or attribute of the rock is to be taken as evidence that it was created by an act of consciousness, when in fact I possess the faculty of consciousness, and I cannot create *any* physical thing by an act of my consciousness?

That is what I want to know.

Claiming that my consciousness is somehow different from the consciousness which the Christian god supposedly possesses (or is) does no good: for one thing, I am left with nothing but *imagining* the consciousness in question (as well as the action in question); and for another, merely *affirming* that there is a consciousness that is radically different from mine is not the same as offering *evidence* that such a consciousness actually exists.

So regardless of apologetic methodology, I’d say that any defender of the Christian worldview has a very tall order indeed to fill.

You wrote: “Go read some real apologists who use actual arguments and see if you can disprove those.”

Such as?

Regards,
Dawson

July 02, 2013 3:23 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello James. Nice to read your post. Thanks for joining the conversation.

You wrote "na-na-na-boo-boo". I love that expression and with your permission will adopt it for future conversations.

As to proving or disproving Theism or Deism, you've made an elementary error. Such notions are composed of floating abstractions and stolen concepts disconnected from reality, so they're not subject to proof or disproof. Proof and disproof are premised upon the Metaphysical Primacy of Existence. That is to say that existence exists independently of any and all forms of consciousness. If consciousness is constitutive, then Idealism obtains and all is subjective precluding any possibility of fact or truth and hence proof or disproof. To prove a proposition true is to demonstrate that it reduces to axiomatic facts of existence. To disprove a proposition is to show it does not reduce to axiomatic facts.

Theism and Deism assert consciousness makes and maintains existence. If either were valid then there'd be no facts against which to compare as a process of proof or disproof. Thus both Theism and Deism are nonsense in the non-cognitive sense.

The burden for those "real apologists" you mentioned is to show and demonstrate the following.

1. There is existence other than existence. (Sadly for the religious enterprise there is nothing outside of existence, for only existence exists.)

2. There is a non-physical immaterial consciousness in that other than existence. (Sadly for the religious enterprise, information only occurs as an encoding in material particles because casualty is contingent to material existence.)

3. There is a means whereby that consciousness can make and configure existence. (Magic lacks any explanatory power and doesn't constitute a "means".)

4. There is a way whereby said consciousness can communicate information encoded in material particles from other than existence to physical biological brain based organisms in existence. (How can there be an unmediated connection from A-spatial A-temporal nothingness to spatial and temporal existence that transfers material particles?)

Dawson correctly stated: " merely *affirming* that there is a consciousness that is radically different from mine is not the same as offering *evidence* that such a consciousness actually exists." (To date all the religious apologists of all the religious delusions have done is to assert their stories are true, but they offer no evidence while blithely going about ignoring that any assertion of fact presupposes Objectivism's metaphysical axioms and the Metaphysical Primacy of Existence. This constitutes a performative inconsistency fallacy that renders their cases invalid and non-meritorious.)

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.

Best and Good

July 02, 2013 7:05 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

James so said:

«But judging from the existence of the world and the shear impossibility of it coming into existence out of nowhere, it obviously makes sense to presuppose the existence of God»

I think you meant:

« ... and assuming that it is impossible for it coming into existence out of nowhere, and that "out of nowhere" is the only option for atheists, and that anything other than "out of nowhere" has to be a god ...»

No thanks necessary. I helped you out because I have a huge heart.

July 02, 2013 6:01 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Some people just march themselves right out in front of the firing squad. I love this blog. I'm so glad I found it. You guys are the best.

July 02, 2013 8:05 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends:

Here's a link to a youtube video wherein Dr. Arron Brooks explains the difference between altruism and benevolence.

http://youtu.be/2JVFyHIiJz4

or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JVFyHIiJz4

It has been my experience that those who strenuously oppose Objectivism do so because they have been indoctrinated with the bogus moral ideas of altruism. Brooks clearly explained why altruism is wrong.

Best Wishes for a Happy Forth

July 03, 2013 10:44 AM  
Blogger David Barwick said...

Hello, Dawson:

Happy Independence Day!

I've been following this blog for several months, and want to thank you for continuing to debunk presuppositional gimmickry. The "argument" is preposterous, weak, and disingenuous. However, it can catch people off guard who have no background in epistemology (or philosophy in general). At one time, I found it an annoyingly effective (though unconvincing) brand of argumentation; now I see that it is not really argumentation at all, and is easily refuted. All thanks to your time and effort in your blog!

So thanks, and keep up the great work!

July 04, 2013 11:21 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Daniel,

How are things progressing with you and your apologetic pal? Any new interactions to report?

By the way, I just want to let everyone know that I'm still working on my response to Luiz over on Debunking Christianity.

To fill everyone in...

As far as I can tell, Luiz is not a theist, but he is definitely a skeptic. What prompted me to respond to him, was his claim that:

"[w]e cannot prove things with 100% certainty."

Not surprsingly, this was essentially the same thing that apologist Dan O'Brian said to me!

Here's a little more from Luiz:

"First you must understand that the fact that we can't claim 100% certainty of something is not equal to 'we can have no degree of certainty'. Certainty about propositions comes in several degrees. The proposition "we can't prove things with 100% certainty" will itself have its own degree of certainty that is not 100%. In this case, my level of certainty in the proposition is extremely high, so high that is is irrational to doubt it..."

Here is just a sampling of how I responded:

"What rational basis would anyone have to assign less than 100% certainty to each of the following: 



a) Propositions are composed of concepts.

b) Without concepts there would be no propositions

c) We form propositions to identify what we conceive, remember, project, etc., but only after we have formed concepts which identify the entities, attributes, actions, etc. (Source for items a, b, and c: Dawson Bethrick)

A little later, Luiz writes: "If this kind of approach to truth is not good enough for you, I think you have a serious explanation to produce about what is "good enough" for you."

Anyway, stay tuned. I'll be sure to let everyone know when I've finished my full response.

Ydemoc

July 05, 2013 9:01 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Clarification:

In my most recent comment, I wrote: "Here is just a sampling of how I responded:"

I can see how this might have given the impression that I'd already posted my reply to Luiz.

Just to be clear: I'm still working on it and have not posted anything yet.

Ydemoc

July 06, 2013 7:04 AM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Nothing new on that front. But I've posted the conversation in it's entirety over at my blog. If you'd like you can follow it there. I've also started a new conversation with another presupper and I'll be posting the interaction on my blog as well.
Thanks for checking in. It means a lot to me that the folks here have taken an interest. I am a recovering Christian and it is still a daily struggle to recalibrate my thinking. Integrating Objectivism is actually rather difficult even though it is so intuitive. Twenty plus years of daily indoctrination takes a toll on one's thinking.

In Humanity,
Daniel

July 06, 2013 5:55 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Daniel

I find it truly remarkable and a testimony to the resilience of the human mind that someone can break free after 20 years of indoctrination. I say this as a life long cradle atheist. I don't know if I would have the strength to do what you have.

July 06, 2013 6:47 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm finished with my reply to Luiz over on Debunking Christianity.
Here's the link:

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/06/luiz-fernando-zadra-on-matrix.html

Feedback welcome!

Ydemoc

July 06, 2013 8:32 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks for the update, Daniel!

Ydemoc

July 06, 2013 10:33 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Daniel: Thanks for posting a comment on my blog about altruism. You mentioned that you're a recovering Christian who has been indoctrinated for twenty years. I can certainly understand how difficult it is to break away from Christian culture from my own experiences.

I found Nathaniel Branden's book "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" helpful in instructing me how to go about adjusting to a life of rational egoism-self-interest. Amazon offers links to used copies for less than a dollar plus shipping. Perhaps it's available in your local library.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Six-Pillars-Self-Esteem-Definitive/dp/0553374397

My main struggle has been to keep a positive and benevolent attitude toward others, but by integrating Rand's Trader Principle my struggle dissolved leaving me with opportunities for fun in offering value for value. Aynrandlexicon.com lists the Trader Principle as:

There is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value.

The principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal and social, private and public, spiritual and material. It is the principle of justice.

A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. He does not treat men as masters or slaves, but as independent equals. He deals with men by means of a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange—an exchange which benefits both parties by their own independent judgment. A trader does not expect to be paid for his defaults, only for his achievements. He does not switch to others the burden of his failures, and he does not mortgage his life into bondage to the failures of others.

In spiritual issues—(by “spiritual” I mean: “pertaining to man’s consciousness”)—the currency or medium of exchange is different, but the principle is the same. Love, friendship, respect, admiration are the emotional response of one man to the virtues of another, the spiritual payment given in exchange for the personal, selfish pleasure which one man derives from the virtues of another man’s character. Only a brute or an altruist would claim that the appreciation of another person’s virtues is an act of selflessness, that as far as one’s own selfish interest and pleasure are concerned, it makes no difference whether one deals with a genius or a fool, whether one meets a hero or a thug, whether one marries an ideal woman or a slut. In spiritual issues, a trader is a man who does not seek to be loved for his weaknesses or flaws, only for his virtues, and who does not grant his love to the weaknesses or the flaws of others, only to their virtues.
~ http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/trader_principle.html

Those who lack proper objective virtues are not worthy of one's friendship, nor are they deserving of one's ire. When I integrated this concept, the dissonance I felt resulting from having abandoned Christianity vanished. Now my challenge is to exemplify objective virtue and to associate with those who will appreciate it.

Best and Good

July 07, 2013 10:31 AM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

@Justin; It isn't easy. But I feel for you! You'll never know the sweet reward that I get to! :)

Thank you Robert for the book recommendation. I will be looking in to it.

You mention the Trader Principle. As I first started becoming aware of Objectivism a few months back I download a PDF of "The Virtue of Selfishness". If there was one thing that stuck to me it was that very principle. I'm glad to have it and employ it. Not letting them get me pissed is still tough though. If you are interested I just posted a hilarious exchange between me and a church goer over at my blog. It's linked through my profile.

July 07, 2013 2:52 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Daniel

I checked out the link to the conversion on the godistime blog and noticed right off that the participant Katie invoked Descartes' Cogito argument. She seems to be making Descartes mistake. The Cogito lacks a crucial premise for which he and many others simply beg the question. The Cogito runs

1. I think.

2. Therefore, I am.

The missing premise: that which thinks exists, must be assumed as an enthymeme. This was and still is fatal to the primacy of consciousness - religious enterprise because the assumption that consciousness is independent of reality is entirely arbitrary and leads to subjective idealism.

David Kelly's "The Evidence of the Senses" first chapter does a bang up job of refuting DesCartes and Kant. Here's a link to download a public domain pdf I accessed from Scribd.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6Uib8vbFDOCY3N2S2cwWWVsUjQ/edit?usp=sharing

Once again, thanks for communicating with me.

Have a great week everybody.

July 07, 2013 6:23 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

Dawson:

Thus if TAG is “valid,” so is TAB:

:: If there is no Blarko, knowledge is not possible. ::


In other words, you've defeated TAB, too.

I don't understand why Kant was so enamored with TAG.

July 07, 2013 8:42 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know that Dan O'Brian has finally responded to the lengthy series of comments that I left for him some time ago.

His response is lengthy, and I don't know when I'll be able to respond to it. But in the meantime, if anyone is interested in putting in their 2 cents, here's the direct link:

http://irrelevantaxiom.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/a-third-bothand-principle-evidence-and-faith/#comment-2302

The comments of mine which Dan is responding to, are located earlier in that same thread.

Ydemoc

July 12, 2013 10:32 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Ydemoc,

I think that a big barrier to communication on that discussion is the lack of proper definition of terms. For example, that guy seems fixed on an absolutist definition of reliability. Reliable is not the same as infallible. Reliable is not the same as absolutely precise. So, for example, I could be wrong about the size of the rock when measured at gram precision. Yet, the judgement that I will not be able to lift it could still be spot on, and therefore my perception was imperfect, but reliable. (There's a few steps I jumped from perception to judgement, but maybe the example works enough for what I am trying to explain.)

A lot of the problems with presuppositionalism is that absolutist view of perception. Then it is coupling such absolutist views with over-thinking. Babies don't over-think. The obvious is obvious. We don't grow up thinking first that maybe everything is just in our imaginations. That only happens once we start accepting philosophical bullshit, a kind of bullshit that first strikes us as nonsense. Somehow, many accept the bullshit, while a few have enough intuition to notice that such crap is no more than mental masturbation. In any event, the antidote against such philosophical bullshit is going back to basics, which seems to be what objectivism does. Actually it seems to go back to basics, and found them on a strong bedrock of reason.

July 13, 2013 10:56 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Ydemoc. My schedule is full for the next several weeks, but I'll make time during lunches or just prior to ZZZZZs to read the relevant posts and perhaps make a pithy comment. Ha LOL. Now its time for the objective virtue of playing hard in the gym. Objectivists should work to enhance, improve and maintain their physical and mental fitness as their lives are dependent for survival on their ability to reason and manipulate the environment, for indeed each individual human being is the sanction of their own existence.

Best and Good.

July 13, 2013 11:44 AM  
Blogger Luiz Claudio said...

I am following comments.

By the way

"A writer who writes clearly and integrates his points thoroughly will tend to acquire an audience of clear thinkers"

http://aristotleadventure.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/selecting-audience-by-assuming-their.html

Reminds me of Dawson, Rand and Peikoff

July 13, 2013 1:46 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Luiz,

The guy who runs that blog is named Burgess Laughlin, and he has actually posted here on Dawson's blog. As a matter of fact, a search for his name brings up his comments at this link:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2009/01/do-objectivists-try-to-define-god-out.html#1164043037014130013

I've also come across his postings over on Objectivism Online. Here's just one thread that he started:

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=2071

Ydemoc

July 14, 2013 7:07 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Photo,

Thanks for the feedback. It occurred as I was crafting my response to Dan O'Brian, that it might be a good idea to define my terms before I got too far along in my response to him.

I attempted to do so, but it was deep into my response; next time it might be better if I do so, right from the start.

So I will definitely keep this in mind for my follow-up response.

Ydemoc

July 14, 2013 7:24 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hello everyone,

Interesting development:

Just had mentioned some time ago that the post that I responded to over on Jason Peterson's blog was back up. I still do not know if his original post is accessible, but I did just click on the cached version which Robert supplied, and I now see that Jason Peterson has responded to what I presented. Below is the link, followed by his interaction with the material.

____________________________________

Hello Jason,

[I wrote]: "You make some very interesting statements in your above blog entry.

You write: '..but consciousness provides no foundation for epistemology for other assumptions beyond consciousness must be made. ”

I see. So the widest of all abstractions, that which subsumes everything that is, was, or will be, including every action, attribute, relation, etc., (including consciousness), 'has no epistemological benefit'? And 'the faculty of awareness — the faculty of perceiving that which exists' (Rand) provides “no foundation for epistemology'?"

[Jason writes]: "I think there is a very interesting observation which can be made here. Since you quoted Rand, I am going to go out on a limb and say that you accept the philosophy of objectivism. I’ll be covering the many flaws with that philosophy in subsequent blogs when I respond to this 'Bahnsen Burner' person that you made me aware of.

[I wrote]: Could you then please tell me how anyone could have any knowledge at all — let alone a theory of knowledge — without something which exists, along with a faculty capable of being aware of it? In other words, how can you even form any concept which would inform such epistemology, without:

A) Existence (an axiomatic concept, answering the question, “Knowledge of **what**?”)

B) reasoning, thought, observation, learning, concepts, etc. — all actions of consciousness, i.e., the axiomatic concept “consciousness” (answering the question **Knowledge** of what?”)

C) Identity, i.e., if something exists (existence), then some **thing** exists (identity); it is what it is, A is A.

[Jason wrote]: This gentleman is making the claim that an epistemology can be informed by existence and consciousness. However, I pointed out to C. S. Mckinney that other assumptions beyond consciousness must be made, and ironically, this is exactly what this gentleman is doing. He also claims that the concept of consciousness is axiomatic. However, as he says in his own response, consciousness amounts to an awareness of surroundings. But what do you use to discern your surrounding? It isn’t consciousness. You use your senses and reasoning. That said, by what I pointed out and even by his own admission, it appears that my remark that I made to C.S. Mckinney that stated that consciousness doesn’t provide any epistemological benefit in an atheist worldview is valid, because in order to build an epistemology other assumptions beyond consciousness must be made. Listing consciousness as an axiom simply does not resolve the problem, because to argue that your reasoning and senses are valid due to your consciousness is literally nothing more than arguing in a circle, for conscious itself would have to be validated by the senses.

(continued)

July 14, 2013 9:45 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This gentleman then makes 3 axioms.

1. Existence-As I pointed out to C.S. Mckinney, existence does not provide any epistemological benefit when laying a foundation void of God for epistemology. Existence itself does not guarantee knowledge, for inanimate objects such as rocks and chairs exist and they have no knowledge at all.

2. Reasoning-In order to solve the issue of how he knows his reasoning is valid he posits that reasoning is a necessary axiom stemming from consciousness. In this respect, this axiom previously confirms what I stated when I responded to the notion that consciousness must assume that our senses and reasoning is valid. Thus, all this gentleman is doing is arguing in a circle in the same way that using science to validate mathematics would be arguing in a circle.

3. Identity-He ties in Identity with existence, we already covered the other two axioms which ties directly in with identity, which he is positing as an axiom.

What I find interesting, and well, I suppose it IS interesting. Is that these axioms look more like a set of inductive arguments than axioms. Axioms should be self evident, but the way in which he describes these axioms does not fit the criteria of self evident. Rather, it seems to be more of an inductive case for atheist epistemology. However, inductive reasoning only deals with what is possible, and does not deal with absolutes.

[I wrote]: "So when you say, 'There is nothing that we have stated that commits the stolen concept fallacy,' well, you couldn’t be more mistaken, for your blog entry — indeed your entire worldview — is chocking in stolen concepts."

(continued)

July 14, 2013 9:47 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

[Jason wrote]: "This is an ironic statement, because this is exactly what presuppositional apologists accuse atheists of doing with the Christian worldview. It appears that this gentleman wants to merely take this statement that we tend to make towards atheists and then attempt to throw it back.

However, this accusation is without merit, if we, for the sake of argument, granted all three of these axioms as a logically coherent foundation of knowledge then I would see nothing that the atheist worldview would have for epistemology in which would be exclusive to atheism. If there is nothing exclusive pertaining atheism that say, a Christian or pagan worldview wouldn’t have, then the accusation of the stolen concept fallacy is without merit, because if the 3 axioms he gave were truly a foundation for epistemology then it would be what EVERYONE would be using for their epistemology.(Whether they knew it or not.)

Let’s, however, return to the reality of the matter. As Christians, we do have something that atheists do not have. That is the ability to be logically coherent when we say that there are truths that we can be certain of. However, an atheist can not be consistent when they make these claims of certainty because their foundation for epistemology can only be based on induction. However, atheism can’t even account for induction either. Even if we were to grant induction for the sake of argument, such a foundation would only lead to self contradictory arguments. In order to have knowledge, atheists much borrow from the Christian worldview, which is the only worldview that can substantiate knowledge and certainty with logical consistency."

[I wrote]: "Do you even have a grasp of what a 'stolen concept' is? Your hasty denial above gives no indication that you do."

[Jason replied]: "This is the fallacy of prejudicial conjecture. When I responded to C.S. Mckinney on this logical fallacy I think I made it apparent that I understand the concept of the logical fallacy in question. However, if I may, I think you have bigger problems to resolve in your reasoning than I do!

The 'stolen concept' fallacy was first brought to light by Ayn Rand, an 'objectivist.' She defined it as using a concept while denying its 'genetic' roots. This is exactly what you have been doing, attempting to justify your knowledge without appealing to the one who gave it to you. Of course, Ayn Rand would disagree, but objectivism is nothing more than a self contradictory philosophy and it also doesn’t jive with human experience when we grant its premises for the sake of argument. I will go more into these issues when I deal with 'Bahnsen Burner.'

(continued)

July 14, 2013 9:48 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Recall the syllogism that I typically use for the Transcedental Argument for God:

P1: Without God, knowledge is not possible.

P2: Knowledge is possible.

Conclusion: Therefore, it is not the case that God does not exist.

I put premise 2 in italics because presuppositonalists agree with objectivists in the sense that we both believe that knowledge is possible. However, presuppositionalists hold that the objectivist’s foundation for how they account for their knowledge is faulty and plagued with multiple logical inconsistencies. Your reasons for accusing us of the stolen concept fallacy amounts to nothing more than a straw man(A fallacy where you erect a false position from your opponent then proceed to argue is as if they stated that position.) because presuppositionalists do not deny that humans can have knowledge, we just view the way that atheists account for it as being fallacious. Further, the 'stolen concept' fallacy is affirming what one wants to disprove. Presuppositionalists are not trying to disprove the validity of reasoning. (Which is what you falsely accuse us of.)

We aren’t telling you that you can’t know anything. Presuppositionalists accept that people, even atheists, can come to know things because God exists.(See premise 2 of the Transcendental Argument for God, which states that knowledge is possible.) What we are saying is that you can’t account for what you know in your worldview because of the self contradictory propositions that are made to support its foundation for epistemology. We are not trying to disprove reasoning, we are just saying that you can’t consistently reason and discern truth without giving proper credit to God. We also believe that the atheist worldview itself entails there is no coherent foundation for knowledge, truth, purpose, morality, or certainty. Anyone who claims otherwise must borrow from the Christian worldview to make that claim.(Now, THAT would be the stolen concept fallacy.)

It appears that your attempt to justify your epistemology has failed. You attempted to avoid circular reasoning by making an inductive case while calling your premises axioms and ended up arguing in a circle anyway.

He then gives the links to some websites that think they have the silver bullet for presuppositionalism. I did take a look over these and I found their 'rebuttals' to presuppostional apologetics to be underwhelming and riddled with fallacies. I do plan on taking a look at this 'Bahnsen Burner”' character that he showed me and respond to some of this guy’s articles. I will likely not be responding to this gentleman anymore due to time constraints. I have people every day that post on this site disagreeing with what I say, if I took time to engage all of them I would not have any time left. I work full time, I’m a student, I am also running a ministry and giving what little spare time I have to my personal life. I will however, will be responding to 'Bahnsen Burner.'"

__________________________________

Oh, my goodness!

That's all I have to say for now, until, like Jason himself, time allows me to do otherwise.

Ydemoc

July 14, 2013 9:49 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

By the way, I think I may have forgotten to include the link to the web cache version of Jason Peterson's comments. If so, here it is:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:XgoL5yTKVNkJ:answersforhope.com/a-very-brief-critique-on-an-objection-to-presuppositional-apologetics/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Ydemoc

July 14, 2013 9:53 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

One more item:

I just checked the status of Jason Peterson's original blog entry and it currently accessible (along with his comments) here:

http://answersforhope.com/a-very-brief-critique-on-an-objection-to-presuppositional-apologetics/

Ydemoc

July 14, 2013 9:58 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Oh my. Peterson is way out there in la-la land. In his view everything is magic. I applaud Ydemoc for taking on this guy if only to be able to further integrate Objectivism's principles.

Peterson wrote but objectivism is nothing more than a self contradictory philosophy and it also doesn’t jive with human experience when we grant its premises for the sake of argument.

To what self contradictions is he referring? Should an O-ist simply take his word for it, or does he have an argument?

July 15, 2013 10:22 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

«... because if the 3 axioms he gave were truly a foundation for epistemology then it would be what EVERYONE would be using for their epistemology.(Whether they knew it or not.)»

Exactly! Bingo! Stop there! This is exactly why when a Christian or anybody else claims that these axioms are false they commit the fallacy of the stolen concept. They deny the axioms while using them

(I don't think that objectivists have said that only objectivists can gain knowledge or that only them use any axioms.)

July 15, 2013 4:13 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

«1. Existence-As I pointed out to C.S. Mckinney, existence does not provide any epistemological benefit when laying a foundation void of God for epistemology.»

Really? So, in a Christian worldview their god does not have to exist in order to know something? Their god can know things without anything existing? The Christian themselves do not have to exist before being able to gain knowledge? Nothing else would have to exist in order to gain knowledge about something? And then TAGers say that atheist worldviews are absurd.

«Existence itself does not guarantee knowledge, for inanimate objects such as rocks and chairs exist and they have no knowledge at all.
»

I suppose then that therefore non-existence is the way to start knowing for a Christian. Weren't these guys the ones who said atheist worldviews are absurd?

«What I find interesting, and well, I suppose it IS interesting. Is that these axioms look more like a set of inductive arguments than axioms.»

It's more interesting that this TAGer can't stop using those very same axioms even when saying that they are circular or that they "look inductive arguments." I think this person does not understand axioms.

July 15, 2013 4:33 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

«Axioms should be self evident, but the way in which he describes these axioms does not fit the criteria of self evident. »

Because this person did not have to exist before being able to utter this nonsense, and this person did not have to be conscious before uttering this nonsense.

Shit, Christians do have a hard time thinking.

July 15, 2013 4:36 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Photo,

Jason Peterson wrote: "«... because if the 3 axioms he gave were truly a foundation for epistemology then it would be what EVERYONE would be using for their epistemology.(Whether they knew it or not.)»"

You wrote: "Exactly! Bingo! Stop there! This is exactly why when a Christian or anybody else claims that these axioms are false they commit the fallacy of the stolen concept. They deny the axioms while using them (I don't think that objectivists have said that only objectivists can gain knowledge or that only them use any axioms.)"

Nice catch, Photo! If I replied with nothing else but what you wrote, it would be sufficient to refute Jason Peterson's whole, confused, misinformed, attack on Objectivism.

Ydemoc

July 15, 2013 7:25 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Photosynthesis remarked: Really? So, in a Christian worldview their god does not have to exist in order to know something? Their god can know things without anything existing? The Christian themselves do not have to exist before being able to gain knowledge? Nothing else would have to exist in order to gain knowledge about something? And then TAGers say that atheist worldviews are absurd.

The reason Petersen says he doesn't need existence to have knowledge is that he, like DesCartes, holds that existence and consciousness are two separate autonomous metaphysical realms. Petersen arbitrarily thinks there is "apriori" knowledge that somehow obtains independently of reality. No surprise here, Christianity is based on a foundation of subjective idealism. Petersen's problem is to define and describe how he know this apart from reality and then demonstrate his description is valid without recourse to existence or his story book of religious fairy tales.

July 16, 2013 6:28 AM  
Blogger freddies_dead said...

This Petersen bloke seems a complete dick. He loves to throw out assertions as if they're facts. It would be interesting to see if he could back any of these assertions up with an actual argument. It seems we're supposed to simply take his word for it. Of course that's entirely consistent with his "wishing makes it so" Christian worldview but, unfortunately for him, reality doesn't agree.

Existence has no epistemological benefit

Lolwut? Are you suggesting that epistemology is possible if nothing exists? Really?

consciousness provides no foundation for epistemology

Oh the irony. I wonder whether he realises that he's based his whole worldview on a consciousness he's just stated cannot provide a foundation for his worldview?

P1: Without God, knowledge is not possible.

P2: Kowledge is possible.

Conclusion: Therefore, it is not the case that God does not exist.


Swap God for Blarko, the FSM, an invisible pink unicorn, Romulans, Jedi, the Terran Federation etc... etc...

The syllogism may be valid but that doesn't mean that the premises are true. After all he never actually gives an argument to show that his first premise is indeed true, he merely asserts that it's not possible to be otherwise.

In order to falsify the first premise you would have to build a foundation for epistemology which is consistent and not self contradictory.

Burden of proof fella. Even though Objectivism is perfectly capable of giving such a foundation it's actually your job to show how it is impossible in principle, care to try? Cue all sorts of wild and wonderful assertions about a worldview - Objectivism - that he has very little knowledge of.

We could probably all go on and on listing the fallacies and errors in his "argument" but lets see if he ever gets around to responding to Dawson. That should be hilarious.

July 17, 2013 5:39 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Mr. Peterson, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Ok, sorry I could not resist:)

July 17, 2013 9:42 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Everyone,

Thanks for all the great input.

When I went over to Jason Peterson's site with the intention of posting a comment or two in reply, I noticed that he had shut down all comments on the blog entry in question.

I thought about leaving comments on a different thread, but I'd probably just be wasting my time. (But I still may do so)

Above, he says that he's going to "be responding to 'Bahnsen Burner.'" If and when he does, perhaps that's when I'll attempt to leave my comments.

I think he mentioned in another entry over on his blog that he was active on Facebook (I believe he mentioned interacting with Alex Botten, among others). I don't have a Facebook account, but if any of you are aware of his activity elsewhere, could you please let me know? I'd like to provide him with a link to this thread, so that he can at least read (if not grasp) how his position is refuted with every breath he takes.

Ydemoc

July 17, 2013 3:54 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Little bit of entertainment for you guys. This dude makes my head hurt.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnQ63AOrs6s

July 19, 2013 7:44 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Justin wrote: Mr. Peterson, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought.

Petersen argued: P1: Without God, knowledge is not possible.

P2: Kowledge is possible.

Conclusion: Therefore, it is not the case that God does not exist.


Petersen is assuming either a Cartesian or Kantian model of all cognitive content. If the former, then his reason for doubting the veracity of his own sense experience and hence the existence of an external world is Descates' purely arbitrary appeal to an evil demon. But there are no evil demons evident by human experience, so Descartes meditation was an exercise in petitio principi. If, on the other hand, Petersen stands with Kant and his representationalist followers, then his argument falls to the stolen concept inherent to Kant's faulty reasoning since it is only knowledge of an external world that exists independently of consciousness by which one could comparatively interpret their perceptual experiences for similarities and differences to arrive at a conclusion that one's own experience is not veridical and is merely an appearance made understandable by virtue of undetectable (and petitio principi - question begging) "categories" that impose order on an otherwise incoherent sensory manifold field. Either way Petersen's argument fails; so yes, Justin is correct to characterize Petersen's argument as idiotic.

July 19, 2013 8:28 AM  
Blogger Luiz Claudio said...

"Without God, knowledge is not possible"

With God anything would be possible, including knowledge without God

July 19, 2013 6:13 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Robert

Thanks for the detailed tear down of Mr Peterson. I was however making a joke, the line I posted is from a pop culture meme started by the movie Billy Madison. I am aware of the failures of his argument for thank you for articulating them so well.

If you would like to see me poke holes in our old friend Michael (blow my top) Rawlings swing by reality:)

http://court-of-reality.blogspot.com/2013/07/mr-rawlings-at-war-with-reality.html

July 19, 2013 8:37 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Justin, friends and readers. Thanks Justin for your comment and for taking time to respond to me. I appreciate the opportunity to interact by reciting a lesson I learned from David Kelly's book, "Evidence of the Senses" so that I may further integrate a bit of his brilliance.

I will take time to read your blog dealing with MDR. It should be jolly good fun.

I had a good work out today and celebrated by cheating on my diet. I've lost the twenty pounds and am in better shape, but I have to maintain, so tomorrow is an endurance cardio day.

Best and Good

July 20, 2013 6:28 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

I was going thru the links you provide to christian blogs and discovered that Mr Pike has lost calvindude.com. Appears he was defrauded. The link you have now points to a Calvin Klein commercial website. His current and correct URL is calvindude.org

July 23, 2013 7:30 PM  
Blogger Cameron Roth said...

Not sure if this has been covered but in regard to the OP how is it vicious circular reasoning? Also, how are you difereniating between "objective" and "an argument"?

March 30, 2014 1:30 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Cameron,

You wrote: “Not sure if this has been covered but in regard to the OP how is it vicious circular reasoning?”

It’s not clear what specifically you’re reacting to here. In my blog entry above, my statement about fallaciously circular reasoning was clearly hypothetical. There I wrote:

<< Do the premises of this argument assume the truth of the point in question – namely the assertion that the Christian god exists?

If yes, then such an argument, given that it is presumably an attempt to infer a conclusion from a set of premises, can be dismissed as fallaciously circular.
>>

Notice the little leading word ‘if’ there? Naturally if we are to determine whether or not a specific argument is circular, we need to see that argument in order to examine it. However, presuppositionalists themselves make statements – such as that they “start with God” and that “God must be presupposed in order to argue anything” – which only suggest that any attempt to draw the conclusion that “God exists” must, on their own paradigm, assume the very thing they are trying to prove, which is circular. Van Til himself acknowledged that he “prefer[s] to reason in a circle to not reasoning at all” (A Survey of Christian Epistemology, p. 12).

You asked: “Also, how are you difereniating between ‘objective’ and ‘an argument’?”

Objectivity is a principle concerning the orientation of reasoning to reality, and an argument is a specific instance of reasoning.

In essence, objectivity means going by the facts. More technically, objectivity is adherence to the primacy of existence throughout the course of one’s reasoning. For example, you’ve probably heard the retort “wishing doesn’t make it so.” This retort is true because reality does not conform to conscious activity (such as wishing). Reality does not conform to other types of conscious activity as well. The primacy of existence is the formal, explicit recognition that existence exists independent of conscious activity. Thus it is the fundamental premise of the retort.

An argument is the formal or informal presentation of a conclusion and the premises which support or are thought to support it.

Hope that helps!

Regards,
Dawson

April 05, 2014 4:43 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home