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.
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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.
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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)?
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Spinning Out of Orbit: Rick Warden Lost in the Outer Limits

Rick Warden has posted yet another attempt to dismantle my argument. And like all the others, it falls flat on its face at the very sounding of the starting shot.

Previous attempts by Warden to refute the argument from metaphysical primacy against theism can be found here:
To date, my blog entries defending my argument can be found here:
And now, in the present entry, I am posting a fifth installment, again exposing Warden’s errors and misunderstandings (or rather, disunderstandings).

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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.
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