Thursday, December 25, 2014

Jason Petersen on Objectivism and the Laws of Logic

A visitor to my blog recently asked me to comment on an article by Jason Petersen titled 28. Q and A: Objectivism and the Laws of Logic. As with virtually everything else I’ve read by Jason Petersen, this article has the dubious propensity to cause informed readers involuntarily to perform a double face-palm while trying to maintain the resolve to read on to the second paragraph.

In his article, Petersen presents a question – purportedly from a visitor to his site Answers for Hope - and proceeds as though he had something positively instructive to say in response to it. But since there’s always the possibility that some readers will find themselves more baffled after reading Petersen’s article than before they even knew of its existence,

The questioner, Jay, writes:
I have a question about how objectivsts account for Laws of Logic.
Now, the first question that flashed through my mind when I read this, was: Why would anyone go to Jason Petersen with a question about how “objectivists account for Laws of Logic”? Why suppose that Jason Petersen knows anything about the laws of logic, let alone Objectivism’s view of logic, in the first place? Perhaps Jay was feeling hopeless and figured that Jason Petersen could provide some “answers for hope.” We may never know whether or not Jay found Petersen’s responses to be satisfying, but we will take a look at them and determine their worthiness for ourselves.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Glossary of Terms

Some weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to assemble a glossary of terms that would be helpful for thinkers who are interested in understanding Objectivism and my approach to atheology. Below I have assembled a glossary of 50+ terms which are frequently used in many of my writings. Some of the definitions offered are my own, but most come from other sources (a good bulk of them coming directly from Ayn Rand’s writings). For most items, I have provided links for further reading.

Enjoy!

by Dawson Bethrick

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Jason Petersen on the Fallacy of Pure Self-Reference

While Floyd FP was making efforts to raise objections against Objectivism and defend his subjecto-solipsistic position from the charge that it commits the fallacy of pure self-reference (see here), I found a Q&A article by none other than Jason Petersen in which the strapping young “Clarkian presuppositionalist” attempted to bring into question the legitimacy of there being such a thing as a the fallacy of pure self-reference. Petersen is apparently replying to a visitor to his website who raised questions about the fallacy of pure self-reference.

Here we have more proof that Petersen is content to make pronouncements about things of which he has little if any understanding. Why anyone would go to Jason Petersen in an effort to become better informed on anything falling under the purview of philosophy is beyond me. But he’s set himself up in a “ministry” and apparently that is all it takes, within Christianity, to become some sort of “expert” on philosophy.

Today’s [sic]-fest comes from Petersen’s 28. Q + A: The Fallacy of Pure-Self Reference [sic] (right – he doesn’t even get the hyphen correct!). In this “Q + A,” Petersen feigns to have the acumen to address a question about the fallacy of pure self-reference (notice where the hyphen goes).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Primacy of Existence vs. the Prior Certainty of Consciousness

Recently I posted a lengthy blog entry comprehensively analyzing a Youtube video titled Why The Primacy of Existence Is No Problem For Any Presuppositionalist by someone calling himself “Ozymandias Ramses II” – or simply “Ozy” – who apparently has a number of videos discussing presuppositionalism.

In my examination of what Ozy states in that video, I found a number of outstanding errors, errors which bring into question Ozy’s familiarity with Objectivism, and I set out to correct them in that examination.

Yesterday I received two comments responding to my blog entry by one or more anonymous visitors to my blog. Both comments are posted by “Unknown,” and the commenter did not sign his or her posts with a name. The second comment appears to be an elaboration on the initial one, and it came before the first one was published on my blog for visitors to read. So all indicators are that both comments were submitted by the same author.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Presuppositionalism, Atheism, and Confusion over the Primacy of Existence

It is not uncommon for me to find even intelligent adult thinkers confused over the primacy of existence. In fact, confusion over this fundamental principle is a norm among those who are not familiar with Objectivism. It’s even worse for those who have heard about the primacy of existence from sources other than Objectivists who know what they’re talking about, sources which may in fact be hostile toward Objectivism for whatever reason. Sometimes this confusion is occasioned in thinkers who are otherwise well-meaning but have learned the expression “primacy of existence” from non-Objectivists who themselves do not understand what it means or its implications for knowledge.

Anyone who examines the entries I have published on my blog over the years, going back to March 2005 – nearly 10 years ago now – will find many posts that deal directly with the primacy of existence, how it is fundamental to human cognition, and how it is incompatible with theism.

In a Youtube video titled Why the Primacy of Existence is No Problem for Any Presuppositionalist, video blogger Ozymandias Ramses II (to whom I shall refer as simply “Ozy” from here on out) makes some startling statements intended to support what the title of his video affirms.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jason Petersen’s “Epistemology”

In a discussion titled Philosophical Vlogs Debates Jason Petersen of Answers For Hope, “Clarkian presuppositionalist” Jason Petersen explains his “epistemology.” (The whole discussion offers a fascinating glimpse of the profound embarrassment that Petersen makes of himself when trying to pontificate as an apologist.)

I think it would be instructive to take a look at what he describes and probe it for the virtues he claims on its behalf.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jason Petersen's Abysmal Ignorance of Concepts

A rather lengthy paragraph, said to have been composed by “Clarkian Presuppositionalist” Jason Petersen, was posted to a comment by a frequent visitor on my blog entry Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 4 and Conclusion.

Now, I do not know the original source of this paragraph, but I have no reason to suspect that Petersen did not author it. That said, I do suspect that the ideas contained in it are not original to Petersen, but rather that he is simply recycling the same kind of ignorance-borne, fallacy-ridden objections we’ve seen here at Incinerating Presuppositionalism for many years now, for the locution and tactics Petersen uses are quite familiar. Regardless, while I am happy to suppose that Petersen is the author of the paragraph in question, I’d welcome any readers to post a link to the actual source if they are aware of one.

In this paragraph, Petersen is apparently attempting to refute the role of concepts as the basic units of knowledge. This is evident from the concluding sentence, which states: “Thus, concepts are not ultimately reflections of reality and do not lead to knowledge.” More specifically, Petersen’s aim here is to dismantle the Objectivist position by denying the role of concepts in human cognition altogether. Perhaps this is ambition is motivated at least in part by the fact that Christianity has no theory of concepts and thus offers no conceptual understanding of the nature of knowledge. So his statements here can be taken as an attack against Objectivism.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“Christian Epistemology”: The Blind Leading the Blind

Consider the following dialogue between Pastor Billy Bob and Lisa, a saved and sanctified church member troubled over basic questions about knowing.

Here are some study questions to keep in mind as you read this:

What is the source of Lisa's problem?

Why does Lisa have such a problem?

How would you answer Lisa’s questions?

What do you think is the proper solution to her persisting dilemmas?

How would Christians whom you know answer Lisa's questions?

If you are a Christian, how would you address Lisa's concerns? How do you address them in your own life?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 4 and Conclusion

This is the fifth and final entry in a series examining attempts by Christian apologist Jason Petersen to discredit anti-theistic statements by Objectivist philosopher Dr. Leonard Peikoff.

The first entry in this series can be found here.

The second entry in this series (Objection 1) can be found here.

The third entry in this series (Objection 2) can be found here.

The fourth entry in this series (Objection 3) can be found here.

Dr. Peikoff’s statements in question can be found here.

Jason Petersen’s response to Peikoff can be found here.

In this entry I will examine Petersen’s attempts to refute Peikoff’s “Objection 4” against theism as well as Petersen’s concluding remarks. We will examine certain claims about “God’s nature” as Petersen would have us imagine it. Petersen raises a series of point-missing objections to one of Peikoff’s statements. Along with this, we will find just what a catastrophe Petersen's "Christian epistemology" really is.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 3

This is the fourth entry in my series examining attempts by “Clarkian presuppositionalist” Jason Petersen to refute a series of statements by Objectivist philosopher Dr. Leonard Peikoff on the topic of the existence of a god.

The first entry in this series can be found here.

The second entry in this series (Objection 1) can be found here.

The third entry in this series (Objection 2) can be found here.

Dr. Peikoff’s statements in question can be found here.

Jason Petersen’s response to Peikoff can be found here.

In this entry I will examine Petersen’s attempts to refute Peikoff’s “Objection 3” against theism. In the present entry, we come to certain claims about “God’s nature” as Petersen would have us imagine it. Petersen raises a series of point-missing objections to one of Peikoff’s statements.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 2

This is the third entry in my series examining attempts by “Clarkian presuppositionalist” Jason Petersen to refute a series of statements by Objectivist philosopher Dr. Leonard Peikoff on the topic of the existence of a god.

The first entry in this series can be found here.

The second entry in this series (Objection 1) can be found here.

Dr. Peikoff’s statements in question can be found here.

Jason Petersen’s response to Peikoff can be found here.

In this entry I will examine Petersen’s attempts to refute Peikoff’s “Objection 2” against theism. As in his approach to Peikoff’s “Objection 1,” Petersen again tries to perform an internal critique against Peikoff. In the present case, Petersen charges that Peikoff is making affirmations which Objectivist epistemology cannot support. We will find that Petersen makes this charge in glaring ignorance of what Objectivist epistemology actually teaches. Not to give the whole thing away, but Petersen repeatedly shows that he has little if any understanding of concepts. This lack of understanding, of course, can be traced back to Petersen’s own worldview, Christianity, which provides no understanding of concepts.

So let’s jump in and see what we see.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Objection 1

This is the second entry in my series examining attempts by “Clarkian presuppositionalist” Jason Petersen to refute a series of statements by Objectivist philosopher Dr. Leonard Peikoff on the topic of the existence of a god.

The first entry in this series can be found here.

Dr. Peikoff’s statements in question can be found here.

Jason Petersen’s response to Peikoff can be found here.

In the present entry, I will examine Petersen’s interaction with Peikoff’s first objection to theism, which I will quote below.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Petersen’s Failed Attempts to Refute Leonard Peikoff: Preamble

In a brief essay titled A Response to Dr. Leonard Peikoff on the Existence of God, the founder of ”Answers for Hope Ministries” and “Clarkian Presuppositionalist” (according to his bio page) Jason Petersen interacts with a set of statements transcribed from Leonard Peikoff’s lecture series titled The Philosophy of Objectivism. The transcription of Peikoff’s statements can be found here. Peikoff’s statements encapsulate several brief reasons why it is proper for rational individuals to reject all forms of god-belief. Petersen treats Peikoff’s statements as though they were intended to be fully developed arguments, which they are not.

Although Petersen allows that Objectivism is “one of the more interesting atheist philosophies,” his goal in his paper is to “demonstrate that there is no substance to the Objectivist’s objections to God, or specifically, Christianity.” Perhaps Petersen is under the impression that merely interacting with Peikoff’s brief asides should be sufficient to discredit Objectivism in toto. If that is the case, Petersen puts his reputation as a serious thinker into grave doubt.

Before launching into his interaction with Peikoff’s statements, Petersen gives some prefatory remarks about Peikoff in particular and Objectivism as a whole. I will confine the present blog entry to considering the remarks he gives here and examine his responses to Peikoff’s statements in subsequent entries.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

“Atheism Can’t Ground Objective Morality”?

In a blog entry titled flogging, Steve Hays of Triablogue attempts to wrestle with rules given in the Old Testament (specifically Exodus 21:20-21, 26-27) concerning what should happen if a slave-owner beats one of his slaves.

Specifically, the law stipulates what should happen if a slave-owner strikes his slave: if the slave dies immediately (“under his hand”), then the slave-owner is to “be avenged”, but “if the slave survives a day or two, [the slave owner] is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.” No matter how one seeks to interpret this, one thing is certain: the biblical code is positively affirming the premise that an individual can be a piece of property belonging to another. (There goes the concept of individual rights in toto.)

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Deriving "Ought" from Dirt

In his blog entry Shooting Blanks, Steve Hays reacts to comments offered by members of RationalSkepticism.org in response to one of Hays’ own blog entries, titled Funeral for atheism.

One of the comments, by someone posting under the moniker “Rumraket,” included the following statement:
You still can't derive any moral "Oughts" from the "is" of whatever property you give your pet deity.
Hays countered this by interjecting the following unargued assertions:
Actually, you can derive an "ought" from an "is" if the "is" has a meaningful purpose. If it was designed by a wise, benevolent Creator, with a particular nature and telos.
According to what Hays claims here, so long as the “is” in question has certain qualities which Hays has stipulated, one can derive an “ought” from it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Alternative Do “Apostates” Have After Leaving Christianity?

Over on Triablogue, Steve Hays posted a blog entry reacting to statements made by Christian apologist Mike Licona (remember – he’s the guy who blurted out “I want it to be true” in a podcast featuring a discussion between himself, Gary Habermas and Robert Price - see here for details).

In his blog entry, Hays' remarks are instructive in that they expose how a mind marinated in religious doublethink tries to gerrymander a selected handful of data sets in favor of a confessional investment. In his blog entry, Hays quotes from and reacts to a post by Christian apologist Mike Licona.

Hays quotes Licona, who writes:
I’ve doubted the truth of my Christian faith many times; sometimes to the point of almost walking away from it.
Reacting to this, Hays writes:
Professing Christians who feel this way need to stop and ask themselves, where would they be going? Walk away…for what?
In addition to asking why they feel this way, I think this is a fair question for believers to contemplate since departing from one worldview naturally leaves a void which would need to be filled by something else. And indeed, it’s quite likely that most people who depart from Christianity have no reliable set of principles which can guide them to a proper, fully integrated and non-contradictory worldview that should fill that void. After all, Christianity does not provide a thinker with such reliable principles. So leaving Christianity, can at first, seem like entering into utter darkness. What’s ironic is that this darkness was there all along, and Christianity was simply trying to divert the believer’s attention to contentless trivialities that have no importance to human life in the first place. So it is true that leaving Christianity is a good start, but it’s not an end in itself. Making the decision to stop believing in religious nonsense is wonderful, but this choice in and of itself does not determine what should replace it. At least one could say Christianity is an attempt – albeit one steeped in mystical primitivism – to address questions which a worldview worthy of a thinking human being should address. So if one leaves Christianity, where should he go?

Generally, there are two ways to address the question of what a former believer might (or should) accept as a worldview in place of Christianity. The first way is to use reason as his guide. The other way is to abandon reason and exchange one form of irrationality for another. Of course, if Christianity is one’s starting point, he has already abandoned reason and thus needs to rediscover it, just as the West did during the Renaissance. But given these two alternatives, which one does Hays recommend? Let’s examine his reaction to the problem.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

STB: Four Years and Counting

On August 27, 2010, I published a blog entry titled A Critique of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s www.proofthatgodexists.org in which I examined and refuted Sye’s case for the existence of the god he has enshrined in his imagination. That was four years ago.

To date, Sye Ten Bruggencate has yet to vindicate his argument against my refutation. Given Sye’s boisterous activity and self-promoting presence in the internet universe, I highly doubt that his failure to salvage his argument from my criticism is simply a consequence of oversight or lack of interest in apologetics. Rather, it seems that he is unable to respond to the objections which I have raised against his argument because his argument is indeed fatally weak for the reasons that I have presented.

Moreover, since Sye continues to produce videos of himself aggressively regurgitating his canned presuppositionalist gambits and slogans, it appears that he’s banking his apologetic on the hope that any would-be victims of his predatory evangelism will be completely unaware of the faults of his position and thus vulnerable to its insidious gimmickry.

Sye is of the mentality that happily mistakes philosophy for a spectator sport. He is like a politician who was spawned out of a high school debate club, able to take any random position assigned to him and defend it without regard to his own convictions or sense of truth and constantly campaigning for some agenda on behalf of some ulterior gain. Contrary to the tired and all-too predictable posturing, truth does not matter to such an individual. What matters most is being able to return to the benches and being greeted with gleeful approval from the backslappers who’ve been watching and cheering from there all along.

Thus I don’t expect that Sye will ever return to defend his argument against the points that have been raised against it here. He would prefer to pretend that such points have never been raised. The cheap, second-handed gimmick of characterizing logic, science, moral principles, etc., as “immaterial” things that cannot be “accounted for” by those who reject supernaturalism is, sadly, all too effective on those who have been left utterly philosophically defenseless by our worsening education system and decaying culture, and it is on preying on such vulnerable minds that Sye would rather spend his efforts and energy.

Again, it comes down to choices, which means it comes down to character. A person who chooses to worship a deity who – according to its own mythology – chose to sit back and allow villainous individuals to torture and execute its own child when it could have effortlessly intervened to protect its child, has already made a fundamental choice about the kind of moral fiber his character shall be made of. It is such self-debasement that the Christian worldview requires as a minimal price that the believer has to pay up front, even before realizing the toxic nature of the emptiness he’s about to buy.

by Dawson Bethrick

Monday, July 28, 2014

Does Religion Dull One’s Ability to Distinguish Between Fact and Fantasy?

A visitor to my website recently brought my attention to a noteworthy article about a study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science. The article, with its provocative title, can be found here:
According to the article, the researchers in the study
demonstrate that children typically have a “sensitivity to the implausible or magical elements in a narrative,” and can determine whether the characters in the narrative are real or fictional by references to fantastical elements within the narrative, such as “invisible sails” or “a sword that protects you from danger every time.”
However, their research does not bear this out so well among children who have been exposed (presumably in a positively reinforcing manner) to religious teaching. The article states:
“Children with exposure to religion — via church attendance, parochial schooling, or both — judged [characters in religious stories] to be real,” the authors wrote. “By contrast, children with no such exposure judged them to be pretend,” just as they had the characters in fairy tales. But children with exposure to religion judged many characters in fantastical, but not explicitly religious stories, to also be real — the equivalent of being incapable of differentiating between Mark Twain’s character Tom Sawyer and an account of George Washington’s life.
The abstract of the study itself, which can be found here, reads as follows:
In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories. In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion. Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children's upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.
I have not examined the details of the study any further than what the lead article and the study’s abstract say about it, so I cannot comment on the methods employed in the study beyond what is given in these two sources.

However, on the face of it, this seems to be nothing less than scientific confirmation of the kind of outcome one would expect from people under the influence of religion if what I have argued is correct. For several years I have been pointing out how religion subsists on blurring the fundamental distinction between reality and imagination. The reader who brought this article to my attention commented that my infamous question – “How can I reliably distinguish between what the believer calls ‘God’ and what he may merely be imagining?” – continues to go unanswered.

Many apologists for the philosophical primitivism of religion have kicked and squirmed in response to this question. But as my blog’s visitor rightly points out, none have been able to answer this question in a manner that salvages religion from my critique.

by Dawson Bethrick

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Response to Christian James

A Christian leaving comments on my blog Dave's McPresuppositions, Part V, has left two additional comments that I reply to below.

In my exchange of comments with Christian James, I had asked him if there was anything that he would not sacrifice for Jesus. He winced at this question and resisted answering it. He would not come out and give a firm yes or no to the question, but instead chose to remain in his closet on the matter.
 
After some back and forth which is available for readers to review at the above link, Christian submitted two more comments today, and instead of replying in the comments, I am replying directly to him in the form of a new blog entry.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dave's McPresuppositions, Part V

As I embark on the fifth installment of my series of posts directly engaging Dave McPhillips’ faltering comments campaign against reason and objectivity, I ask readers to pay close attention to the pattern that Dave’s objections continually exhibit, namely a pattern of reaching for skeptical angles aimed at undermining reason, intellectual integrity and confidence in one’s own faculties.

Presuppositionalists are in the habit of relying on such patterns, not only because their worldview requires men to renounce their minds and prostrate themselves before authoritarian mystics and witch doctors whose say-so is supposed to serve as the end-all, be-all of knowledge, but also because it is so effective on many non-Christians who have themselves already accepted skepticism’s core premises.

On those few occasions when presuppositionalists are confronted with firm, sustained and uncompromising endorsements of reason, they can typically be found replying with a “yeah, but” sequence of utterances and quickly proceeding to deploy skeptical tactics intended to undermine reason and one’s confidence in his own ability to use it. Apologists recoil at reason as though it were Kryptonite to their inflatable superman. The bible does not lay out an epistemology of reason, and it’s obvious to anyone who reads it that believers are expected to swallow everything it says uncritically on its own say-so, regardless of the fact that its claims are unsupported by evidence and contrary to reason. That’s the express opposite of reason. In the “good old days” of the Dark Ages, Christians could be more open and forthright about their worldview’s pronounced antagonism against reason. Martin Luther, one of the Reformation’s most outspoken exponents, was notorious for his explicit rejection of reason. Luther recognized the threat that the Renaissance posed to the religious worldview, and in response to this threat he dug his heels in and put even greater outspoken emphasis on Christianity’s aversion to reason. This was no accident.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dave's McPresuppositions, Part IV

I continue now with the fourth installment of my extended interaction with some of Dave McPhillips’ comments which he posted here Previous installments in this series can be found here:
Up to this point I have been showing how Dave’s own worldview cannot address questions which he has raised against Objectivism, a worldview which is diametrically opposed to his Christian worldview. Dave had issued a series of questions and charged me with failing to address them when he first raised them (they had not been raised before, so how could I be reasonably expected to have addressed them until they were raised?). I then turned those questions back to Dave and challenged him to answer them. To date, his responses to his own questions have made a miserable showing. Let’s see if he can recover any hint of credibility on behalf of his worldview in the proceeding exchange.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dave's McPresuppositions, Part III

In this post I continue my exploration of Dave McPhillips’ comments which he posted here.

This is the third of a series of installments in which I interact with Dave’s attempts to defend his god-belief and promulgate the skeptical view of the human mind that is so vital to religious faith. For earlier installments, readers are invited to read Part I and Part II of this series.

In this installment, we explore Dave’s claim that “Christians have a rational basis” for their beliefs and his questions about reason from the perspective of rational philosophy. Indeed, it is good when a mystic at least asks about reason and its foundations, for his own worldview will not provide suitable answers to these. That is because the mystic’s worldview is fundamentally opposed to reason.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Dave's McPresuppositions, Part II

I continue now with my examination of Dave McPhillips’ comments which he posted here. This is a continuation from Part I of this series.

In the present installment, we pick up from where the last one left off – specifically with an examination of the implications of Christianity’s foundations with regard to the issue of metaphysical primacy.

I had written:
(2.) “Your statements confirm my analysis that Christianity assumes the primacy of consciousness at the most fundamental level – i.e., characterizing existence as having its source in some act of consciousness – i.e., metaphysical subjectivism.”
Dave replied:
Yes, you are right. I do believe in the primacy of consciousness, not my own or any other human but God’s. without the mind of God nothing is possible.
Finally one of them concedes one of my fundamental objections against Christianity!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Dave's McPresuppositions, Part I

Christians who comment on my blog typically indulge in the practice of mere assertion: they simply assert what they believe and give no background rationale for why they believe or how they came to believe it. The how of knowledge is completely missing from their slogan-laced spiel. Also missing from what they offer in their comments is any informed concern for maintaining objectivity. Objectivity has at root to do with the relationship between consciousness and its objects. But the bible gives believers no guidance on this matter, keeping it safely out of view.

One might suppose that this is accidental, and for the primitives responsible for authoring and compiling the writings that eventually made their way into the bible, this may be the case. But for modern-day believers, their failure to consider the relationship between consciousness and its objects in an explicit manner is philosophically inexcusable. This is especially the case when apologists for a religious worldview condemn rival positions for being “subjective” or “irrational.” Such objections carry no weight when coming from a religious perspective, since religious perspectives themselves are inherently subjective and irrational.

Objectivity is adherence to the primacy of existence throughout one’s knowledge and judgments. Rationality is adherence to reason as one’s only means of knowledge, one’s only standard of judgment and one’s only guide to action. One will not find these virtues either explained or endorsed in “sacred writings” like the biblical storybook. On the contrary, at every turn throughout the biblical narrative, one finds assault after assault on the integrity of the human mind, as though this one thing – claimed at the same to have been created by the Christian god itself – were the source of all evil and woe in the universe, as though it were a “dung heap” that needed to be flushed down some cosmic toilet once and for all.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Dawson's Razor

I think it may be beneficial for readers to have a specific blog post on what I have come to call “Dawson’s razor.” So in this entry I cull together some pointers to help make clear what exactly this principle means, why it is important, and how it can be used.

In philosophy, a “razor” is “a principle or premise that allows one to eliminate unlikely explanations for a phenomenon” (per Wikipedia.org).

The most famous example is Occam’s razor, the principle which states “that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.”

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shining a Bright Light into Dave's Dark Cave

Dave McPhillips posted several comments responding to blog A Reply to Dave McPhillips on Bahnsen’s Treatment of the Problem of Evil. Dave is another wannabe presuppositionalist, trying his hand well beyond his skill and well beyond his knowledge of the topics that come up in debate. The darkness of ignorance encouraged by the Christian worldview is strong with Dave McPhillips: it has served to keep him from the light and has effectively reduced him to repeating apologetic slogans liked a well-trained presuppositionalist marionette.

For those who have been following my blog for several years now, do you notice a pattern? Every couple months another apologist comes by, often with some drive-by comment, speaking his nonsense and often not realizing how summarily he and his worldview have been refuted. Many disappear after the first round, but on occasion they return after a brief season only to wedge their feet deeper into their oral cavity. All too often this takes the form of simply asserting dismissive remarks like “that’s arbitrary,” “that’s subjective,” “that begs the question,” etc., without even attempting to explain why the tidbit in question commits the offense so charged. In fact, had my critics bothered to read more of my blog than just the brief passage that made them bristle to begin with, they would find that I have already anticipated their objections and have validated my position, even if they do not approve of it.
 
But after a few short rounds, they disappear for good and never come back, never the wiser, never the more enlightened. This is the effect of Christianity: it corrals the believer’s mind into a cave of ignorance where it seeks to enslave it to its mystical fantasies. Very few seem to find the courage it takes to question Christianity’s subjective premises and recognize them for what they are. To do this requires the choice to be determined in one’s honesty. Without this choice, the believer will be forever ensnared in Christianity’s tangled web of lies and deceits.

So here we go again.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How Bahnsen Gives Away the Farm in His Debate with Gordon Stein

Taking the points I make in my blog entry Presuppositionalist Pseudolosophy as a point of departure, we now turn to a poignant example in the annals of presuppositionalist debating history which shows how easily apologists succumb to the ignorance-riddled view of knowledge on which they base their sophistry.

Presuppositionalists make explicit appeals to products of human psychological activity, such as concepts, laws, propositions, etc., and make claims to the effect that they do not change and are not subject to space and time. Because of these attributes, theists associate such phenomena with the supernatural. They even go so far as to treat products of human psychological activity as though they were entities existing independent of human cognition, perhaps floating in the air or in some other dimension, and somehow they are pressed into our passive consciousnesses by means of supernatural force.

Often Christian apologists will interrogate non-Christians on whether they think everything that exists is “material” or physical. The underlying implication of such questions is that the theist has mind-independent phenomena in mind here. But then they quickly shift focus, perhaps for some apologetic expedience, to things which are mind-dependent. This becomes apparent when theists raise as examples things like truth, universals, mathematics, the laws of logic, etc.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Fumbling at the First Down

In an audio exchange with AronRa, Sye Ten Bruggencate offers some clues as to just how absurd his worldview really is.

For example, at one point he affirms the view that “knowledge is justified true belief” (23:03 – 23:04).

So on this view, knowledge is a species of belief – a belief that is true and has been justified.

But Sye also states “if it’s a belief, it’s not knowledge” (39:11 – 39:12).

Monday, May 05, 2014

Is the Concept of Evidence Itself Evidence that God Exists?

In a podcast hosted by “The Bible-Thumping Wingnut”, professional presuppositionalist grandstander Sye Ten Bruggencate makes the following claim (1:11:38 – 1:11:31):
The very concept of evidence is evidence that God exists.
Even though Sye claims he will explain this (in fact, he just makes additional assertions saying very similar things that eventually terminate in the claim “you can’t account for truth” or something along these lines), he offers no genuine argument for this assertion. Of course, that’s not surprising. Indeed, if one accepts this claim, why would one not accept the claim that “the very concept of evidence is evidence that Blarko the WonderBeing exists”? So often presuppers act as if their own say so were sufficient to establish their claims.

But if Sye is going to make this kind of claim about a concept, then we should ask what his worldview teaches about concepts in general. But as I have pointed out in previous blog entries, the bible says nothing about concepts. For the Christian worldview, the very concept ‘concept’ is a void that can be molded and reshaped to fit any need out of apologetic expedience. In Christianity, concepts as such have no objective identity; they can be made into whatever the believer wants them to be, simply because he wants them to be what he finds convenient under the pressure of the scrutiny of the moment.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Presuppositionalism, Circular Argument, and Oliphant’s Defense

Presuppositionalist apologists frequently complain that their critics have misunderstood their apologetic platform when they charge that their vindication of Christianity employs the fallacy of petitio principia - that their argument for the existence of the Christian god begs the question. Since this objection is raised by both Christians and non-Christians, advocates of presuppositionalism should be concerned. Indeed, from what I have been able to determine, only presuppositionalists themselves hold that their methodology is not fallaciously circular.

Whatever the case may be, since this objection is so frequently encountered, one would think that presuppositionalists would take greater care in locating the source of the problem – whether it is in fact a problem haunting their argument scheme, or the manner in which it has been marketed which misrepresents its product – and correcting it. Instead, presuppositionalists seem to have adopted a more reactionary stance of letting things sit as they are and circling the wagons when the objection is raised yet again, which of course is inevitable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Reply to Dave McPhillips on Bahnsen’s Treatment of the Problem of Evil

A visitor to my blog posting under the name Dave McPhillips recently submitted a comment in response to my blog entry titled Greg Bahnsen on the Problem of Evil.

Here is what Dave wrote:
The problem of evil is not a problem for the believer but rather a problem for the unbeliever. what Bahnsen and Van Til were teaching is that if one wishes to hold a moral complaint against anything in this world one must have a standard of morality with which to evaluate between good and evil.Moreover,one must first define what they mean by "evil" given their espoused worldview and how that definition is meaningful. As a Christian I have a standard of morality by which to distinguish good from evil (i.e. the holy character of God) but as an unbeliever who holds that we live in a random chance universe that is material in nature, there would be no objective immaterial invariant moral standard with which to evaluate right and wrong. in the end all unbelieving systems of thought relegate morality to the realm of subjective relativism. if so, then who's to say whats right or wrong? it would simply be different strokes for different folks.
Those who have read my above-linked blog entry will note that Dave does not interact directly with what I have stated there. Nor does Dave make any attempt to defend Bahnsen's proposed solution to the problem of evil.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

On the Claim to Have Experienced “the Supernatural”

A frequent visitor to my blog recently posed the following question:
Also Dawson there has been something that i always wanted to ask you, what do you think of people whom always claimed to have experianced the supernatural? how do you explain stuff like that in an objectivist worldivew
So how does Objectivism explain people who claim to have experienced the supernatural?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Incinerating Presuppositionalism: Year Nine

Today is the ninth anniversary of Incinerating Presuppositionalism! Yes, that’s right – on March 26, 2005, I posted my first entry on this blog. So as I do on every birthday my blog has, I am posting the list of entries that I published over the previous year, since the last birthday.

This past year has seen a huge amount of activity. Yes, I’ve been quite busy with my blog, especially over the past six months. Somehow, in spite of my hectic schedule of a full workload, raising my daughter, dodging six-foot long reptiles, etc., I’ve managed to find time to continue arguing for my verdicts and telling the world what I’ve learned.

So without any further ado, here’s this year’s list in continued enumeration:
303. On the Validity of the Senses - April 3, 2013
307. Klouda-ing the Issue - June 21, 2013
308. TAG Defeated in One Fell Swoop - June 26, 2013
311. Presuppositionalist Pseudolosophy - August 21, 2013
312. Hodge’s Hedgings - August 24, 2013
313. STB: Three Years and Counting - August 27, 2013
315. My August Comments to B.C. Hodge - September 29, 2013
316. The Primacy of the Inner over the Outer - October 17, 2013
318. Behold How the Holy Ones Speak - October 24, 2013
319. Reason vs. Faith - October 26, 2013
320. Twerking for Jesus - October 31, 2013
322. The Moral Code of Life - November 6, 2013
324. For Jonathan - November 14, 2013
325. Examining Stefan’s Presuppositionalism - November 16, 2013
344. Jason Lisle on Logic - March 9, 2014
345. On Romans 1:20-21 - March 10, 2014
346. Jason Lisle on Axioms - March 14, 2014
350. A Logical God? - March 24, 2014
As you will see, Year Nine covered a lot of ground! As has been in the past, nothing has changed – I still have lots more in store for IP in the coming weeks, months and years.
So stay tuned, but try to be patient as I’m quite busy these days. At this time, I am relocating to a new condo in central Bangkok, so over the next few weeks I will be quite busy. Then I will need to adjust to new surroundings, which will be crowded with people instead of reptiles and other creeping things. I won’t miss the four-, six- and eight-legged critters (at all!), but living in a very densely populated part of an enormous city will take some getting used to. Well, it’s all part of the adventure of life!
by Dawson Bethrick

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Logical God?

Christian apologists are continually telling us that their god is logical, that its own nature is the standard of logic, and that everything that it does is impeccably logical. Now of course we do not learn this from the bible itself; rather, we hear it from Christians who have taken courses at some bible college or seminary, or from other believers who are simply repeating what they’ve heard such Christians say. As such, it represents an attempt by apologists to acquire “rights” to logic, as if there could be no logic if their god did not exist.

But if the actions ascribed to the Christian god as they are characterized throughout the bible are supposed to be “logical,” I can only suppose that Christians mean something other than what I learned about when I took courses on logic back in my college days.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Reject Christianity Because It’s Not True, Part IV

The following is the fourth and final installment in my little mini-series of blog entries examining reactions by James Anderson to “four common objections” to Christianity, which can be found on the Gospel Coalition’s article titled I Reject Christianity Because _______________.

The previous installments in this series can be found here:
In the present entry, I will examine Anderson’s reaction to the fourth common objection raised in the Gospel Coalition’s article.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Reject Christianity Because It’s Not True, Part III

This is the third of four installments that I am posting in response to comments made by James Anderson’s reactions in response to “four common objections” to Christianity that can be found in the Gospel Coalition’s article I Reject Christianity Because _______________. (The two previous installments can be found here: Part I and Part II.)

The third common objection to Christianity found in that article has to do with the resurrection of Jesus and is presented in the form of a question:
On what basis do you believe Jesus actually—physically—rose from the dead (besides blind faith, of course)?
Anderson responds:
I have faith that Jesus rose from the dead, but it isn't a blind faith, because there's good reason to believe he did.
At least Anderson does not say “on the basis of assuming that Jesus really did rise physically from the dead.” But what he does offer is not much better than this. Rather, the impression seems to be that Anderson (like so many Christians) accepts the gospel story first and then seeks for some way to rationalize that acceptance by coming up with “reasons” which are typically not at all persuasive, but which people who have already accepted the belief claim in question would already find acceptable.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Reject Christianity Because It’s Not True, Part II

I continue now with the second installment of my examination of James Anderson’s responses to “four common objections” to Christianity found in the paper I Reject Christianity Because _______________ which was recently posted on the The Gospel Coalition website. (For the initial installment in this series, see Part I.)

The second objection posed to Anderson is the problem of evil:
In his Pulitzer Prize-winning play J.B., Archibald MacLeish nails it when his character Nickles declares: "If God is God, he is not good; if God is good, he is not God." How can you believe in a God who would allow so much senseless evil and suffering in the world?
In response to this, Anderson writes:
Nickles gets it exactly backwards. God is by nature good; if God isn't good, he isn't really God. Or to be more precise: if there's no good God, there's no God at all.
Of course, it would be quite easy to imagine an evil god just as Anderson wants to imagine an all-good god that is on cozy terms with evil. And of course, the evil god would probably want us to think that it’s all-good, and it would likely call itself all-good. And if it rules by fear (cf. Prov. 1:7 et al.), it would want its believers to resist questioning this on pain of that fear.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Reject Christianity Because It’s Not True, Part I

Over on The Gospel Coalition site, in a posting titled I Reject Christianity Because _______________, highly-pedigreed champion of Christian apologetics James Anderson recently offered some responses to what are styled as “four popular objections” against Christianity, apparently in an effort to head critics of the Christian worldview off at the pass. This posting comes in the shadows of a book which he recently published called What’s Your Worldview: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions, which I have not read (and probably won’t). (The book’s Amazon page can be found here; there are loads of reviews praising the book, but it appears that most if not all of them are coming from folks who are always deeply committed to the Christian confessional investment.)

Unfortunately, as seems to be trending with much of what I’ve seen from Anderson lately, his counterpoints to these objections strike me as quite superficial, as though perhaps he were “dumbing down” his apologetic routine in order to reach a wider audience. It’s like watching Bjork transform herself into Britney Spears – going from something that’s at least somewhat original and fresh to a stale lifelessness packaged for mass consumption by the bubble-gummers. In the past Anderson appeared to be striving to achieve at least somewhat scholarly standards. But his recent offerings of pop pieces suggest that he’s opting for a different route in his apologetic approach. It may be that he’s trying to balance two different roles, but typically once one starts to compromise his standards, everything follows suit.

Now when I saw the title of the article – “I Reject Christianity Because _______________” – and even before I read it, my initial response to this was quite simple: I reject Christianity because it’s not true. And this is consistent for me: as an adult thinker, I do not knowingly accept claims or positions that are not true.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Jason Lisle on Axioms

The topic of axioms was raised in Jason Lisle’s comment exchange with Tony and other visitors over on Lisle’s blog It’s not “Human Reason vs. God’s Word”!. Coming to this discussion from the perspective of a worldview which provides no “epistemologically self-conscious” understanding of axioms, Lisle is clearly unprepared to interact with this area of inquiry with any credibility. Instead of raising important issues that need to be addressed or even showing a willingness to learn from his interlocutors, Lisle can be seen flailing his arms around groping for anything that might stick in the heat of debate. Clearly his only ambition is to protect his god-belief. What does he want to protect it from? That’s obvious, he wants to protect it from reason.

Before getting started, I want to point readers to several posts on the topic of axioms that are available for readers to peruse on my blog:
I have also written about the validity of the senses, another topic that comes up in these exchanges, in the following:
I will not address everything stated in the comments of Lisle’s blog (there are 1,180 comments!), but will instead focus primarily on some of Lisle’s questions and statements about axioms that can be found on page 3 of his comments pages.

Monday, March 10, 2014

On Romans 1:20-21

In a comment on his blog DR. GREG BAHNSEN: ATHEISTS ARE UNABLE TO ANSWER THE TOUGH QUESTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY, Christian apologist Charles Jackson claims that “God says that all know Him” and cites Romans 1:21, which states: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

By saying that “God” says this, Jackson is mischaracterizing the record that we have in Romans 1. The Epistle to the Romans was written by one or more human beings. (It is commonly assumed that it was written by the apostle Paul, but how can we really know this today?) Thus it is not true that “God says that all know Him,” rather it is the case that the guy who wrote Romans 1:21 is the one making the claim that we all know this god.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Jason Lisle on Logic

One of the visitors commenting on my blog Is Jason Lisle Epistemologically Self-Conscious? provided a link to a section of comments on Jason Lisle’s blog entry titled It’s not “Human Reason vs. God’s Word”!. In the discussion found there Lisle gave an uninformed reaction to the recognition that the validity of the senses is axiomatic, which is what the visitor on my blog wanted to highlight.

I took a look at some of the other comments found on that page and saw an exchange between a commenter named Tony and Lisle on the topic of logic. I have some thoughts of my own on what Lisle has stated there.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Answering Jason Lisle on the Reliability of the Senses

On page two of the comments section of his blog entry Are You Epistemologically Self-Conscious? Christian apologist Jason Lisle has challenged non-Christian visitors to his blog to explain how they know that the senses are reliable. This is a theme which appears in the main entry itself, where Lisle wrote:
Some people might suppose that our sensory organs are reliable because they have survival value. But this does not follow logically. Chlorophyll has survival value in plants; but this does not imply that chlorophyll reliably informs the plant about the outside world.
In response to this, commenter Zilch asked (September 18, 2013):
I don’t know anyone, naturalist or theist, who supposes that our sensory organs have survival value because they provide us with energy from sunlight- do you?
Replying to Zilch, Jason Lisle embedded the following insertion:
You seem to have misunderstood. The question is: "How do we know that our senses are basically reliable[?]"
Apologists for Christianity raise this question in their exchanges with non-Christians quite frequently, and I have previously addressed the matter on my blog: see my entry On the Validity of the Senses in which I answer Dan Marvin’s attempts to make apologetic use of this matter. In that blog, I address the predictable example of a stick dunked in a glass of water appearing to be bent as an attack on the senses, which is actually a testament to their reliability. Doubting the validity of the senses goes back to ancient skeptics such as Pyrrho, who advocated that since we cannot know anything, we should retreat into “noncommittal silence, with respect to all things” (W.L. Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, sv. ‘Pyrrho’, p. 622).

Friday, March 07, 2014

Vince’s Three Unpublished Comments to Rick Warden’s Blog

On February 26, 2014, I received three messages in my inbox from someone named Vince. The messages were not directed to me. In fact, the author probably has no idea that these messages were delivered to my inbox. The three messages were comments which were submitted to Rick Warden’s blog entry Three Refutations of Objectivism, which is inexcusably filled with mischaracterizations, distortions, context-dropping and other fallacious maneuvers on Warden’s part. These messages represent Vince’s continuation of a comment exchange he was having with Rick Warden. (To see the earlier comments in the exchange between Vince and Rick Warden, click on the above link and scroll down to the comments section.)

But here’s the thing: although these messages were delivered to my inbox, Rick Warden has to date not approved them and allowed them to appear on his blog. And for reasons unknown to me, even Rick Warden has not allowed these messages to appear on his blog, they still nonetheless were passed to my inbox. Since I had previously submitted comments of my own to this blog entry and had clicked the “Notify me” box when submitting my first comment, all subsequent comments submitted to this blog entry would be forwarded to my email inbox. But I always figured that only when comments are approved and posted to the blog proper would they then be allowed to be distributed to any commenters who had clicked the “Notify me” box. Perhaps I’m wrong? Or perhaps there’s a glitch in Blogspot’s comments feed? I have no idea.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Is Jason Lisle Epistemologically Self-Conscious?

Last September, astrophysicist and Christian apologist Jason Lisle posted an entry on his blog titled Are You Epistemologically Self-Conscious? In it he seeks to defend the claim that “Christian epistemology makes knowledge possible.”

Let us take a look at what he says there and see just how “epistemologically self-conscious” Jason Lisle himself is.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Moral Implications of Belief in an Afterlife

If someone truly believes that life continues after death, how would this affect his choices and actions in life? We die, but our lives go on somewhere else. In fact, this “somewhere else” is characterized as a supremely better place. Believers actually want to go to this “somewhere else” they imagine awaiting them beyond the grave.

There’s a profound, unmistakable contrast between a worldview which does not indulge fantasies about an afterlife, and those which do. Obviously there’s the orientation towards facts to be consider: a worldview informed by facts which we discover by looking outward at reality and identify by means of an objective process, will recognize that life is biological in nature and that consciousness is an attribute of some biological organism, and consequently find no evidence for the notion that consciousness survives the death of an organism possessing it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Futility of the Apologetic Appeal to “Revelation”

A visitor commenting on my blog For Jonathan has asked me to comment on statements made by Christian apologist Jonathan Bradford towards the end of this item: Debate: Defending Christian Epistemology against an Objectivist. In the statements found there, Jonathan makes it clear that he appeals to “revelation” as the source of his religious knowledge.

For example, Jonathan declares that “Christian epistemology” is:
an epistemology based upon the foundation of divine revelation from the omniscient, omnipotent, infallible source of all knowledge.
I have to say, ever since learning about rational epistemology, I’ve always found it deeply puzzling when thinkers suppose that epistemology and “revelation” can go together. Christians claim revelation as a source for their knowledge.

Friday, February 14, 2014

At a Loss for Words: Rick Warden's Latest Comment

On occasion some of my readers have criticized my blog entries for being too lengthy, that I am too wordy, that I apparently have too much to say. It is true, I do have a lot to say, and I can’t sit on it. I cannot stand still and just watch what’s happening to the world I’m living in and do nothing. The old adage has it that the pen is mightier than the sword, and much of history supports this view. I'm doing my best to do my small part.

So it might come as a surprise to my readers when I am struck with a loss for words. This does not happen often for me, but it did happen this evening, at least temporarily, when I opened my e-mail and saw a comment posting from Rick Warden on his own blog entry saying something that was so bizarrely false that I really did lose my voice for a few moments.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on Subjectivism and the Believer

This is the sixth and final installment in my interaction with a comment which Matthias McMahon of Choosing Hats posted on my blog Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivist. In this entry, I explore the question of how subjectivism may express itself in the believer’s worldview affirmations. My original blog entry explains how subjectivism in metaphysics is indispensable to the Christian worldview: it affirms the existence of a conscious subject which creates its own objects, zaps physical things into being, alters their identity, controls their actions, etc., all by an act of will. Thus in terms of the subject-object relationship according to such teachings, the subject of consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over its objects. In previous interactions with Matthias’ comment in this series of blog entries, I have explored this matter further and cited additional evidence to confirm this observation of Christian metaphysics.

Of course, subjectivism in metaphysics leads to subjectivism in epistemology. Man’s knowledge needs a source of inputs informing it. How does he acquire these inputs? The objective approach is the epistemological model by which man looks outward at the facts of reality which exist and are what they are independent of his conscious activity. The task of consciousness in this case is to perceive, identify and integrate the facts he discovers by looking outward. This approach is called objective because it rests explicitly on and is guided by the recognition that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of conscious activity. In terms of the subject-object relationship, then, the objects of consciousness hold metaphysical primacy.

But, as has been indicated so far, and as we shall see confirmed below, the believer does not acquire input for his god-beliefs by looking outward at the world. When we look outward at the world, we do not find any gods or consciousnesses which can zap physical things into existence or alter the identity of objects by an act of will. On the contrary, to find these things, the believer must look inward, consulting the contents of his imagination, his preferences, his wishing, his emotions, etc., and calling it “revelation.” In such a way we find that subjectivism in metaphysics necessitates subjectivism in epistemology.

Below I will explore how subjectivism can manifest itself in the believer’s worldview claims, survey various expressions of subjectivism, and highlight examples from the Christian bible which both model and encourage subjectivism in the believer’s own interaction with reality.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on "Analogous Knowledge"

I continue now with my reply to Matthias McMahon. In the present installment, I explore some of the premises and implications of the Christian view that man’s knowledge is somehow “analogous” to the “knowledge” which the Christian god is said to have. Drawing on some points which I have made in previous responses to Matthias (see here and here for example), I focus on two major areas: namely the issue of metaphysical primacy (i.e., as it pertains to the relationship between the subject of consciousness and its objects) and the nature of conceptual identification.

In my blog Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivst, I noted that “there are fundamental qualitative differences between man’s knowledge and the Christian god’s so-called ‘knowledge,’” focusing on the antithetical nature of their respective subject-object relationships (namely the primacy of existence in the case of man, and the primacy of consciousness in the case of the Christian god, given Christianity’s descriptions of it).

In essence, I argued that
(a) since man is neither omniscient nor infallible, he needs a means of gathering and validating his knowledge, and since the objects of his knowledge are not creations of his conscious activity or conform to his conscious intensions, he need to look outward at the world to acquire knowledge of these objects, which means that the method by which he acquires and validates his knowledge must be objective in nature (e.g., not based on his emotions, preferences, likes or dislikes, wishes, commands, imagination, dreams, etc.), and 
(b) since the Christian god is supposed to be both omniscient and infallible, it would not need any means of gathering and validating knowledge, and since the objects of its “knowledge” are supposed to be creations of its conscious activity and conform to its conscious intensions, it would not need to look outward for the content of its “knowledge”
there is therefore no analogous relationship between human knowers and the objects of their knowledge of them on the one hand, and the Christian god and the objects of its “knowledge” of them.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on Objective Knowledge vs. the Subjectivism of Theism

This is the fourth installment of a series of replies I’ve been writing in response to a comment (yes, I know, just one comment) posted on my blog Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivist by Matthias McMahon of the blog Choosing Hats. While I realize that four rather long posts in reply to a single comment left on one of my older blog entries may seem to some as a bit “over the top,” I caution readers not to think I’m finished with this yet. There will be more – at least one, maybe two... who knows! As I read Matthias’ comment and examined the surrounding issues, so many important points have come to mind, and what better than to develop them and share them with my readers here at my blog?

In the present entry I take up the portion of Matthias’ comment where he sought to explain the varying degrees of knowledge between different knowers in an attempt to defend the view that man’s knowledge is somehow “analogous” to the “knowledge” Christianity claims its god possesses. In my blog Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivist, I argued essentially that, given the objectivity of man’s proper knowledge (acquired and validated by means of looking outward at reality) as opposed to the overt subjectivism which Christianity attributes to its god (whose objects of “knowledge” are products of its own “thinking” – instancing the looking inward model of “knowing”), there can be nothing either metaphysically or epistemologically analogous between the two.

This is because there can at root be nothing analogous between
(a) knowing by means of looking outward at objects which exist independent of one’s conscious activity, discovering them as objects which are not already pre-known, examining them by perceptual means, and identifying and integrating them by means of concepts (which condense a limitless categories of data into a single unit so that man can retain it, given the finite nature of his consciousness); and 
(b) “knowing” objects by means of looking inward at the contents of one’s own consciousness (which is already omniscient – i.e., already knows everything and thus cannot learn more), creating objects from that internal content by means of some type of conscious activity which we have never observed and can only imagine, retaining the ability to alter the identity of those objects at any time by a similar act of will, and lacking any need to condense entire categories of data into single units in order to retain it in consciousness, etc.
I hope to bring out some of the implications of this fundamental antithesis between how man knows and what could only be the case for the Christian god given Christianity’s descriptions of it, in the following interaction with Matthias’ comments.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on Holy Inference vs. Reason: How Do We Know What’s Inside the Box?

In this post I continue my interaction with Matthias’ comment on my blog Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivist, a comment that provides abundant opportunity for me to make some very important points. I have already posted one new entry interacting with Matthias’ comment here: A Reply to Matthias on Philosophical Starting Points. More will be forthcoming soon.

In the present entry, I explore the implications of some statements which Matthias made in his comment regarding epistemology – specifically regarding how believers “conceive of how reality must be in light of how God is.” In my exploration of this, I propose a test scenario in which we find sealed box on our doorstep with no indication of what is inside it. The question is: Do we discover its contents by looking inward (e.g., considering what “must be” in the box “in light of how God is” – which I dub “holy inference”), or by looking outward at the facts of reality (i.e., in this case, by opening the box to discover its contents)?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on Philosophical Starting Points

Matthias McMahon (“McFormtist”) of Choosing Hats recently posted a two-part comment on my 2006 blog entry Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivist. In this series of entries, beginning with this one, I address his points and objections. I suggest that readers familiarize themselves first with the older blog before reading my responses to Matthias. I re-read my entry prior to writing this response, and I still agree wholeheartedly with everything I stated in it.

In the present entry, the discussion focuses on starting points. In his comment Matthias indicated what Christians take to be their starting point, and I will contrast this with Objectivism’s starting point after defining relevant criteria which a worldview’s starting point must meet in order to be a proper starting point. I explain how Objectivism’s starting point (the axiom ‘existence exists’) in fact meets all of these criteria, and we will see how the starting point attributed by Matthias to the Christian worldview fails to meet same these criteria. Then it will be shown how Christians must in fact assume the truth of Objectivism’s starting point while taking it completely for granted.

So onwards and upwards, as they say.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on Imagination and Its Role in Theism

A visitor to my blog named Matthias recently posted several comments to various blogs of mine. Posting under the moniker McFormtist, this is apparently Matthias McMahon of the Choosing Hats blog. Since Chris Bolt’s departure from that blog and absence from the comments sections of my blog (and pretty much elsewhere so far as I can tell), it is nice to see one of CH’s crew over here at IP asking questions and participating in discussions. I welcome Matthias’s inquiry and find his friendly tone refreshing.

Matthias has posted comments inquiring on various aspects of my critique of theism on the following blog entries of mine:
The following is a reply to Matthias’s 15 Jan. comment to my blog A Proof that the Christian God Does Not Exist.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Warden's Persisting Failure to Integrate

Over on his blog, Christian apologist Rick Warden posted a new comment summing up his case for his claim that the Objectivist concept of metaphysical primacy is “flawed.”

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Warden’s “Addenda” regarding the Nature of Truth

Note: The following is an elaboration on some comments which I recently posted here.
 
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Since I posted a vindication of my three-step case against theism in defense against Rick Warden’s ill-fated attempts to refute it, he has added a post-script to his attempted refutation regarding the nature of truth that my argument applies.

In this “Addenda” as he titles this section, Warden helps to make clear the stark contrast between the theistic view of truth and the view of truth which my case against theism incorporates. Warden mistakenly assumes that, since the conception of the nature of truth which my case incorporates has anti-theistic implications, my case therefore begs the question. On the contrary, what Warden fails to grasp is the fact that my case constitutes an application of the objective theory of truth to a particular area of inquiry, demonstrating those implications in that particular area of inquiry explicitly. Thus my case constitutes an application of a general truth to a specific matter. In classical logic this is known as deduction - the drawing of specific conclusions from at least one general premise.

The case against theism which I presented in my blog consists of three distinct syllogisms, the last of which drawing the conclusion “Therefore theism is incompatible with the primacy of existence metaphysics and consequently cannot be true.” At no point in any of the three syllogisms does the affirmation “theism is not true” figure as a premise. On the contrary, my conclusion is drawn as an implication from the premises which are stated in the three syllogisms respectively. Therefore, I emphatically deny the charge of begging the question given the standard deductive model which my case follows.