Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sye Ten Bruggencate vs. the Absolute Laws of Logic

In an exchange with David Smalley (here, at 7:27-29), internet apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate asks the following question:
“How do you account for absolute laws of logic?”
Sye loves to pose questions like this and others about knowledge, reasoning, certainty, etc., but this is part of his rue: he’s not at all interested in what anyone might say in response to his questions. He has already presupposed that whatever any non-Christian is going to say is defective in some way which he never pins down or demonstrates.

Sye makes it clear in his own promotional videos (see relevant excerpts collected here) that “no matter what the objection is” – i.e., no matter what the non-believer affirms on behalf of his worldview or states in answer to apologetic questions – he’s going to respond with two rejoinders: “that’s not in the Bible” and “where do you get truth without God?” The first is a statement that tells non-believers nothing they don’t already know – they’re not Christians, so pointing out that their worldview is “not in the Bible” is not likely to strike anyone as earth-shattering. Then again, it is intellectually irresponsible simply to presuppose that whatever a person affirms is not going to be found in the bible – one should wait to hear what it is before making such a rash judgment, even before one knows what it is! The second is in the form of a question which is apparently intended to elicit the response, “Duh, I donno, must be God did it!” which is just a confession of ignorance, one which is preconditional to accepting the presuppositionalist perspective: one would have to throw out everything he already knows to be true to accept their string of lies.

Moreover, it is clear that Sye himself, and Christians in general, cannot address the questions they themselves pose to non-believers. Upon examination, it becomes clear that their claim that a supernatural being has “revealed” things to them not only fails to address these questions, it only manages to raise other questions and increase their ever-growing burden of proof which they can never meet rationally. One of the leading presuppositionalists of the day, John Frame, admits that he cannot answer the question “How do you know that?” with when he affirms “We know without knowing how we know” (for details, see my blog John Frame’s Empty-Handed Epistemology). With confessions of ignorance such as this, why should we suppose that Christianity has anything of value to contribute to our understanding of logic? Blank out.

Also, by informing their apologetic strategy primarily with questions aimed at the non-believer, presuppositionalists like Sye make it clear that they are very much concerned to keep the attention off of their worldview – and particularly, the fact that they cannot produce any distinctively Christian “account” for the issues they raise in their inquisitory confrontation with non-believers. This is beyond ironic since they're claiming to have all this infallible knowledge from an omniscient source, and yet they never teach men anything of value. When they do make statements about knowledge, it is all given in a context of "you can't know" and "you can't do this or that." They are explicitly opposed to the can-do spirit of independent rational thought. Their questions are deliberately constructed and posed in order to destroy man's confidence in his own mind - that he is epistemologically helpless on his own, that he lacks whatever may be needed to discover and validate knowledge, that he can never be certain of anything unless he surrenders his mind to their god. Apparently they believe that their god did not create a defect-free creation in man!

What we find in presuppositional apologetics is not the spirit of “come now, and let us reason together” (cf. Isaiah 1:18), but rather an explicitly adversarial confrontation aggressively charged with predetermined indifference to whatever the non-believer might have to say and a lack of genuine interest in the issues that they raise in their interrogations. We do not learn about the nature of logic or how to "account for absolute laws of logic" from either the Christian bible or from presuppositionalists themselves. Their goal is not to promote rational learning, but to disable it at its roots.
 
Does any of this suggest that as a non-Christian, I have no “account for absolute laws of logic”? Of course not.

My answer: I “account for absolute laws of logic” by referring to and understanding the subject-object relationship that is involved in any act of cognition, including forming and using concepts, inducing generalizations, drawing inferences, assembling proofs, formulating arguments, integrating conclusions to deduce new conclusions, etc. Before one can say “God exists,” he must be a subject conscious of some object(s) who has developed the ability to identify and integrate those objects by means of concepts.

The subject-object relationship is the relationship between consciousness and its objects. A conscious agent is conscious of objects. Simply being conscious of objects implies certain general truths which are absolute (given the existence of the relationship to begin with), which are perceptually self-evident and affirmed by the Objectivist axioms of existence, identity and consciousness. These are the fundamental recognitions that (a) existence exists (i.e., things exist, there is a reality); (b) to exist is to be something specific (i.e., A is A – if something exists, it is itself and only itself, nothing more, nothing less); and (c) consciousness is consciousness of something (i.e., consciousness requires an object). So in answer to Sye’s question, I appeal to the axioms, which are absolute – i.e., they are certain and they are not subject to change. The fact that existence exists is absolutely true; the fact that a thing which exists is itself and has a nature distinct from other things is absolutely true.

Furthermore, since the relationship between consciousness and its objects is not a relationship of equals, I appeal to the fact that only one orientation between the subject and its objects obtains, which we call the primacy of existence. The primacy of existence is the fundamental recognition that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of the activity by which the subject is conscious of those objects. In other words, existence exists independent of consciousness. Thus we have in the recognition Objectivism calls the primacy of existence, the fundamental principle of objectivity: the objects of consciousness hold metaphysical primacy over the subject of consciousness, which means: the objects of consciousness are not a “creation” of any act of consciousness, nor do they conform to conscious activity, but rather: the subject, in order to know the objects of its consciousness, must conform to the objects by identifying them according to their identity and recognize that the objects of its consciousness do not conform to its dictates, wishes, commands, preferences, feelings, likes or dislikes, imagination, etc. To put it in familiar terms: wishing doesn’t make it so. Why? Because existence holds metaphysical primacy over consciousness. The fact that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they independent of the activity by which the subject is conscious of those objects is absolutely true.

Lastly, since we identify the objects of consciousness by means of concepts, I appeal to the objective theory of concepts, which alone accounts for the process by which the mind (a) distinguishes one object from another, (b) recognizes similarity between two or more objects, (c) unites them by a process of measurement-omission, (d) integrates them into the sum of one’s knowledge, (e) establishes a hierarchical structure among concepts so formed, and (f) applies the principle of measurement-omission to methods by which knowledge can be expanded beyond the level of immediate perception, including inductive generalization and, subsequently, deduction from generalized facts, and finally proofs. Without measurement-omission, there would be no such thing as formal logic. The basic principle of measurement-omission is: “the relevant measurements [of some object being identified] must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity” (Ayn Rand, “Concept-Formation,” Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 12). Formal logic makes use of this process by treating the terms of an argument as variable: an argument must have some terms, but it could have any terms. Thus formal rules of inference are available in every area that is subject to rational investigation, whether it is geology, architecture, plumbing, meteorology, genealogy, mathematics, physics, accounting, music, sports, drama, teaching, technology, engineering, even epistemology. Thus logic is an application of principles of concept-formation to the process of inference. Thus we can survey the relevant absolutes as follows: the fact that man must identify the objects of his consciousness by taking into account everything he can discover about the nature of those objects is absolutely true; the fact that he is not automatically correct in his identifications is absolutely true, which means: the fact that he needs an objective method by which to identify and integrate the objects he perceives into the sum of his knowledge is absolutely true.

No, we will not learn any of this by reading stories in the bible. But without all of these factors – the truth of the axioms, the primacy of existence, and the objective theory of concepts – no use of logic would be possible. In short, without the subject-object relationship as it is understood by Objectivism, there could be no logic. If you deny Objectivism, you deny the basis of logic.

So, in short, that is how I “account for absolute laws of logic.”

Sye Ten Bruggencate is welcome to disagree as he flips desperately through his bible to find an alternative “account for absolute laws of logic.” He would save some valuable time by acknowledging the fact that his bible presents no such “account for absolute laws of logic.” His biblical worldview has absolutely nothing of value to contribute to our understanding of logic. As a debating point which he uses against non-believers, he has essentially borrowed logic from rational philosophy in order to destroy rational philosophy. What could be more irrational than that?

So here’s the challenge for Sye Ten Bruggencate, or any other presuppositionalist, or any Christian or whoever for that matter, who might want to object to what I’ve presented: demonstrate that the “account for absolute laws of logic” that I have given here is wrong. For extra points, try the following:
1. Prove that each aspect of the subject-object relationship as Objectivism identifies should not be involved in giving an “account for absolute laws of logic” without making use of any of the elements cited in that “account” - i.e., do not make use of the fact that there is a reality (the axiom of existence); do not make use of the fact that things which exist have identity (the axiom of identity); do not make use of any consciousness, including your own (the axiom of consciousness); do not imply that something is the case independent of anyone’s wishes, dictates, preferences, commands, emotional tantrums, imagination, etc., (i.e., do not performatively apply the primacy of existence); and do not use any concepts which are formed by a process of abstraction and therefore “accounted for” by means of the objective theory of concepts (you’ll need to apply some subjective theory of concepts); and  
2. Present an alternative “account for absolute laws of logic” which in no way borrows from any portion of the “account for absolute laws of logic” which I have presented above.
Good luck! (I predict you’ll need it!) By the way, before attempting the above challenge, I suggest that any would-be contestants examine my paper Does Logic Presuppose the Christian God?

by Dawson Bethrick

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73 Comments:

Blogger wakawakwaka said...

hey Dawson are you willing to debate Jason Lisle the infamous author of the "ultamite proof of creation"? you should take a look at his blog, and its comments its so funny yet so sad at the same time

July 27, 2013 10:56 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

I found this website: Is Logic an Absolute?. It's by a theist, but has some sappy answers:

Logic is intrinsic to reality. It requires no justification for its existence because reality itself is the initiator of logic.

Existence versus non-existence, is the foundation of logic.

... the basic law of logic exists independently of mind ...

... logic requires no more validation of its existence than does time or space. As time and space need no validation, since there is no existence without them, so logic needs no validation outside of itself.


July 28, 2013 7:37 AM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

and also can you take a look at some of the arguements on this site? http://covenant-theology.blogspot.ca/2013/02/science-and-wisdom-part-i.html?showComment=1375040026299#c876949729443009492 like with the comments?

July 28, 2013 1:35 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

The next time I interact with a Christian who asks something along the lines of, "Why don't you believe in God?", I'm going to try and remember to respond with:

The reason I don't believe in your god (or any ruling consciousness for that matter), and the reason I'm not buying your sales pitch, is because "[I] would have to throw out everything [I] already know to be true to accept [your] string of lies."

Ydemoc


July 29, 2013 4:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hey Dawson,

Over on Debunking Christianity, I came across the following comment that was left by an apologist with the moniker "philomythos747." He wrote, in part:

"I define faith... in such a way that it is not only compatible with reason, but works hand in hand with it."

This person then provided the following link:

http://contemplativeapologetics.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/faith-and-reason/

I went there. Here are just a few snippets:

"I argue that Faith and Reason are not inherently contradictory..."

"Faith, basically, is trust. Here is our starting point. When I say that I have faith in my friend, I am saying basically that I trust him. My friend is kind, dependable, and honest, so I trust him. It may be appropriate now to ask, am I being reasonable in giving him my trust?"

"The most essential point of my argument is that faith is not the reason why a Christian believes, but rather the virtue with which he or she aids and maintains that belief despite changing moods and emotions. Faith is not irrational by definition; rather, it may be called rational or irrational (i.e. blind) depending on the reasons give for it."

Something must really be nagging at such Christians, for them to always try so hard to make faith compatible with reason.

I don't think I've ever seen this happening the other way around, i.e., those holding to a rational worldview, lobbying for faith.

Anyway, I think I'll leave "philomythos74" links to a few of your blog entries. The ones that immediately come to mind are:

Lord Oda on Faith
http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2007/10/lord-oda-on-faith.html

Faith as Belief Without Understanding
http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2007/01/faith-as-belief-without-understanding.html


Faith as Hope in the Imaginary
http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2008/06/faith-as-hope-in-imaginary.html

Ydemoc

July 29, 2013 6:32 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

wakawakwaka,

I took a look, and "puritan lad" is too obtuse to be able to have a honest conversation.

If you want to argue with those kinds of idiots, you have to be able to concentrate and avoid the temptation to say a lot (unless you're Dawson). Imbeciles like puritan lad hang to every word you say, but not looking for understanding what you mean, but looking for something they can deform and then use against you, while keeping attention far from their own failures and lack of actual and meaningful answers. They want to keep you on the defensive to avoid their burden of proof. Presuppositionalism is a series of tricks. A debating technique. Not an argument.

July 29, 2013 7:11 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Ydemoc,

You propose saying to Christians: “The reason I don't believe in your god (or any ruling consciousness for that matter), and the reason I'm not buying your sales pitch, is because ‘[I] would have to throw out everything [I] already know to be true to accept [your] string of lies.’"

I think this sums up the choice which their worldview requires of one, given its fundamental clashes with reality. Should I go with mysticism and legends, or should I go with reality? Muslims, Christians, Hindus, etc., are people who’ve made the former choice. I have made the latter. And they resent me for this. Whose problem is that? Certainly not mine.

The presuppositioanl apologetic makes it very clear that we’re supposed to abandon what we know to be true in order to “submit” to their cartoon version of reality. Apologists themselves say that belief in their god is not something we’re supposed to accept on top of everything we already know, since everything we already know (or, as they would put it, think we know) is supposedly built atop a defective foundation (and yet they claim, citing Romans 1, that we already “know” that their god exists – go figure). Rather, we’re supposed to make a complete overhaul in our thinking – a 180 degree turn, an about-face in which we turn our backs to reality in order to immerse our entire psychology in the unlit labyrinth of Christian hysteria.

The question boils down to the source of what we accept as knowledge: do we discover and validate knowledge by actively looking outward at reality, or do we passively “receive” knowledge from a supernatural source by looking inward to the contents of our imagination? For any mystic (including Christians), any foundation which does not begin by looking inward is going to be rejected as defective; you can’t look outward, they claim (in a variety of ways – all seeking to undermine man’s reliance on reason), until you first look inward (to our “presuppositions”), and even then, looking outward is just for the unimportant stuff – like the facts we need to know in order to live our lives… useless nonsense like that…). This is precisely why Douglas Jones begins his Why & What: A Brief Introduction to Christianity with the following instruction to the reader:

<< Imagine that you are mistaken about everything you hold dear. >>

One could not suppose that the knowledge we acquire by looking outward is important to our lives if he could seriously suggest to us that we’re “mistaken about everything [we] hold dear.” One of the things that I hold dear is truth. I hold that truth is a value to man. So to apply Jones’ thought experiment, I would have to imagine that truth has no value for man. One of the truths that I “hold dear” is that there is a fundamental distinction between what is real and what I imagine. So in wanting me to “imagine” (note this!) that I am “mistaken about everything [I] hold dear,” Jones would have me “imagine” that I am mistaken about the fact that there is a fundamental distinction between what is real and what I imagine – that there really is no such distinction. And indeed, I would have to blur the distinction between what is real and what is imaginary in order to embrace the Christian worldview. But I already know this. I am not willing to pretend that this distinction is not what it is, and consequently I am not a Christian, or any kind of mystic.

So when Christians try to corner us with their “How do you know that?” questions, we need to turn this on their claim, vis. Romans 1, that we “know” that their god exists: How do I (supposedly) know this? They won’t accept any explanation of how I know anything, so why would they suddenly take a powder on this matter? They don’t even explain how I could know that their god exists themselves. The whole thing is just self-serving to their apologetic ambitions so long as they steer clear of letting this tension ever rise to the surface.

Regards,
Dawson

July 30, 2013 2:30 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Wak,

You asked: “hey Dawson are you willing to debate Jason Lisle the infamous author of the ‘ultamite proof of creation’?”

I’m generally opposed to debates. I see no positive value in them. Theists who want me to debate generally cannot give me any good reasons why I should do so. Nor can they specify a topic of debate that I have not already settled.

Of course, if anyone wants to post an objection to something I’ve stated, either here or elsewhere, he is welcome to bring his contention to me, right here in my blog. (I have ‘comment moderation’ only for two individuals who have severely abused commenting privileges here in the past; I typically “approve” comments from all other commenters pretty much indiscriminately, with very few exceptions.)

So if Jason Lisle wants to come here and interact with something I’ve affirmed, he’s welcome to do so. Otherwise, I see no reason to go out of my way to engage someone on another forum. I’m at a point now where so many people come to me, I really don’t need to go looking for them.

You wrote: “you should take a look at his blog, and its comments its so funny yet so sad at the same time”

I’m guessing I would have the same reaction a poet once told me in confidence: “I’ve known him all my life.” I really doubt there’s anything new I would learn from him. But if you think there is anything specific that you’d like me to look at, please feel free to post cited quotations here (give the actual quote and cite the source where it came from). If I have time, I can post my “reaction” to it. Even better, other visitors might post their reactions. It doesn’t have to be me. Many thinkers are better than I am.

You wrote: “and also can you take a look at some of the arguements on this site? http://covenant-theology.blogspot.ca/2013/02/science-and-wisdom-part-i.html?showComment=1375040026299#c876949729443009492 like with the comments?”

If I had time, I’d be happy to. Really, I would. But I really don’t have the time to go hunting for things that are not directly relevant to my current writing schedule. I really need to stay focused. If there’s something specific you want to be discussed, post the quote here and give a citation. Many here would probably be happy to look at it.

Regards,
Dawson

July 30, 2013 3:37 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

NAL found the following quote:

“Logic is intrinsic to reality.”

In reaction to this, I can only say: I don’t think logic is possible outside the context of the subject-object relationship. We do not say “This rock is logical” and “That rock is not logical.” Logic pertains to identifications that a consciousness makes in regard to some object. Without this relationship, there’s nothing to call logical or not logical.

The quote states: “It requires no justification for its existence because reality itself is the initiator of logic.”

I don’t think logic is a concrete entity which exists independent of the subject-object relationship. Specifically, I don’t think logic is an independently existing entity. Logic is psychological, like concepts, ideas, understanding, identification. Thus logic is not an irreducible primary. It is not analogous to rocks, mountains, stars, planets, moons, asteroids, rivers, clouds, etc. Logic is cognitive, so there must be some cognitive causality involved in its relationship between reality generally and the mind specifically.

The quote states: “Existence versus non-existence, is the foundation of logic.”

But the notion ‘non-existence’ does not refer to an actually existing thing. To what does ‘non-existence’ refer, if not to something the mind *imagines* in contrast to existence? Thus, while the concept ‘existence’ denotes a mind-independent state of affairs, the concept ‘non-existence’ denotes something we *imagine*in contrast to what exists. Thus the alternative “existence versus non-existence” is not conceptually irreducible, so it cannot be “foundational” to anything. We need a foundation for the notion of “non-existence,” which is our recognition of the fact that existence exists. Beyond this, we need the ability to imagine alternatives to what exists. We need an integrated context of concepts to be able to do this.

The quote states: “... the basic law of logic exists independently of mind ...”

The “basic law of logic” is really a type of principle which the mind identifies on the basis of perceptual input. That principle is: the law of identity. The law of identity is the general principle which states that to exist is to be something specific, i.e., for a thing to exist, it must be itself (as opposed to something other than itself). Generally speaking, we can denote the law of identity by stating: A is A. It is a *fact* that a thing is itself. We denote the recognition of this fact with the concept ‘identity’.

The quote states: “... logic requires no more validation of its existence than does time or space. As time and space need no validation, since there is no existence without them, so logic needs no validation outside of itself.”

Of course, I’m guessing that many presuppositionalists would disagree with statements like this, particularly if they came from a critic of Christianity. If the statement came from another Christian, most likely attempts would be made to keep the dispute *in house*. Apologists surely are not going to issue disclaimers to the effect that other Christians disagree with their “presuppositions” about logic. Some believers, for instance, have made statements to the effect that the Christian god “created logic,” while more savvy presuppositionalists avoid making such pronouncements and in fact deny such claims. But we should not expect them to draw attention to these internal debates (even though they exist, given what different apologists have claimed). Rather, part of the goal, going back to the days of the NT, is to present a unified and uniform Christianity. We know that there is no such thing. Even in the apostle Paul’s day, there was no such thing. It’s only gotten worse – a lot worse – since then.

Regards,
Dawson

July 30, 2013 4:25 AM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

Dawson i am curious though, the guy purtian lad said that how do we know that our minds have a fruitful connection to treaty if they are just "chemicals" how should i anwser that?

July 30, 2013 10:02 AM  
Blogger NAL said...

Dawson,

Thanks for those great responses.

What I think STB and others are trying to do is treat the laws of logic like law of physics, that is, they exist independent of human consciousness. Would you consider the law of gravity a concrete entity? Or would you consider gravity a concrete entity but the law a concept?

How about the law of identity? Would you consider that a concrete entity? Would a rock still be a rock if there was no one to perceive it? (I am trying to recall the arguments used by a certain Calvinist on another blog.) Or would the rock be an entity until give the identity "rock" by human consciousness?

Thanks.

July 30, 2013 1:17 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Wak,

You asked: “Dawson i am curious though, the guy purtian lad said that how do we know that our minds have a fruitful connection to treaty [reality?] if they are just ‘chemicals’ how should i anwser that?”

How I might answer that and how another might answer it may likely be two (or more?) different things. We each have to formulate our own views on things; of course, I’m always open to the persuasion of reason on these matters, as we all should be.

My view is that ‘mind’ denotes the sum cognitive activity of our brains/nervous system (as opposed to, e.g., the autonomic or maintenance operation which the brain performs) considered as a single whole, as a unit. So I would not equate the mind with “just ‘chemicals’” – i.e., brain (really, the entire nervous system) and mind are distinct from each other in a way analogous to the way that the stomach and intestines are distinct from digestion, or the lungs from breathing. There are the organs responsible for a type of bodily function on the one hand, and the actions those organs perform on the other. It is their nature to act in the way that they do; that’s why we don’t digest with our brains or breathe with our intestine. Consciousness is not an independently existing entity, but a type of activity performed by an entity, namely the biological organism which possesses this faculty, and the biological organism has organs which make this type of activity possible – e.g., sensory organs, nerve cells, a brain, etc.

Our bodies are biological in nature; they are composed of elements found naturally in the universe, they function in a self-regulating manner, and they are goal-oriented (the goal being to live life as an end in itself). Since our bodies (including the organs which make up our nervous system) are composed of elements that already exist naturally in the universe, there’s a “connection” – physical organisms in a physical reality. The “fruitfulness” of that connection comes as a result of the *activity* which those systems perform. When we breathe, the action allows the lungs to take in elements from the atmosphere and turn them into a form that the body can use. That is a “fruitful connection” to reality (since it is a type of interaction with the environment surrounding the organism, and it pro-life results for the organism) which does not involve mental activity right there, so I don’t think there’s any great hurdle here, though that’s what the question wants us to presume – i.e., that there’s some conflict or impasse that is supposed to stump us (another “Duh, I donno…” type of question).

[continued…]

July 30, 2013 3:17 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Perception is clearly a physical type of activity. For instance, my eyes, which are physical sensory organs, react to light reflected off objects which exist within the range of my eyes’ receptivity. The result (“fruitful connection”) is eyesight – i.e., perceptual awareness in the form of vision. All of this is centralized in the brain by a very complex configuration of nerves and nerve paths. Beyond this, I would say that this is a scientific matter: since it requires specialized knowledge in a particular area of study, it does not come under the purview of philosophy. (If Puritan Lad or anyone else insists on more, ask him to show you how the bible addresses this very question, and see how far he gets. Is he expecting more knowledge from a non-Christian than he does from his own “special revelation”?)

The general point here, however, should be unmistakably clear: consciousness is biological in nature. All evidence – without exception – shows us that any thing that is conscious is also a biological organism. Rocks, sand, dirt, drops of water, clouds, mountains, icebergs, driftwood, asteroids, suns, nebulae, etc.: there is absolutely no evidence that these things – which are not biological in nature – possess consciousness. Consciousness, then, is a special type of activity belonging to a specific category of existents – i.e., biological organisms. Similarly, rocks do not digest, sand does not circulate blood, asteroids do not perform photosynthesis, etc. All these are biological functions. There’s no “Duh, I donno” impasse here. The theist is the one who is ignorant, and he wants to remain ignorant – i.e., he does not think answers to these questions are available to be discovered right here on earth. He wants to find some way to salvage his god-belief from his own suppressed recognition that it’s all imaginary, so he diverts attention to questions like this which he deliberately phrases in a way so as to ensure a desired outcome: namely, more ignorance. He doesn’t want answers. Answers will not allow him to continue evading reality. And he considers other minds which have answers that do not depend on his god-belief to be a threat that needs to be wiped out. That is why presuppers focus their apologetic craft on undermining reason and men’s confidence in their own minds. There is nothing legitimate or rational in their venture.

Does that help?

Regards,
Dawson

July 30, 2013 3:17 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Nal,

You wrote: “What I think STB and others are trying to do is treat the laws of logic like law of physics, that is, they exist independent of human consciousness. Would you consider the law of gravity a concrete entity? Or would you consider gravity a concrete entity but the law a concept?”

I think first we need to clarify the difference between gravity proper (which I take to be a property or attribute of physical objects – most notably really large ones, like planets, moons, suns, etc.) on the one hand, and “the law of gravity” on the other. The former is clearly mind-independent: existence exists, and the things which do exist, exist and are what they are independent of conscious activity. So the earth, for instance, was “holding” things down to its surface long before any conscious organisms came along and said, “Gee, why is that?” Even when we came along and started to wonder about it, it already existed as something for us to wonder about.

In the case of the latter – i.e., the *law* of gravity – I’m not a physicist, but my understanding is that this is intended to denote a generalized principle formulated to identify the phenomenon we call ‘gravity’. Thus the *law of gravity* would be a type of identification, and, if that’s the case, it is a product of subject-object interaction. The gravity of the earth, sun, moon, Mars, etc., obtains independent of any conscious activity, but the identification of this phenomenon is not independent of conscious activity: all identification is a type of conscious activity, and thus requires a consciousness to perform it. This of course does not make the law of gravity “subjective” since “subjective” does not mean “involving conscious activity,” but rather *in accordance with the primacy of consciousness* in some way, shape or form (i.e., “it’s true because I want it to be true”). Objectivity is possible to man: we are capable of identifying objects according to what we discover about them, i.e., in accordance to the primacy of existence.

Also, while I would not consider gravity per se to be an entity in its own right (it’s a property or attribute which an entity like the earth or the sun possesses), we can *treat* the “law of gravity” as a unit conceptually - that’s the beautify of concepts: they allow us to treat an endless sum of units as a unit in its own right.

Nal wrote: “How about the law of identity? Would you consider that a concrete entity? Would a rock still be a rock if there was no one to perceive it? (I am trying to recall the arguments used by a certain Calvinist on another blog.) Or would the rock be an entity until give the identity "rock" by human consciousness?”

I think the same distinctions I highlighted above apply here. Remember Rand’s dictum: “Existence is Identity. Consciousness is Identification.” (“Galt’s Speech,” Atlas Shrugged; For the New Intellectual, p. 125) A rock would still be itself even if no one ever comes along and perceives and identifies it as a rock; and a rock was a rock before someone came along and said, “That’s a rock!” It would not be an identity-less entity before someone identifies it a rock – that would make identity completely subjective: it would mean that things exist, but they have no identity until someone comes along and assigns them their identity. And on what basis would a consciousness do this? Certainly not on some objective basis, for it would already be the case that there’s nothing inherent in the entity to distinguish it as a rock from anything else. So Rand’s dictum is spot on. She reduces a hugely important fundamental recognition into just a few words which are unmistakable in meaning. That is brilliance.

Hope that helps, too!

Regards,
Dawson

July 30, 2013 3:45 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks for the reply, Dawson. I haven't yet made a text clipping of it, but I plan to.

As to your response to Wak, you wrote: "All evidence – without exception – shows us that any thing that is conscious is also a biological organism. Rocks, sand, dirt, drops of water, clouds, mountains, icebergs, driftwood, asteroids, suns, nebulae, etc.: there is absolutely no evidence that these things – which are not biological in nature – possess consciousness. Consciousness, then, is a special type of activity belonging to a specific category of existents – i.e., biological organisms."

Would it be fair to say that there never will be any evidence for rocks possessing consciousness? Since rocks would still be rocks, and these new biological organisms which possessed consciousness, wouldn't be classified as rocks at all; they would be classified as something else, but certainly not rocks.

If my summary is accurate, this would seems to put it in line with what I understand Binswanger has mentioned in his writings (and maybe Rand and you, too), and that is that conceptual classification, metaphorically speaking, is (as dream_weaver puts it, over on OjectivistAnswers.com) like a "file-folder" system, with "[t]he concept being represented by the binder. Everything you learn about [that concept] goes into that binder [or file-folder]. The definition, the essential characteristic(s), serves as the label on the binder [or file-folder]."

A "conscious rock" (for lack of a better expression), wouldn't even go into the file-folder for "rocks." We would have go identify such an organism with a whole new concept.

Would that be about right?

Ydemoc

July 30, 2013 10:16 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

Thanks Dawson,

The "Galt's Speech" line lead me to the first line in that paragraph:

To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of nonexistence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature [an identity] made of specific attributes.

Where "specific nature" comes from "The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made":

... that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity.

That clears things up for me. For now.

July 31, 2013 3:38 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Ydemoc,

You asked: “Would it be fair to say that there never will be any evidence for rocks possessing consciousness?”

One would need evidence to suppose that one day there may be evidence – whether it’s for “conscious rocks” or something else. Otherwise, we surrender our minds to the arbitrary. In that case, I could say, for instance, that there may someday be evidence discovered which shows that we really can breathe water all this time and didn’t know it; for thousands of years, mankind had this ability to breathe water, but people have drowned simply because they assumed that they could not breathe water. It could then be said that many have not drowned because they learned that they can actually breathe water, only we don’t hear about this because there’s some conspiracy out there trying to keep us from discovering this ability which we all allegedly have. (See how easy it is to spin a yarn of Blarney?)

You wrote: “Since rocks would still be rocks, and these new biological organisms which possessed consciousness, wouldn't be classified as rocks at all; they would be classified as something else, but certainly not rocks.”

Right. We would have to create a new category for them. We would need to form a new concept to identify and integrate these newly discovered “rocks” which possessed consciousness. Possessing consciousness would be sufficient enough to distinguish ordinary rocks from (supposed) “rocks” which have this attribute. I don’t think we should be surprised if we found other distinguishing attributes with these special “rocks” as well; their difference from “ordinary rocks” (what other kind is there?) would probably not be confined only to merely possessing consciousness. Does it grow? Does it reproduce? Does it consume food? Does it breathe? Can it die? Etc. Rather, I think we would need to ask why we thought they had any similarity to rocks in the first place.

You wrote: “If my summary is accurate, this would seems to put it in line with what I understand Binswanger has mentioned in his writings (and maybe Rand and you, too), and that is that conceptual classification, metaphorically speaking, is (as dream_weaver puts it, over on OjectivistAnswers.com) like a ‘file-folder’ system, with ‘[t]he concept being represented by the binder. Everything you learn about [that concept] goes into that binder [or file-folder]. The definition, the essential characteristic(s), serves as the label on the binder [or file-folder].’"

Rand draws the analogy between concepts and file folders in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, chapter 7: “The Cognitive Role of Concepts,” pp. 66-67.

You wrote: “A ‘conscious rock’ (for lack of a better expression), wouldn't even go into the file-folder for ‘rocks’. We would have go identify such an organism with a whole new concept.”

Exactly correct. Rocks would have nothing to do with it. We could not classify it as a special type of rock.

Regards,
Dawson

July 31, 2013 4:33 PM  
Blogger JohnD said...

Dawson,

I have some questions regarding your account for the laws of logic.

1. You said: A conscious agent is conscious of objects. What types of objects are these? Must they be physical objects? Is a dreamer considered conscious of his BMW convertible?

2. You said: to exist is to be something specific (i.e., A is A – if something exists, it is itself and only itself, nothing more, nothing less) What is an example of a changeless object? How do you answer the Greek skeptic that says all things are constantly changing so that nothing is ever the same from moment to moment?

3. You said: existence exists independent of consciousness. How do you know the world is not as Kant theorized such that objects are always dependent on the subject?

5. What is the nature of the laws of logic on your worldview?

I am not very familiar with objectivism but have found it intriguing. Thanks,
John D.

July 31, 2013 7:20 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello John,

Thank you for your message and for your questions.

You asked: “What types of objects are these?”

How many types of objects are there available for me to consider? By ‘object’ I mean anything one perceives and/or considers. An object is something that one is *aware of* or *conscious of*. So I would answer your question with: the kind that we can perceive and/or consider. Do you think there are others beyond this kind?

You asked: “Must they be physical objects?”

As opposed to what?

I wrote: “Is a dreamer considered conscious of his BMW convertible?”

I can’t say for sure. Is this dreamer perceiving his BMW? Is he thinking about it? Is he 100 miles away from it and thinking about other things? Is he imagining it?

Or, are you asking if he’s conscious of it only because he’s dreaming about it? If that’s the question, I would say that, in his unconscious state, his dream is a random assembly that his subconscious mind has put together by trying to fix itself on object while not in a waking state – i.e., it has pulled “at random” (i.e., without any guide, deliberate intentional activity or readily discernible reason) various image sets from his memory in order to have something (i.e., anything) to serve as an object. So perhaps your question is, “Is the dreamer conscious of what he’s dreaming?” in which case, I would say: only fleetingly. If that’s not a satisfying answer, my apologies – my theory of dreams is still in its nascent stage, and there’s a lot of science on the subject that I have not integrated.

You asked: “What is an example of a changeless object?”

My answer to this would probably depend on what ‘changeless’ is taken to mean.

For instance, I leave my house in the morning when I go to work, and when I come back, my house is still there, and it’s still the house that was there when I left in the morning. Broadly speaking, nothing has changed. But I typically leave a fan blowing inside to keep the air moving (it gets quite hot during the day here in Thailand), so those fan blades are constantly in motion while I’m away. So I suppose one could say that the drapes have moved slightly, back and forth, as the wind from the fan gently moves them, and thus that the house as a whole (which contains the drapes) has moved in some trivial way. But this would in no way pose a challenge to the law of identity (which, being conceptual in nature, allows for variation in measurements).

I know that my house hasn’t turned into a mushroom, if that’s what the question is asking.

Of course, Objectivism does not deny the reality of either change or action.

[continued…]

August 01, 2013 3:23 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You asked: “How do you answer the Greek skeptic that says all things are constantly changing so that nothing is ever the same from moment to moment?”

I might ask with a simple question: If I am expected to accept *as a fact* the claim that “all things are constantly changing so that nothing is ever the same from moment to moment,” is that (supposed) fact exempt from itself? Or, does that (supposed fact) also change “from moment to moment”?

Does the fact that there is a reality change? So long as I’ve been alive, this has changed one smidgeon. Does the fact that I face a fundamental alternative between life and death ever change? Has there ever been a moment in my life when I did not have the ability to die? I don’t think so. If the Greek skeptic has only specific concretes in mind, how does he validate this massive inductive generalization that “all things are constantly changing so that nothing is ever the same from moment to moment”? How does he know this about specific concretes that we cannot observe? What is the epistemological process which informs his line of inquiry?

You asked: “How do you know the world is not as Kant theorized such that objects are always dependent on the subject?”

By applying the primacy of existence consistently. The primacy of existence is an axiom. One would have to secretly assume the primacy of existence in order to say “objects are always dependent on the subject.”

Consider these questions: Is it the case that “objects are always dependent on the subject” because that’s the way it is, regardless of what any subject wishes, desires, prefers, imagines, feels, imagines, etc. (i.e., the primacy of existence)? Or, is it the case that “objects are always dependent on the subject” because the one who affirms this wishes it to be so, desires that it’s the case, imagines this to be how things are, feels that it is true, imagines it, etc. (i.e., the primacy of consciousness)?

You asked: “What is the nature of the laws of logic on your worldview?”

On my worldview (I’m standing on one foot here…), the “laws of logic” are conceptualizations of general facts which collectively serve as the objective norms by which man *should* guide his identification of the world (that is, *if* he wants to identify the world in a manner that is wholly consistent with the primacy of existence). How’s that?

You wrote: “I am not very familiar with objectivism but have found it intriguing.”

It’s a whole new realm of discovery waiting for you. You have nothing of genuine value to lose, and everything of genuine value to gain, by investigating Objectivism.

But don’t take my word for this! Find out for yourself!

Regards,
Dawson

August 01, 2013 3:40 AM  
Blogger JohnD said...

Dawson,

Thanks for the reply. Very informative to say the least. Just a couple more follow-up questions.

1. When I asked if objects must be physical, I was basically asking if you accept or deny objects that are perceived with the mind only, but not the senses. For example, I do not sense the law of identity but I can grasp it mentally as a proposition. Are 'propositions' considered objects according to objectivism?

2. Regarding your answer against Kant: suppose he held that objects in the natural world were always dependent on the subject perceiving them, whereas objects of the mind alone did not change based on personal conviction. (Your example that it is contradictory to say "the proposition 'objects are always dependent on the subject' obtains independently of the subject is not contradictory if propositions are viewed differently than objects of the natural world. Could you show that he was wrong about objects in the natural world?

3. If the laws of logic are "conceptualizations of general facts", then what general facts led to their conceptualization? I suppose I am confused about what 'facts' are in objectivism?

Peace,
John D.

August 01, 2013 7:50 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Thanks for another great response!

Ydemoc

August 01, 2013 10:59 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello John,

You wrote: “1. When I asked if objects must be physical, I was basically asking if you accept or deny objects that are perceived with the mind only, but not the senses.”

Hmmm… that question looks quite different from the one you had asked. It’s not even clear to me what “perceived with the mind only, but not the senses” could refer to. The concept ‘perception’ has a specific meaning in Objectivism, so without clarification, I can only work with the understanding I have. When I perceive an object, my senses are involved. Perception automatically integrates sense qualities to give us awareness of objects as entities (as opposed to chaotic jumbles of seemingly unconnected and unrelated sensations). When I see my car, for instance, I perceive it as an object that is distinct from the driveway on which it’s sitting and the gate behind which it is locked. What else could these be other than physical things? That was my question to you: physical as opposed to what? Did you see that question?

You wrote: “For example, I do not sense the law of identity but I can grasp it mentally as a proposition. Are 'propositions' considered objects according to objectivism?”

Since by ‘object’ I mean anything one can perceive and/or consider, then yes, we can consider propositions, so propositions can be objects of our awareness (such as when we want to think about the proposition “Ernie is in the tool shed” or any other proposition for that matter). We could call these psychological objects, since they are the form in which the mind integrates various previously formed concepts into more refined identifications of facts – i.e., entities existing in specific contexts. Thus propositions can be objects of our consciousness as when we direct the focus of our consciousness inward, on its own internal workings (such as when we consider the question, “How do I know that?”).

However, we should bear in mind that, since (a) propositions consist of concepts, (b) concepts must make reference to things beyond themselves in order to have meaning, and (c) concepts are formed by a mental process, no proposition could ever be a *primary* object – only at best a type of *secondary* object: we would need to have (had) awareness of the things we identified and integrated into the concepts from which we constructed those propositions before we could form the propositions themselves, thus making them available for us to consider qua objects of consciousness. Propositions are not primaries; we do not discover them by looking out at the world and perceiving, which is the process by which we acquire awareness of primaries. We look outward first, perceive things, identify and integrate them by means of concepts, and then use those concepts to make subsequent identifications in the form of propositions. Propositions do not come first – concretes do.

This seems quite different from what you had previously asked (i.e., “Must they be physical objects?”).

[continued…]

August 01, 2013 3:54 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “2. Regarding your answer against Kant: suppose he held that objects in the natural world were always dependent on the subject perceiving them, whereas objects of the mind alone did not change based on personal conviction.”

Okay, let’s suppose that he held this. I can only wonder why someone would think this. But anyway…

You wrote: “(Your example that it is contradictory to say “the proposition 'objects are always dependent on the subject' obtains independently of the subject is not contradictory if propositions are viewed differently than objects of the natural world.”

What specifically is the difference you have in mind here? If we suppose that there are two types of objects – e.g., (1) “objects in the natural world” vs. (2) “objects of the mind” – why suppose that the latter *are* dependent on the subject (when all evidence shows that they exist and are what they are independent of the subject – see for example below) and the latter *are not* dependent on the subject (which would need to exist and perform certain activities in order to formulate and consider those “objects of the mind” in the first place)? If I’m considering a proposition, how is that proposition independent of me as the subject doing the considering of that proposition? How could a proposition be independent of the subject when the objects to which that proposition refers are supposed somehow to be dependent on the subject? Also, would I not be able to choose *not* to consider that proposition? Couldn’t I choose to reformulate the proposition so that it says something else? If so, what caused the proposition to say what it said originally? By what means would I acquire awareness of the proposition if it exists entirely independent of my mental activity? These any many more questions would have to be considered (and since we would have to think of them, it seems that these questions would in some way be mind-dependent, at least in the sense of being dependent on the relationship between the subject and its objects, since both are clearly involved).

[continued…]

August 01, 2013 3:56 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “Could you show that he was wrong about objects in the natural world?”

There are a number of things to consider here; I do not have the time to exhaust them all here – nor do I think that would be necessary. But consider the following:

1) We can certainly test the primacy of existence by comparing our observations of an object with our mental activities in regard to that same object. If the object depends on the subject, then the object should conform to the mental activity of the subject; if the object exists and is what it is independent of the subject, the object should remain what unaffected by our mental activity. So I fix my awareness on an object right here in front of me, say a glass of water sitting on my desk. I continue observing it while I conduct a few mental experiments: I command the glass of water to start floating; what happens? Well, it does not start floating. Now I command it to turn into a glass of wine. Nope, no wine. It’s still the same glass of water it was before. Now I wish that the glass of water start floating; nope, it doesn’t float. Now I wish that it turns into a glass of wine. Nope, it doesn’t change – perhaps I’m not wishing hard enough. Now I start getting upset that it doesn’t float or turn into a glass of wine. Nope, still no change. Now I imaging that floats. Nope, no floating. I imagine that the glass of water turns into a glass of wine. No change. Again, I must not be imagining hard enough. Maybe I simply don’t have enough faith?

I can even forget that the glass of water is there as I go busy myself with something in another part of the house; later my wife comes and thanks me for the glass of water. I had forgotten all about it, but it continued to exist independently of my conscious activity which had refocused itself onto a different set of objects.

We can try things like this all day, but they all uniformly confirm the recognition of the primacy of existence: the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of the activity by which the subject is conscious of them. I.e., the objects are independent of the subject.

[continued…]

August 01, 2013 3:57 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

2) Here’s another point to consider: Conscious organisms (i.e., subjects) are essentially “coming into life” and “going out of life” all the time, and yet the world of objects existed before they lived and it continues to exist after they stop living. And those same conscious organisms can and often are objects of other conscious organisms (such as when one conscious organism perceives another).

I was nearly 41 years old when my daughter was born. She is now five-and-a-half years old. She is aware of me and has been since her infancy. So clearly I am an object of my daughter’s consciousness: see sees me, she feels me, she hears me, etc. If the object were dependent on the subject, how could this be? My daughter did not exist for over 40 years of my existence, and yet I existed. How did I depend on something that did not exist? To suppose that Kant were right, this is a most puzzling problem: as an object of my daughter’s awareness, I’m supposed to be dependent on her in some way. But how could this be for the decades that I lived before she was even born? It would seem that we would need to entirely wipe out everything we know to be true – including everything we know about biological reproduction (e.g., parents giving birth to children which did not exist until their parents gave birth to them) – but what would we replace it with, and why would we wipe out everything we know to be true?

3) We also recognize that consciousness is a type of activity which requires a performer, namely the organism which possesses the organic structures which make that activity possible – e.g., sensory organs like eyes, ears, skin, taste buds, etc., a nervous system and a brain to which nerve paths connect those sensory organs. The way that these sensory organs operate to give us awareness of things is by interacting with other objects which exist independent of their operation. The glass of water that I perceive on my table needs to exist as itself before I could perceive it. Also, the subject itself needs to exist before it could go around perceiving things. And the process by which the subject perceives things itself depends on structures and operates in a way that the subject does not put into place by means of conscious activity; e.g., I did not wish my eyeballs into their sockets, nor did I determine which nerve paths should be connected from my eyeballs to the brain or where in the brain they should terminate. All of this screams to us that existence holds metaphysical primacy over the subject, and as subjects it is in our interest to grasp this and govern our cognition accordingly.

Meanwhile, what evidence would Kant or anyone else bring forward to show that the primacy of consciousness holds in the subject-object relationship? I suppose I shan’t hold my breath.

[continued…]

August 01, 2013 3:57 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “3. If the laws of logic are ‘conceptualizations of general facts’, then what general facts led to their conceptualization? I suppose I am confused about what 'facts' are in objectivism?”

These are the general facts which are denoted by the axioms. We start with the general fact that there is a reality: existence exists. That’s the axiom of existence. Another one is: to exist is to be something specific. A is A. That’s the axiom of identity. Here I quote Ayn Rand (from “Galt’s Speech” in Atlas Shrugged; see also For the New Intellectual, p. 125):

<<To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of non-existence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was—no matter what his errors—the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.

Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders’ attempt to evade the fact that A is A. All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A. The purpose of those who taught you to evade it, was to make you forget that Man is Man.
>>

It all starts with the law of identity. We make subsequent discoveries along the way about how the mind functions and how we should apply the law of identity, and these discoveries are expanded inductively into general principles which serve as formal guides for our thinking.

Hope that helps.

Regards,
Dawson

August 01, 2013 3:57 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

This is a bit off topic, I'm hoping that will be over-looked and anyone willing to chime in might do so none-the-less.

We often hear certain traits being thrown around as the Christian god's governing one. Regularly, it is love. Often in the old testament it was Justice. The way I was raised, I was taught its governing attribute was holiness. The reason for this was often to make sense of sending needless millions of souls to hell. A god who's principle attribute is love wouldn't do this. However, one governed by strict holiness, in front of whom no sin could stand, would do just that.

What do you guys think? Does imagining god in such a way fix issues like, "the problem with evil" and others related or does it ultimately make absolutely no difference?

In Humanity,
Daniel

August 01, 2013 6:35 PM  
Blogger QuantumHaecceity said...

@Dawson Bethrick

It's very disappointing and somewhat bizarre, given your penchant for seeking challenges, and desire to defend Objectivism vehemently, that you "seem" to have completely ignored taking on the Ayn Rand Contra human nature blog.


They have literally buried Objectivism in attacks and refutations for 8 calendar years.

Why have you not taken Greg Nyquist, Daniel Barnes, Neil Parille and the Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature blog on, and refuted them?

August 02, 2013 6:30 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Daniel,

You wrote: “This is a bit off topic, I'm hoping that will be over-looked and anyone willing to chime in might do so none-the-less.”

Don’t worry about posting questions that might seem off topic. Questions like yours are welcome.

You wrote: “We often hear certain traits being thrown around as the Christian god's governing one. Regularly, it is love. Often in the old testament it was Justice. The way I was raised, I was taught its governing attribute was holiness.”

Yes, this is common among many Christians. They apply some very complex abstractions (‘love’, ‘holiness’, ‘justice’, ‘righteousness’, etc.) as if they denoted an attribute of an entity, when in fact these have more to do with moral character (which is chosen by a person) rather than some metaphysically given trait that an entity just happens to possess as some inherent part of its nature. So I think already there is some core confusion involved here as a result of the package-dealing involved in the believer’s imagining of his “God.”

What is noteworthy is the fact that whichever trait is stressed seems to vary, not only from one believer to another, but also at different times by the same believer. One day the believer might stress “love” as his god’s primary character trait; on another day “righteousness,” on another day “mercy,” etc. More than anything else, these are clues about the believer’s own character, whether what is considered primary fluctuates directly according to his own character, imagining, speculation, etc., or according to what he has been taught and encouraged to repeat, notwithstanding. For instance, a believer who’s always talking about his “fire-and-brimstone” god who will exact revenge on all his enemies, projects a outlook on the world and a reflection of his own character that may be quite different from one who is always talking about forgiveness, mercy, love, healing, making things better, etc.

[continued…]

August 02, 2013 12:42 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “The reason for this was often to make sense of sending needless millions of souls to hell.”

Any effort to “make sense” of this seems doomed to failure, given the various ingredients of the Christian recipe. According to Christianity, the path to salvation was paved by Jesus’ “work on the cross,” as it is commonly put. Moreover, the Christian god “draws” believers to “believe in” Jesus through the “irresistible work” of the “Holy Spirit” (they tend not to call it “Holy Ghost” much any more). Some are drawn, others are not. What determines this choice? Love? Love of what particularly? We are told that “God is no respecter of persons,” and yet this seems to douse thousands of years of Jewish thinking which imagined the Jewish nation as a privileged nation in “the eyes of God.” One cannot “earn” his way to heaven – this much is clear from New Testament teaching: salvation is not bought and paid for by “works,” but by the “price” which Jesus “paid on the cross” (even though Jesus got his life back after all!). Some are “forgiven” and others are not – for what appears to be nothing other than complete and arbitrary caprice on the part of the Christian deity. That’s “justice”? How so? That’s “mercy”? Well, what is mercy if not unearned forgiveness? This is what the believer wants most of all: unearned forgiveness of – not just “sins” that he has supposedly committed throughout his lifetime, but of his “sin-nature” with which he was supposedly born – though no fault of his own – i.e., unearned guilt. Clearly we have an underlying formula which is never explicitly brought to the surface: acceptance of the unearned (in the form of guilt) “begets” the pursuit of the unearned (in the form of forgiveness). None of this has to do with objective morality, for objective morality is a code of values which guides man’s choices and actions, and objective morality teaches us that genuine values must be earned. The slogan “His pain, our gain” encapsulates the cannibalistic frothing for the unearned inherent in Christian “character-building” quite eloquently: the believer is encouraged to seek benefit at someone else’s expense. All the fluctuating emphases on different traits that one is supposed to imagine the Christian god exemplifying is just a means of distracting believers from the real underlying essentials of the moral code their worldview has them surreptitiously adopt.

[continued…]

August 02, 2013 12:43 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “A god who's principle attribute is love wouldn't do this. However, one governed by strict holiness, in front of whom no sin could stand, would do just that.”

And would a god whose principle attribute is “justice” really think that “law” would be “fulfilled” by sacrificing one who is purely innocent to those who are undeniably guilty? What court of law works this way? Only one which adopts the anti-conceptual mentality of religion. Recall the story last year (March 2012) of a young Moroccan girl named Amina Filali, who committed suicide after a court ordered her to marry a man who had raped her. That’s “justice,” religion style. Here’s an innocent girl who’s been brutalized by an evil-doer, and yet in order to “fulfill” the law, “justice” forced her to sacrifice herself to that evil-doer. The model is clear: the innocent is sacrificed to the guilty. The parallels here to the central “message” of the “good news” of the New Testament are unmistakable. The gospel of Matthew tries to market this view of “justice” with the following words, inserted into Jesus’ mouth: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt. 26:39)

You wrote: “What do you guys think? Does imagining god in such a way fix issues like, ‘the problem with evil’ and others related or does it ultimately make absolutely no difference?”

I think such fluctuations – i.e., changing emphases from one supposed character trait to another – is actually a result of the irresolvable contradictions involved in the notion of the Christian god. How can one seriously think that a god which expects believers to be ready and willing to kill their own child (cf. Abraham and Isaac in Gen. 22) is a god “of love” or even “of justice” or “of righteousness” or “of holiness” or “of mercy,” etc.? How is it a reflection of love, mercy, righteousness, or justice when a parent stands by while his own child is being tortured to death (as in the case of Jesus being crucified)?

Regards,
Dawson

August 02, 2013 12:43 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello QuantumHaecceity,

Thank you for your inquiry.

You wrote: “It's very disappointing and somewhat bizarre, given your penchant for seeking challenges, and desire to defend Objectivism vehemently, that you ‘seem’ to have completely ignored taking on the Ayn Rand Contra human nature blog.”

Well, Quant, you’re so right. I have failed in my duties as owner of Incinerating Presuppositionalism to a “very disappointing and somewhat bizarre” degree, as you point out here. Like you, many of my devoted readers are disappointed at my woeful negligence and dereliction of duty. It’s downright inexcusable. Why, just the other day a reader sent me a private message scolding me for failing take on Van de Kamp’s for their acquisition of Pinnacle Foods Group (a grave injustice!), and another one recently fumed at me for not taking on CBS for cancelling Barnaby Jones back in 1980 (it’s on my to-do list, promise!). I mean, seriously, do you know how many e-mails I get every week urging me to take up the cause to bring back the Carnation Breakfast Bar? With so many battles, I surely do not have it easy. What’s a blog owner to do? But I confess, I am without excuse.

You wrote: “They have literally buried Objectivism in attacks and refutations for 8 calendar years.”

Yes, so I’ve heard. I’m digging my smoking jacket out of the debris right now. I can see the headlines coming: “Forensics Investigators Discover Objectivism’s Empty Tomb.” We will rise again, I tell ya! You just watch!

You wrote: “Why have you not taken Greg Nyquist, Daniel Barnes, Neil Parille and the Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature blog on, and refuted them?”

Who? Are they presuppositionalists?

Look, I’m fully aware of these numbskulls, just as I’m aware of Benny Hinn, Ray Comfort and Rick Warren. No doubt there are thousands upon thousands of personalities out there that I have “completely ignored,” and that will always be the case, the list being utterly endless. I hardly have the time to wheedle away at the tasks that are already on my writing schedule, which is packed. I do not run my blog because I have some “obligation” to do what others would have me do. I do this because I choose to, and I write about what I choose to rather than taking requests like an after-hours disc jockey. But I suppose it’s possible to get sore at a DJ for “completely ignoring” a listener’s request.

So tell you what, Quant, since you seem to be so impressed with Nyquist & co., why don’t you post a link to your favorite ARCHN blog entry, and if it’s deemed sufficiently interesting, perhaps someone around here will interact with it. Pick what you think is their best, most formidable critique of Objectivism. While you’re at it, take a stab yourself. Why leave all the work to someone else? For that matter, what have you done?

Amazing!

Regards,
Dawson

August 02, 2013 12:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I wonder if "Quant" finds it as "disappointing" that those he cites haven't bothered, as far as I can tell, stopping by over here. I don't recall ever reading comments on this blog that have been authored by the individuals "Quant" mentions.

Then again, maybe these people actually have popped in throughout the years, perhaps using pseudonyms to interact. If so, then based upon my thorough examination of the record, their ideas were not only "buried," but they were DOA.

Ydemoc

August 02, 2013 1:41 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Dawson,

I checked that darned "Ayn Rand Contra human nature blog" quickly, and I found it to be lacking. I still don;t know if those guys are religious in general, Christians, some species of skeptics, or whatever else, but they seem to rely on isolating quotes from both the context and the proper understanding of objectivism (and I know this without being an objectivist myself), and then attack such semi-cartoons while committing all kinds of stolen concepts fallacies. I was about to comment, but I found that a blogger named Bryan M. White, who makes such a good job that it is a pleasure to read his answers. No need for me to get involved.

Of course, I agree with you that you have no reason to accept requests other than whatever you prefer to do with your time and efforts. I just wanted you to know that I found lots of good things to read in Bryan M. White's comments.

By the way, it's great seeing you back in blogging action. I was in dire need of something intelligent to read.

Best!

August 03, 2013 7:34 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Hum, I spoke too soon. Bryan has some excellent points, but then he also falls in some problematic logics. I don't think that he is an objectivist. Anyway ...

August 03, 2013 7:57 AM  
Blogger QuantumHaecceity said...

@Dawson Bethrick

http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2013/03/ayn-rand-epistemology-31.html

(A refutation of the Objectivist theory of meaning)


http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2010/10/objectivism-metaphysics-part-17.html

(Refutation or attack on the Primacy of Existence vs the Primacy of Consciousness)


http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2012/08/ayn-rand-epistemology-9.html#more

(Refutation or criticism on the necessary validity of the senses)


http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2012/08/ayn-rand-epistemology-8.html#more

(Refutation of the Objectivist theory of perception)

August 03, 2013 8:20 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

On the subject of the so called refutation of the senses. I wonder just how they accomplished this without performtiviely validating the senses and conveyed it without presuming the validity of the senses in others.

August 03, 2013 3:31 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

The aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com guys seem to take objectivism stuff as false dichotomies whereby everything either is perfect or is completely invalid. In other words, they mistake objectivism for presuppositionalism. Sure our senses can be imperfect, that does not mean that they are invalid, that just means that the information we get might e distorted. I mean, I use glasses. That does not mean that my sight is "invalid", but that it is not perfect. A presuppositionalist will use to mean that therefore I can't trust my eyes at all, which is ridiculous. Anyway, I think that those attacks on objectivism are mostly constructed on false dichotomies projected by the attackers on objectivism rather than being a characteristic of objectivism. At least I have never read anything written by Dawson that says that the senses are perfect.

Those guys are idiots.

August 03, 2013 4:49 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@photo

The bent pencil in water is the best example of what you are talking about photo. I once had someone tell me that this was a example of why we cant trust our senses. I responded, so light is not refracted when hitting the surface of water? My point sadly sailed right over his head.

August 03, 2013 8:48 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

I checked out their post: Objectivism & “Metaphysics,” Part 17 the other night. I was not impressed.

For example, "gregnyquist" wrote:

But if so, why didn’t Rand just say that consciousness doesn’t create “existence” and be done with it?

Well, she did, in the quote he listed:

... that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness) ...

Rand's quote goes beyond "creating" reality. He also seems confused that consciousness exists and how that fact is effected by the primacy of existence. The primacy of existence is so simple in its statement, yet so profound in its implications. It is the starting point of any rational understanding of reality.

August 03, 2013 9:43 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Thank you for responding, Dawson. I am always grateful when you or any of the other intelligent folks inhabiting this blog take the time out to respond to me.

As you all are sure to know by now, I am fresh from being released from my subjective metaphysics and although a lot of what you said already swirled around in my mind, it is always good to read it put down in a succinct manner.

Although it is a good exercise from time to time to attempt to place one's self back into the Protestant mind frame for the purpose of trying to understand it from the outside, often (and I'm sure this is quite intentional on the part of the crafters of these theologies) I find myself turned around and rather befuddled; an interesting thing considering I was raised to think that way for 20+ years. In the end, however, all I ever really need to do to clear my thoughts and restore order is remember that, it's all just imaginary. And peace is restored. They can pick whatever imaginary attributes for what ever imaginary god they want, but that in no way makes it real.

In Humanity,
Daniel

August 05, 2013 6:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

If god is non-temporal, meaning that he exists outside of time, why is there an issue with Divine Lonesomeness?

I understand that not having informants to one's consciousness would essentially mean no consciousness. So, if we step back in time we are left with a god with nothing to inform its consciousness; meaning, we are left with no god. But if he exists in the future at the same time that he is existing in the past (and at the same time existing now), wouldn't the future act as input? Just wondering. Thanks guys!

In Humanity,
Daniel

August 06, 2013 3:20 PM  
Blogger Luiz Claudio said...

Dawson wrote:
"Consciousness is not an independently existing entity, but a type of activity performed by an entity, namely the biological organism"
That's why the question "what consciousness is made of" makes no sense. Consciousness is as "imaterial" as digestion.

August 06, 2013 3:21 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Daniel

Thanks for your question.

You asked: “If god is non-temporal, meaning that he exists outside of time, why is there an issue with Divine Lonesomeness?”

Stating that “God is non-temporal” and/or that “God exists outside of time” does not address the problem of divine lonesomeness. The issue involved in the problem of divine lonesomeness has to do with what could possibly serve as an object distinct from a god’s consciousness if said god is supposed to have created everything distinct from itself. If everything distinct from this god ends up being something that had to be created the god in question, then prior to creating anything distinct from itself there was nothing distinct from itself to be conscious of. Thus we have a contradiction: the affirmation of consciousness with nothing to be conscious of (which violates the axiom of consciousness: consciousness is consciousness of something, of some object). This kind of error is known as the fallacy of the stolen concept. This fallacy occurs when one makes use of a concept while denying or ignoring its genetic roots. In this case, we have the use of the concept ‘consciousness’ while denying its need of an object distinct from itself.

Also, I don’t think the notion of a consciousness existing “outside of time” makes any sense, either. Consciousness is a type of activity, and activity can only imply progression through time. At 6:32 am I am conscious of my daughter’s breakfast as I prepare it for her to eat it. At 6:34 am I am conscious of my daughter fastening the last two buttons on her school uniform. At 6:36 am I am conscious of my daughter finding her morning cartoons on her iPad. At 6:38 am I am conscious of the comment that I received from you on my blog. Consciousness takes place over time, even if we’re focusing our consciousness in one specific area (such as trying to solve a math equation, drive a car down the road, balance a checkbook, clean a stain on the floor, etc.). Thus it makes no sense, so far as I can tell, to posit a consciousness outside a temporal context. It strikes me as nothing more than another stolen concept. Positing a god “outside of time” seems to be motivated merely to try to escape some logical dilemma rather than anything approaching a conclusion derived from evidence.

You asked: “I understand that not having informants to one's consciousness would essentially mean no consciousness. So, if we step back in time we are left with a god with nothing to inform its consciousness; meaning, we are left with no god.”

If “god” is supposed to be a form of consciousness, I’d say you’re right here.

You asked: “But if he exists in the future at the same time that he is existing in the past (and at the same time existing now), wouldn't the future act as input?”

Wouldn’t the future *of what* act as input? If it’s the future of nothingness, then clearly the answer would be no. Would it be the future of its own consciousness? Then again, we must ask: consciousness *of what*?

We should not forget that consciousness is a biological faculty which serves a biological purpose. Biological organisms possess consciousness because they need it in order to survive – e.g., to find food, water, shelter, etc. Our need for consciousness is tied directly to the fact that we face a fundamental alternative: to live or die. An eternal, immortal and indestructible being would not face such an alternative, thus it would have no need for consciousness in the first place. So again, either way you slice it, the notion “God” comes up stolen concepts.

Does that help?

Regards,
Dawson

August 06, 2013 5:05 PM  
Blogger Daniel GodIsTime said...

Yes, it did, Dawson. Thank you. You know, I've almost completed reading your entire archive.
What is odd, is that when I'm reading along, it all seems so intuitive, and I'm thinking one step ahead of you. Which is a good feeling. Because when I reach the point where you are addressing the step I'm at mentally, it gives me reinforcing encouragement that I'm thinking along the right lines.
The trouble comes when I try to apply what I've learned to the fantastical way in which the opposition presents the arguments I find in other places or in my personal correspondence. They always seem to wrap it in just a slightly different garb so as to throw me off the underlying sent. I am sure rooting out the main issues will eventually become second nature for me, but for now, it is a struggle to fight those with whom I have shared this religiosity for these many years.

In Humanity,
Daneil

August 07, 2013 9:03 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Everyone. Nice to see Dawson has a new blog. He wrote: “Duh, I donno, must be God did it!” which is just a confession of ignorance, one which is preconditional to accepting the presuppositionalist perspective...

Presuppositionalism is based on an argument from ignorance, and inasmuch as it's an informal fallacy, an presuppositional apologetic is invalid.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

Best and Good

August 07, 2013 10:57 AM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

@ photosynthesis i think you should take a look at Jason Lisle's blog here http://www.jasonlisle.com/ look at some of the responses made, i think they are funny as they are absurd, feel free to join in the chat

August 07, 2013 2:17 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hello everyone,

Just popping in here to let everyone know that "Dan O'Brian" has divided up into into parts the long series of comments which I left for him some time ago. He's placed each part on the home page of his blog, and they are presented as sort of a debate format.

Anyone whose interested in checking this out can go to:

http://irrelevantaxiom.wordpress.com/

If you choose to go over there and check it out and you want to start reading from the beginning, you have to scroll down a little (might even have to click on "Older Posts" to find the entry; or you could just use this link: http://irrelevantaxiom.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/let-the-debate-begin/)

(Robert: This is the same blog on which you also left comments some time ago.)

I have yet to address Dan's latest comments directly, although I did chime in with one response to someone named "Logan" who wrote the following in the comments thread:

"I haven’t yet finished this entire post, but i feel the need to argue this point:

I [Ydemoc] had written: “Awareness (consciousness) with nothing to be aware of is incoherent, a contradiction in terms: Awareness? Awareness of **what**?”

Logan's response? "I’ve heard this argument from Peikoff and other objectivists too, but it seems to glance over subjective experience. What you gather through your senses is simply, as Russell puts it, ‘sense-data.’ Whether or not this data corresponds to objects, and whether or not we can prove those objects exist independent of our experiencing them, is the argument that Rand and objectivism completely ignores."
http://irrelevantaxiom.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/debate-existence-vs-consciousness/#comment-2321

And then there's this from Logan, regarding Anton Thorn's "Argument from Objective Reality":

"The whole problem with Rand’s Objectivism is evident in its first proposition. The fact that reality exists because we perceive it is not logically sound, as is proved by nearly every major philosopher since Aristotle. And since every other proposition is built upon this first one, the entire philosophy is completely unfounded."

http://irrelevantaxiom.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/debate-interlude-an-argument-against-god/#comment-2320

And then Logan's follow-up to my response to what he wrote above:

"Then what proof do you have that objective reality exists? Galt’s speech and the first proposition on this post, which I was refuting, both cite the perception of reality as the sole proof that it exists. What proof do you have that it exists independent of perception?"
http://irrelevantaxiom.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/debate-interlude-an-argument-against-god/#comment-2327

Stolen concept after stolen concept after stolen concept.

Amazing.

Ydemoc

August 07, 2013 3:31 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc wrote: “Awareness (consciousness) with nothing to be aware of is incoherent, a contradiction in terms: Awareness? Awareness of **what**?”

Logan reacted: “I’ve heard this argument from Peikoff and other objectivists too, but it seems to glance over subjective experience.”

Objective experience (experience of things distinct from the means by which we experience things) comes before and has metaphysical primacy over subjective experience (emotions, imagination, dreaming, etc.), which Logan completely ignores.

Logan continues: “What you gather through your senses is simply, as Russell puts it, ‘sense-data.’”

Sense-data *of what*? Of nothing? Of something? Of something distinct from your sensory receptors interacting with those sensory receptors? This is a question which Logan completely ignores.

Also, by characterizing “’sense-data’” with “simply”, Logan seems anxious to downplay the testimony of the senses for some reason, even though he cannot find himself to deny entirely the fact that we “gather… ‘sense-data’” through our senses. He apparently wants to convey the impression that “’sense-data’” is somehow not very important. But who treats sense-data as if it were not important? If someone hears (sense-data) his cell phone ringing, does he say “Well, that’s simply sense-data. I can’t prove that my cell phone actually exists, let alone anyone who might be calling it”? Who does that? If someone sees (sense-data) a car racing towards his child whose standing right in its path, does he say “That’s simply sense-data. I can’t prove that either the car, my child or even the street for that matter exists”? Who would do this? Perhaps Logan would. I doubt Bert Russell ever did.

Logan wrote: “Whether or not this data corresponds to objects, and whether or not we can prove those objects exist independent of our experiencing them, is the argument that Rand and objectivism completely ignores."

And Rand and Objectivism are right to “ignore” such an “argument.” Indeed, what argument is that? Even Logan does not elaborate. He just puts it out there that these are burdens which Objectivism has ignored while treating those burdens as though they are legitimate even though he’s presented no reasons for supposing that they are legitimate burdens. One could similarly charge Rand and Objectivism for “ignoring” the “argument” about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. What an egregious oversight!

Ydemoc is correcting in finding in Logan’s tripe a pile of stolen concepts. “Proof”? Where did he get that idea? What is a proof? Proof is the formal demonstration of the logical relationship between knowledge that is *not* perceptually self-evident and knowledge which *is* perceptually self-evident. Objectivism holds, and rightly so, that we are fully justified in taking “sense-data” for granted – i.e., as the metaphysically given. This is not only because the various sense modalities independently confirm one another, but also because sense perception is a mechanistic, biological function, just as breathing, digestion, circulation, muscle growth, etc., are. (Or, does Logan think the existence of these things (but not “sense-data”) is also questionable?) The nature of the senses, how they work, and what initiates their activity, are not mysteries to us. Everything we learn about the senses entirely confirms what rational philosophy says about them. It’s only when we take the arbitrary seriously, as Logan has clearly done, that we can invent nonsensical questions and denigrate thinkers for having “ignored” them (like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin).

If Logan is a Christian apologist, this just shows once again how much apologists have retreated into skepticism in order to shelter their god-belief, something I’ve been observing for a long, long time now. It’s quite ironic for it does nothing for their apologetic: if I can’t even be sure that the objects I perceive are real, why suppose the bible is real? Why suppose “general revelation” is real? It’s blanking out on a massive scale.

Regards,
Dawson

August 08, 2013 3:19 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Logan also wrote: “The whole problem with Rand’s Objectivism is evident in its first proposition. The fact that reality exists because we perceive it is not logically sound, as is proved by nearly every major philosopher since Aristotle. And since every other proposition is built upon this first one, the entire philosophy is completely unfounded."

So Logan can say that certain problems (such as the one Logan thinks he’s detected) exist, but Objectivists are wrong to say that reality exists? Huh? Apparently Logan thinks philosophy is some kind of playground where the skeptic gets to pick and choose what he will treat as real, and everyone else has to meet whatever burdens the skeptic thinks should occupy their attention. Fortunately it doesn’t work that way.

Also, Objectivism is very clear in its affirmation of the primacy of existence. Objectivism nowhere affirms or suggests that reality exists *because* we perceive it. Reality exists, period. Existence exists. That’s the first axiom. Reality exists whether or not anyone perceives it. We can *know* that reality exists because we perceive it, but its existence in no way depends on anyone perceiving it. So Logan’s own sloppiness here suggests that he does not have a solid grasp of Objectivism’s fundamentals, and yet he’s going around pointing to all these supposed problems in Objectivism. To put it mildly, his presumed credibility on the matter leaves something to be desired.

And lest Logan’s statement foster a false impression, we need to keep in mind that Objectivism does not hold that all knowledge is *deduced* from the axioms. That’s not their role: they define the field of knowledge, but they do not serve as a substitute for data-gathering. If we want to learn about plants, medicine, business principles, Excel spreadsheets, traffic patterns, history, radio reception, etc., we still need to gather facts from reality.

Logan also wrote: "Then what proof do you have that objective reality exists? Galt’s speech and the first proposition on this post, which I was refuting, both cite the perception of reality as the sole proof that it exists. What proof do you have that it exists independent of perception?"

Throughout all this, Logan is telling us about himself. Clearly he thinks philosophers should worry themselves with issues which no rational person considers to be a genuine problem. Then when philosophers pump out volumes of uselessness of the kind that Logan prefers, rational individuals come away with the only impression that is available to them: that philosophy is a meaningless waste of time. That’s too bad, because we all need philosophy. What we don’t need is another squad of philosophers letting us down. We’ve had over two millennia of that, and while there have been brief moments of light, stagnation has been the norm for human populations for most of that period. So I would contend that the kind of drivel that Logan has uncritically proffered, contributes to a most insidious form of evil. Of course, that’s way too many dots for someone like Logan to put together, and likely he would just scoff at such an assessment, preferring instead his swirling into solipsism which he apparently finds irresistible.

Regards,
Dawson

August 08, 2013 4:17 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

Logan:

“... whether or not we can prove those objects exist independent of our experiencing them ..."

Looks like we have two hypotheses here: that objects exist independently of our experiencing them, or that objects exist dependently of our experiencing them. Accepting the latter would imply that at all times before awareness existed in the universe, the universe contained no objects. I'm going with the former.

August 08, 2013 7:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Dawson,

Thanks for those responses. And nicely done!

I'm so pressed for time at the moment, I barely found time to post this.

I don't know when I'll be able to respond to "Dan O'Brian" again (or Logan), but I hope to do so at some point. And, once again, your insights will definitely help me when I do.

Thanks.

Ydemoc

August 08, 2013 10:16 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

When Logan asserted:

“... whether or not we can prove those objects exist independent of our experiencing them ..."

he was making the same arbitrary presumption as Descartes. That consciousness somehow exists independently of existence or is an independently existing realm separate and distinct from all else. The problem with this is that modern science shows consciousness is a biological function of living brains and nervous systems. Logan seems to be longing to retard human civilization back to medieval standards of culture where the "Church" de facto ruled over Man. As such, people like Logan are the enemies of Man and should be shown wrong by way of refutation.

August 09, 2013 6:13 AM  
Blogger Reynold said...

In regards to wakawaka challenging Dawson to debate Jason Lisle, I already am in a way.

Yeah, Lisle uses some presupp reasoning on his blog. He assumes the laws of logic are entirely contingent on god and that if god ever changed his mind about anything, then the laws of logic would also have to change.

It's a long, boring read though. His remark about logic is in the post that is right after the one I link to.

I link to the wearsmrt forums because I keep screenshots of my remarks on Lisle's blog there, just in case. I have links to his blog from there though.

August 11, 2013 9:14 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

waka,

I took a quick look at Lisle's crap, and it gave me a headache. The people there are way too far gone into crazyland.

August 12, 2013 2:07 PM  
Blogger QuantumHaecceity said...

@Dawson Bethrick

Well, I tried to give you at least a week, so as not to make any hasty conclusions, but now that it's been over a week, it can now be reasonably concluded:

My word, Dawson Bethrick is backing down from an intellectual challenge. My, my, my.

Well Dawson, since it looks like you refuse to engage these attacks against Objectivism, which are just the tip of the iceberg on all the attacks they have made on that Philosophy, maybe it's time you discard Objectivism as being false or clearly flawed.

99.999% of the rest of the world already has.

August 13, 2013 1:08 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@QuantumHaecceity

Just what challenge has been thrown at Dawson? Has anyone from the aforementioned blog come here and laid down the gauntlet? Certainly not you with your "and they said this and that" whilst all the while making no argument of your own. Do think Dawson is under some sort of obligation to go around the interwebs putting out each and every vamped fire set by the intellectually bankrupt? Here is a challenge, if you think objectivism is a philosophy of no merit make the case here in your own words. If you cant I suggest you dry up and blow away, no one is going to pay you much more attention if you cant or are unwilling. Trust me we all have had our fill of trolls and no one wants another Nide hanging around here.

August 13, 2013 2:05 AM  
Blogger freddies_dead said...

I love it. QuantumHaecceity's first attempt to goad Dawson into arguing with someone gets a response he doesn't like, so then he resorts to playground taunts.

It's such a compelling reason that I'm sure Dawson is rushing over to the Ayn Rand Contra human nature blog as I type.

Instead of acting like a child maybe QuantumHaecceity can give us his best argument against Objectivism? If not then you have to wonder what his motives actually are.

August 13, 2013 2:24 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

@QuantumHaecceity

In my experience, most who reject Objectivism do so because they prefer some form of political collectivism based on ethical altruism. They do this ignoring that reason is Man's only means of acquiring knowledge so their notions or arguments (if they have any) are vulnerable to the Peikoffian hop from epistemology to politics that consists of the following :

1. The primacy of reason is valid.
2. The efficient exercise of reason requires a lack of coercion.
3. A society based on reason must ban coercion.

Often whim worshipers will reply that the is-ought gap can't be bridged and hence there aren't moral facts. But this is silly because the moral is the chosen and not the commanded. The facts of human nature and reality in which it is ensconced dictate the alleged gap is trivial. That you or any other does not like freedom, liberty, or that each human being is an end unto themselves and the sanction of their own existence matters not a wisp due to the a-priori nature of such complaints.


By all means, please bring your points against Objectivism that your folly may be known.

Best & Good

August 13, 2013 11:07 AM  
Blogger QuantumHaecceity said...

"whilst all the while making no argument of your own."

You're confused Justin. I was making an observation to Dawson. He then asked me to provide links from ARCHN of what I thought was their best, most formidable critique of Objectivism.

Which I did, and he has thus far backed down from interacting with.


"By all means, please bring your points against Objectivism that your folly may be known."


I already did Robert. Check the prior comments.


"QuantumHaecceity can give us his best argument against Objectivism?"

I already did that(via someone else's arguments). Check the prior comments.

August 13, 2013 3:04 PM  
Blogger Luiz Claudio said...

Robert Bumbalough said...

"In my experience, most who reject Objectivism do so because they prefer some form of political collectivism"

They do so because in actuality they long for the undeserved, and there is no reason for us giving it to them. Their collectivist and altruist ideas are just a smoke screen for parasitism.

August 13, 2013 3:47 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Quant wrote: “I was making an observation to Dawson. He then asked me to provide links from ARCHN of what I thought was their best, most formidable critique of Objectivism.”

That’s true, I did suggest that you provide links, and I also surmised that if anyone was interested, he might interact with it. There seems to be this strange assumption that only I should do so, which is baffling. From what I recall over at ARCHN, many readers have posted their interactions with Nyquist and Co’s efforts to attack Objectivism already. Even you yourself attempted to do so (see here). If the person commenting there under the moniker “QuantumHaecceity” is you, it would seem that you yourself are not very sympathetic to their views.

Quant wrote: “Which I did, and he has thus far backed down from interacting with.”

This is misleading as it implies that I was “stepping up” to interact with ARCHN in the first place, which has to date not been my intention. As I mentioned, I’m fully aware of these guys, and I’m aware of many others who are critical of Objectivism as well. What exactly do you expect of me here? Since you posted your first comment mentioning ARCHN two weeks ago, I haven’t had any time to work on the blog entries that I already have currently in the works, let alone begin fresh ones swashbuckling against the mal-intentioned tirades found at ARCHN. I’m a busy parent (so I have enough of the “Daddy, do it now!” in my life as it is), and it’s a challenge to just to keep up with the comments here. You seem to think that I have this boundless supply of time to devote to my blogging, when in fact I do not. So many things compete for my time, and blogging is for the most part a back-burner for me, and probably will be for a good while, maybe forever. And even then, when I do get the time to work on my blogs, I will focus on what I choose to focus on, not what you or someone else demands of me. If that’s unsatisfying to you, that is your problem, not mine.

Drawing on your assumption that I “refuse to engage these attacks against Objectivism, which are just the tip of the iceberg on all the attacks they have made on that Philosophy,” you suggested that “maybe it's time [I] discard Objectivism as being false or clearly flawed,” and then state that “99.999% of the rest of the world already has.”

This suggests that those “99.999%” have examined Objectivism and came to conclusions similar to those proffered on ARCHN. So where are all these people hiding? I have only on rare occasions in the past 20 years of my life encountered people outside the internet who are at all familiar with Ayn Rand’s work, and yet her novels continue to be among the best-selling in history. Your statistical citation not only seems highly exaggerated, but strikes me as fantastically generous to the broader population of human beings: most folks are simply not interested in philosophy. They’re busy watching sporting events, TV reruns, MTV, soap operas, etc.

Moreover, even if were true that “99.999% of the rest of the world already has” discarded Objectivism, that would hardly be compelling against Objectivism. For one thing, majority opinion is not a test of truth in my view. Also, just take a look at how societies are being so horribly mismanaged. It would seem that those “99.999%” are happy with the rapid demise of individual liberty in the world and the increase of government intrusion in our lives. If so, that should tell us something.

Anyway, I have to move on with my day. I really don’t have time to explain something to you that should be readily grasped on your own.

Regards,
Dawson

August 13, 2013 4:46 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Luiz wrote: "They do so because in actuality they long for the undeserved, and there is no reason for us giving it to them. Their collectivist and altruist ideas are just a smoke screen for parasitism."

I think this is true in a good majority of the cases, if not all. The pursuit of the unearned is the unchecked premise in their anxiety to destroy the human mind.

Regards,
Dawson

August 13, 2013 4:48 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@QuantumHaecceity

No, I am not confused. I see your motives clearer then perhaps you do yourself. I recognize a "lets you and him fight" ploy when I see one.

August 13, 2013 8:38 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

So I go over to the links provided earlier by "Quant," and what do I find? Pretty much right off the bat, this:

"The term existence, when Rand first introduces it, is equated with the content of consciousness.

Really? Please tell us anywhere in Rand's writings where she "equated" the **concept** [not "term"] "existence" with "the content of consciousness."

Author writes: "Consider the following statement of Rand about consciousness:"

Okay. (By the way, does the author accept "considering" as an act of consciousness?)

'If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.'

Yes, Rand wrote this. Does the author include the entire passage? No. Wonder why.

Author writes: "This implies that everything one perceives exists, which would only be true if existence is confined to mental content (i.e., the content of consciousness)."

What?!?

"Implies"? Where did the author get this concept?

And is the author sure about the claim he makes here?

Author writes: "Both the elephant at the zoo perceived by onlookers and the pink elephant perceived by the drunken sot 'exist' according to the logic of Rand’s statement."

Not true. The author might be able to grasp this if he (or she) had a grasp of the concept "perceive." Then again, given author's level of understanding, maybe not.

Author writes: "The only way to escape this conclusion is through equivocation, i.e., by claiming that the drunk does not in fact 'perceive' the pink elephant, but merely hallucinates it."

Why would this be "equivocation"?

Author writes: "However, this would involve an assumption which Rand’s axioms, as they are initially introduced and defended, are unable to support."

Uh, no it wouldn't.

That was easy.

Is "Quant" serious with this crap?

Hilarious.

Next!

Ydemoc

August 14, 2013 7:30 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

When Quant quoted Rand : “If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.” and claimed “"This implies that everything one perceives exists…” he was engaging in magical thinking by evasion, for on the face of it his assessment was false. In Objectivism consciousness is specifically affirmed as “the faculty of perceiving that which exists.” . See http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/consciousness.html

Perception is awareness of entities via means of the senses as Rand specifically stated " A “perception” is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things.", so hallucinations can't be perceived as they do not stem from sensory stimuli.

Quant's silliness isn't worth the effort to rebutt; however, it's always fun to further integrate O-isms truth.

August 15, 2013 2:55 PM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

Robert,

I don't think that Quant wrote that shit. That shit was in the links Quant provided. Anyway, those anti human nature guys are not trying to understand what Rand was saying. They seem rather prone to misinterpret whatever she or other objectivists might have written, unaware that they are fighting straw-men. If only they wanted to understand rather than just attack, attack, attack, then they would have very little to say.

Rarely do I see such lack of self-awareness about their mental barriers against understanding over quick judging (except when dealing with creationists, who are the prime experts in refusing to understand). Worse, they pretend that we should buy their book before criticizing their crap. As if their blog was not sad enough, they want me to pay for more? No way.

August 15, 2013 5:00 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi photo,

You wrote: "...those anti human nature guys are not trying to understand what Rand was saying. They seem rather prone to misinterpret whatever she or other objectivists might have written, unaware that they are fighting straw-men. If only they wanted to understand rather than just attack, attack, attack, then they would have very little to say."

You have articulated something I wanted to say in my most recent post. It's like they're going:

"Rand wrote that: 'The mere fact that man has the capacity to kill, does not mean that it is his duty to become a murderer' and 'The independent man kills them.""

So, see?! Rand must be in favor of the independent man committing murder!"

No wonder Dawson hasn't bothered with them.

Like I've said before: Dead On Arrival.

Ydemoc

August 15, 2013 5:44 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Photo and Friends. I apologize for misinterpreting Quant's statements. I should have realized he's not sufficiently savvy to have thought of an original critique. Please be assured, I appreciate and am grateful for this blog and those who post as it helps me further incorporate O-ism and thus to live a better life. After all, Capitalism is the economic system most favorable to man's life and hence to my life.

Those who may be interested will find George Reisman's book "Capitalism" available as a free pdf at

http://capitalism.net/Capitalism/CAPITALISM_Internet.pdf

Best and Good

August 16, 2013 6:31 AM  
Blogger StefanMach said...

Interesting post. Sorry I am so late, but thought I would pose a question. You said that from previously derived generalizations ( conclusions of induction), we formulate deductive arguments and arrive at particulars. No challenge there. My question is this. Since inductive argument conclusions are classified as either strong or weak and can never be classified as true or false, wherein lies the strength to say the conclusion of a deductive argument derived from a previous induction concludes with a true answer? Seems to me that all true statements would lose their strength. I think one of the points that presuppositionalism is trying to make is just this. Unless one argues from a presuppositionally coherent starting point that understands knowledge as having objective primacy over objects, something like a supreme being "speaking" objects in to existence, than what you have said is accurate, and all true statements fall prey to their previous inductions as a chain does to its weakest link. Deduction must come first, but for us it does not, so without a revelation, any statement about ,say God, pro or con, is just opinion. Only if revelation were true could any predication take place concerning metaphysics. Thus, the argument is made that arguments making declarations concerning the non existence of God become an odd sort of proof for God, in that they presuppose a worldview in which predication, which in form is inherently dogmatic, makes sense.

By the way, I am at odds with where Bahnsen and his crew takes presuppositionalism, and I cannot for the life of me see why they replace God with the Bible, even though they say it is God who is self attesting. Seems oddly idolatrous to me.

I just did not recognize in this article a serious dealing with presuppositionalism as the system that it is. Fundamentally, you cannot justifiably attack a system piecemeal when it up front makes the point that world views need to be dealt with as a whole, and that coherence should be sought between metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological presuppositions so as to have a coherent takeoff point.

Perhaps at other points along the way, you have shown a working knowledge of presuppositionalism, I don't know.

If you are looking to stop a catastrophe, I would go after Bahnsen's theonomy.

November 12, 2013 12:00 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Stefan,

Thank you for your comment. Your question raises many issues which I will not be able to clarify at this moment (I'm getting ready to head out for work soon). But I do want to answer you. Likely I will do so in a new entry on my blog. Once I have it posted, I will link to it here.

Regards,
Dawson

November 12, 2013 3:00 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello again Stefan,

I have posted a reply to your question in a new post. You can find it here:

A Reply to Stefan on Induction and Deduction

Please post any follow-up comments in the comments section of that blog.

Regards,
Dawson

November 13, 2013 4:23 PM  

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