Fallacies of a contingent God

(Text: “Debating an Atheist“, Soli Deo Gloria, July 2, 2012)

I’m going to take a break from my usual practice of working through book-length manuscripts and indulge in something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months now. I’m going to shamelessly piggy-back on Russell Glasser’s marvelous idea of having an on-line debate with a defender of presuppositional apologetics. And worse, I’m not even going to bother to go out and find my own apologist to debate with—I’m just going to use the material that has already been presented in the existing debate. Consider this an extended post-mortem, if you will.

One caveat I need to make up front is that I’m not by any means an expert on presuppositional apologetics, so please bear with me (and ideally correct me) if I misunderstand or misrepresent the technical details in any way. I’ll do the best I can based on the knowledge I’ve picked up so far, and corrections/clarifications will be gratefully received.

Pastor Stephen Feinstein, a pastor at Sovereign Way Christian Church in Hesperia, CA and a Chaplain in the United States Army Reserve, opens his presentation as follows.

Matt can tell you from the start that I do not argue for a god, nor do I attempt to win opponents over to theism first, only later to try to convince them of Christian theism. No. Instead I argue from the outset for the Christian position only, and I affirm that the Christian worldview is the only worldview that is possible given the preconditions of intelligibility.

Here, in a nutshell, is Pastor Feinstein’s argument, right up front. When I first read this, it wasn’t entirely clear to me what he was referring to here, but now I have the advantage of being able to approach this paragraph after having read the subsequent arguments and exchanges, so it’s a bit more clear to me. His argument is going to be this (paraphrased):

In order for intelligibility to exist, certain preconditions must be true, and those preconditions are such that the Christian worldview is the only possible, rational worldview.

Obviously, this is a fairly incomplete preview of his argument, and not the substance of the argument itself. In order to establish logically that his argument is correct, he must do the following:

  1. He must define what he means by intelligibility.
  2. He must demonstrate that his definition of intelligibility is correct, i.e. that intelligibility, as he defines it, exists.
  3. He must define what the preconditions of intelligibility are.
  4. He must show that his list of preconditions is correct, i.e. he’s not listing something as a precondition when it is not genuinely required.
  5. He must show that his list of preconditions is complete, i.e. he is not omitting any of the necessary preconditions for intelligibility.
  6. He must show that every genuine precondition is compatible with a Christian worldview.
  7. He must show that every other worldview is irreconcilably incompatible with at least one of the preconditions for intelligibility.

This may seem like a lot, but it’s no more than what he has claimed in his opening argument. If he gets everything else right, but is using an incorrect definition of intelligibility, then his argument proves merely that Christianity is the only worldview consistent with a false definition of intelligibility—a “victory,” but not a very useful one. Likewise, if he adopts the wrong list of preconditions for intelligibility, then even if he proves his point, he’s merely establishing Christianity as the only worldview compatible with one particular error. Nor is it any terrible criticism to point out that competing worldviews are inconsistent with that error. Thus, to establish the correctness of his claim above, Pastor Feinstein needs not only to get his argument right, but he needs to demonstrate each of the seven prerequisites listed above as well.

From a logical perspective, this is what’s most important in Pastor Feinstein’s opening statement. For a Christian apologist like Pastor Feinstein, however, the most important part is the declaration that “I argue from the outset for the Christian position only.” Consequently, that is the part he follows up on, rather than on the logical requirements.

I hold to the historic Christian faith as elucidated from the Christian canon (the 66 books of the Protestant Bible). Yes, I am defending a theological position, but Christianity is more than just a theology, it is also a philosophy. It holds a position about ultimate reality (metaphysics), possesses a distinct view of knowledge (epistemology), and it contains a system of moral and ethical absolutes (metaethics).

None of that is true, actually. Even if we imagined that there was ever one singular “historic Christian faith,” and that it was contained in the 66 books of the Protestant Bible, you cannot get Pastor Feinstein’s philosophy by putting together any combination of Bible quotes. Pastor Feinstein’s philosophy is the work of a number of latter day Protestant philosophers putting together a philosophy (and in fact a distinctly Western philosophy) whose more or less openly acknowledged goal is to try and justify some version or other of some alleged “historic Christian faith.” It’s a commentary about the Bible, not the text of the Bible itself.

As for this so-called “historic Christian faith,” there has never been any such thing. The whole reason we even have a canon of Scripture is because Church Councils were trying to resolve some of the many divergent opinions and beliefs that have been present in Christianity since the first century, and in Judaism for even longer. The phrase “historic Christian faith” merely reviews the spectrum of differing ancient beliefs, picks out those elements most compatible with one’s own beliefs, and declares that these were the doctrines that have been right all along. That’s why we commonly see that different Christians pick out different beliefs as “the historic Christian faith.”

But Pastor Feinstein drives on regardless. After asserting that all science “falls under the scope of philosophy and specifically epistemology,” he asserts,

We believe in a two-level concept of reality (as opposed to materialism’s one-level concept). Simply put, you have the Creator and the creation. The Creator is eternal meaning He has no beginning and no end, and possesses all of the omni-characteristics. He is what in philosophy is referred to as a “necessary being,” whereas all of creation by contrast is “contingent beings.”

First of all, he is mistaken when he says materialism is a “one-level” concept of reality. Materialism is based on making a distinction between objective reality and mere subjective beliefs. As such, it has as many “levels” of reality as may prove to be verifiably consistent with the real world. Indeed, Christianity may prove to be the pauper in this regard, with only two levels, depending on what we find as we pursue string theory and other materialistic sciences.

Pastor Feinstein’s more significant mistake, though, is when he ascribes to the Christian God the role of “necessary being.” Before we talk about that, though, the philosophical concepts of “necessary” vs. “contingent” may require some explanation. We’re not necessarily talking about cause-and-effect here, but rather, logical contingency. In other words, when we say “A is contingent on B,” we’re saying “A cannot exist or be true if B does not exist or is false.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that B causes A specifically, but only that A’s existence requires that B must also exist.

The “necessary” being, then, is the one on which everything else is ultimately contingent, but which is itself contingent on nothing else. Its existence does not require that anything else exist, and its truth is not predicated on anything else being true. Its own existence/truth is not arbitrary or hypothetical, however. The necessary being itself must exist (must be true), otherwise nothing can exist (be true). That’s why it’s called “necessary being.”

The problem for Pastor Feinstein is that only a pantheistic, non-Christian God can be the necessary being. The existence of a Creator God, as distinct from His creation, is properly contingent on the existence of a greater reality which contains multiple beings, or existences, some of which are divine and some of which are not. This reality is necessarily a greater reality than the Creator God because it contains everything that is not God in addition to everything that is God.

The truly necessary being, then, is the greater, self-consistent reality. This reality is truly “necessary” in the philosophical sense because obviously the existence of reality itself cannot depend on anything else, since anything that’s not part of reality is either untrue or non-existent, and is thus not available for reality to be contingent on. The very definition of “to exist” derives from whether or not a thing is part of, and consistent with, this greater reality. Thus, the greater reality is the necessary being upon which even the existence of the Creator God must be contingent.

Now the typical rebuttal at this point would be to suggest that God’s existence is not, in fact, contingent, because once upon a time He was the only being who did exist, and everything else came into existence later. Creation’s existence is called “contingent” because God came chronologically first and created everything else.

The problem with this rebuttal is that time itself is merely a dimension of the material universe. If God’s status as “necessary being” is dependent on what time it is, then once again you’ve made God a contingent being, and in this case you’ve made His existence explicitly contingent on one of the aspects of the material universe, so now you’re even worse off. Taking reality as a whole, and remembering that time is only a part of a greater reality, we can see that the existence of a Creator God is contingent on the greater reality that includes things, like time, that are not the Creator God.

Meanwhile, back to talking about the truly necessary being, you might have noticed I’ve described it as “a greater, self-consistent reality.” That’s an important attribute of the necessary being, because self-consistency is what makes it even possible to make the distinction between necessary and contingent, not to say between true and false. That may be painfully obvious to some, but it’s a point that relates directly to God’s existence being contingent, so I’m going to belabor it just a bit here.

The difference between real-world truth and all the various forms of falsehood is that things that are really true are things that are consistent with this greater, self-consistent reality. Or to say it in slightly different terms, things that truly exist are things that are part of the greater, self-consistent reality. Things that are false, things that are delusions or lies or misunderstandings, are things that are not part of the greater, self-consistent reality, and may not even be consistent with themselves.

That latter criterion doesn’t always hold, of course. You can make up a story about, say, war in the Middle Earth, and with great care and effort produce a tale that manages to be consistent with its own terms. Yet despite this internal self-consistency, we say that the story is not true because at some point there’s a gap between the story and the real world. The distinction between “true” and “not true” is a distinction that is contingent on the existence of a greater, self-consistent reality that real/true things are part of and that false things are not.

This distinction between “true” and “not true” propagates to all other claims as well. For example, the distinction between “divine” and “not divine” is contingent on the distinction between true and not true: before you can say whether a thing is or is not divine, there must be a difference between “it is true that X is divine” and “it is not true that X is divine.” Otherwise, “divine” and “not divine” are equally true for everything, and we’re back to either atheism or pantheism. Thus, the distinction between divine and not divine is contingent on the necessary difference between true and not true, which in turn is contingent on the greater self-consistent reality, which ultimately is the only truly necessary being.

The inherent and necessary self-consistency of reality is what makes intelligibility possible. No Creator God is necessary. Reality is intelligible because it is self-consistent. In fact, any reasonable definition of intelligibility is necessarily going to boil down to the observation that reality is self-consistent, and that “truth” means being consistent with this self-consistency, and that existence means being part of this reality. Quite apart from any subjective assessments of any observer, the existence of orderly and consistent relationships between different aspects of reality is due entirely and exclusively to the self-consistent nature of reality.

That means that Pastor Feinstein’s argument is doomed from the start, because the genuine and correct prerequisites for intelligibility are prerequisites that are also shared by his regrettably contingent Creator God. And since these prerequisites are more than adequately supplied by the greater reality already, without the need for any Creator Gods, he’s not going to be able to use them to eliminate non-Christian worldviews. Frankly, it looks to me like he’s done before he’s even properly started, because he’s going off a false premise. But we’ll continue through his arguments anyway, at least for the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

184 Responses to “Fallacies of a contingent God”

  1. Crip Dyke Says:

    “The inherent and necessary self-consistency of reality is what makes intelligibility possible. No Creator God is necessary.”

    I think this is where you fall down. His argument is that such a creator god IS necessary for intelligibility.

    Earlier you make a very good argument that no creator-god can be a necessary being, but you don’t make an argument that a creator god is impossible.

    If intelligibility is dependent on the existence of a creator god, then a creator god must exist and the mucking about with “necessary beings” [which he thinks prove his god's existence and you think don't] is all a sideshow to the intelligibility argument. While his necessary being argument cannot be true in the form that he imagines, nonetheless a god might be a necessary part of self-consistent reality. And where do you disprove that?

    You don’t. You assert, “No Creator God is necessary,” but you don’t prove that. Yes, he’s off on the wrong foot by stressing a necessary being concept that he clearly doesn’t well understand. But his intelligibility argument is not contradicted by anything you say here. Why not take on intelligibility directly?

    I don’t think it would be that hard to do. It’s been a while since I read the debate, but as I remember, he was taking as evidence that intelligibility requires a god the statements of many scientists and cosmologists that development within the universe has been essentially random. Russel called him on conflating 2 different meanings of random – 1) undirected; and 2) chaotic and rule-less. Obviously development within the universe has proceeded in accordance with certain rules (physical laws), but we have no evidence that it was directed by any agent. His intelligibility argument essentially was that a god is required (actually, his god is required) since the physical laws don’t, from moment to moment, bounce in and out of existence or change in value and meaning (sometimes the speed of light is faster or slower, sometimes it is a limit on the speed an object can travel, sometimes it isn’t, some”times” time’s arrow goes forward (or backward) consistently throughout the universe, while at other “times” the arrow of time takes on a different direction in each location).

    Why not take that on? No, his god isn’t required to exist by the logical necessary being argument. However, a god very similar to his, one that would even be seen by most as recognizably the Xian god, isn’t required to not exist by any logical necessary being formulation. So skip the sideshow and go to the main event, that’s my advice…and I’d be interested in seeing you critique that main event.

  2. J. Simonov Says:

    “While his necessary being argument cannot be true in the form that he imagines, nonetheless a god might be a necessary part of self-consistent reality. And where do you disprove that?”

    Well, I’d say one could disprove that by noting that the existence of any putative gods would first require there to be a self-consistent reality to begin with. Otherwise any such gods would both be and not be, have characterictics and not have them simultaneously. Self-consistent existence always has to assume metaphysical primacy in ANY attempt at an ontology, no matter what, otherwise it just collapses from the get-go. Gods can’t be the source of self-consistency because they themselves require it in the first place.

    • murk Says:

      @ J.Simonov
      how do you know what the nature (self-consistent reality) of the universe is?

      Is it absolutely true that self-consistent existence always has to assume metaphysical primacy?

      By what standard (ultimate authority) do you know this?

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        Self-consistent existence is the definition of absolute truth, as well as being the ultimate standard for what is and is not true. Any metaphysics that is not based on the self-consistency of reality, or that does not lead to the discovery of the self-consistent reality, is necessarily a non-true metaphysics.

      • murk Says:

        re: self consistent reality (free from contradiction) is defined as absolute truth and the standard to measure what is true and not true;

        One must be rational to form your definition of absolute truth
        This entails that “what you know” is determined before you get out of the gate.
        – i am rational
        – my reason is reasonable
        – the universe is uniform
        – my reasoning is uniform
        – laws of logic that i use to reason are universal/invariant/immaterial

        all these things must be held as true prior to you formulating your definition of truth

        Thus they are more ultimate and your definition is not self-consistent

        Science and philosophy are fraught with unknowns and contradictions – so they are not self consistent
        (universal / particular problem, gravity – (dark matter, dark energy which is inconsistent with what is observed), unity /diversity problem, ideals, logic which all have their internal tensions within the framework of atheism)

        no person is self-consistent , all of us have internal tensions within our worldview, all of us have lied – thus we cannot know if we exist by your definition, nor if anything exists (since self consistency is the standard)

        knowing that the law of contradiction is valid(since absurdity results if it is denied) does not entail that the law of contradiction can be its own foundation

        in a material universe without purpose and direction this law had to be broken many times (although never observed – rather this fantasy is arbitrarily invoked in an attempt to support what is held as true prior thereby again breaking the self consistent test) eg. something from nothing, life from non-life, intelligence from non-intelligence

        To apply your definition one would have to know everything about the universe to know anything.

        Or know someone who does

        Only one man can pass this test

  3. J. Simonov Says:

    Hello murk;

    I know reality to be necessarily self-consistent because:

    Existence exists.

    To exist is to have identity.

    To have identity is to be self-consistent.

    You can’t deny any of these things. The very act of denying them would assume their truth.

    No authority is required to know these things. They are perceptually self-evident.

    • murk Says:

      So you know ” that no authority is required to know these things.”

      You reasoned this to be true.

      seems to me that your ability to reason is therefore your ultimate authority. (ultimate authority is unavoidable)

      Now why do you trust your ability to reason?

  4. Russell Wain Glasser Says:

    You have a different approach than I do, Deacon Duncan, and I’m enjoying reading your perspective on this exchange. I’m interested in the philosophical underpinnings, but what I like to try to do wherever possible is sweep through the highfalutin’ language and focus on some easily accessible language that gets to the heart of what’s wrong with the argument.

    Your analogy about a self-consistent story taking place in Middle Earth is good. I was trying to get at a similar point by mentioning the magic tiara at various points in the conversation. You can tell yourself all you want about how this or that story about a God logically hangs together and is consistent with itself and so on. But unless you have some kind of standard for comparing a logically consistent fiction with a demonstrated reality, you’re just spinning tales and not demonstrating that you have a thing that exists in reality.

    Stephen very explicitly rejected such a test. If the goal was just to prove that it’s possible to believe in a consistent God, no argument was needed; I granted that from the outset. But since Stephen repeatedly insistent that it is the ONLY logical belief, he needed to make a case for calling in “necessary” instead of just “sufficient,” and as you point out at the beginning, there are a lot of hurdles to clear before the claim of necessity is justified. Stephen barely expended any effort to clear those hurdles throughout the conversation; he just demanded that I accept it unquestioningly, or else submit to the punishment of him insulting my intelligence.

  5. J. Simonov Says:

    Also, to expand on my previous comment a little:

    “Is it absolutely true that self-consistent existence always has to assume metaphysical primacy?”

    Yes, of course. The alternative would be that something contradictory and/or non-existent has metaphysical primacy. Something NOT REAL, in other words. That is not an alternative that anyone has to take seriously, I hope it’s obvious.

  6. Grayhame Says:

    “The problem for Pastor Feinstein is that only a pantheistic, non-Christian God can be the necessary being. The existence of a Creator God, as distinct from His creation, is properly contingent on the existence of a greater reality which contains multiple beings, or existences, some of which are divine and some of which are not. This reality is necessarily a greater reality than the Creator God because it contains everything that is not God in addition to everything that is God.”

    Why is the existence of a Creator God contingent on a greater reality that contains multiple beings? This is the place that you completely lost me, since you entire argument for God’s contingency relies on this. Can you elucidate your point a little more?

    • Deacon Duncan Says:

      Imagine two circles: one represents reality, so everything inside the circle is real and everything real is inside the circle. The other circle represents God, so everything inside the circle is literally divine and everything literally divine is inside the circle.

      One of the things that’s inside the first circle is time itself, past, present and future, so when we look at the first circle, we’re not looking at reality as it exists at any particular point in time. All of time is within the circle (similar to how Christians view God as existing in some way that transcends time and allows Him to be equally present not only everywhere but also “everywhen”).

      In order to have both a divine Creator and a non-divine creation, the first circle must contain the second circle (God) plus extra room outside of God for the non-divine things like time and matter and living creatures and so on. The first circle is reality, so everything that is real is contained within the first circle, and therefore every aspect of God that is real (if any) must also fall within the first circle. But the circle of reality has to be greater than the circle of God so that it can also contain a created universe that is not God.

      If you have a pantheistic God, the two circles coincide, and everything that is real is also an aspect of God. But the existence of a non-pantheistic, Christian-style Creator God is logically contingent on the existence of a greater reality which, when viewed from a timeless perspective, is greater than God and which includes both the divine and the mundane.

      • Larry Clapp Says:

        Hi, Deacon,

        I had the same problem Grayhame had, but your explanation doesn’t do it for me.

        “In order to have both a divine Creator and a non-divine creation, the first circle must contain the second circle (God) plus extra room outside of God for the non-divine things like time and matter and living creatures and so on.”

        Why?

        If you have an omnipotent god, it could create non-divine things apart from itself, ex nihilo. In what way have you shown that this is not the case?

        If the answer is elsewhere here in the comments, or later in the series, I apologize; i haven’t read them all yet.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        The answer is that time is a part of reality, the bigger circle. Thus, if an omnipotent God creates non-God things at some point in time, Reality is still the bigger circle: it’s bigger along the dimension of time. Thus, if Reality contains all of Time, and Time, at some point, contains non-God creatures, it is necessarily the case that Reality (including Time) is greater than God. If no non-God creatures ever exist, at any point anywhere in Time, then God and Reality are effectively co-equal.

  7. Grayhame Says:

    Thanks again, DD. I posted on your other thread and now the answers have come together.

  8. Casey McCubbins Says:

    Are you saying life evolved from dirt? (Which is hard to believe isnt it?)

    Casey

  9. J. Simonov Says:

    Hello murk;

    “seems to me that your ability to reason is therefore your ultimate authority. (ultimate authority is unavoidable)

    Now why do you trust your ability to reason?”

    Reason itself is not an authority, no. The concept “authority” is necessarily dependent on the more fundamental concept of “reason”, and therefore reason cannot be an authority as such. In order to designate something as an authority, one would first need a reasoning process in place; the alternative is to have an authority by way of authority, which is meaningless if not viciously circular.

    Similarly, trust is necessarily the product of successful reasoning ability, not its precondition. You are committing the fallacy of the stolen concept when you ask someone to “trust” their reasoning itself; applying a concept in a manner that ignores its genetic roots. This dooms your inquires to self-contradiction and/or vicious circularity. If you are having difficulty seeing why this is, ask yourself where you obtained the concept of “trust” in the first place. Be careful not to attempt to invalidate the cognitive process that you have to rely upon in formulating the question.

    “absolute truth exists then
    how can you account for the existence of absolute truth?”

    I already have. Self-consistent existence has metaphysical primacy. This is because of the axiomatic, undeniable facts I pointed out to you earlier. Perhaps you would care to try disputing some of them? I think it would be hilarious watching you flounder about, attempting to deny that existence entails identity.

    • murk Says:

      “trust is necessarily the product of successful reasoning ability, not its precondition.”

      Unless you can account for the preconditions that make reason valid – i’ll posit just one – uniformity of nature – you have to trust reason. you are putting the cart in front of the horse here

      Since trust is relying on the strength, integrity or surety of an entity or person, you must trust yourself – your own ability to reason
      to make this assertion.

      “The concept “authority” is necessarily dependent on the more fundamental concept of “reason”, and therefore reason cannot be an authority as such.”

      this presupposes the ultimacy of reason – thus it is authoritative
      and self-refuting

      The solution to this futility can only be solved if ultimate authority exists. This entails it cannot be you or i since we are temporal and spatial

      “No authority is required to know these things. They are perceptually self-evident.”

      again this assumes man is ultimate. Thus an authority – hence self contradicting. It is impossible to attempt to answer “how do we know” without first answering “what do we know” – and the “what do we know” is unavoidably dependent on authority as you have so clearly demonstrated perhaps unwittingly

      • Russell Wain Glasser Says:

        How do you account for the existence of this supposed ultimate authority?

      • murk Says:

        Hi Russel, the same way you do – He made himself plain to all people. You are inescapably an image bearer. And the only way you can slap your Father in the face is if He supports you on His lap. This is the part where you begin the slapping and exposing How He supports you to do this…………

      • Russell Wain Glasser Says:

        Murk: “Unless you can account for the preconditions that make reason valid – i’ll posit just one – uniformity of nature – you have to trust reason. you are putting the cart in front of the horse here”

        Me: “How do you account for the existence of this supposed ultimate authority?”

        Murk: “Hi Russel, the same way you do – He made himself plain to all people.”

        ***BOGGLE***

        Wait, so when you said “account for the preconditions that make reason valid” all you meant by “account for” was “directly experience?” Well, I *have* directly experienced reason, and I *haven’t* directly experienced God. So in fact, your argument in the preceding post is meaningless, and reason is already “accounted for” in the very sense that you are using the word now.

        Or maybe you forgot what the point was that you were trying to make originally??

      • murk Says:

        just as i predicted…
        You have directly experienced reason you say…
        which requires you to first hold many metaphysical claims
        (unless off course you know everything)
        Yet every one of your claims cannot be accounted for apart from the only God. Apart from God:
        How do you reason to the uniformity of nature ?
        How do your immaterial thoughts comport with reality?
        Can you have a coherent epistemology without first having comprehensive metaphysical commitments?
        How do you know the future will be like the past?
        Can you be wrong about everything you know?
        To state something negative (God does not exist) you also need to state something positive about the nature of reality – please do this for me if you dare:)

      • rglasser27 Says:

        just as i predicted…

        Yes, I’m sure.

        You have directly experienced reason you say…
        which requires you to first hold many metaphysical claims

        Yet every one of your claims cannot be accounted for apart from the only God.

        That is an assertion you have not demonstrated.

        You still haven’t accounted for god. You’re using the word “account for” in completely inconsistent ways over and over again, and then trying to change the subject so you don’t have to confront this. So now “account for” means “identify the metaphysical preconditions which you claim are required.” So go ahead: what are the metaphysical preconditions of your god existing? Account for this god, please.

      • rglasser27 Says:

        “all reasoning chains must start somewhere”

        Oh good, I’m glad you recognize that. In that case, I state the following: Reason exists. That’s the starting point, it requires no preconditions. Your move.

        “mine is God”

        I already know that. Mine isn’t. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one, since God isn’t a necessary assumption.

        “I trust that apart from Him “i can do nothing” John 15:5″

        I’m aware that you think that. You haven’t demonstrated that it’s true, and I don’t give a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys what your ancient holy book says, so I’m under no obligation to accept the assumptions of God 15:5 without better reasons than you seem willing to give.

      • murk Says:

        “Reason exists. That’s the starting point, it requires no preconditions. Your move.”

        can’t be starting point – without uniformity, reliability of memory, reality of external world, laws of logic, solution to unity/diversity problem, reality of sense perception which hinges on unchanging laws of science (light refraction, electron movement etc.)
        reason is dead

        and you cannot reason that the future will be like the past, which is required to reason, apart from the only one with sufficient power to ensure that it does.

        in fact in a Godless worldview everything is really a mystery
        and the future had to be different than the past
        something from nothing / life from non-life/intelligence from non-intelligence

        in a Godless world anything can happen
        if anything can happen we cannot know anything

        the only alternative to God is chance
        one thing is as likely to happen as another
        then the thing you call knowledge is just an illusion since there is no purpose, direction, coherence – no unifying plan within which we can reason

        reason is a tool that can only make sense within a larger framework – kinda like a surgeons scalpel

        if reason is deemed ultimate – we could soon have another French Revolution for that is what they did and it resulted in using human heads as soccer balls

        God exists – He is the necessary starting point for reason to be reasonable. your move

      • Russell Wain Glasser Says:

        [Reason] can’t be starting point – without uniformity, reliability of memory, reality of external world, laws of logic, solution to unity/diversity problem, reality of sense perception which hinges on unchanging laws of science (light refraction, electron movement etc.)
        reason is dead

        My mistake for not defining the terms clearly enough. Previously when you used the word “reason”, it appeared that you were referring to “reasonability” — i.e., “the greater, self-consistent reality” that Duncan was referring to in the original post. Here you are assuming that I meant “the human capacity to reason,” which I did not.

        “Reason” in the sense I was referring to is more or less synonomous with what you refer to as “reality of external world,” “laws of logic,” “unchanging laws of science,” etc. Those are what I was speaking of as the starting point, requiring no preconditions.

        Now that this confusion is cleared up, I think you can see that most of the rest of your post isn’t relevant to what I said, since you refuted that the human capacity for reason is primary, which is not what I said. However, a few minor points:

        “In a Godless world anything can happen.”
        “God exists – He is the necessary starting point for reason to be reasonable.”

        Neither of these points is granted. You can repeat it all you want, you can rephrase it as much you like, but unless you make a case for it, nobody is obligated to accept it. Prove that a consistent universe is impossible without a god; and if you can, account for the existence of that god with the same rigor that you demand of consistency.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        “In a Godless world anything can happen.”
        “God exists – He is the necessary starting point for reason to be reasonable.”

        Neither of these points is granted.

        And in fact the first one has it exactly backwards. In order to have a world in which “anything can happen,” you have to have a God, because “with God all things are possible.” Plus if God decides to lie to us (for example, by telling us that He never lies), then there are truly no limits to the possibilities. A God who was our sole source for knowledge could do whatever He wanted, including sinning, and since we would have no other infallible source of truth to verify Him against, we wouldn’t even be able to find out He was lying and sinning to us.

  10. J. Simonov Says:

    Hello murk;

    “Unless you can account for the preconditions that make reason valid – i’ll posit just one – uniformity of nature – you have to trust reason. you are putting the cart in front of the horse here”

    LIKE I SAID PREVIOUSLY, existence exists, to exist is to have identity, to have identity is to be self-consistent. Self consistent existence NECESSARILY assumes metaphysical primacy as a matter of basic ontology, due to the “impossibility of the contrary”, as presuppers like to say. Which of these facts would you like to dispute?

    “Since trust is relying on the strength, integrity or surety of an entity or person, you must trust yourself – your own ability to reason
    to make this assertion.”

    No, murk, you are incorrect. You must reason to trust, not the other way around. Once again, I ask you;

    WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”?

    Here’s a hint; your Christian worldview doesn’t have an answer to this question. It doesn’t have a theory of concepts. You’re going to have to rely on a secular theory of concept formation.

    “this presupposes the ultimacy of reason – thus it is authoritative
    and self-refuting”

    I can only speculate as to what exactly you mean by “ultimacy” in this context. I suspect you yourself don’t know. All I pointed out is that you can’t get to the concept of “authority” without the concept “reason”. You’re not going to be able to dispute this. I suggest you don’t even try.

    “The solution to this futility can only be solved if ultimate authority exists”

    How does one even get to the concept of “authority” without the concept “reason”? How does one formulate ANY concept without the application of same? Here’s a hint; you don’t. You’re insisting on authority by way of authority. How do you know it’s an authority? You don’t know. How do you know what authority even is? No reason, literally. You’re in a self-refuting quagmire.

    “again this assumes man is ultimate.”

    Incorrect again. It’s merely an observation of the perceptually self-evident. To undermine this observation, what you would need to do is demonstrate that the axioms I mentioned are NOT perceptually self-evident. Unfortunately for you, that is precisely what they are, so this would be a futile task.

    • murk Says:

      ironic that you actually borrow the impossibility of the contrary concept to support your position.

      i guess we could go on and on re: authority but you are not able to see that it is impossible for people not to have an ultimate authority

      You hold that reason supports trust and at the same time trust that your understanding of perceptual self evident things is correct. And this my friend requires trust in many things that cannot be empirically verified as self evident. Thus you trust them before you can reason.
      things like:
      absolute, universal, invariant laws of logic
      uniformity of nature (including your reason)
      reliability of senses

      in fact before you get out of the gate you have assumed an entire metaphysical reality to be true by sheer blind trust (arbitrary)
      To reason as you do – you have to have answered the unity/diversity problem that so plagued many philosophers.
      Care to share your answer? or do i wait for the book?

      like i said before you can answer how do we know – you have to first answer what do we know

  11. J. Simonov Says:

    WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”, MURK?

    WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”, MURK?

    WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”, MURK?

    You didn’t get it from your Christian worldview, such as it is. This is a big problem for you, murk. Unless you can account for “trust”, there’s no reason to take you seriously when you allege that I “trust” my reasoning, or that this is a problem in some way. As it is, you might just as well say that I “forshnobt” my reasoning.

    “ironic that you actually borrow the impossibility of the contrary concept to support your position.”

    It’s ironic that you don’t have a theory of concepts to begin with, and are thus borrowing, in your own garbled way, from secular philosophy.

    “i guess we could go on and on re: authority but you are not able to see that it is impossible for people not to have an ultimate authority”

    Since you have not defined either “ultimacy” or even “authority” in this context, I can only assume, based on contextual clues, that you mean an ultimate grounding to ones’ reasoning. But this is not what authority is, murk. Authority is not conceptually irreducible, and thus cannot serve as a metaphysical grounding point, either ontologically or in terms of epistemology. Fortunately, I have already provided this grounding for you. Which of the axioms I mentioned do you want to dispute? I’m guessing none, since you haven’t tried so far.

    “You hold that reason supports trust and at the same time trust that your understanding of perceptual self evident things is correct.”

    Apprehending the perceptually self-evident does not require trust. That is what it is to BE self-evident.

    • murk Says:

      all reasoning chains must start somewhere
      and you and me not being omniscient therefore have to trust this starting point (ultimate authority)
      mine is God – i trust that apart from Him “i can do nothing” John 15:5
      what is your starting point?

      “Apprehending the perceptually self-evident does not require trust. That is what it is to BE self-evident.”

      what must you believe or trust is ultimate to make this assertion?

      what tensions does this create in your worldview?

      what is your worldview? ( i have revealed mine)

      • J. Simonov Says:

        WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”, MURK?

        WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”, MURK?

        WHERE DID YOU GET THE CONCEPT OF “TRUST”, MURK?

        No reason to take you seriously until you answer, I remind you.

        “all reasoning chains must start somewhere”

        Indeed they must.

        “and you and me not being omniscient therefore have to trust this starting point (ultimate authority)”

        You have been tragically misinformed by your presuppositionalist sources as to what the nature of a starting point IS.

        Consider; how would you know what God even is without a starting point more fundamental than Him? You must first be able to distinguish God from non-God objects. There must first be a distinction between existent objects and mere imagination, and you must have some principled means of distinguishing the two.

        Fact is, you are relying on a number of conceptually irreducible and axiomatic facts about reality, facts that cannot be denied in a non-self-contradictory fashion, without apparently realizing it, before ever you get to such lofty abstractions as “trust”, “authority” or “God”. These are not fundamental concepts that can ground a worldview, murk.

        I have identified some of these facts for you. I see you have made ZERO attempt to dispute them. Is there a reason for that that you would like to share with us?

        “what must you believe or trust is ultimate to make this assertion?”

        This question assumes that apprehending the self-evident relies on “belief”, “trust” and/or “ultimacy”. I will not grant you this assumption for free. Justify it if you can. So far you have failed.

        “what is your worldview? ( i have revealed mine)”

        I don’t buy the garbled presupper notion of a worldview as a knowledge filter that one assumes for no reason, so I feel that this is a loaded question akin to asking “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” I don’t have a particular “worldview” as such, but I do have a better handle than you do on what grounds a coherent ontology and epistemology.

      • murk Says:

        Consider; how would you know what God even is without a starting point more fundamental than Him?
        Well He could reveal it to us so that we know it, oh wait He did.
        Every philosophy re: knowledge has fallen into skepticism or destroyed all knowledge.

        You presuppose that He does not exist. This means that He can never exist within your framework. Even if you “reason” that He exists He is subject to your reason.

        You see you have admitted your ultimate authority indirectly many times – i was waiting for you to admit it – but you are “wise” enough to evade this question.

        For you to assert there is no God who is the only possible precondition for knowledge… ( if there is a distant star that can only be seen through a telescope, can we first see the distant star to determine if it can only be seen through a telescope?)

        Then you necessarily require an explanation of the universe’s existence, origin, limits of possibility, theory of knowledge, theory of morals etc. in order to assert that there is no God.
        that is a lot to know my friend

        You cannot do this apart from Him

        You go on anyway – but you deny the only source

        the question assumes nothing – what is your worldview? it is not a complex question that should be written as more than one question. (as in your example it should be, Have you ever beaten your wife? if so, have you stopped?)

        If you read my answer re: trust i answer where the notion comes from – i guess you will not accept it

  12. Jonathan Parsons Says:

    In order to respond I am going to quote you at length.

    “Pastor Feinstein’s more significant mistake, though, is when he ascribes to the Christian God the role of “necessary being.” Before we talk about that, though, the philosophical concepts of “necessary” vs. “contingent” may require some explanation. We’re not necessarily talking about cause-and-effect here, but rather, logical contingency. In other words, when we say “A is contingent on B,” we’re saying “A cannot exist or be true if B does not exist or is false.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that B causes A specifically, but only that A’s existence requires that B must also exist.

    The “necessary” being, then, is the one on which everything else is ultimately contingent, but which is itself contingent on nothing else. Its existence does not require that anything else exist, and its truth is not predicated on anything else being true. Its own existence/truth is not arbitrary or hypothetical, however. The necessary being itself must exist (must be true), otherwise nothing can exist (be true). That’s why it’s called “necessary being.”

    The problem for Pastor Feinstein is that only a pantheistic, non-Christian God can be the necessary being. The existence of a Creator God, as distinct from His creation, is properly contingent on the existence of a greater reality which contains multiple beings, or existences, some of which are divine and some of which are not. This reality is necessarily a greater reality than the Creator God because it contains everything that is not God in addition to everything that is God.

    The truly necessary being, then, is the greater, self-consistent reality. This reality is truly “necessary” in the philosophical sense because obviously the existence of reality itself cannot depend on anything else, since anything that’s not part of reality is either untrue or non-existent, and is thus not available for reality to be contingent on. The very definition of “to exist” derives from whether or not a thing is part of, and consistent with, this greater reality. Thus, the greater reality is the necessary being upon which even the existence of the Creator God must be contingent.”

    You seem to think that the modal concepts of contingency and necessity have something to do with causal dependence when in fact they do not. To say “x exists contingently” only means that x exists, but there is at least one circumstance C, such that if C obtained, x would not exist. To say “x exists necessarily” only means that x exists, and it is not the case that there is at least one circumstance C, such that if C obtained, x would not exist. When it comes to contingency, the only dependence is logical dependence.

    Let us say that Reality is defined as the totality of actual objects–or, if you prefer, the conjunction of all true propositions.

    1. If God is actual, then God exists
    2. If God exists, then God is an element of Reality
    3. Therefore, if God is actual, then God is an element of Reality (from 1 and 2)
    4. There is a Reality if and only if there is at least one element of Reality
    5. If there is not at least one element of Reality, then there is no Reality (from 4)
    6. If there is not at least one element of Reality, then God does not exist (from 3 and 5)
    7. Therefore, God’s existence depends upon there being at least one element of Reality (from 6)
    8. Therefore, God’s existence depends upon the existence of Reality (from 4 and 7)

    It doesn’t follow that God depends for his existence on anything DISTINCT from himself. THAT is what you are trying to indicate in your argument, but your argument doesn’t prove that at all. Saying “God exists if and only if there is at least one existing thing” is trivial. But saying “God exists if and only if Reality exists” is tantamount to the same thing and is hence equally trivial. Although it is true that the number of objects that are distinct from God is greater than the number of beings that are God (which would be one of theism is true) it doesn’t follow that there is any causal dependence between God and those objects distinct from him. The total of number of siblings in my immediate family (4) is greater than the total number of me’s that there are (1) but it would be absurd to say that my existence is causally dependence upon my sibling’s existence because 4 is greater than 1!

    Furthermore, if you say Reality exists necessarily, you are saying everything included in the domain of Reality exists necessarily (since the necessity operator can be distributed among the conjuncts by the distribution axiom of modal logic). So, if God exists and necessarily, Reality exists, that means God exists necessarily. Not only that, EVERYTHING exists necessarily! That is false. If your argument works it proves too much.

    • Deacon Duncan Says:

      You are correct about the fallacies my argument would entail if I were referring to Reality as meaning only “the conjunction of all true propositions,” however that’s a definition that falls significantly short of what Reality actually is. Above and beyond the individual objects that happen to be real, there is an essence to Reality itself that imposes certain constraints on the essential nature of all real entities and the relationships between those entities. One of those constraints is what we might call the relationship of identity, i.e. that a thing is the same as itself. We could imagine a circumstance where this constraint did not exist, which would mean that nothing was the same as itself: God would not be God, man would not be man, creation would not be creation, etc. Under such circumstances it would be meaningless to speak of God existing, because meaning itself would be impossible.

      Yet this property of identity does not come from any individual entity within reality, nor does it emerge as some kind of collective property, the way a certain number of trees give rise to the quality of being a forest. This constraint of identity is inherent in the nature of reality itself, independently of the enumerable entities you could sum up and call “all things that are actually real.” Thus, Reality itself is a being, and in fact the necessary being, above and beyond the sum of all real things, with its own essential attributes that define and constrain the nature of everything real. And God is a contingent being because He would not exist given the circumstance that Reality failed to impose the constraint that a thing is the same as itself.

      • Jonathan Parsons Says:

        “Above and beyond individual objects that happen to be real, there is an essence to Reality itself that imposes certain constraints on the essential nature of all real entitites and the relationships between those entitites.”

        You are contradicting yourself. Only objects can stand in relations with each other. If I say “x imposes certain constraints on y” I am implying that x stands in some relation to y. But according to you “Reality” is something over and above all individual objects, which means “Reality” is not an individual object. But if “Reality” is not an individual object, then “Reality” cannot “impose certain constraints on the essential nature of all real entities.” Therefore, necessarily, either “Reality” is nothing over and above all actual objects (as I said originally) or “Reality” does not stand in relations to actual objects and it can’t possibly be both. Pick whichever horn you wish, but your objection fails nonetheless.

        “One of those constraints is what we might call the relationship of identity, i.e. that a thing is the same as itself. We could imagine a circumstance where this constraint did not exist, which would mean that nothing was the same as itself: God would not be God, man would not be man, creation would not be creation, etc.”

        You are right in saying that the law of identity is reflexive. You are wrong when you see “we could imagine a circumstance where this constraint did not exist.” The law of identity is necessarily true, which means it can’t possibly be false. Regardless, I don’t see how this helps you prove your point since I accept the reflexitivity of identity and the necessary truth of the law of identity.

        “Thus, Reality itself is a being, and in fact the necessary being, above and beyond the sum of all real things, with its own essential attributes that define and constrain the nature of everything real.”

        Again, you are contradicting yourself. If “Reality” is a being then Reality is an object; a real thing. But if “Reality” is a real thing then necessarily “Reality” is not over and above the sum of all things; “Reality” would either be an element of the sum or would be identical to the sum (possibly both). You can’t have it both ways.

        “And God is a contingent being because He would not exist given the circumstance that Reality failed to impose the constraint that a thing is the same as itself.”

        All this means is “If the law of identity were false then necessarily, God would not exist.” But if the law of identity were false then NOTHING AT ALL would exist. This is true, but it is trivial.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        You are contradicting yourself. Only objects can stand in relations with each other. If I say “x imposes certain constraints on y” I am implying that x stands in some relation to y.

        No, I think you’re mistaken. Let O1 and O2 be two objects, and R be the relation between them.

        O1 <– R –> O2

        Now, if R is the relation between those two objects, it’s not necessarily the relation between any two other, completely different objects. That means R has a relation to O1 and O2 that it does not necessarily have with at least some other objects. What, then, is the relation between R and each of the two objects it relates to? By your reasoning, we would have to say that R itself must also be an object, and therefore there must exist R2 and R3 relations between R and each of the two objects. But again, R2 and R3 must then also be objects requiring still more relations, and so ad infinitum in geometric progression. That in turn would mean that there could be no direct relation between any two objects, since each will be removed from the other by an infinite series of relations. And that’s hardly a self-consistent reality, because nothing is directly related to anything else.

        I think you’re falling into a composition fallacy, because you’re trying to reason about the properties of reality itself by considering only the properties that apply to individual real objects taken as a summation. At some point there must be constraints (such as “a thing is the same as itself”) that apply severally and universally to all the components within reality even though such constraints clearly do not derive from the components themselves, either individually or in groups. Since those constraints, such as the law of non-contradiction, are by nature part of the essence of the distinction between things that do or do not belong to the domain of reality, it is both reasonable and inevitable that these properties are the property of the domain itself, and not of the discrete elements within that domain.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        You are wrong when you see “we could imagine a circumstance where this constraint did not exist.” The law of identity is necessarily true, which means it can’t possibly be false. Regardless, I don’t see how this helps you prove your point since I accept the reflexitivity of identity and the necessary truth of the law of identity.

        But that is exactly my point: we can imagine a circumstance where no law of identity existed, yet such an imaginary circumstance could not possibly be real. As a necessary property of necessary being, the law of identity is a property of reality itself, which is why you cannot have reality in the absence of a law of identity. This law is, in turn, a precondition for the existence of any God, since without it, reality itself would not exist, and therefore God would not be real.

        But now let’s go back to the question of whether reality is more than just the sum of its parts. Suppose, for the moment, that the latter were true, that reality possessed no essential existence of its own, no properties or relations or constraints apart from those found within the individual objects that, taken in conjunction, add up to the whole of all that is real. What this means is that the domain of possibilities is simply the enumeration of what each individual object within reality is capable of. Whatever constraints apply to real objects, those constraints must arise from whatever is in the nature of the real object itself. There’s no above-and-beyond constraint that limits what properties can be inherent in real objects. We can only describe the limits of reality by enumerating all properties of all objects and then taking the sum.

        If that’s the case, then there’s no particular reason why some particular object might not be “not the same as itself.” You may know any number of objects that are the same as themselves, and they’re constrained by their own inherent nature such that they must be the same as themselves, and cannot not be the same as themselves. But those constraints only apply to themselves. There’s no over-arching constraint, above and beyond whatever derives from the individual objects themselves, that prevents some other object from violating the law of identity. So you can’t really know that a thing is the same as itself, because it might not be.

        The same applies to the law of non-contradiction. If X is true then Not X must be false, and vice versa. But that’s because reality itself has the property that no two objects within itself can be the contradiction of one another. If reality were merely the juxtaposition of objects governed only by the properties inherent within each, there’s no reason why one object’s inherent inability to contradict itself would prevent some other object, within the same domain of reality, from being the contradiction of the first object.

        The reason that’s not the case, and the reason why we can apply such fundamental logical principles as the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction is because properties of the whole are more than just the sum of the properties of the part. Truth, identity, non-contradiction, and existence, are properties that derive from the nature of reality itself, above and beyond the individual properties of any or all real objects within the domain of reality. The properties of reality are what determine which objects lie within its domain, and which ones lie outside of it. If that boundary were not defined, then it would be meaningless to speak of, say, “God” being real or not, because there wouldn’t be any difference. Thus, among the preconditions upon which God Himself are logically contingent are the qualities of material reality itself, which determine the boundaries for what is real and what is not.

  13. J. Simonov Says:

    murk;

    “Well He could reveal it to us so that we know it, oh wait He did.”

    Oh really now? Earlier you said your starting point WAS God. Now you’re saying you have a starting point more fundamental than God. Which is it?
    If it’s the latter, what is it? How does God reveal it to you? How do you distinguish this revelation from your imagination? Can you identify or arrive at this starting point independently of God? In what way is this a genuine “starting point” that does not reduce to anything more fundamental?

    “You presuppose that He does not exist.”

    No, I merely point out the fact that any gods cannot be the source of self-consistent existence, as they require this property themselves in order for the concept of “being the source of” to make any sense. You see the circularity here, do you not?

    “For you to assert there is no God who is the only possible precondition for knowledge…”

    It’s not my fault that God as you have defined Him is a self-contradictory concept, dependent on the very things he’s supposed to provide.

    “Then you necessarily require an explanation of etc etc.”

    Well, no, not really. It’s not my fault that you’ve imagined an impossible thing. I don’t “necessarily” have to do anything other than point that out.

    However, because I’m just such a nice guy, here’s a few axiomatic facts that help ground one’s metaphysics nicely;

    Existence exists.

    To exist is to have identity.

    To have identity is to be self-consistent.

    Whoopsie-doodle, I forgot to mention God! It’s almost like He’s not necessary as a metaphysical grounding point.

    “the question assumes nothing – what is your worldview?”

    It assumes the definition of “worldview”, obviously. You’re kind of bad at this.

    And once again, I don’t have a “worldview” as presuppers define it. I don’t have a series of faith commitments to arbitrary knowledge claims.

    “If you read my answer re: trust i answer where the notion comes from – i guess you will not accept it”

    You said only THAT you trust and WHAT you trust. You did not say how you came by the concept of trust itself, which is what I asked you.

    So long as you leave the concept-formation process unexplained, it’s quite apparent that you’re stealing concepts from outside of your belief system, borrowing from secular philosophies in which the process is made explicit.

    Also, earlier you implied that integrating the self-evident into one’s understanding is dependent on “belief”, “trust” and/or “ultimacy”. You haven’t defended that assumption or even defined your terms, so I’m going to assume you can’t. I will disregard your allegations as irrelevant.

    • murk Says:

      “Existence exists.”

      To know existence exists requires one first knows:
      reality is real – IE not an illusion
      This necessitates that:
      How the human mind orders / categorizes (understands) things is correct (corresponds to what is real)
      This can only be if:
      laws of logic
      reliability of senses
      uniformity
      etc. etc.
      are true (and these things are supra sensual)
      This entails a necessary purpose and direction to the universe

      For without God creating/sustaining the universe according to His direction there is no underlying framework with which to make sense of anything

      In fact: there can be no purpose or direction to the universe without Him.

      The universe is bound by chance (and there is no chance that this isn’t so :) Anything can happen and many things that are impossible today did – something from nothing / life from non-life / intelligence from non-intelligence.
      Thus tomorrow could bring anything within this framework
      Thus anything deemed as knowledge is just an illusion along the path purposeless, undirected chance

      Thus to “know” anything (in atheistic thinking) uniformity must be assumed and imposed upon a base of non-uniformity. Not only that but in an attempt to suppress the truth the irrational precedes and is therefore more primary than the rational.

      “To exist is to have identity.”

      Rex the rottweiler is a dog
      there are other rottweilers that are not Rex but are dogs
      there are also pit bulls that are not rottweilers but are dogs as well
      dogs are a group of creatures that have a common trait of dogness
      (canines)
      canines are also related to other creatures in a larger group by other similarities such as 4 leggers, able to reproduce reproducing offspring…
      and this group of creatures is related to a larger group by having other similarities – warm blooded, vertebrates…
      and we could speak about their place in the world and other creatures that also have 4 legs but are distinct in other ways (bovines) etc.
      the point is that Rex has identity only because a greater context of unity exists within which and only which he has his diversity or unique identity

      identity is thus dependent on this framework
      and existence is dependent on purpose and direction
      which leads us to:
      “To have identity is to be self-consistent”

      “And once again, I don’t have a “worldview” as presuppers define it. I don’t have a series of faith commitments to arbitrary knowledge claims.”

      then to know anything you have to know everything
      so much for the self consistent claim – you burned the house
      down yourself

      could you be wrong about everything you know?

      God is my starting point – He revealed things so we can know them for sure ie He initiated to us… (i don’t see the inconsistency you claim here)
      How do you know things?

      concept of trust was implied in an unclear fashion – my apology
      – since i am temporal / spatial and therefore require consistency
      to know anything i am dependent upon the only possible source for this – God to uphold things as He said He will – i must trust
      therefore i cannot do anything apart from Him and neither can anyone

      worldview – network of presuppositions
      presupposition – starting point
      knowledge – justified true belief

      • murk Says:

        sorry missed ultimate;
        1. basic or fundamental, foundation,
        2. final point, conclusion

        knowledge is dependent on revelation which requires belief and trust
        belief is unavoidable (eg. to deny metaphysical commitments is itself a metaphysical commitment)
        rationality demands faith (the alternative is one has to know everything to know anything which is irrational)

  14. J. Simonov Says:

    Hello murk;

    Thank you for making an effort to respond thoroughly and politely. There is quite a lot that is mistaken in what you have said, though. I don’t know if I can help you see this, but here goes.

    “To know existence exists requires one first knows:
    reality is real – IE not an illusion”

    Even if reality were an illusion, there would still be some manner of existence, albeit one that is “illusory” in some fashion, whatever that means exactly. Existence is a conceptually irreducible, unavoidable primary from which EVERYTHING else is derived.

    All of the things you say follow, do not follow. The mere fact of consciousness is all one needs to confirm that existence exists. Think about it; to be aware is to be aware of SOMETHING, illusion or otherwise, and that is all one needs to affirm “existence”. Affirming that there is no existence would be to performatively contradict oneself, as one would first need to exist, after all.

    “For without God creating/sustaining the universe according to His direction there is no underlying framework with which to make sense of anything”

    This is simply impossible. As I have pointed out to you several times, God himself requires an underlying framework of self-consistent existence, for which He Himself cannot be the ultimate source. Answer me this; how is God supposed to “sustain” anything unless the concept of “sustaining” makes sense in the first place?

    “The universe is bound by chance”

    This is a mantra affirmed only by presuppers and their strawmen. Rather, it is the case that particulars are bound by their self-consistent identity.

    “Anything can happen and many things that are impossible today did – something from nothing / life from non-life / intelligence from non-intelligence.”

    Just this morning I made pancakes from things that were themselves not pancakes. Witnessed snow magically converting into things that are not themselves snow (namely slush and liquid water). Apparently, I have witnessed the impossible, if we take your reasoning on this point seriously.

    “Thus to “know” anything (in atheistic thinking) uniformity must be assumed and imposed upon a base of non-uniformity”

    If by uniformity you are referring to self-consistent identity within the realm of existence, then this is simply a fact that may taken as self-evident and axiomatic. It is not assumed arbitrarily, inferred, deduced, or “imposed”. After all, what would “imposition” even be, if not a self-consistent act with its own identity?

    “identity is thus dependent on this framework”

    No, frameworks are dependent on identity. What would a framework be, absent self-consistent identity?

    “then to know anything you have to know everything”

    In what possible way does that even make sense?

    “could you be wrong about everything you know?”

    Of course not. If I affirmed that to be the case, I would be wrong about being wrong about everything. Which would make me…right about at least one thing?

    Look, I beg you, BEG YOU, to think these things through more carefully. Please at least entertain the notion that presuppers have been gravely misinformed, mistaken or outright mendacious in their treatment of these issues (which is the case, by the way).

    “God is my starting point – He revealed things so we can know them for sure ie He initiated to us… (i don’t see the inconsistency you claim here)
    How do you know things?”

    This impossible and self-contradicting. Existence is first required, which I hope is obvious by now. Identity is also a prior requirement, for you to distinguish between God and non-God objects. Consciousness is a prior requirement, for you to have any awareness of these things whatsoever, and you must have some means of identifying the objects of your consciousness and integrating those identifications into a non-contradictory conceptual framework, ie one must use the faculty of reason.

    Without these things in place, you can’t get to higher order, non-irreducible abstractions, like revelation, initiation or God. Think about it; the concept “God” has quite a lot of properties that you can’t even begin to identify without the things I just mentioned. So not a starting point.

    “concept of trust was implied in an unclear fashion – my apology
    – since i am temporal / spatial and therefore require consistency
    to know anything i am dependent upon the only possible source for this – God to uphold things as He said He will – i must trust
    therefore i cannot do anything apart from Him and neither can anyone”

    I’m sorry, but this is still unclear. You say you must trust due to a dependency relationship, but how did you come up with the idea of trust? What is trust, itself?

    I hope you are beginning to see that presuppositionalism does not have answers to these questions. It simply insists that you must do this thing called “trusting”, but won’t tell you what it is exactly or how one could know what it is.

    “knowledge is dependent on revelation which requires belief and trust”

    No, this is still fundamentally backwards. How would you identify higher-order abstractions like revelation, belief and trust without the epistemological fundamentals I mentioned?

    “rationality demands faith (the alternative is one has to know everything to know anything which is irrational)”

    If anything, faith actually requires rationality, otherwise you have no way to orient your faith at any particular thing.

    But really, I think your most serious problem is you don’t have any sense of what role concepts play in cognition. Presuppositionalism tries to obscure this at every turn, because it’s poison to its agenda of blurring imagination with reality, so I don’t find this surprising.

    If you take away nothing else from this conversation, take this;

    Concepts are open-ended abstractions that rely on measurement-omission for their universality.

    If we define the concept of a “banana” according to certain qualities, rather than specific quantities, then we know that all such existent entities that possess these qualities ARE bananas. We don’t have to manually check every banana that ever was or ever will be to ensure its “banana-ness”.

    This is one reason why your charge that one must “know everything” to know anything is simply wrong.

    • murk Says:

      “could you be wrong about everything you know?”

      Of course not. If I affirmed that to be the case, I would be wrong about being wrong about everything. Which would make me…right about at least one thing?

      correct or the law of contradiction is not universal , immaterial and invariant – however this entails something more primary then existence.

      it is foundational to know that you are rational

      rationality underpins that you know you exist

      rationality is meaningless if you were not a rational creature

      and rationality is impossible without absolutes, direction and purpose

      and absolutes can only have one source

      one could be wrong about everything they know if they did not know they were wrong

      i know people who absolutely deny that absolutes exist

      “It simply insists that you must do this thing called “trusting”, but won’t tell you what it is exactly or how one could know what it is.”

      and if law of contradiction, uniformity of nature, reliability of your memory, meaning of words, reality of external world, correspondence of your thoughts to external world et al. were not trusted by you – then you could not make this statement

      unless you somehow can guarantee these things.

      • murk Says:

        Answer me this; how is God supposed to “sustain” anything unless the concept of “sustaining” makes sense in the first place?

        blue Wednesday flies faster

        the law of contradiction changed sometime between me posting and you reading.

        does sustain make sense now?

        Obviously then sustain cannot be its own foundation.

  15. Jonathan Parsons Says:

    “You are contradicting yourself. Only objects can stand in relations with each other. If I say “x imposes certain constraints on y” I am implying that x stands in some relation to y.

    No, I think you’re mistaken. Let O1 and O2 be two objects, and R be the relation between them.

    O1 O2

    Now, if R is the relation between those two objects, it’s not necessarily the relation between any two other, completely different objects. That means R has a relation to O1 and O2 that it does not necessarily have with at least some other objects. What, then, is the relation between R and each of the two objects it relates to? By your reasoning, we would have to say that R itself must also be an object, and therefore there must exist R2 and R3 relations between R and each of the two objects. But again, R2 and R3 must then also be objects requiring still more relations, and so ad infinitum in geometric progression. That in turn would mean that there could be no direct relation between any two objects, since each will be removed from the other by an infinite series of relations. And that’s hardly a self-consistent reality, because nothing is directly related to anything else.”

    You are completely missing the point of what I am saying. All I said was that ONLY OBJECTS can stand in relations to each other. I did NOT say that “there is some relation that only stands between exactly two objects” and I certainly made no claims about the metaphysics of what relations simpliciter are. So, your argument is a strawman.

    YOU said that “Reality puts certain constraints on objects,” but if that is the case then Reality itself must be on object since you are implying that “Reality” is standing in at least one relation to all individual objects–the relation of “putting constraint on objects.” You also said that Reality is above and beyond all individual objects, which means that Reality cannot be an object. Therefore, you are saying that Reality is both an object and is not an object. So, I say ad nauseum, YOU ARE CONTRADICTING YOURSELF!

    • Deacon Duncan Says:

      YOU said that “Reality puts certain constraints on objects,” but if that is the case then Reality itself must be on object since you are implying that “Reality” is standing in at least one relation to all individual objects–the relation of “putting constraint on objects.” You also said that Reality is above and beyond all individual objects, which means that Reality cannot be an object. Therefore, you are saying that Reality is both an object and is not an object. So, I say ad nauseum, YOU ARE CONTRADICTING YOURSELF!

      You’ve gotten my original point twisted around so far it’s no longer recognizable. But perhaps that’s my fault for not making my point sufficiently clear. Let’s take it from the top, shall we?

      Reality is an object in and of itself, with properties that are proper to reality itself and which do not derive from the individual objects contained within reality. This is necessarily true because unless reality exists as an independent object capable of imposing boundaries between what is real and what is not, we cannot define any non-arbitrary set of “all real things,” from which to declare what the properties of reality are.

      Thus, reality contains all things that are real, but reality is also an object that exists above and beyond and distinct from those things. Reality, as a distinct and independent object, is the necessary being, because it is not possible for its existence to be false: the properties which define the difference between real/not-real (or between true/not-true, if you prefer) are properties which are proper to reality itself. This means that the qualities of truth and not-truth are themselves contingent upon the existence of reality as an independent, necessary, and ultimate Being. Without the underlying existence of reality, no object can be meaningfully determined to be true/real or false/unreal. Thus, it cannot be “false” that reality exists, and therefore reality is the necessary being.

      As you yourself have said, real objects are so obviously contingent on the existence and properties of reality itself that pointing out this fact is virtually tautological. Thus, when someone like Pastor Feinstein comes along and proposes that some one individual object (God) allegedly within reality is the only necessary, non-contingent, and self-existent Being, he is very clearly making a false statement, because only reality itself, which is an object independent of and superior to any non-pantheistic God, can rightly claim to be necessary, non-contingent, and self-existent.

      That’s the main point I’m trying to make, and if at any time I’ve responded to you in a way that caused you to become confused about my meaning, then I apologize. What’s important, though, is that we all recognize that Pastor Feinstein is arguing from a hopelessly false and superstitious presupposition. No non-pantheistic deity is the necessary being. Only reality itself can legitimately lay claim to that distinction.

  16. Jonathan Parsons Says:

    “You are wrong when you see “we could imagine a circumstance where this constraint did not exist.” The law of identity is necessarily true, which means it can’t possibly be false. Regardless, I don’t see how this helps you prove your point since I accept the reflexitivity of identity and the necessary truth of the law of identity.

    But that is exactly my point: we can imagine a circumstance where no law of identity existed, yet such an imaginary circumstance could not possibly be real. As a necessary property of necessary being, the law of identity is a property of reality itself, which is why you cannot have reality in the absence of a law of identity. This law is, in turn, a precondition for the existence of any God, since without it, reality itself would not exist, and therefore God would not be real.”

    If the falsity of the law of identity is conceivable, that means it is possibly false. And if it is possibly false, then it is not necessarily true. But it is necessarily true, therefore it is not conceivable that it is false. But if it is not conceivable that it is false, then we can’t possibly imagine a circumstance where the law of identity does not apply. Once again, you are contradicting yourself. You can’t say “we can imagine a circumstance where no law of identity existed” and also say “it is necessarily true.”

    I have stated that I hold that the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction are necessarily true, so again I don’t see what you are trying to prove here by just repeating what I am already committed too. The reason why every individual object is necessarily identical to itself is because the law of identity is necessarily true. Period. I can quantify over every individual and say that necessarily, every individual object is identical to itself without proposing that there is a sum that is “over and above” every individual object.

    To reply any more at this point would be to repeat everything I have already said.

    • Deacon Duncan Says:

      If the falsity of the law of identity is conceivable, that means it is possibly false. And if it is possibly false, then it is not necessarily true. But it is necessarily true, therefore it is not conceivable that it is false. But if it is not conceivable that it is false, then we can’t possibly imagine a circumstance where the law of identity does not apply. Once again, you are contradicting yourself. You can’t say “we can imagine a circumstance where no law of identity existed” and also say “it is necessarily true.”

      I must admit, I am becoming impressed at the lengths you are willing to go to in order to try and accuse me of contradicting myself. I am simply employing reductio ad absurdum to show that the law of identity is necessarily a property of reality itself. The reductio approach involves proposing a false proposition in order to demonstrate that it entails a contradiction or absurdity that reveals it to be false. It does not mean that I am proposing both the truth and the falsity of the proposition. I’m merely documenting my claim that reality itself, including the constraints it places on what can and cannot be real, must be the ultimate necessary being upon which all other beings (including any god or gods) must necessarily be contingent.

      I have stated that I hold that the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction are necessarily true, so again I don’t see what you are trying to prove here by just repeating what I am already committed too.

      The point is that this law of identity is a property of reality itself. You cannot derive this property of reality by simply enumerating the properties of all things that are real, because unless reality itself imposes constraints on what can be real and what cannot, you have no way to identify which objects are part of the set of all real objects. One way you can show that a thing is not real by showing that it violates the law of identity, since a thing that is not the same as itself cannot possibly be real. Thus, the law of identity is a property of reality itself by which we can distinguish real things from things that are not real. In order to be real, it is necessary (but not sufficient) that a thing be the same as itself.

      Take the Trinity for example. According to Trinitarian doctrine, the Father is the same as God. God, however, is not the same as the Father, because God is the same as the Father AND the Son AND the Holy Spirit. The thing is not the same as itself. The Father, Son and Spirit are each the same as the same God, and yet none of the three is the same as any of the others. The thing is not the same as itself. This very clearly demonstrates that the Trinity is not part of reality, because it fails to conform to the law of identity. There are real things which are the same as themselves, and there are not-real things that are not the same as themselves. Identity is a property shared by all real things, and by reality itself (otherwise reality would not be the same as reality, and nothing, including reality, could possibly be real).

      That’s an important element of what I’m saying that you don’t seem to be acknowledging, either to agree with it or to contest it, and that’s why I keep pointing out this aspect of the discussion.

      • Jonathan Parsons Says:

        “The point is that this law of identity is a property of reality itself. You cannot derive this property of reality by simply enumerating the properties of all things that are real, because unless reality itself imposes constraints on what can be real and what cannot, you have no way to identify which objects are part of the set of all real objects. One way you can show that a thing is not real by showing that it violates the law of identity, since a thing that is not the same as itself cannot possibly be real. Thus, the law of identity is a property of reality itself by which we can distinguish real things from things that are not real. In order to be real, it is necessary (but not sufficient) that a thing be the same as itself.”

        First off, the sort of “dependence” you are talking about is trivial–which I have already stated. The truth of “there is at least one apple” is obviously dependent upon the truth of “there is at least one object” but not in any significant way. As my argument demonstrated earlier, saying “God exists if and only if there is at least one object” is trivial dependence. You want to imply stronger dependence which isn’t there.

        Secondly, when did I ever deny that the law of identity is a property of reality itself? I repeat, I hold that the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction are both necessarily true and I also hold that every truth bearer requires a truth maker. But it doesn’t follow from that that ‘Reality’ is anything over and above all actual objects. Since the law of identity is necessarily true and it is reflexive, that means it is necessarily reflexive. But if it is necessarily reflexive, that is enough to explain why every object is identical to itself. There doesn’t need to be a truth maker for “every object is necessarily identical to itself” that is something “over and above” all actual objects; because any truth maker would ITSELF be an actual object. So, the truth maker for ‘every object is necessarily identical to itself’ is itself necessarily existent and bears that relation to itself since the law of identity is reflexive.

        So, I say again, you cannot say “reality imposes constraints on all objects” and say “reality is over and above all objects” without contradictoring yourself. Simply repeating yourself does not resolve the contradiction, and you still have not said which of my premises are false. If reality “imposes constraints” on any object, then reality is itself is an object because only objects can bear relations to each other–and “x places certain constraints on y” is as good of a candidate to be interpreted in dyadic predicate logic is any relational statement. And if reality itself is an object, then reality cannot possibly be anything over and above all actual objects. But if reality is nothing over and above all objects, then reality is nothing more than the totality of all actual objects. And if it is true that reality is nothing more than the totality of all actual objects, then it is not the case that Reality exists necessarily. To say that “Reality” exists necessarily means that EVERY ELEMENT of Reality exists necessarily, which is false. Some elements of reality exist necessarily, some elements of reality exist contingently.

        Now, please demonstrate which premise(s) in the above paragraph is false.

        Also, I need no instruction in how to use reductio arguments. I have an advanced degree in philosophy and I teach logic at the university level.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        First off, the sort of “dependence” you are talking about is trivial–which I have already stated. The truth of “there is at least one apple” is obviously dependent upon the truth of “there is at least one object” but not in any significant way. As my argument demonstrated earlier, saying “God exists if and only if there is at least one object” is trivial dependence. You want to imply stronger dependence which isn’t there.

        There’s a very important aspect of this issue that’s missing from your argument, and that’s the relationship that defines what it means for something to exist. Suppose we say that exactly one object exists. Perhaps that one object is an apple, perhaps it is God, perhaps it is a five-legged unicorn. But it is the only object that exists. There does not exist any other object, such as reality itself, against which it can be measured to see if it satisfies the criteria imposed by this other object in order to qualify as possessing real existence. That other object—reality—does not exist. In what sense, then, is it meaningful to say that the five-legged unicorn does exist?

        I assert that it is not meaningful, and that, if reality itself does not exist as an object in and of itself, then there is no difference between the “existence” of God and the “existence” of the five-legged unicorn. You cannot tell me the unicorn does not “exist,” because the meaning of “exist” is merely the conjunction of the existences of all objects that exist, which in this case would be just the unicorn (or just God, or just the apple). And if we say that apples and God do exist, and that reality is simply the conjunction of all their existences, then on what basis shall we decline to define reality in terms of unicorns and Santa Claus and a weight so heavy that an omnipotent being couldn’t lift it?

        At this point you will quite rightly ask me what it means to say that reality exists, and that’s where it gets interesting. Reality is the necessary being, which means that it possesses certain properties that are unique to necessary being and are not shared by objects that are contingent on something else for their existence. One of those properties is that, as a non-contingent object, there is nothing it can be dependent on except itself. Thus, real existence means being consistent with reality, and therefore the existence of reality means reality being consistent with itself.

        This is inescapably self-referential, as all meaningful and accurate definitions of “existence” must be, but that’s actually not a problem. When dealing with contingent objects, it’s an error/fallacy to define a thing in terms of itself, because a contingent object is not a thing that exists in and of itself, and therefore the self-referential definition is failing to connect the object with the actual underlying reality that gives it meaning. This constraint, however, does not apply to the necessary being, because the necessary being does exist in and of itself, and there’s no more-ultimate meaning you could possibly get to. When you’re dealing with the ultimate, most fundamental root and ground of all meaning and existence, there is literally no alternative to describing its meaning in terms of itself, and that’s one indication that you have indeed arrived at the ultimate and most fundamental ground of existence.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        Secondly, when did I ever deny that the law of identity is a property of reality itself? I repeat, I hold that the law of identity and the law of non-contradiction are both necessarily true and I also hold that every truth bearer requires a truth maker. But it doesn’t follow from that that ‘Reality’ is anything over and above all actual objects.

        Notice you said “all actual objects” (by which I presume you mean all real objects). But look at what you’re saying: you’re agreeing that the law of identity is a property of reality itself, and yet you’re denying that reality exists as an independent thing capable of having its own properties. You want to deny that reality is anything other than “all real objects,” but how do you know which objects to include in that set if there’s no independent reality to impose the kind of order by which it is possible to make a meaningful distinction between real objects and objects that are not real? Plus look at what you say next:

        There doesn’t need to be a truth maker for “every object is necessarily identical to itself” that is something “over and above” all actual objects; because any truth maker would ITSELF be an actual object. So, the truth maker for ‘every object is necessarily identical to itself’ is itself necessarily existent and bears that relation to itself since the law of identity is reflexive.

        Right, and as I hope I’ve made clear, I’m not trying to make some silly argument about reality being an object over and above all objects including itself. I’m saying that reality is an object, with its own set of properties, that exists above and beyond all lesser objects, and greater than which no other object exists.

        So the truth maker for the law of identity is reality, which is an object (as you have said) that is necessarily identical to itself (as you have said). Notice too that it is an object that has unique properties not possessed by any other object, such as the property of containing all other real objects, and the property of defining which properties (such as the laws of identity and non-contradiction) other objects must have in order to be real.

        God cannot be the truth maker for the law of identity, because the law of identity applies to all real objects, and no object can be real if it is not the same as itself. No God can be a truth maker if He is not real, and He cannot be real unless He is the same as Himself. That means that His own real existence is contingent on satisfying the necessarily self-existent law of identity, and therefore God cannot be the maker of the law of identity.

        So reality is an object that has properties that distinguish between real objects and non-real objects. God, on the other hand, is a different object (assuming a non-pantheistic deity), and the object that is God cannot exist in the absence of the other object (reality) and its properties (like the law of identity). Reality, however, can exist in the absence of God, since Reality is necessary being, and has properties that must necessarily exist. Since it can be false that God exists, but cannot be false that reality exists, it is reality, and not God, that is the necessary being.

  17. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    “correct or the law of contradiction is not universal , immaterial and invariant – however this entails something more primary then existence.”

    You can’t get more primary than “existence.”. This thing that is supposedly more primary exists, presumably? Then it depends on existence, and you have a contradiction. Or perhaps you want to affirm that this thing does not exist? If we are talking about God, then yes, that is the case.

    “it is foundational to know that you are rational”

    What does it mean to “know”? By what process did this concept enter your awareness? If you have to explain these things in terms of other things, is it not the case that these other things would in fact be foundational?

    See, you keep insisting on using these concepts like “trust” or “knowledge”, but you can’t or won’t say what they are or how they entered your awareness. You have to steal from secular philosophy without being aware of it, or acknowledging it if you are aware. It just highlights how bankrupt your worldview is.

    “rationality underpins that you know you exist”

    What forms of knowledge DOESN’T rationality underpin, hmmm?

    “and rationality is impossible without absolutes, direction and purpose”

    Explain “direction” and “purpose”, and why rationality depends on them.

    “and absolutes can only have one source”

    I assume you mean God. God can’t source “absolutes” for the reasons that I’ve laid out previously.

    “one could be wrong about everything they know if they did not know they were wrong”

    I’ll grant you that “one”, meaning an imaginary person, could be wrong about “everything” if we stipulate this to be the case within the confines of our imagination. So what?

    “and if law of contradiction, uniformity of nature, reliability of your memory, meaning of words, reality of external world, correspondence of your thoughts to external world et al. were not trusted by you – then you could not make this statement

    unless you somehow can guarantee these things.”

    You keep alleging that I “trust” this, that or the other, but you won’t say what it is or how you know what it is. Can I just take this as an admission on your part that you don’t know what trust is, and you have no idea how anyone could know, and that you therefore are just making nonsense noises at me?

    “does sustain make sense now?”

    I didn’t ask you what “sustain” MEANS. I asked you how God is supposed to do any “sustaining” unless it is FIRST the case that “sustaining” makes sense. What is your answer?

  18. murk Says:

    Explain “direction” and “purpose”, and why rationality depends on them.

    if anything can happen knowledge is impossible (or put another way no uniformity no knowledge)
    uniformity necessitates the one who sustains
    only alternative to God and His revelation of reality – is a chance universe
    and yet people who adhere to this meta physic belief look around for uniformity in order to live thereby betraying their starting point
    incidentally before they find regularity they presuppose their mind is uniform and reliable as well as their senses (rather schizo wouldn’t you say?)

    can you justify uniformity?

    i agree on your assertion regarding existence – unless God exists the term existence is meaningless.

    analogy – if God is like the sun – how do we know the sun exists?

    can there be any physical source of light if there were no sun?

    apply the definition of knowledge i provided and your knowledge questions shall be answered

    • J. Simonov Says:

      “if anything can happen knowledge is impossible (or put another way no uniformity no knowledge”

      Right, but I’ve explained to you repeatedly why this is not the case in a godless universe.

      “uniformity necessitates the one who sustains”

      Nope. This has also been explained to you.

      You haven’t answered a crucial question. How could any god do any “sustaining” unless it was first the case that “sustaining” is a thing that makes sense?

      “can you justify uniformity?”

      Uniformity is not in the category of things that is “justified” as a conclusion of an argument. It is a fact about existence that one identifies. The axiomatic facts I have pointed out to you repeatedly? They are the facts that ground uniformity. You can’t challenge them. They are invulnerable; any misguided attempt to refute them would rely upon them.

      “i agree on your assertion regarding existence – unless God exists the term existence is meaningless.”

      That is not the meaning of my observation. Without a fundamental, uncreated ground of “existence”, nothing whatsoever can be posited as an existent object. Including any gods; they can’t source their own existence. Existence itself comes first, unavoidably.

      “apply the definition of knowledge i provided and your knowledge questions shall be answered”

      So to “know” means to have a justified, true belief. OK then, what makes a belief justified? What makes a belief true? What is a “belief”, for that matter? By what process did these concepts enter your awareness? Now that you are explaining “knowledge” in terms of more reducible concepts, is it not the case that these concepts are more foundational than just “knowing” that one is “rational”?

      Also, I notice you haven’t made any attempt to explain what “trust” is, or how anyone would know what it is. I shall take it that you can’t, and that you don’t know what you mean when you allege that I “trust” things like my reasoning, memory, etc. Not a very persuasive argument on your part, murk.

      • murk Says:

        “They are the facts that ground uniformity. You can’t challenge them. They are invulnerable; any misguided attempt to refute them would rely upon them.”

        correct – i can account for uniformity you can’t
        amazing isn’t it – this constant principle which is required for
        us to reason coherently about anything exists …..in a universe of which change is a property.?

        did this exist before the bang or come from the bang

        you assume God to make your point and at the same time deny Him

        “Including any gods; they can’t source their own existence.”

        well the only God is self existent (revealed in Bible)
        then what is the ultimate source of your existence?

  19. murk Says:

    “How could any god do any “sustaining” unless it was first the case that “sustaining” is a thing that makes sense?”

    if future is not like the past you cannot know anything
    you cannot know the future will be like the past
    in your worldview it had to not be uniform – to explain your own existence
    thus you require the sustaining of induction and uniformity to speak
    but cannot account for them

    • J. Simonov Says:

      “correct – i can account for uniformity you can’t”

      Incorrect. I have properly identified the facts pertaining to uniformity. They certainly don’t come from your worldview. The best you can do in attempting to “account” for uniformity is to steal from secular philosophy.

      “did this exist before the bang or come from the bang”

      Neither. It’s an intrinsic property of existence.

      “well the only God is self existent (revealed in Bible)”

      Your imaginary God is impossible. He supposedly sustains self-consistent existence, but He would require the property of self-consistent existence Himself in order to sustain anything. He needs the very thing that is supposed to come from Him before He could possibly provide it.

      “you assume God to make your point and at the same time deny Him”

      What’s funny about this claim is that it is, in fact, you who must assume the axioms I have identified in order to function. They preclude the existence of your imaginary God.

      “then what is the ultimate source of your existence?”

      I’ve identified this for you over and over and over.

      “you cannot know the future will be like the past”

      What is this “past” and “future” you speak of, and what relationship, if any, do they have, hmmm?

      Oh, but I’m sorry, I can’t expect you to understand things. You just put out words, with no conception of what they mean. Still working up a definition of “trust” over there? Pretty embarrassing, if I were you.

      “in your worldview it had to not be uniform – to explain your own existence”

      What specifically had to “not be uniform”?

      “thus you require the sustaining of induction and uniformity to speak
      but cannot account for them”

      If you read carefully you will note that I have “accounted” for these things, by either of the definitions for “accounting” you’ve used.

      • murk Says:

        “Neither. It’s an intrinsic property of existence.”

        nothing became something, non-life became life and non-intelligence became intelligent

        the irrational thus supports the rational

        is the intrinsic property perhaps: anything can happen?
        how did you get here?

      • murk Says:

        what has to be uniform?
        well for us to make sense of sense…
        if nature is not uniform would you jump in an airplane?
        if you think about it unless uniformity is presupposed you cannot know anything – nor speak

        not sure why you are so hung up on trust
        you do it all the time
        you are good for about 4 minutes if you do not obtain the correct mixture of argon, nitrogen, oxygen, co2 etc. in every breath
        do you wonder if the laws of math will change especially in relation to the money you have in the bank?
        and all of this is backed by reasonableness of your reason
        (your thoughts comport with reality of external world and its uniformity)

        you expose that you trust that the laws of logic do not change, are immaterial and apply everywhere by your writing (if they were not you would not write or do anything for that matter)

        and then you write of these things as concepts that cannot be made sense of or are dependent on existence

        future – a point in time ahead of us (has not happened yet)
        past – a point in time behind us (happened like your last birthday)

        you can wax on about these things as abstract conceptual things (which in part they are) but you or i cannot live if the future is not like the past

        and we cannot know the future will be like the past apart from trusting the only one who can guarantee this

        if you can answer David Hume – be my guest

        as a branch must trust the vine – so we must trust
        all we can do is attempt to deny that we are dependent on the vine – all the while requiring the nourishment supplied, or acknowledge that we are branches

        i defined trust for you on Nov 17

  20. J. Simonov Says:

    “nothing became something”

    No, that is your misconception. Existence is uncreated. Any alternatives are logically impossible. Additionally, since time is a dimension of our universe, there has been a universe for all of time, and time for the entirety of our universe. There has never been a moment at which there was “nothing” and then suddenly “something”.

    “non-life became life and non-intelligence became intelligent”

    And the problem is?

    “the irrational thus supports the rational”

    What irrationality?

    And just who are you to talk? You’re the one who can’t defend your irrational claims, here. You can’t explain “belief”, “trust”, “uniformity”, “authority”, everything you’ve been challenged on, either in terms of what they are or how you know what they are.

    “is the intrinsic property perhaps: anything can happen?”

    No. Action is identity applied over time; particulars will behave according to their self-consistent identity.

    “how did you get here?”

    I exist as a result of a causal chain extending back to the origin of time.

  21. J. Simonov Says:

    “what has to be uniform?
    well for us to make sense of sense…
    if nature is not uniform would you jump in an airplane?
    if you think about it unless uniformity is presupposed you cannot know anything – nor speak”

    So nature has to be uniform, then. I’ve explained why this is a given, repeatedly.

    “do you wonder if the laws of math will change especially in relation to the money you have in the bank?”

    Of course not. The laws of math express the order intrinsic in reality.

    “and all of this is backed by reasonableness of your reason”

    It’s backed by reality. If you want to contend that facts like 2+2= 4 are contingent on “my reason” in some way, go ahead. You’ll fail.

    “you expose that you trust that the laws of logic do not change”

    Trust does not enter into apprehending the self-evident. This is why I keep asking you to explain how you came up with the notion of trust; you keep trying to force trust to go where it is not applicable, and considering where trust comes from will show you why this is.

    “future – a point in time ahead of us (has not happened yet)
    past – a point in time behind us (happened like your last birthday)”

    And what is the connection between the two? What is its nature? C’mon now. I know you see where this is going.

    “you can answer David Hume – be my guest”

    David Hume’s account of causality attempted to discern connections based on events. He did not attempt an account based on identity applying over time, which was his mistake.

    “i defined trust for you on Nov 17″

    All well and good, but what I immediately asked you on Nov. 17 was how did you come up with the concept of trust? Which you apparently can’t answer. So still embarrassing.

  22. J. Simonov Says:

    “trust is relying on the strength, integrity or surety of an entity or person”

    I had missed this, so you did provide a definition of trust after all, which I’ve been unnecessarily asking you for for a number of posts now. My mistake, mea culpa, embarrassment on me.

    You still haven’t explained how you came up with the concept of trust though, which is what I originally asked you. I think it’s important.

    • murk Says:

      “And what is the connection between the two? What is its nature? C’mon now. I know you see where this is going.”

      well if the future is not like the past we cannot know anything
      this must be true for us to know we exist
      or put another way uniformity must be trusted prior to waxing on about the nature reality

      “You still haven’t explained how you came up with the concept of trust though, which is what I originally asked you. I think it’s important.”

      because i cannot possibly empirically verify uniformity or induction
      thus i must trust this to be true to do anything, as do you

      furthermore if knowledge is only gained empirically then we cannot know anything because that axiom itself is beyond empirical verification

      if non-intelligence became intelligence it could reverse
      if non-life became life – science is absurd and impossible
      for uniformity, contradiction, even laws of science (like bio-genesis)
      can then be broken
      therefore
      anything can happen
      and everything we claim as knowledge is illusion

      invoking probability will not help because it assumes uniformity (an expected or known outcome) thus it cannot be used as a support for uniformity (this was Hume’s dilemma)
      He correctly noted that for autonomous man the very thing that he required to know anything had to be excepted as custom

      the christian can account for uniformity:
      Gen 8:22, Col 1:17, James 1:17,

      also for contradiction

      it amounts to lying, we are made in His image,
      He does not lie (Heb 6:18) we are not to lie (Ex 20)

      You struggle with internal tensions,
      “the irrational thus supports the rational”

      “What irrationality?”

      for you to be here things were not as they now appear
      for you to know anything things have to be the same or knowledge is an illusion

      what caused the causal chain?

      • J. Simonov Says:

        You haven’t answered what connection there is between past and future, or what its nature is. I guess you don’t know. Just admit it if you don’t have the answer.

        You also haven’t answered how you formed the concept of trust, instead going on about how you must do it. But I didn’t ask you if you must do it. HOW did YOU, murk, personally formulate the idea of trust? How, for that matter would anyone? Just admit it if you don’t have the answer.

        “because i cannot possibly empirically verify uniformity or induction
        thus i must trust this to be true to do anything, as do you”

        I have identified for you the unchallengeable axioms that ground uniformity. They also ground induction, in concert with the understanding that identity applies over time and action is an aspect of identity, along with the open-ended nature of concept formation.

        So no, I don’t arbitrarily trust either of those things.

        “if non-intelligence became intelligence it could reverse
        if non-life became life”

        Intelligence does “reverse” all the time, when intelligent beings die. What of it?

        “science is absurd and impossible
        for uniformity, contradiction, even laws of science (like bio-genesis)
        can then be broken
        therefore
        anything can happen”

        I’ve shown you why atheists do not need to be concerned about this.

        “what caused the causal chain?”

        It is uncaused. It is not in the category of things that may be “caused”. You keep asking fallaciously loaded questions.

      • murk Says:

        if you can’t see the inconsistency of relying on causation for everything except the first cause….

  23. J. Simonov Says:

    Also this little gem;

    “it amounts to lying, we are made in His image,
    He does not lie (Heb 6:18) we are not to lie (Ex 20)”

    So we’re made in the image of a God who does not lie, but apparently that doesn’t stop us from lying. Hilarious. The fact of our being different from God is evidence that we’re the same as God, and what’s more, we apparently have a power that God doesn’t have. What a silly belief system.

    I don’t expect you to answer this by the way. I’m sure it’s just a divine mystery or some such rationalization, as far as you’re concerned.

    • murk Says:

      we’re not the same – there is a creator / creature distinction
      eg. He knows everything – i don’t and cannot

      lying is power? it destroys trust, knowledge, ultimately life
      it is cheap and twisted

      can God make a rock so big he cannot lift it?

  24. J. Simonov Says:

    the christian can account for uniformity:
    Gen 8:22, Col 1:17, James 1:17,

    You cannot account for uniformity. You have not accounted for uniformity in this manner. God requires the property of uniformity Himself in order to be or do, and so it cannot be sourced to Him as such. It would instead be a precondition of God being or doing.

    • murk Says:

      unless of course He is self existing and needs nothing
      oh wait He is as He has revealed this over and over again
      and also it is necessary for us to know anything

      • J. Simonov Says:

        “if you can’t see the inconsistency of relying on causation for everything except the first cause….”

        Why don’t you spell it out for us, then? Be as specific and detailed as possible. Be careful that you don’t unwittingly rely upon the concepts you’re trying to discredit.

        “we’re not the same – there is a creator / creature distinction”

        That’s my point; you’re trying to have it both ways. The fact of our being different from God is evidence of being similar to Him, according to you.

        “lying is power? it destroys trust, knowledge, ultimately life
        it is cheap and twisted”

        It’s something we can do that God is not constitutionally able to do, according to presuppositionalism. Ergo, it’s a power we have that He does not.

        “can God make a rock so big he cannot lift it?”

        Either way, you come up with an answer in which God cannot do something. Way to prove that omnipotence is an incoherent concept.

        “unless of course He is self existing”

        Is this supposed to mean He causes His own existence, or what?

      • murk Says:

        “can God make a rock so big he cannot lift it?”

        Either way, you come up with an answer in which God cannot do
        something. Way to prove that omnipotence is an incoherent concept.

        what do you mean by either way?

    • murk Says:

      Let me see if get this right…
      God who determines possibility and reality cannot exist in Simonov’s worldview
      Simonov is determined to be neutral – not able to see the glaring irony and impossibility in that position
      It also entails that uniformity / possibility are greater than God as they are man (because you are neutral thus all the facts are not in for you nor God)
      then God necessarily is not God uniformity etc. is
      Yet change is a property of the universe
      the irrational became rational

      you ok with this?

      • J. Simonov Says:

        “Let me see if get this right…”

        You didn’t get it right.

        “what do you mean by either way?”

        If God makes a rock so big he cannot lift it, then He can’t lift it. If he can’t make such a rock, then we have discovered something He cannot do. Either way, God isn’t capable of doing literally anything.

        Now that I’ve yet again answered a question for you, how about you answer my many unanswered questions to you?

        Does God cause His own existence, according to you?

        Please spell out, in detail, the exact nature of the contradiction that you allege exists in supposing that causation holds in every link in the temporal, causal chain apart from the moment of temporal origin. What is inconsistent about this, exactly?

        How could God be the ultimate source of orderliness/identity in reality when He Himself requires this property before He could possibly exist or source anything at all? How do you escape the circularity this would entail?

        Do the past and future have any connection between them? If so, what is the nature of this connection?

        How did you form the concept of trust?

        What SPECIFICALLY would have to “not be uniform” in my “worldview”, according to you? Reference specific objects, not vague mumblings. The laws of physics? Chemistry? Hydrogen bonding? What?

        What is a belief?

        What is truth?

        What is justification?

        What makes a belief both true and justified?

        How did these concepts enter your awareness?

        Given that these are the terms in which YOU have decided to explain knowledge, is it not the case these concepts are more foundational than “knowing one is rational”, according to you?

        I’ve granted you that we can imagine a person who is mistaken about everything. What is the significance of this?

        What is direction? What is purpose? Why does rationality depend on them?

        What forms of knowledge, if any, doesn’t rationality underpin?

        How would you identify higher-order abstractions like revelation, belief or trust without using the faculty of reason?

        Why would I have to know everything in order to know anything, given the open-ended nature of concept formation and the order intrinsic to existence?

        What would actions such as “imposition” be, if not self-consistent actions with their own identity?

        If you can’t answer, just admit it. It’s fine.

      • murk Says:

        re: God Rock – (i’m gonna stick to one thing at a time for a bit )
        God = Omnipotent
        thus rock He cannot lift cannot exist

        (similar to unstoppable object / immovable mass both cannot exist)

        unless law of contradiction can be broken
        but if it can be then it can’t be

        if only the big rock exist and no omnipotent God then contradiction could be broken

        and we could not know anything

        yet even this is a knowledge claim ….. mmmmm

      • murk Says:

        Does God cause His own existence,

        yes, according to Him not me

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        Actually, God causing His own existence is according to you and not according to Him. Obviously, He’s not here participating in this conversation to make any claims one way or another. Those claims are coming from you and are according to you. You might claim that it says in the Bible that God created Himself, but even then that would be “according to the people who wrote the Bible” not “according to God.” But then the Bible does not say that God causes His own existence, so that’s still just according to you—even though you also challenge the idea that a thing can cause itself.

        Notice that when you say “God causes His own existence,” you presume that He exists within the context of a material reality whose properties include the relationship between causes and effects. God’s ability to cause His own existence is contingent on the greater reality possessing the kind of inherent order that makes cause-and-effect relationships possible. That means God, if He did exist, would owe His existence to something greater and more fundamental than Himself, and that the true source of meaning and order and intelligibility would be this greater, material reality rather than any god.

      • murk Says:

        “Why would I have to know everything in order to know anything, given the open-ended nature of concept formation and the order intrinsic to existence?”

        you answered your own question here – you made two metaphysical absolute claims which are required for your claim to make sense – thus you have to “know” them

        metaphysical and epistemological commitments depend on each other – one is not primary to the other

        thus interpretation precedes existence

      • murk Says:

        I’ve granted you that we can imagine a person who is mistaken about everything. What is the significance of this?

        if certainty is elusive it entails knowledge is impossible

        What is direction? What is purpose? Why does rationality depend on them?

        if there is no ultimate purpose and direction then anything can happen. thus anything claimed as knowledge is really just an illusion as purposelessness chugs along.

        life only comes from life entails purpose and direction, furthermore creatures only reproduce after their kind. again purpose – no one has ever observed otherwise.

        if there is no ultimate over reaching purpose to the universe knowledge is impossible

        sort of like if someone argues if the laws of logic exist –
        He cannot put them aside while he engages his argument
        this exposes a limit of humans,
        yet some people, though knowing this limit, venture out and make bold claims that break these laws and the limits of the limit

        this exposes that the intellect is ethical
        absolute ethics entail purpose
        its all intertwined

        What forms of knowledge, if any, doesn’t rationality underpin?

        knowledge by definition must correspond to something that is true
        and the one with the knowledge must have justification
        and must believe it (belief is required due to above described limits of man – we also must believe in laws of logic)

        therefore – all knowledge is underpinned by rationality
        but this does not mean that all knowledge questions are answered the same way

    • murk Says:

      misread your question
      He is eternal, beyond time, everywhere, all knowing,
      in Him we live and move and have our being
      Our existence is thus dependent on Him
      (like a branch is to a tree trunk)

  25. Owlmirror Says:

    So… Let’s see if I have this right.

    According to the presuppositionalist, reality could not possibly be consistent with itself; identity could not exist; and non-contradiction could not be false. However, if an invisible person with supernatural superpowers exists, it could magically make reality be consistent and magically make non-contradiction false, and in fact has done so.

    And the preusppositionalist knows this by magic knowing superpowers.

    • Janney Says:

      Yay, a summary!

    • murk Says:

      tell me oh owlmirror
      what makes nature uniform (including your ability to reason?)
      and how did you get here within this uniformity?

      why can the law of non-contradiction not be broken in a chance universe?

      tell me please – where in your worldview can these absolutes come from?

      You are a visible person with no supernatural powers yet you speak of the nature of reality about the entire universe – a good part of which is invisible (laws, really small things, forces etc.)
      with the appearance of authority as if you have supernatural powers.

      what is your ultimate authority?

  26. Owlmirror Says:

    Or, rather: ” and non-contradiction could be false.”
    Similarly: “and magically make non-contradiction always true”

  27. J. Simonov Says:

    “God = Omnipotent
    thus rock He cannot lift cannot exist”

    Riiiiiiight. That means He can’t make it. That means you have discovered something God can’t do. That means you have disproved your own omnipotent God.

    *clap clap clap*

    “Does God cause His own existence,

    yes, according to Him not me”

    Firstly, He ain’t here. All we have are self-appointed spokesmen, like you.

    Secondly, how would you cause your own existence unless you existed in the first place, hmmm? Don’t you see the inescapable circularity here?

    “you answered your own question here – you made two metaphysical absolute claims which are required for your claim to make sense – thus you have to “know” them ”

    Right, I know those claims. Knowing particular claims isn’t the same as knowing everything. You get that, right?

    “metaphysical and epistemological commitments depend on each other – one is not primary to the other

    thus interpretation precedes existence”

    100% wrong. Existence absolutely, inescapably precedes interpretation, and you literally cannot challenge this fact without secretly assuming it to be true.

    “if certainty is elusive it entails knowledge is impossible”

    IF. If, if, if. So what? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. But wishing doesn’t make it so, murk.

    “if there is no ultimate purpose and direction then anything can happen.”

    This isn’t an answer to my question. JUST ADMIT IT IF YOU CAN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS. Jesus Christ on a bicycle.

    Also, this is quite the bare assertion. WHY is it the case that “anything” can happen without ultimate direction and purpose, hmmm? Do you think that existent objects have their own identity? Do you think this might constrain their actions? If not, why not?

    “life only comes from life entails purpose and direction”

    lolwhut? No it doesn’t, at least not on your say-so. Justify that assumption.

    “therefore – all knowledge is underpinned by rationality”

    That completely sinks your case, murk. If rationality isn’t intrinsically reliable, as you have been arguing, then you can’t reason your way to a solution in which it is. Meaning no God for you.

    • murk Says:

      “That means He can’t make it. That means you have discovered something God can’t do. That means you have disproved your own omnipotent God.”

      It is impossible for Him to lie

      by your logic a man who will not break his word is limiting his power

      a river without banks is a swamp-no power

      Simonov requires the absolute universal immaterial invariant laws of logic to hold true so he can argue against the only possible source
      and not see the irony

      why don’t you throw off all your restraints that you hang on to
      even though they are in opposition to your worldview

      • J. Simonov Says:

        You seem to be confused about the difference between a person who WILL not do something, but is able, versus someone who is simply UNABLE to do something.

        In any case, you’ve still disproved the existence of your own omnipotent God when you admitted that He can’t make the aforementioned rock. You’ve also completely sabotaged your worldview when you admitted that all knowledge is underpinned by reason.

    • murk Says:

      “WHY is it the case that “anything” can happen without ultimate direction and purpose, hmmm?”

      how did life come to be?
      is that different then what we observe today – without exception?

      even if playing poker – you can get any combination of 5 different cards dealt to you , within the limits of the deck

      there are 52 cards in the deck – purpose / direction
      5 cards dealt to each player – purpose / direction
      hierarchy of the cards – purpose/direction
      rules of the game – purpose / direction

      you are trying to say that there is no purpose to the universe no?
      blind chance is behind everything
      yet you look around for regularities in nature
      and logic to make your point

      is it true that someone made the universe or it happened by chance? is there a possible third way?

      • J. Simonov Says:

        “how did life come to be?”

        As best we can infer, life came to be through natural processes. The details are not fully settled, but there is a large body of scientific knowledge on the subject that is beyond the scope of a blog comment. You are free to learn all about it at your convenience.

        “is that different then what we observe today – without exception?”

        Is what different, our understanding of chemistry, physics or biology? No.

        “even if playing poker etc etc”

        Yes, all well and good, what of it? Poker is a man-made game. Of course it shows signs of purpose and direction.

        “you are trying to say that there is no purpose to the universe no?”

        I am asking you to back up your assertions regarding purpose and direction, which so far you have refused to do.

        “blind chance is behind everything”

        You keep saying that, not I. I keep asking you WHY you believe this would be the case in a Godless universe, but you won’t say.

        “is it true that someone made the universe or it happened by chance? is there a possible third way?”

        Yes, there is a third possible way, which I’ve presented to you in previous comments.

      • murk Says:

        “You keep saying that, not I. I keep asking you WHY you believe this would be the case in a Godless universe, but you won’t say.”

        come on – the leading evolutionists have many quotes re: blind pitiful chance that is behind everything – they even admit that they cling to this belief in spite of the evidence – because the only alternative is to let a divine foot in the door – and that is not allowed

        exposing that the intellect is moral

        the whole theory of evolution / big bang rests on the premise of no direction – it was a cosmic “accident”

        and as you know if there is no direction no comprehensive purpose then we have no purpose yet you are posting on this site to try to get me to understand that your purpose is to try to get me to see that there is no purpose :)

        the only way you can have a third way is if you break the law of contradiction

        but then you would have grave consequences for your theory of knowledge, reality and morality

        Merry Christmas

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        come on – the leading evolutionists have many quotes re: blind pitiful chance that is behind everything – they even admit that they cling to this belief in spite of the evidence – because the only alternative is to let a divine foot in the door – and that is not allowed

        Actually, divine feet are perfectly welcome, provided they actually exist outside the minds and imaginations of believers. The only thing keeping God out of science is His failure to show up anywhere outside the stories, superstitions, and subjective feelings of men. And yes, I’ve read that same creationist quote mine, but just a word of warning: don’t believe everything you read there. Creationists like to take quotes out of context in order to deceive you about what scientists really think, but the truth is quite different. I’m speaking from personal experience here: I once believed the creationist quote mines too, and decided to review scientific literature looking for my own quotes to mine. Once I found out what the scientists were actually saying, I realized the creationists were lying to me, and I began checking up on other things believers had told me. Today I am an atheist. No coincidence.

        Also by the way, you used the word “chance” just now. That’s not a good word for you to use, given the terms of your argument, because “chance” implies mechanistic probabilities, and mechanistic probabilities produce direction without the need for intelligent intent. If A is more probable than B, then undirected chance will produce A more often than it produces B, without any intelligent agency deciding to “choose” A instead of B. Superstitious people can still assume that A was the result of some choice by some kind of invisible supernatural spirit, but in doing so they will merely interfere with their own ability to gain a reliable and useful understanding of real-world probability. That’s why superstition is a bad thing in scientific circles. It produces misinformation, not knowledge.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        as you know if there is no direction no comprehensive purpose then we have no purpose

        Nonsense, we’ve got plenty of purpose, it’s just that it happens to be purpose that emerges from our nature as material beings. Would you insist that if God has no horns then there are no horns? or if God has no lusts then there is no lust? It makes no more sense to say that there can be no purpose unless there is divine purpose.

        Besides, what’s so great about believing that God has a purpose for you? For all you know, His purpose could be for you to live faithfully most of your life, then apostasize at the very end, and burn in agony in Hell for all eternity. Something similar seems to be His purpose for most people, according to Matthew 7. Saying that we exist only to satisfy some inscrutable divine purpose is really a rather nasty form of fatalism, even for those who mitigate it with some kind of blithe assumption of personal privilege and egocentric destiny. All “purpose” really gets you is an excuse to be superstitious—which a wise and loving God would actually prefer for you to avoid, at least if He were good.

      • murk Says:

        “given the terms of your argument, because “chance” implies mechanistic probabilities, and mechanistic probabilities produce direction without the need for intelligent intent.”

        probability assumes uniformity
        thus cannot support it
        much less produce anything
        horse – cart

        total chance would render probability impossible (anything is as likely to happen as the next thing)
        by invoking probability you are expressing your belief in uniformity
        which you cannot know withing the limit of human possibility

        You are therefore acknowledging God
        but i doubt you’ll admit it

        again – there is no chance that chance isn’t behind it right
        or the law of chance cannot be left to chance

    • Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth-SkepticGriggsy Says:

      Leucippus eons ago- by necessity. And randomness is part of necessity; randomness in relation to the object: it was random that the meteorid led to the he demise of the dinosaurs that led to us. Natural selection – necessity here- and randomness act without intent. Lamberth’s teleonomic argument notes that as science finds no divine intent behind Nature, then God would play no role and so, theists should then not claim that evolution is His way of creation. Lamberth’s new Omphalos argument is that theists impliclty find that He deceives us with teleonomy-causalism- mechanism- as Gosse with his old Omphalos instead found Him deceiving with apparent age.
      Theistic evolution is thus an oxymoron for obscurantism!
      His argument from pareidolia is that people see the pareidolias of intent and design instead of what is actually there- mechanism and patterns as people see the pareidolias of the man in the Moon and Yeshua on a tortilla!

      His reduce anismis argument is that that is just what themsm iswhich then is as sperstitious as full animism and polytheism. No intent exists behind natural forces and behind Nature! Purposelessness exists as far as the Cosmos is concerned for us.
      Theists whine by using the non-sequiture that then we have no purpose! Why, to claim divine purpose betrays humanity as just a thing! Our own purposes and human love and this one life suffice; we need no divine purpose and divine love and that future state!

      ” Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning to which neither God nor the future state can further validate.” Inquiring Lynn

      • murk Says:

        No intent exists behind natural forces and behind Nature!
        wow – probing into the very nature of reality – you have knowledge about the whole universe – the seen and unseen
        are you a god?
        i suppose you learned this empirically
        oh wait – you admitted it was by authority
        i admire your faith – though it is arbitrary and inconsistent
        maybe call it faith and keep going – you will find solid ground

        Purposelessness exists as far as the Cosmos is concerned for us.

        yeah and i suppose you live like this when it comes to:
        counting your money,
        showing up for work / school etc on time
        obeying the law
        posting on Fallacies of a contingent God web site
        pursue a career path
        date / marry
        open a business

        purposelessness is unknowable apart from purpose
        think about it
        you betray yourself

  28. Owlmirror Says:

    what makes nature uniform

    What exactly do you mean by “uniform”?

    and how did you get here within this uniformity?

    What does this question even mean?

    why can the law of non-contradiction not be broken in a chance universe?

    Are you trying to imply that true and false are arbitrary?

    tell me please – where in your worldview can these absolutes come from?

    Are you trying to imply that all absolutes are arbitrary?

    You are a visible person with no supernatural powers

    How do you know?

    You haven’t seen me.

    And what do you mean by “supernatural”?

    yet you speak of the nature of reality about the entire universe – a good part of which is invisible (laws, really small things, forces etc.)

    I was just recapping what you seem to be saying. You haven’t answered yet whether I got it right.

    with the appearance of authority as if you have supernatural powers.

    No, that’s what you’ve been doing.

    • murk Says:

      what makes nature uniform

      What exactly do you mean by “uniform”?

      well consistent – the laws that govern it do not change (gravity, pascal, boyle’s law of gases etc.) the laws that govern those also do not change and are universal – contradiction, identity, causation, induction.. et al…
      that our memory is reliable, along with our senses and reason..
      if nature was not uniform we could not know anything..

      and how did you get here within this uniformity?

      What does this question even mean?

      ever see nothing become something?
      ever see non-life get life?
      current uniformity is only avenue to knowledge
      yet it had to be different to explain why matter / life exist.

      why can the law of non-contradiction not be broken in a chance universe?

      Are you trying to imply that true and false are arbitrary?

      no it is absolute, invariant and immaterial
      i can account for it.
      wanna give it a go?

      tell me please – where in your worldview can these absolutes come from?

      Are you trying to imply that all absolutes are arbitrary?

      not sure where you got this from – absolutes absolutely exist
      independent of your existence
      does everything that happens happen by chance owlmirror?

      You are a visible person with no supernatural powers

      How do you know

      because you are human – thus limited – spatial / temporal and totally dependent on God – even to deny Him
      (i know this because He has revealed it to all people – so you know it to)

      You haven’t seen me.

      And what do you mean by “supernatural”?

      whatever is beyond limits of nature
      the metaphysical commitments you hold to try to live consistently would fall under this catagory

      yet you speak of the nature of reality about the entire universe – a good part of which is invisible (laws, really small things, forces etc.)

      I was just recapping what you seem to be saying. You haven’t answered yet whether I got it right.

      you tell me how you know the very nature of reality and limits of possibility in a very big place (universe) while you have not even visited most of the little ball you live on.
      nor can you use sense perception to verify validity of sense perception. you must rest on the supra-sensible…

      with the appearance of authority as if you have supernatural powers.

      No, that’s what you’ve been doing.

      i admit i’m fallible and have limits that result in the destruction of all knowledge – i give credit to the only one who makes knowledge possible His name is Jesus Col 2:3

  29. Owlmirror Says:

    “if certainty is elusive it entails knowledge is impossible”

    No, it entails that knowledge is elusive.

    “life only comes from life

    But it doesn’t.

    Life isn’t magic. It’s a complex, dynamic, self-sustaining chemical reaction that increases itself via metabolism and reproduction. But chemicals are made of molecules and atoms, which are not themselves alive. Therefore, life does not only come from life.

    • murk Says:

      are you certain it entails that knowledge is elusive?

      murk wondering what distinction between living and non-living groups of molecules is…

      and what distinction is between life that has ability to reason and life that doesn’t have ability to reason….

    • murk Says:

      i beg to differ – i used to live in a watery environment for a long time – 9 months actually – now i can only breathe air

      a cubic mm of CD can hold about 20 pages of a paper back book

      a cubic mm of DNA can hold over 16 trillion – 250 page paper back books (that’s about 500 stacks of these books from earth to moon)

      i’ve gained a lot of weight – i used to be 8 lbs – 6 oz

      no one knows how things grow – from trees to people

      no one knows why we age

      or why we spend about 1/3 of our life unconscious

      you cannot account for why there are 2 sexes
      these would have to have “evolved” at the same time and in the same place – wow magic

      i’d say its rather magical (in the sense of it is beyond human understanding)

  30. murk Says:

    no one cares to reveal their ultimate authority?
    (i’d say chicken but that would be childish:)

  31. Owlmirror Says:

    He does not lie (Heb 6:18)

    The God of the Bible does indeed lie.

    In Genesis 2:16-17, the Bible says: The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

    In Genesis 3:4-5, the Bible says: The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    In Genesis 3:6, they eat the fruit. In Genesis 3:7, it says: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

    And they did not die that day.

    In Genesis 3:11, it says: And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

    That is, God reacts to their being clothed as though knowing that their “eyes” had been “opened”. God does not see Adam and Eve dead under the tree; God sees them clothed, and infers that they are clothed because they felt shame, which in turn follows from them having their eyes opened.

    So we see that God knew that their eyes would be opened if they ate the fruit, and that they would not die.

    So we know that what God told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 was both false, and knowingly false, or in other words, a lie.

    Now, it may be that there is a God who does not lie, but that God is not the God of the Bible, and by worshipping the God of the Bible, who does lie, you are an idolater — a worshipper of a false God — slapping the (putative) non-lying God in the face every time you try and claim that that God of the Bible does not lie.

    lying is power? it destroys trust, knowledge, ultimately life
    it is cheap and twisted

    Yes, that is why the God of the bible should not be believed in.

    if there is no ultimate over reaching purpose to the universe knowledge is impossible

    This makes no sense.

    What exactly do you mean by “uniform”?

    well consistent – the laws that govern it do not change (gravity, pascal, boyle’s law of gases etc.)

    Why should the laws change? What is it about the nature of the universe that makes you think that these laws should change?

    Note that we can see that they have not changed in the 13.7 billion year history of the universe, because looking into deep space means looking into the past, and if those laws were different, objects further away would demonstrate that difference.

    Note also that some have argued that they may have changed very, very slightly, based on very small differences in things seen very far away in one direction vs those seen very far away in the opposite direction. But this is a very slight effect, and is controversial due to how small it is, and may well be the result of the equipment used.

    the laws that govern those also do not change and are universal – contradiction, identity, causation, induction.. et al…

    Why should those laws change? Those are (mostly) logical necessities, not empirical discoveries.

    that our memory is reliable, along with our senses and reason..

    What does “reliable” mean? Are you claiming to be infallible and perfect?

    if nature was not uniform we could not know anything..

    OK. So you don’t need god to know anything, just a nature that is uniform.

    ever see nothing become something?

    I’ve never seen “nothing”. Are you sure “nothing” is even meaningfull?

    current uniformity is only avenue to knowledge
    yet it had to be different to explain why matter / life exist.

    It didn’t “have to be different” to explain why life exists, because life is a dynamic chemical reaction. Physical conditions may well have been different about 3.5 billion years ago, when life first arose, but that is not the same as saying that the laws of physics were different — and we can look for evidence and see that those laws were not different at that time.

    And the laws of physics didn’t have to be entirely different to explain why matter exists. There are almost certainly laws of physics that are uniform even going that far back in time.

    Are you trying to imply that true and false are arbitrary?

    no it is absolute, invariant and immaterial
    i can account for it.

    If you think it needs to be accounted for, you don’t think that it’s absolute and invariant.

    not sure where you got this from – absolutes absolutely exist
    independent of your existence

    And are they things that exist, or are they simply necessary truths?

    does everything that happens happen by chance

    Chance is constrained by necessity.

    because you are human

    How do you know?

    totally dependent on God

    Obviously not.

    (i know this because He has revealed it to all people – so you know it to)

    I obviously don’t know it, because I have no reason to think it true. The only ones talking about this supposed “revelation” are humans like you, and I have no reason to believe you.

    And what do you mean by “supernatural”?

    whatever is beyond limits of nature
    the metaphysical commitments you hold to try to live consistently would fall under this catagory

    That’s ridiculous. Metaphysical abstractions are part of nature, not magically seperate from it.

    you tell me how you know the very nature of reality and limits of possibility in a very big place (universe) while you have not even visited most of the little ball you live on.

    We have these things called “telescopes”. If reality were different further away, it would have consequences which could be seen at a distance.

    nor can you use sense perception to verify validity of sense perception.

    That’s why empirical knowledge is provisional.

    i admit i’m fallible

    If you’re fallible, then your alleged revelation from God could be something that you’re wrong about — and it almost certainly is.

    and have limits that result in the destruction of all knowledge

    Wait, what?

    i give credit to the only one who makes knowledge possible His name is Jesus

    You’re definitely fallible if you think that someone who lived thousands of years ago “is the only one who makes knowledge possible”.

    murk wondering what distinction between living and non-living groups of molecules is…

    Learn some biology.

    Biologists don’t have all the answers, but they can show their work.

    and what distinction is between life that has ability to reason and life that doesn’t have ability to reason….

    Learn some neuroscience.

    Neuroscientists don’t have all the answers, but they can show their work.

    no one knows how things grow – from trees to people

    Mitosis. Gene expression of growth factors.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’re ignorant of biology that biologists are as well.

    no one knows why we age

    Telomere shortening and the accumulation of harmful metabolic byproducts.

    or why we spend about 1/3 of our life unconscious

    At least partially to reset the proteins used by the brain.

    you cannot account for why there are 2 sexes

    What exactly do you mean by “account for”?

    these would have to have “evolved” at the same time and in the same place

    So?

    - wow magic

    No more so than any other part of nature.

    no one cares to reveal their ultimate authority?

    Your ultimate authority is yourself.

    Even if God existed, God couldn’t know things for you, or believe things for you.

    (i’d say chicken but that would be childish:)

    Presuppositionalism is just a child saying “is too, times infinity”, over and over again.

    • murk Says:

      “Metaphysical abstractions are part of nature”
      things that are beyond nature are part of nature?
      how would you know this?

      Adam and Eve had no shame or fear
      The day they ate they had fear and shame and the aging process started
      they died because they were cut off from the source of life
      (eg. branch – vine) as evidenced by fear / shame
      they also were now subject to physical death which was not part of reality (thus known to them) before

      We are dead in our transgressions as stated in Ephesians

      cut off / separated from the vine
      fear, shame, theft, murder, abuse, violence and so on…
      these things happen and should not as we all know
      letting us live eternally in this state would be…..well God did not let that happen – banished from garden and cut off access to tree of life

      death is an imposter
      in your worldview it is a necessary friend that allows the fit to carry on

      Who made the clothes for Adam and Eve?
      who killed the first animal
      because we trashed the place and the Maker – blood has to be shed for us to be liberated – and thank God – Jesus did just that

      why do you concern yourself with God lying if purposelessness is all there is?
      you betray yourself here….

  32. Owlmirror Says:

    [I had a much longer response that appears to have gone into moderation... hope it gets approved]

    the leading evolutionists have many quotes re: blind pitiful chance that is behind everything

    Of course chance is behind everything — but it isn’t only chance.

    Do you think that chance does not exist? Do casinos make money because God wants them to? Do fatal mutations occur because God hates babies?

    they even admit that they cling to this belief in spite of the evidence

    Nonsense.

    and as you know if there is no direction no comprehensive purpose then we have no purpose yet you are posting on this site to try to get me to understand that your purpose is to try to get me to see that there is no purpose

    Now you’re just playing games with the word “purpose”.

    the only way you can have a third way is if you break the law of contradiction

    More nonsense.

    • Deacon Duncan Says:

      [I had a much longer response that appears to have gone into moderation... hope it gets approved]

      Thanks for mentioning it — it wasn’t in moderation, it got eaten by the spam filter. I was able to find it and restore it, fortunately.

    • murk Says:

      “Of course chance is behind everything — but it isn’t only chance.”

      green running yesterday computer egg?
      (or in other words if the law of contradiction can be broken this should make sense to you)

      can any form of gambling exist without absolutes supporting it?
      (hint: laws of math, rules of the game, laws of logic, probability which requires uniformity)

      evil things happen
      world is fallen
      God is in control
      God is all powerful
      He has a perfectly sufficient reason for planning the evil that happens
      (eg. Jesus being drug through streets and executed)

      does absolute evil exist? or is it conventional?

      re: nonsense, word game, nonsense…
      if you’re going to state something negative you need to state something positive

  33. Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth-SkepticGriggsy Says:

    Sorry for the typos. The address was in the way, and my spell check couldn’t work.
    meteoroid reduced animism

  34. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    “come on – the leading evolutionists have many quotes re: blind pitiful chance that is behind everything – they even admit that they cling to this belief in spite of the evidence – because the only alternative is to let a divine foot in the door – and that is not allowed”

    I didn’t ask you for your interpretation of “leading evolutionists”. Nor for that do matter do I care what your interpretation is; I understand evolution just fine myself, and what the evidence for it is. You can’t bamboozle me with fallacious appeals to authority; you can’t intimidate me by asserting that “evolutionists” believe this, that or the other.

    Now; I asked you why YOU, murk, believe that blind chance would be behind everything in a Godless universe. Explain yourself. I’m not going to accept any cop-outs like “everyone obviously believes it because I said so”.

    “the whole theory of evolution / big bang rests on the premise of no direction – it was a cosmic ‘accident’ ”

    Those aren’t the same thing, you can’t just lump them together, for one thing. For another, they explain the observations that we have, in reality. They don’t posit any sort of “purpose” or “direction” because we don’t see any obvious signs of either.

    “the only way you can have a third way is if you break the law of contradiction”

    Prove it.

    “Merry Christmas”

    Yes, it is, and to you as well.

    • murk Says:

      I asked you why YOU, murk, believe that blind chance would be behind everything in a Godless universe.

      only alternative available unless law of contradiction is broken

      someone made it
      or no-one made it

      here it is

      if no-one made it – it happened by chance
      yet the only way we could know this is via regularity
      (uniformity of nature – thus including our reasoning – correspondence of our thoughts to external world,
      laws of logic, induction – future will be like past and so on )

      if chance universe is ultimately mysterious
      any knowledge claim is an illusion
      for anything can happen at any time
      in fact it had to for you to explain your existence and the existence of existence

      you can see that to know this requires resting on absolutes that
      are not subject to chance no?

      there is no evidence for evolution – as you say only interpretation
      just as nature does not tell us anything – only interpretation
      of information on our worldviews
      (fallacy of hypostatization)

      evidence assumes logic
      where does logic come from in a chance universe?
      anything can happen

      you cant have it both ways
      you guys keep borrowing from my worldview in an attempt to deny my worldview

      what you expose is not a logical difficulty but that the intellect is ethical

      and as you spin around, if you attempt to be consistent
      you will destroy all knowledge….have the courage to be consistent…..

      • Skeptic Griggsy Says:

        Necessity rules, not chance as anything goes. Valences determine which atoms combine with each other. Natural selection, that non-planning, anti-chance agent of Nature has no divine boss, no directions at to outcomes, working as a mere sieve.
        The energy of the quantum fields produces particles that appear and disappear rapidly. No apparent cause exists, yet still necessity rules.
        As Jerry Coyne notes in ” Seeing and Believing,” @ Talk Reason and the archives of the New Republic, no guaranteed comparable species to us would have evolved, even by convergence!
        It’s like gravity: things have some kind of attraction to each other in order for them to work together like the two elements of salt.
        murk , please don’t murk up matters!

  35. J. Simonov Says:

    @Owlmirror

    “Of course chance is behind everything — but it isn’t only chance.

    Do you think that chance does not exist? Do casinos make money because God wants them to? Do fatal mutations occur because God hates babies?”

    In the context of this conversation, what murk is trying to say by “blind chance is behind everything” is that there is nothing but arbitrariness animating reality; the law of identity, for instance, could easily cease to hold from one moment to the next in an atheistic universe, and it is only pure fortuitous coincidence that it apparently does not. I really wouldn’t give the appearance of granting him/her this assumption if I were you. I realize that this isn’t what you mean by “chance”, but murk is too dense and/or dishonest to acknowledge this for the purposes of conversation. It’s probably better if you just roll with his or her silly definition of “chance”, and argue with them on their own terms, at least on this topic. It takes way too long to get murk to think about, understand or acknowledge even basic concepts.

  36. Owlmirror Says:

    In the context of this conversation, what murk is trying to say by “blind chance is behind everything” is that there is nothing but arbitrariness animating reality; the law of identity, for instance, could easily cease to hold from one moment to the next in an atheistic universe, and it is only pure fortuitous coincidence that it apparently does not. I really wouldn’t give the appearance of granting him/her this assumption if I were you.

    All I can do is point to what I wrote buried in my (longer) response above: Chance is constrained by necessity.

    I have no idea why anyone would think that nothing at all is necessary, not even logical identity. I also have no idea why anyone would think that a person — even an invisible person with supernatural superpowers — could ever be necessary.

    • J. Simonov Says:

      It stems from a desire to reverse the metaphysical relationship between subject and object. Believers have an emotional need to believe that consciousness dictates reality, rather than the other way around, but unfortunately this leads to fatal contradictions that undermine their worldview. Rather than acknowledge this, the only way to maintain such a worldview is to project their problems outwards; insisting that unbelievers cannot “account” for logic, don’t have a sound basis for our beliefs, or are unable to self-consistently apply rational standards.

      • murk Says:

        logic came from an explosion dictated by the law of chance

        anything can happen yet i can only know this by resting on absolute laws of logic, uniformity of nature etc.

        arbitrariness and inconsistency are allowed for ultimate starting points?

    • murk Says:

      “chance is constrained by necessity”

      ah i see the purpose now
      and there is no chance that this isn’t so?

      i have no idea why people rely on absolute, universal, immaterial things……and then state that there is no chance that God created and sustains these things because we are here by chance

      He made it plain friends
      truth or absurdity

  37. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    “I asked you why YOU, murk, believe that blind chance would be behind everything in a Godless universe.

    only alternative available unless law of contradiction is broken

    someone made it
    or no-one made it

    here it is

    if no-one made it – it happened by chance”

    Why, because you say so? Sorry, but your temper tantrums are not good enough. You have to supply a REASON to suppose this would be so. You repeating this mantra over and over and over is not going to cut it.

    “you can see that to know this requires resting on absolutes that
    are not subject to chance no?”

    I have explained to you where absolutes come from in a godless universe already.

    “there is no evidence for evolution – as you say only interpretation
    just as nature does not tell us anything – only interpretation
    of information on our worldviews
    (fallacy of hypostatization)”

    You really shouldn’t use words you don’t understand.

    I did not say there is “only” interpretation. It’s very rude of you to continually spin my words into saying what they obviously did not say. I’m asking you right now to please stop doing that.

    To address what you’re saying; no, there is not “only” interpretation. The axioms I’ve identified for you are not subject to differing interpretations; they are at the base of all knowledge. They cannot be conceptually reduced, nor can they be denied.

    As for the evidence for evolution, you are correct that it can be interpreted in different ways. Unfortunately for your worldview, the interpretations of the evidence that deny the truth of evolution are very implausible and are based on imaginary premises. There is therefore no good reason to deny the truth of evolution.

    “evidence assumes logic
    where does logic come from in a chance universe?
    anything can happen”

    Atheists are not under any obligation to believe that we live in an arbitrary universe where anything may happen. Existence NECESSARILY has identity, and to have identity NECESSARILY imposes constraints on action. You are presenting a false dichotomy in which atheists must choose between God and pure arbitrariness in the realm of existence, and these are not the only choices we have. This dichotomy of yours just is not going to work, sorry.

    “you cant have it both ways
    you guys keep borrowing from my worldview in an attempt to deny my worldview”

    You are the one who is desperately borrowing from outside of your worldview, a self-contradicting worldview which you yourself have disproved on this very thread. Remember? You disproved the existence of an omnipotent God.

    You have also been appealing this whole time to a God who sources absolutes, but this is a God who couldn’t possibly source these things unless they already obtained independently of His will. You are caught in a metaphysical trap; you want to insist that God’s wishing makes it so, but He couldn’t do this unless He was grounded in a reality in which this was possible. Which would have to be a fact INDEPENDENTLY of His wishing. God’s wishing can’t metaphysically ground His own wishing, do you see? It’s viciously circular.

    • murk Says:

      “Atheists are not under any obligation to believe that we live in an arbitrary universe where anything may happen. Existence NECESSARILY has identity, and to have identity NECESSARILY imposes constraints on action.”

      i know it is inescapable – you must assume universal absolutes like
      the ones that support necessity in order to state supremacy of
      identity….(you’re not getting dizzy?)

      i’m sorry if my comment re: interpretation was received incorrectly because i wrote it in an ambiguous way.

      i meant to say interpretation precedes evidence
      and this is filtered through our worldview
      which is a bunch of presuppositions

      “atheists must choose between God and pure arbitrariness in the realm of existence, and these are not the only choices we have.”

      ok enlighten me about another choice

      just saying i’m wrong does not make it so
      state something positive
      come on let me have some fun

      To deny Him requires invoking universal knowledge
      this means a temporal, spatial being has to have certainty
      it requires believing in the validity of induction
      it entails accepting uniformity as absolutely true
      it necessitates justified true belief in the absolute laws of logic
      laws of thought, reality of external world, meaning of words,
      correspondence of our thoughts to reality
      none of the above can exist unless there is purpose and meaning
      unless He holds it all together (Col 2:3)

      Therefore:
      it is necessary that God exists because we cannot account for reasonableness of reason without Him
      To deny Him therefore requires assuming Him first

      (try answering why you trust your ability to reason and it should become clear that you have a dilemma)

      • murk Says:

        “I asked you why YOU, murk, believe that blind chance would be behind everything in a Godless universe.”

        – because He made it plain to all of us
        the universe cannot have direction and no direction at the same time
        unless contradiction can be broken
        and this cannot come from anything but God

        if no meaning or purpose greater than us
        we could not know anything – i know it is a lot to swallow
        i’ve wrestled with it for years before i submitted

        even when you ask me for proof
        proof assumes logic
        which must be invariant, universal and immaterial
        so just by asking for proof you agree that there is
        an underlying constant in the universe
        if you go down this road you will find it can only be one

        You guys currently will not allow divine feet in the door
        not the one on whom you depend to speak and have knowledge
        and this knowledge you try to suppress

        Anything is possible to you guys except giving up your own ultimacy

        and this is why you turn all knowledge into absurdity

  38. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    You haven’t provided me with a positive reason to suppose that reality would have to be purely arbitrary in a Godless universe. I mean, I know you can’t, but I just want to drive home the point for you.

    “i know it is inescapable – you must assume universal absolutes like
    the ones that support necessity in order to state supremacy of
    identity….(you’re not getting dizzy?)”

    No, I am not getting dizzy. That’s because I have a proper grasp on what constitutes an axiomatic concept that lies at the base of knowledge. You, on the other hand, are clearly struggling with this. You say that I assume “universal absolutes” in order to support necessity of identity, but you don’t realize that axioms are not supported in terms of anything else; they cannot be conceptually reduced, and they cannot fail to be false. They support; they are not themselves supported.

    “i’m sorry if my comment re: interpretation was received incorrectly because i wrote it in an ambiguous way.”

    Fair enough.

    “i meant to say interpretation precedes evidence
    and this is filtered through our worldview
    which is a bunch of presuppositions”

    Just some friendly advice here, but you should really be concerned when your worldview explicitly frames its function as “filtering” evidence. That is pretty much an open admission that presuppositionalism is not interested in identifying and integrating evidence in an honest fashion, but rather is an attempt to rationalize lies. People with an interest in the truth have no use for “filters”, we want the tools to identify and integrate reality as it is.

    “ok enlighten me about another choice

    just saying i’m wrong does not make it so
    state something positive
    come on let me have some fun ”

    Well, I have, repeatedly. You have to read for comprehension. I can’t help you if you won’t make an honest attempt to understand, rather than filter out facts you don’t like, which is the function of your so-called worldview. That is probably what is holding you back.

    In the event that you are finally ready to understand, here it is.

    We must start with axioms; undeniable, conceptually irreducible facts.

    (1)Existence exists.

    This identification doesn’t specify what exists, only acknowledges that the full extent of reality exists, and ONLY the full extent of reality exists. We must start here; you can’t get any more basic than the brute fact of some kind of existence. Any attempts to explain or source pure existence to something else must fail, as they cannot fail to rely on existence, whether implicitly or explicitly. This is a fact that cannot be denied, as all axioms are.

    (2)To exist is to have identity.

    This is a recognition of the fact that whatever exists, is what it is and is not what it isn’t. This cannot fail to be true, as you will note that any attempt to deny it would have to assume it. This is not a fact that can be explained in terms of anything else, as again, you will note that any such attempts are relying on the thing ostensibly being explained.

    (3)To have identity is to be self-consistent.

    To be a thing, is to preclude the possibility that its characteristics may be contradictory. This is a necessary extension of the recognition of identity; that a thing cannot be what it isn’t entails that none of its attributes may be what they are not.

    Note also that this means that no self-contradictory thing may be real. Meaning your omnipotent God is not real, as that is a self-contradictory attribute.

    These are the facts that completely prevent reality from failing to exist and to have self-consistent identity throughout all of its constituent elements. Atheists are therefore left with no reason to suppose that the existent realm of reality is arbitrary.

    “To deny Him requires invoking universal knowledge”

    Not at all, we merely have to identify imaginary, self-contradicting concepts, which is all that God believers have available.

    “it requires believing in the validity of induction
    it entails accepting uniformity as absolutely true”

    Yep. The axioms ground these facts, combined with the conceptual level of cognition. Do you know what a concept is, and how they are formed? I’ve explained some of it on this very thread. Remember “measurement omission”? It’s very important, so I suggest you learn.

    “it necessitates justified true belief in the absolute laws of logic”

    You don’t know what justified true belief is.

    “Therefore:
    it is necessary that God exists because we cannot account for reasonableness of reason without Him”

    Well, I’ve basically given you 90% of the facts that account for this already, but I’ll need you to actually deal with them this time before going any further. No reason to keep wasting time if you won’t learn.

    “To deny Him therefore requires assuming Him first”

    Nope, backwards. To affirm Him requires you to deny Him. Theism requires you to affirm a metaphysics in which consciousness has primacy over existence, meaning that wishing makes things so. But if this were a fact, it would have to be a fact that obtains independently of anyone’s wishing, which would affirm a metaphysics in which existence has primacy over consciousness. So you are stuck in a trap in which any attempt to affirm your imaginary God collapses into fatal self-contradiction.

    “(try answering why you trust your ability to reason and it should become clear that you have a dilemma)”

    Before I will answer this question for you, you must tell me where you came up with the idea of trust. You can’t get fairer than that; an answer for an answer.

    • J. Simonov Says:

      “These are the facts that completely prevent reality from failing to exist and to have self-consistent identity throughout all of its constituent elements”

      To clarify this sentence, what I mean is that these are the facts that pertain to reality having self-consistent identity throughout all of its constituent elements. Now that I read it over, the way I worded it, it might look as though I meant that reality does not have self-consistent identity throughout all of its constituent parts, and that is not what I meant.

      • J. Simonov Says:

        “You say that I assume “universal absolutes” in order to support necessity of identity, but you don’t realize that axioms are not supported in terms of anything else; they cannot be conceptually reduced, and they cannot fail to be false.”

        ARGH, that should be “cannot fail to be true”. Proofreading is good.

      • murk Says:

        “You haven’t provided me with a positive reason to suppose that reality would have to be purely arbitrary in a Godless universe. I mean, I know you can’t,”
        you therefore know a limit to possibility – therefore a universal absolute
        you cannot know this if you are ultimate – this can only be known on authority supported by trust oh oh do you see the problem ?
        but you have not answered my question of what your ultimate authority is….care to?
        it also assumes that you hold that God does not exist – which requires you to be inconsistent
        because it requires proving a universal negative from your limited human experience.
        which requires that you invoke universal positives like logic, rationality, truth, absolutes, metaphysical realities, epistemological commitments, ethical commitments (moral absolutes)
        and none of these can exist or be known apart from the God you attempt to deny
        This is one way that He has made his existence clear to all people thus you
        – this reveals that you have your presuppositions as well.
        “You say that I assume “universal absolutes” in order to support necessity of identity,”
        correct as you revealed above…
        “but you don’t realize that axioms are not supported in terms of anything else; they cannot be conceptually reduced, and they cannot fail to be false.”
        I agree they are not subject to meddling by man – they are absolute, universal and invariant
        if they were not I could not know anything
        I also agree that they are required as preconditions for intelligibility
        However this does not entail that they are their own foundations.
        Because then we would have to assert that I believe in the laws of logic because of the laws of logic, and these same laws of logic dictate that circular reasoning is fallacious. If the laws of logic were ultimate how could anyone exist within the whirlwind of contradictions within each one of us? We would be crushed without patience, love, forgiveness that we all require but do not deserve. It would be a Spock world without the balance of the humans.
        The only escape is to accept the creator creature distinction. But to accept this you have to accept and deny your own ultimacy at the same time. Thus to cross this line you have to trust God – for only He can restore our brokenness and a snuffed wick he will not smolder. Before honor comes humility.
        How could they be necessary (not fail to be false) in a universe with no purpose?
        How could an autonomous person know this?
        you reveal here that every atheist is a believer psychologically (therefore confirming the Bible that
        knowledge of God is inescapable, (just as attempting to deny that one has an earthly father)
        can the law of contradiction then, be its own foundation in a worldview without a comprehensive metaphysical reality? if so how can we know this? (how is one fact related to another?)

        They support; they are not themselves supported.
        and this statement can only be absolutely true, if these axioms are supported by the existence of absolute truth.
        so you must hold that a priori’s exist as a precondition to knowledge (especially the knowledge that existence is primary – thus you refute yourself)
        why do engineers trust bedrock? Do they not believe that bedrock’s suitability as a foundation to the building’s foundation is supported? is it like choosing which tie to wear?
        oh yeah – I can account for the concept of trust because I must trust in order to understand.
        eg. I must trust my senses and the laws that they operate on (eg. light refraction laws for my eyesight)
        in order to read the Bible or your posts. oh wait you must to.
        “People with an interest in the truth have no use for “filters”, we want the tools to identify and integrate reality as it is.”
        are you looking for truth where it may be found? you hereby invoke absolute universal knowledge and a commitment to a comprehensive metaphysics that you cannot know apart from knowing everything. nice filter
        then why have you excluded the only avenue to any knowledge – the God of the Bible?
        We must start with axioms; undeniable, conceptually irreducible facts.
        (1)Existence exists.
        This identification doesn’t specify what exists, only acknowledges that the full extent of reality exists, and ONLY the full extent of reality exists. We must start here; you can’t get any more basic than the brute fact of some kind of existence. Any attempts to explain or source pure existence to something else must fail, as they cannot fail to rely on existence, whether implicitly or explicitly. This is a fact that cannot be denied, as all axioms are.
        I agree that to deny that things exists involves invoking some higher standard that one must believe exists thus self refuting
        (and an honest person who goes down this road finds that only one standard can account for all subsequent subservient standards)
        Rene Descartes dropped the ball when he claimed that he could account for existence.
        “I think, therefore I am”
        well his first word reveals that he took for granted that something that exists (himself) was thinking and he used this to show that he existed. Absurd – “the fool says in his heart that there is no God.” Showing that metaphysical commitments are unavoidable, as with Rene so with you.
        you admit that you do not know what exists yet you know that God does not exist.
        But He made it so plain – we cannot know how we can know without first making a commitment to what we know, as you have so graciously revealed. You claim to not have any filters yet you can only make this claim by holding to the absolute truth that what goes on in your brain corresponds to what is outside of your brain. Why would there be any connection if thoughts are a result of atoms crashing? Where do the immaterial things that support rationality (logic, uniformity etc.) come from? I like that you cannot accept contradiction; it shows that you are inescapably made in His image. I have answered the trust concept question – will you answer where you get the concept of truth from?
        explain to me how a brute fact can exist – if one fact can exist apart from other facts then there is no logical relationship between anything – and we could not know anything. Yet you are making knowledge claims by the dozen (universal, immaterial, absolute ones at that)
        (2)To exist is to have identity.
        This is a recognition of the fact that whatever exists, is what it is and is not what it isn’t. This cannot fail to be true, as you will note that any attempt to deny it would have to assume it. This is not a fact that can be explained in terms of anything else, as again, you will note that any such attempts are relying on the thing ostensibly being explained.
        Thus again you have made a metaphysical commitment to the limit of possibility – so how can you be here if this is true? Did these laws of thought (logic) exist before man showed up?

        (3)To have identity is to be self-consistent.
        To be a thing, is to preclude the possibility that its characteristics may be contradictory. This is a necessary extension of the recognition of identity; that a thing cannot be what it isn’t entails that none of its attributes may be what they are not.
        Agreed a cow is a cow. But no one can fully explain what a cow is without explaining its purpose. Thus your theory of knowledge and your theory of reality are complimentary – neither is primary. in other words you must answer: what do I know, before you can answer how do we know – thereby exposing that it is impossible not to have filters. Now where do you get that from within the framework of an atheistic worldview?
        Note also that this means that no self-contradictory thing may be real. Meaning your omnipotent God is not real, as that is a self-contradictory attribute.
        if logic encompasses God, He is not God. Where did the laws of logic come from in a material world my friend?
        These are the facts that completely prevent reality from failing to exist and to have self-consistent identity throughout all of its constituent elements. Atheists are therefore left with no reason to suppose that the existent realm of reality is arbitrary.
        So now you relate facts to one another – by necessity there cannot be a brute fact yet your argument started with claiming the existence of a brute fact…mmmm
        is this something you are claiming to be absolutely true? You cannot hold to the existence of absolute truth without believing in God.
        “To deny Him requires invoking universal knowledge”
        Not at all, we merely have to identify imaginary, self-contradicting concepts, which is all that God believers have available.
        contradiction is something you are quite adept at as shown above – nice try
        “it requires believing in the validity of induction
        it entails accepting uniformity as absolutely true”
        Yep. The axioms ground these facts, combined with the conceptual level of cognition. Do you know what a concept is, and how they are formed? I’ve explained some of it on this very thread. Remember “measurement omission”? It’s very important, so I suggest you learn.
        if a brute fact can exist as you claim above that it is impossible to be cognitive of it. For then you could not logically relate the phenomenal and noumenal. It seems you have the conceptual cognitive problem…
        “it necessitates justified true belief in the absolute laws of logic”
        You don’t know what justified true belief is.
        wow now you believe you know what I know. that is a lot to know – how did you come to know this? fairies? crystal ball? other?
        justified – having good reason to support something
        true – corresponds to what is real
        belief – acceptance of truth (by contrast to believe what is not true (a lie) requires suppressing or attempting not to retain what is known to be true first – willfully or more succinctly – self deception)
        eg. I could say that a particular apple weighs 321.5 grams arbitrarily – lets say it is true
        now I have belief and truth – but it is not justified because I guessed
        now if we throw it on a scale and it reads 321.5 grams I have justification (good reason)
        however I still need to trust accuracy of machine, honesty of calibrators, uniformity of electron behavior, gravity, laws of light refraction etc., reliability of my senses which requires trust again in chemical, electric, behavior (in addition to things we do not understand fully because no person knows comprehensively how the brain works) , laws of logic, proper working order of machine, yada yada yada in short I have to know everything to know anything. But it is impossible for one person to know everything the only escape is by trusting someone who does.
        “Therefore:
        it is necessary that God exists because we cannot account for reasonableness of reason without Him”
        Well, I’ve basically given you 90% of the facts that account for this already, but I’ll need you to actually deal with them this time before going any further. No reason to keep wasting time if you won’t learn.
        the Christian knows that some things are unknown but knowable and other things are unknown and unknowable (because of acceptance of creator / creature distinction) but all things are known by God – so we have an avenue to knowledge and purpose. the atheist does not have an avenue.
        no perfect circle exists by man’s creating – yet we can describe the area of a perfect circle using the laws of math which by necessity account for what is possible. So a perfect circle must exist.
        please answer why you trust your ability to reason because this is necessary for you to make above assertion. and what your ultimate authority is. i’m primarily interested in starting points.
        “To deny Him therefore requires assuming Him first”
        Nope, backwards. To affirm Him requires you to deny Him. Theism requires you to affirm a metaphysics in which consciousness has primacy over existence, meaning that wishing makes things so. But if this were a fact, it would have to be a fact that obtains independently of anyone’s wishing, which would affirm a metaphysics in which existence has primacy over consciousness. So you are stuck in a trap in which any attempt to affirm your imaginary God collapses into fatal self-contradiction.
        Interpretation of what is has primacy over what is. We cannot know what is unless we can account for the unity/diversity problem and the uniformity/change problem – and this can only be accounted for in the metaphysical scheme laid out in the Bible – God – creation – fall – redemption. Like I said and exposed from your own words -you cannot answer how do we know without first answering what do we know. there is no such thing as a brute fact or a neutral approach. Jesus made this clear when he said that you are either for me or against me, and no man can serve two masters.
        this knowledge claim necessitates that you have a universal comprehensive metaphysical scheme through which you filter things.
        and yet you stated that you don’t have any filters.
        and at the same time you invoke law of contradiction
        I guess if consistency isn’t important its ok, but you sure are preaching the contrary.
        be consistent – it is how we are made to be – in His image – He don’t lie – we are not to.
        “(try answering why you trust your ability to reason and it should become clear that you have a dilemma)”
        Before I will answer this question for you, you must tell me where you came up with the idea of trust. You can’t get fairer than that; an answer for an answer.
        I’m a branch God is vine. He made me dependent (and you as well for that matter)
        I once lived in a watery environment even though I am now an air breather
        in that place I had to trust that I would be built properly, that nourishment and oxygen would come, that toxins would not come, that wastes would be exported but not with anything good, and so on….
        that I would get out safely and once out that although I could not even hold my head up that food would be brought to my mouth, that I would be clothed and kept warm, clean, safe, loved
        in fact to this day I must trust that the apple pie I will eat is 100% apple pie – not 99.7 % apple pie and 0.3% cyanide
        the next breath I take must contain the correct mixture of gases and there must be order and purpose because uniformity must also be trusted or oxygen could be a poison in the next breath.
        I must trust therefore, I have to believe to know (as explained in many ways above)
        and so do you – you posit a belief in the scheme of the entire universe in order to make knowledge claims – you even probe into the very limits of possibility thereby making it impossible for you to explain your existence.
        just like your theory of knowledge – one contradiction and you administered cyanide
        the only way to know things is to know everything (which you have revealed clearly that you must try to do when you try to suppress what you already know) or know someone who does.
        Metaphysical commitments (or filters) are unavoidable but only one can be true (which I’m sure you will agree with because you hold validity of non-contradiction as sound)
        like you I am not a good proof reader (one of my many shortcomings) and since this is a rather lengthy response the likely hood of an improperly stated idea is high. If this is the case I will do my best to rectify this. Thanks. Looking forward to more dialogue. murk

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        you therefore know a limit to possibility – therefore a universal absolute
        you cannot know this if you are ultimate – this can only be known on authority supported by trust oh oh do you see the problem ?
        but you have not answered my question of what your ultimate authority is….care to?

        I know you weren’t directing this to me, but you are so close to an understanding of the truth, I can’t help but chime in.

        The universal absolute is material reality itself—not just “that which is made of atoms,” but “that which exists in and of itself, independently of our perception of it.” Material reality is the only universal absolute there is. Even God Himself cannot be absolute if He is not real, because if He does not exist in and of Himself, apart from the Christian’s beliefs, then He is no more than an imaginary friend.

        If you have an authority based on trust, all you have is faith in men—UNLESS what men tell you can be backed up by what we find in the real world. And there’s two kinds of trust: genuine faith, and mere gullibility. When men tell you things that do not correspond to material reality, and you believe them anyway, that’s gullibility. Genuine faith can only happen when you can compare what men tell you to the actual state of material reality, and repeatedly confirm that what they say matches what actually exists in the real world. Reality itself is the ultimate authority, and if all you ever listen to is men who say things that don’t match material reality, then you have no opportunity to develop genuine faith. Gullibility is your only option.

        Best of luck to you in your search, and I hope you continue to ask questions, not just of atheists, but of believers as well.

  39. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    You still have not actually explained how you came up with the concept of trust. You’ve defined what trust is (relying upon various things), you’ve explained why you must trust various things, many of which I have no particular problem with. That you trust your apple pie not to be composed of cyanide is all well and good. But what I am asking you is HOW, not what or why.

    Here, let me try to help you with an example. This is how I, as a small child, formed the concept of “lying”. By the time this concept began to be integrated into my understanding, I had grasped the concept of “language”; other humans could make sounds or present markings to me, and these could be interpreted as tokens of other things. How marvelous! They could refer to “dinner”, “cat”, “balloon”, all sorts of things that existed in the world around me. I had learned how to identify particular perceptual inputs and ABSTRACT them into discrete concepts, concepts that were being steadily integrated into a self-consistent body of knowledge. Why, we could even skip the step of directly perceiving objects and use language to go straight to the abstraction process; we could refer to things that existed nowhere but in our shared imaginations, like “dragons”, or “hobbits”. At first I thought these were the only two communication options; we could either refer to shared objects of perception, or shared objects of pure abstraction.

    The crucial leap came when I realized that one could refer to things that the other party would naturally interpret as being an actual state of affairs, but that one knew in actuality were nothing but one’s own abstractions. Possible states of affairs, or impossible and/or self-contradictory things; the success of failure of the lie would turn on the other party’s knowledge, and how sophisticated their own abstraction process was.

    So there it is. This is the kind of explanation I’m looking for. How did you identify and integrate the concept of “trust” into your understanding, murk? I’m not going to deal with your other misunderstandings until we correct your problems with “trust”, and to do that, we need to lay out how the idea of trust enters into human understanding, and correct the misconceptions you have on this topic. It will be enlightening, I promise.

    • murk Says:

      all people directly apprehend the concept of trust
      it is not dependent on language
      babies can suffer anxiety even in the womb

      as i explained and your refuse to accept – we are made in His image for a relationship with Him which is built on trust

      short answer: trust is known by revelation

      why do you trust your ability to reason? or do you?
      what is your ultimate authority

      lots of questions for you to answer in previous post……waiting….

      • murk Says:

        @ Duncan

        “If you have an authority based on trust, all you have is faith in men—UNLESS what men tell you can be backed up by what we find in the real world. ”

        now how can i back up the truth of this statement by finding it in the real world?

        or in other words this backing up is contingent on:
        uniformity, logic, relation of facts to each other, relation of thoughts to external world, and so on…

        and these things can only be accepted with TRUST…
        now you can trust these things in themselves but that would be ludicrous
        or trust the only one who can uphold these things
        either way you are trusting….

        so you have not solved your problem only diverted it.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:
        If you have an authority based on trust, all you have is faith in men—UNLESS what men tell you can be backed up by what we find in the real world.

        now how can i back up the truth of this statement by finding it in the real world?

        or in other words this backing up is contingent on:
        uniformity, logic, relation of facts to each other, relation of thoughts to external world, and so on…

        and these things can only be accepted with TRUST…

        Yes, but re-read the comment you’re replying too. There’s more than one kind of trust. Trust that is based on material reality is trust that is based on the absolute truth. You can’t get any more absolute than reality itself, because anything that lies beyond reality is, by definition, false.

        The other kind of trust is trust based on the things men say to you, even though those things are not consistent with material reality. If all you have are the things that men say, or in other words, if there is nothing in the real world that corresponds to what men are telling you, and you put your trust in these sayings anyway, that’s the bad kind of trust. That’s why gullibility is considered a bad thing: because it’s putting your trust in things men say that are not actually true.

        now you can trust these things in themselves but that would be ludicrous
        or trust the only one who can uphold these things
        either way you are trusting….

        Judge for yourself whether it is “ludicrous” to put your trust in absolute truth rather than in the things men say apart from reality. But now, consider what it is you are asking me to do. You want me to just take your word for it that there is “only one who can uphold these things”—to put my faith in what murk says even though it cannot be found in the material reality that exists in and of itself, just as murk himself has put his faith in what other people have said, like the men who wrote the Bible and the men who assembled the Bible and the men who canonized the Bible and the men who preach the Bible.

        The choice is yours: whether to put your trust in the absolute truth of material reality, as I have, or whether to put your trust in what men say, even though it does not correspond to what we find in the real world. Either way, you’re trusting, but when you put your faith in the words of men, the name for that trust is “gullibility.” (And the name for the other kind of trust is “skepticism,” by the way.)

      • murk Says:

        “The choice is yours: whether to put your trust in the absolute truth of material reality, as I have, ”

        Sure if you first trust in things that are beyond sense verification
        then there’s that problem of anything can happen negating possibility of absolute truth

        or whether to put your trust in what men say, even though it does not correspond to what we find in the real world.

        like what you said above. Hey wait you’re a man

        “Either way, you’re trusting, but when you put your faith in the words of men, the name for that trust is “gullibility.” (And the name for the other kind of trust is “skepticism,” by the way.)”

        me on horns of a dilemma now….
        you are one of the men, giving me words….

        are you skeptical about validity of skepticism?
        (skepticism is fast track to destruction of knowledge)

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        Sure if you first trust in things that are beyond sense verification
        then there’s that problem of anything can happen negating possibility of absolute truth

        Sorry, but you are mistaken again. Material reality is, and must be, consistent with itself. If it were not, then reality itself could not exist in any meaningful way, and we could not know anything. We do, however, know things. Each of us can truthfully say, for instance, “I know I exist.” That means that it is not true that we cannot know anything, which requires, at its most fundamental level, that material reality be consistent with itself.

        or whether to put your trust in what men say, even though it does not correspond to what we find in the real world.

        like what you said above. Hey wait you’re a man

        Go back and re-read what you quoted, you’ve missed a rather important point. The choices are between requiring that men verify what they claim against the absolute truth of objective reality, versus blindly trusting in men whose claims do not correspond to what we find in the real world. You are asking me to just take your word for it (or some other man’s word for it) that there’s an invisible person making everything happen. I neither see this in the real world nor find any coherence consistency in what you are trying to claim, so why should I take your word for it? And you don’t need to take my word for it, because I’m pointing you to all the things in the real world that you can verify for yourself. If you honestly want absolute truth, that’s the secret: you take what men say, and compare it to the real world before you decide whether or not to trust it.

        me on horns of a dilemma now….
        you are one of the men, giving me words….

        As are you, but I am ALSO providing you with real-world evidence by which you can verify what I’m telling you—if you’re willing. But you have to repent of having put your trust in the words of men, which means admitting that you were wrong to have done so in the first place, in the absence of any real-world verification of their claims.

        are you skeptical about validity of skepticism?
        (skepticism is fast track to destruction of knowledge)

        Well of course I’m skeptical about the validity of skepticism. Skepticism is the practice of requiring that claims be supported by real-world evidence before we put our trust in them. And yes, there’s plenty of evidence that skepticism is far better than the other alternative, which is gullibility. Does anyone want to be gullible? Are people proud to call themselves gullible? No, of course not. The failure to check out what people tell you, the willingness to believe whatever they say despite the evidence against it, leads to errors and ignorance and wrong actions and loss. Skepticism holds men up to a higher standard, by testing their claims against the absolute truth of material reality, and trusting only those claims that pass the test.

        Honestly, if you think that testing the claims of men is “fast track to destruction of knowledge,” it’s no wonder you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

  40. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    “all people directly apprehend the concept of trust
    it is not dependent on language”

    You’re going to have to expand on that. You “directly” apprehend the concept how? With sense perception? What exactly is the object being apprehended that conveys this concept; a written text, a voice in your head, a neon sign, a shiny rock, if apparently you don’t need language? Does reason play any role in your apprehending, or do you just perceive something and then…blank out? Help me out here.

    • murk Says:

      it would be really helpful if you stated your ultimate authority.
      i’ve given mine, we would then have clarity on our opposing worldviews…..

      Do you have sense perception that knowledge is dependent upon sense perception?

      How do you know what you know?

      Is it possible that you are in a brain vat and your “reality” including dialogue with me is virtual?

      How do you know your reason is reasonable without directly apprehending and assuming the uniformity of the universe and your reason etc. a priori?

      is it possible to have a language without first having a language?
      (think computers – alphabet, ascII, hexidecimal, binary, DOS, operating system etc. meta information supports information)

      is it possible to have sense perception of the laws of logic?

      the Bible reveals that knowledge is revelatory in nature
      There is purpose and meaning to the universe therefore knowledge is possible
      If there is no God directing everything according to His plan then everything is undirected and ultimately mysterious (law of contradiction)
      So knowledge would be impossible

      Yet even this is a knowledge claim

      Can you argue for the existence of the laws of logic while you put the laws of logic aside?

      If one holds that reason is ultimate they first have to “know” via direct apprehension the entire nature of the universe in which we reason.

      this shows that the intellect is ethical

      Read Romans chapters 1 – 2 sometime, it discloses foundations for why people know that they know

      Piecemeal attempts are impossible – our theory of knowledge, reality and ethics are interrelated and inseparable

      please disclose your ultimate authority in the interest of fruitful dialogue

      and if you have the courage why you trust your ability to reason as well

      and if moral absolutes exist

      i keep revealing truth but you filter it through your worldview which you deny you have and is also unwittingly determined by an underlying worldview which is based on the ethical view that you are ok and therefore have an axe to grind with God

      He’s not on trial my friend – you are
      State your position or this is going to run into a dead end

      • Nick Gotts Says:

        There is no ultimate authority. All my beliefs are subject to revision. All my assumptions are provisional.

        the Bible reveals that knowledge is revelatory in nature

        I’d call this kind of circularity childish, but that would be to insult children.

        State your position or this is going to run into a dead end

        Admittedly, you won’t run into a dead dead, because you’re just running round in circles and pretending you’re getting somewhere.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        There is no ultimate authority. All my beliefs are subject to revision. All my assumptions are provisional.

        I think there is an ultimate authority, though you may not be thinking of it in those terms. Reality itself is the ultimate authority. Assumptions are provisional in that they are subject to being corrected upon discovery of new facts. In other words, I accept certain conclusions on the basis of the evidence I have seen thus far, but those conclusions could be modified or overturned by new evidence, which I would accept as a higher authority than my current conclusions because they represent material reality.

      • murk Says:

        “There is no ultimate authority. All my beliefs are subject to revision. All my assumptions are provisional.”

        by what standard do you “know” this?
        then you could be wrong about everything you know.
        this entails knowledge is impossible

      • Nick Gotts Says:

        If by “knowledge” you mean justifiable absolute certainty, then knowledge is indeed impossible. You pretend you have a source of justifiable absolute certainty, but this is a lie. I say a lie rather than simply an error because your dishonesty is exposed by your rhetorical technique: your use of a stereotyped script in which you simply repeat challenges to your opponents without attempting to justify your own reliance on the Bible as a source of justifiable absolute certainty, which is utterly absurd on its face, as the Bible is stuffed with contradictions.

        Now I predict that you will simply continue to follow your script, asking some such question as “How do you know they are contradictions?”. But that will simply demonstrate your dishonesty; we are agreed that if something contains contradictions, it cannot be true; an honest believer would attempt to show that there are no such contradictions in their supposed source of justifiable absolute certainty, but you know that you cannot do that. Hence you will revert to your script.

        If you want to show that my accusation is false, you could start by tackling a simple question: why is the line of descent from Adam to Lamech given differently – with a different number of intervening generations, not just different names – in Genesis 4:17-22, and in Genesis 5:1-25? Similarly, why is the genealogy from Abraham to Joseph, husband of Jesus’s mother Mary, given differently – again with a different number of generations – in Matthew 1 and Luke 3?

        Or you could try to reconcile the varying accounts of who saw Jesus when after the resurrection. Was it Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (Matthew 28), Mary Magdalene alone (Mark 16, John 20), Cleopas and someone else (Luke 24), or Cephas (1 Corinthians 15)?

        Or you could try to justify your claim that God does not lie, considering the following texts:

        1 Kings 22:23
        Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

        2 Chronicles 18:22
        Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

        Jeremiah 4:10
        Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

        Jeremiah 20:7
        O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

        Ezekiel 14:9
        And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

        2 Thessalonians 2:11
        For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        the Bible reveals that knowledge is revelatory in nature

        Then the Bible is wrong. If knowledge is revelatory in nature, then God Himself cannot possess knowledge unless someone greater reveals it to Him. That means it is not possible for Him to be omniscient, and thus cannot know how to create anything, much less how to create anything capable of revealing knowledge to Him.

        The only way out of this dilemma is to say that either knowledge is self-revealing, which means knowledge exists apart from God and therefore does not require God, or else to say that the recipient of knowledge can discover knowledge themselves, in which case once again God is not required.

      • Nick Gotts Says:

        Or you could try to reconcile the varying accounts of who saw Jesus when after the resurrection.

        This should read:

        Or you could try to reconcile the varying accounts of who saw Jesus first after the resurrection.

      • murk Says:

        “You pretend you have a source of justifiable absolute certainty, but this is a lie. ”

        sounds like an absolute to me….
        then again how can you be sure about this
        i’m more than happy to discuss biblical exegesis with you
        but what’s the point if you are certain that certainty is elusive

        i agree with the Bible that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge

        you deny this and thus have destroyed all possibility of knowledge
        (to yourself)

        can’t be any more clear can it?

        He made it plain and every person can and must work for God
        either in profession or suppression,
        as you clearly demonstrate

        much better to profess, the kingdom of God is at hand my friend

      • murk Says:

        @ Nick
        “If by “knowledge” you mean justifiable absolute certainty, then knowledge is indeed impossible.”

        you are certain of this? :)

      • murk Says:

        “Assumptions are provisional”

        you are certain of this?

        ” in that they are subject to being corrected upon discovery of new facts. In other words, I accept certain conclusions on the basis of the evidence I have seen thus far, but those conclusions could be modified”

        so you have certainty of the certainty of metaphysical reality
        based on…..chance?

      • murk Says:

        the Bible reveals that knowledge is revelatory in nature

        “Then the Bible is wrong. If knowledge is revelatory in nature, then God Himself cannot possess knowledge unless someone greater reveals it to Him. ”

        unless of course you read the Bible and believe the distinction between creator and creature

        you reveal that you are ultimate here
        yet you cannot possibly know enough to know this
        carry on

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        unless of course you read the Bible and believe the distinction between creator and creature

        You are mistaken again. If all knowledge is revelatory in nature, that means that whatever is not revealed is not knowledge. Whether it’s the creator’s knowledge or whether it’s the creature’s knowledge, it can’t BE knowledge unless it was revealed to the creature/creator by a higher power. Anything that God possesses that was not revealed to Him by a higher power is, by nature, not knowledge. And since there is no higher power than God, God cannot know anything, including things like how to create or who you are or how to save you. That’s what it means for knowledge to be revelatory in nature. If you say both that knowledge is revelatory in nature, AND that God knows anything at all, you’re contradicting yourself, or else admitting that there is a higher power than God.

        you reveal that you are ultimate here

        Sorry, but you are once again mistaken, and I’m pretty sure it’s your religion that keeps leading you into error over and over again, because you’re not dumb. It’s reality that is ultimate here. Reality is consistent with itself, which means you don’t need to know everything in order to detect when fallible humans are saying things that contradict reality and that contradict each other.

        yet you cannot possibly know enough to know this

        Sure I can, it’s not difficult. Even by your own assumptions, it would be possible that God had revealed it to me, so you are mistaken when you claim that I could not possibly know it. By claiming that even God could not reveal it to me, you’re denying your own claim of the revelatory nature of all knowledge. But in fact no divine revelation is even necessary, as I’ve already explained repeatedly. It is hard for you to kick against the goads, murk. You should repent of your superstitions and your faith in the words of men, and humble yourself, and embrace the truth. Reality is the absolute truth, and the Bible isn’t. In any conflict between the Bible and reality, it’s not reality that is mistaken.

      • Nick Gotts Says:

        Exactly as I predicted, you stick to your script, thus demonstrating your dishonesty. You make no attempt to justify your claim that the Bible is a reliable source of knowledge, nor to contest the example contradictions I provided, because you cannot do so. I do not have to have justifiable absolutely certainty of something in order for it to be reasonable for me to assert it; people do this all the time, in relation to everyday facts and events; it is a normal use of natural language. But in fact, my position need not be stated as a claim of fact at all, but can simply be put forward as a methodological principle I intend to follow: to place nothing I believe beyond the possibility of revision. This applies to my claim that the Bible contains contradictions, and thus cannot be a reliable source of knowledge; so if you really had any wish to convince me of this, and thought you could do so, you would. But you won’t; because you are a liar, well aware that you cannot do so, and incapable of even pretending to argue rationally. You will, as before, stick to your script.

      • murk Says:

        knowledge is only possible via revelation (which He does do – to all people – and not sparingly as you guys can’t help but reveal)

        as i’ve said – no purpose, no overlying plan – no knowledge
        because then uniformity, logic, reality of external world, induction, etc. could not be. and anything claimed as knowledge is an illusion because the universe would be ultimately mysterious… out of necessity because here it is and it wasn’t always.

        You hold to purposelessness yet write a book and post with the intent of refuting me – are refutation and purpose separable?

        Do people who hold to no purpose kiss their spouses as if they could share love?

        in your pride you refuse to admit that the Creator is not as the creature – you measure Him as you do people

        Using His measuring sticks to do this measuring yet

        Ah one day you will see clearly what you already know and attempt to suppress

        what is the precondition for the laws that are the precondition for our reasoning?

        how do you know the future will be like the past?

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        knowledge is only possible via revelation (which He does do – to all people – and not sparingly as you guys can’t help but reveal)

        Then God cannot possibly know anything, as there is no one greater to reveal it to Him. That means He cannot know how to create us, nor can He know how to reveal anything to us, nor can He know anything worth revealing. What you are telling us is that God cannot possibly be God.

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        as i’ve said – no purpose, no overlying plan – no knowledge
        because then uniformity, logic, reality of external world, induction, etc. could not be. and anything claimed as knowledge is an illusion because the universe would be ultimately mysterious… out of necessity because here it is and it wasn’t always.

        You’re echoing Pastor Feinstein’s confusion over the difference between order and intention. That’s superstition at work. Superstition, and specifically animistic superstition, wants to explain everything as being the result of some invisible magical person doing things on purpose. When we look at the real world, however, we see lots of order that has nothing to do with anyone’s purpose. Order owes nothing to purpose, and can exist with or without it, as we routinely observe in real life.

        Besides, logic and reason cannot be things that God just decides to invent, because if logic and reason were invented qualities, then that would mean they were not part of God’s nature, which would mean God could not be a logical, rational, reasonable person. And if He were an insane, chaotic Creator, then His creation would also be chaotic and irrational, because how could it be otherwise?

        You want to be superstitious and give God credit for everything, but superstition gets things exactly backwards. The reason why the universe is ordered and logical and reasonable is precisely because God does not intentionally create logic and reason. If they were created things, they would not be logical or reasonable, and thus your superstition contradicts itself.

  41. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    I have been giving substantive answers to your questions for almost two months now, and in exchange you have mostly been ignoring my answers, repeating yourself or giving only the most terse, uninformative replies. I am not answering any more of your questions until you explain to me how you came up with the concept of trust.

    • murk Says:

      thought this might happen

      since for you all facts are obtained the same way,
      except for the fact that existence exists etc.

      all the best in your quest for truth in your view of an indeterminate universe

      i hope one day you give up the futility of your thinking
      (hint there is only one way)

      take care

      murk

  42. Skeptic Griggsy Says:

    murk, your substance lacks substance as others here vainly try to show you. Inanities are no argument sfor God! Refute my points instead of making inanities about them.
    Science finds no directed outcomes, and you beg the question of those outcomes! You’re actually in league with William Lane Craig, only he’s more advanced in inanities.

    • murk Says:

      “Science finds no directed outcomes,”

      i understand you admitted that you cannot know this, however i will pretend that your claim is certain and valid.

      at the same time science relies on the universal constants of:
      uniformity, induction, future will be like the past, causation

      can anyone scientifically verify validity of the above?

      metaphysical commitments are undeniable
      to deny them is to invoke them

    • murk Says:

      Griggsy

      refuting requires absolutes something you deny
      get it?

  43. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    You thought what would happen? That you’d be asked to explain an issue that you brought up with more than just one-liners and platitudes?

    You said that you “directly apprehend” the concept of trust. I didn’t make you say that. If you’ve now backed yourself into a corner, that’s no ones fault but yours. Have some integrity and just own up to the fact that you don’t know how to explain yourself any further, if indeed you can’t. Other presuppositionalists have admitted as much; John Frame, for instance admits that “we know without knowing how we know”, in reference to theistic presuppositions.

    If you want to maintain that the idea of trust just shows up in your brain somehow, with no process that you can identify for us, then muster your courage and just admit to it.

    And oh yeah, by the way? I didn’t say that all facts are obtained the same way, nor that the universe is “indeterminate”, “in my view”. That’s your putting words in my mouth, AGAIN. Honesty is poison to your worldview, which is a desperate attempt to rationalize lies by undermining knowledge. The sooner you realize that, the better.

    • murk Says:

      you have no choice but indeterminate apart form the creator
      or break contradiction (this is from an old post)

      i did answer the trust question from two different angles
      you must trust as well as i’ve pointed out
      you have to trust just to ask me where trust comes from

      thanks for stating your position,
      and accusing me of misinterpreting your position
      although i cannot be wrong unless i break contradiction

  44. J. Simonov Says:

    Also, just in case you’re thinking of leaving with the impression that you represented yourself well, let’s just recap the ways in which you shot your own proverbial feet off, shall we?

    You admitted that “all knowledge is underpinned by rationality”. This would, by definition, include your knowledge of God. But you’ve also been insisting all along that human rationality CAN’T BE TRUSTED by itself; only once we have knowledge of God can we provide a basis for trust. You’re starting with the premise that reason isn’t trustworthy, and then trying to reason to a solution in which it is. Meaning your solution can’t be trustworthy. Whoopsie-do! You’ve destroyed your own belief system with that one.

    Later, you claimed that God does not lie (according to the Bible). This was followed up by Owlmirror proving that God does indeed lie (also according to the Bible). Fatal contradiction buddy! LOLOLOL. Looks your imaginary God can’t exist. I’m so terribly sorry.

    And speaking of which, you proved your imaginary God can’t exist pretty much all on your own, when you admitted that He can’t make a rock so big that He cannot lift it. There goes omnipotence. Goodbye, omnipotent God. Turns out you were never real.

    To really put a cap in it all, we have your insistence that “interpretation precedes existence” and that your worldview’s job is to “filter” evidence through “a bunch of presuppositions”. This is an open admission that your imagination dictates reality, as far as you’re concerned. This a position that negates itself, as it denies the metaphysical primacy of existence while necessarily assuming its truth. You just can’t get away from stealing from reality-based secular philosophy, without realizing that reality poisons your entire worldview from the ground up. Big whoopsie-do, there!

    Anyway, if this is really your exit, then do take care, yourself.

    • murk Says:

      rationality: cannot exist in a Godless universe (read prior posts)
      we are made in His image, He is rational, we are to be
      without God the irrational supports the rational – no amount of wiggling can get around this (nothing became something, non-life – life, irrational – rational)

      God does not lie – proving He does presupposes He doesn’t
      but He will have to make you alive for you to get this

      re: Rock – you flubbed this one. your question was complex or loaded which you did not realize
      God is omnipotent – thus a rock He cannot lift cannot exist
      nonsense is nonsense and this can only be accounted for
      if we begin with the source of rationality
      again you assume Him to deny Him

      you obviously have not read my posts that refute primacy of existence
      in one sense i agree with you – the existence of the uncreated creator is primary
      but you refuse to acknowledge the creator / creature distinction

      nice dodge on my questions

  45. Skeptic Griggsy Says:

    Putative God would only be a secondary actor, because to act He’d depend on the primary causes as Lamberth’s argument from inherency notes: chaos, order, necessity, regulatiy and the descrioptons -laws- ofNature inhere in Nature. Thus, it is the underlying prime cause!
    This presuppose the Flew-Lamberth, to which it is a corollary,the presumption of naturalism that natural causes and explanations are efficient, necessary, primary and sufficient: they are the sufficient cause.
    Another corollary is Hume’s arguments against miracles. What that corollary and the presumption itself require is for theists to provide evidence, not misinterpretations of evidence, to make their claims. This might sandbag theists^ but does not beg the question against them as apologists argue against Hume.
    We use those natural causes without His involvement as some sort of explanation. Deacon, Lamberth’s the Malebranche Reductio notes that Nicholas Malebranche himself reduces to absurdity God as the explanation as his occasionalism contends that when we hit the ball, He does the actual hitting!
    The Aquinas-Shelley the superfluity argument boomerangs on Aquinas’ own five ways! As Percy Bysshe Shelley notes:” To suppose that some existence beyond, or above them [ the descriptions- of Nature, S.K.] is to invent a second and superfluous hypothesis to account for what already is accounted for.” To maintain, nevertheless, that that is a metaphysical category mistake, begs the question thereof.
    Lo, people murder others in the name of that superfluity!
    The Lamberth argument from pareidolia notes that theists see divine intent and design when reality only shows mechanism and patterns.
    His teleonomic argument, as previously noted, maintains that as science finds no divine intent and no directed outcomes, to add this superfluity just makes for theistic evolution’s being an oxymoronic obscurantism.
    His theism = reduced animism, as noted, maintains that theism is as animistic, and thus, superstitious as full animism or polytheism.
    Thus, when theists pray, their efforts are as useless as those who pray to spirits behind natural phenomena! Either way, no supernatural intent occurs, but superstition occurs!
    By the way, no rational and moral God would want people to worship Him! Why then do theists want people to worship a celestial tyrant? Allah and Yahweh are monster-tyrants!
    We have no ethical obligation to worship and as free beings, as Lamberth’s argument from autonomy insists, God is not our potter nor we his pottery, His ” things” to which He gives purpose.
    What a travesty to morality to claim otherwise!
    ” Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning to which neither God nor the future state can further validate.” Inquiring Lynn

    • murk Says:

      Long script – my response will attempt to be concise:

      “primary causes as Lamberth’s argument from inherency notes: chaos, order, necessity, regulatiy and the descrioptons -laws- ofNature inhere in Nature.”

      For concept of chaos to make sense it must rest on order
      Chaos is a disruption of order. If no order chaos is meaningless.
      Even if i grant you this absurdity – how in your worldview where sense perception is the avenue to knowledge – can you get from irrational to rational if chaos is foundational?
      before chaos there had to be order or nothing could be.
      No laws – no matter – no Griggsy
      Are the laws of nature / logic prescriptive or descriptive?
      How you get from chaos to necessity is beyond me
      Can anything happen?

      Re: naturalism sufficient: to know that naturalism is “true”
      if naturalism is true then you only affirm that nature has dictated that you hold this position. You have no reason to believe this is true. You are forced to say so. You also sacrifice freedom and dignity. So why are you posting?
      If naturalism is true you have no reason to believe naturalism is true. You betray yourself here.

      re: miracles: How do you know they cannot occur?
      can anything happen?

      “when reality only shows mechanism and patterns”
      ah – except for the behavior of people but wait they are part of the natural world, back to chaos are we?

  46. Nick Gotts Says:

    I wonder if murk (what an appropriate nym, BTW!), or any other presuppositionalist, can produce a single person who has ever been converted to Christianity by the presuppositionalist script. I am sure there are plenty of Christian apologists who have been persuaded to adopt it, as it has the advantages of requiring neither intelligence nor scholarship, and of giving the user the illusion of superiority – but it is hard to see how it could possibly convince any non-Christian.

    • murk Says:

      i don’t know – try reading Acts 17 where Paul reasoned this way with the Greek philosophers (last verse will answer your question)

      How about Jesus – He never obliged those claiming to look for evidence for existence of God or verification that He was God – because God is not on trial. He made it clear (i mean there He was on earth) He spoke clearly

      i could go on but this should suffice

      Furthermore the very act of asking for evidence presupposes a whole bunch of universals which can only come from God
      He is necessary starting point of reason

  47. J. Simonov Says:

    @murk

    Before I address any of your new statements, allow me to once again point out that you’ve completely undermined your own position, with nothing but your own arguments. We can’t legitimately reason without a basis for trust, but the only way to get that basis is with reason, according to you. WHOOOOOOOPS.

    You know what, why should I take anything you have to say seriously with a self-refuting worldview like that? It boggles me that I even bother to address you at this point. But hey, maybe you have some shame and will stop using some of your lame arguments if you’re embarrassed in public enough.

    “you have no choice but indeterminate apart form the creator
    or break contradiction (this is from an old post)”

    So you have asserted, repeatedly. But once again, I am not going to take this purely on your say-so. Why should I believe this to be the case? You haven’t answered that question.

    “i did answer the trust question from two different angles
    you must trust as well as i’ve pointed out
    you have to trust just to ask me where trust comes from”

    How. Did. You. Form. The. Concept. Of. Trust.

    How?

    “thanks for stating your position,
    and accusing me of misinterpreting your position”

    I have explained, over and over again, that my position is one in which existence is intrinsically orderly. So yes, you did mis-state my position, deliberately.

    “rationality: cannot exist in a Godless universe (read prior posts)”

    I have, but you have never furnished us with a reason to believe this. You just keep repeating it. Your wishes and assertions don’t remodel reality.

    “without God the irrational supports the rational – no amount of wiggling can get around this (nothing became something, non-life – life, irrational – rational)”

    I have explained to you why I do not hold to the belief that nothing became something. As for non-life becoming life, what is the problem supposed to be? You have not explained why that is irrational.

    “God does not lie – proving He does presupposes He doesn’t”

    Your Holy Bible clearly states that God lies. Are you repudiating the Bible?

    “re: Rock – you flubbed this one. your question was complex or loaded which you did not realize”

    It was YOUR QUESTION. I realize that the question relies on the hidden assumption that omnipotence is logically coherent, unfortunately for you it is not. It’s not my fault you don’t know very much about your own beliefs.

    “God is omnipotent – thus a rock He cannot lift cannot exist”

    Well, yeah. That means you have revealed a thing that God cannot do, namely create the aforementioned rock. You have put limits on what God can do. That sinks the concept of “omnipotence”. No omnipotent God, and we can see this thanks to you.

    “again you assume Him to deny Him”

    You wish. Sadly, your wishes do not remodel reality.

    “you obviously have not read my posts that refute primacy of existence”

    I have read all of your posts. You have not refuted the primacy of existence, because you cannot. The only alternative is that wishing makes it so, a notion that relies on the primacy of existence even as it denies it.

    “in one sense i agree with you – the existence of the uncreated creator is primary”

    HAHAHA, see? You can’t get away from the primacy of existence, no matter how hard you wish.

    “but you refuse to acknowledge the creator / creature distinction”

    Give me a reason to treat the idea seriously, and perhaps I will. So far you’ve just been stamping your feet and insisting BECAUSE! BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE!

    “nice dodge on my questions”

    How. Did. You. Form. The. Concept. Of. Trust.

    How?

    How?

    How?

  48. murk Says:

    How do you account for the order of the universe without directly apprehending it?

    How do you account for the crashing of atoms in your head somehow correlate to the big chance universe out there?

    How do you account for order of existence?

    To hold that existence is primary necessitates first knowing the certainty of knowing this. Yet no man can know everything based on your starting point. How do you account for this trust?

    Furthermore one cannot know the primacy of existence without first knowing the entire metaphysical scheme of the universe.

    What then of primacy of existence?

    You directly apprehend many things which you cannot account for any other way. You trust that these things are valid.

    Go ahead tell me how you know the future will be like the past
    (without direct apprehension and thus trust)

    You must trust as well – so why don’t you accept my answer re: concept of trust? what is yours?

    We are given understanding because we are made in His image.
    He is rational we are rational
    He also tells us not to lean on our own understanding
    which requires a portion of understanding to understand

  49. murk Says:

    We can’t legitimately reason without a basis for trust, but the only way to get that basis is with reason, according to you. WHOOOOOOOPS.

    No we are dependent on God’s action and revelation
    some of which he reveals directly
    some require looking into
    reason is a tool – a tool is important but not ultimate

    He is orderly and holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7)

    Yes i must trust that my senses are valid to read the Bible and understand
    from it the nature of reality including the reality of the physical world
    which is orderly thus verifying validity of my senses

    It all hinges on Him
    So does your worldview – you just deny it – and end up in stupid land

    But you won’t answer my questions

  50. J. Simonov Says:

    You seem to have conveniently forgotten that you admitted that ALL knowledge is underpinned by rationality, buddy. That means you can’t have knowledge of God by your own arguments. Your worldview is defunct.

    “You must trust as well – so why don’t you accept my answer re: concept of trust? what is yours?”

    Because you haven’t given an answer to the question “how did you form the concept of trust?”

    So,

    How did you form the concept of trust?

    “But you won’t answer my questions”

    I have answered boatloads of your questions, with no apparent sign that you will interact with the answers. So, no more. Not until you explain how you came up with the idea of trust.

    • murk Says:

      you leave out some critical details:

      We are rational because we are made in His image
      rationality presupposes universal immaterial, invariant laws of logic,
      uniformity, correspondence of our thinking activity and external world, etc. etc.

      How can you get there without God? Hint you can’t

      He is a relationship – relationship requires trust
      We are made for relationship with Him – requiring trust
      It is part of what makes us what we are – it is inseparable
      He has revealed the need for trust to us from conception
      and all through our growing years – we had to trust our parent(s)
      or people acting like our parent(s) since we were to weak to do it ourselves.

      Now will you answer how you know the future will be like the past?
      (without invoking trust or directly apprehended revelation)

      or answer how you know within this worldview:
      “that my position is one in which existence is intrinsically orderly.”

      where this uniformity comes from where what you interpret what people observe is that change is a property of the universe?

      or how you can come up with your “position in which existence is intrinsically orderly” without first presupposing that the reasoning which you used to think this is orderly? (without invoking trust:)

      if we’re done (again) take care and i wish you the best on your endeavors in the search for truth.

    • Deacon Duncan Says:

      You seem to have conveniently forgotten that you admitted that ALL knowledge is underpinned by rationality, buddy. That means you can’t have knowledge of God by your own arguments. Your worldview is defunct.

      And worse yet, God can’t have any knowledge, nor can He be rational or logical, because the existence of any logical person, divine or not, is preconditioned on the independent existence of fundamental laws like the law of identity and the laws of logic and reason. Poor murk keeps disproving his own God, over and over again, in his attempts to undermine atheism. And when anyone points this out, he responds with even more evidence against his own God, as though this were somehow a huge handicap for atheists.

      He’s been crossing the line into trollery again and again, but I just can’t shut him down. He’s a gold mine.

      • murk Says:

        we are under the laws – they are preconditions for ineligibility
        but what are the preconditions for the laws?

        and how can you know this without first assuming this?

        Simonov’s accusations of circular reasoning could be applied to you as well, and himself for that matter

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        we are under the laws – they are preconditions for ineligibility
        but what are the preconditions for the laws?

        I presume you meant “preconditions for intelligibility” right? The way you are asking your question suggests that you have some misconceptions behind your thinking. You’re asking what the preconditions are for the necessary being, which assumes—wrongly—that the necessary being has preconditions. The necessary conditions, which must necessarily be true in order for anything else to be true and/or to exist, are the conditions of material reality itself. They do not exist as a consequence of any prior preconditions, but rather they exist in and of themselves simply because it is not possible for them not to exist (or at least, they can’t fail to exist and still have anything else that does truly exist).

        If you’ve been reading my series on Pastor Feinstein’s presuppositions, you’ll find a much more detailed explanation there. I think, though, that you might understand my reasoning a bit better if you ask yourself what the preconditions are for the existence of any God? Based on your answers so far, it seems unlikely that you’ll get the correct answer to this question, but at least the answer you do get will have the same “circular reasoning” that you’d like to accuse me of. The difference is that I can show you how to get past the idea that God is the necessary being, by showing you all the attributes of God for which certain preconditions must obtain before He can possess them. You, however, cannot deny that God has preconditions without contradicting yourself. Still, it might be instructive for you to try.

      • murk Says:

        no i was simply asking how you account for the laws of logic

        they are necessary, and their non-existence is impossible
        (eg. if the law of contradiction can be broken then it can’t be)

        but this (or the laws themselves) do not serve as their foundation

        legal laws are written by and compiled by people

        but to do this one must presuppose a greater law
        (eg. if one deems the purpose of life the greatest good for the greatest number – they must presuppose the goodness of being good first.
        – they also must hold that some people suffering for their ultimate ideal (purpose) is good.
        now here is a problem….contradiction, arbitrary, what if we are that person….but we carry on

        or to grant a right (freedom right) entails a responsibility right on the part of others (eg. freedom to own property = obligation of others not to enter/alter that property)

        Now for you to say the laws of logic need no backing, cannot be stated without using these same laws beforehand….

        and i am circular?

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        no i was simply asking how you account for the laws of logic

        Which is very strange, considering how many times I’ve explained how such laws are necessarily aspects of the necessary preconditions required for anything else, including any Gods, to exist as real, logical, reasonable things. Do you ask questions in order to find out the answers? Or have you some other goal in mind?

        they are necessary, and their non-existence is impossible
        (eg. if the law of contradiction can be broken then it can’t be)

        So if God’s existence were necessary, and His non-existence were impossible, that’s the same as saying that if the law of contradiction can be broken then it cannot be. Am I following your argument correctly?

        but this (or the laws themselves) do not serve as their foundation

        That’s true in the sense that when you arrive at the genuinely-necessary preconditions for all contingent beings, then you will have arrived at a set of preconditions which have no other foundations than themselves. That’s what it means to be literally necessary in this context.

        legal laws are written by and compiled by people

        but to do this one must presuppose a greater law
        (eg. if one deems the purpose of life the greatest good for the greatest number – they must presuppose the goodness of being good first.

        We’ve covered this before, too. The greater laws are what we find in material reality itself. Remember, all moral laws require the physical dimension of time. It takes time to do good or to do evil; in the absence of time, nothing can change, because change is a difference between conditions as they exist at one point in time and conditions as they exist at a later point in time. So without time, nothing can change, which means you cannot commit any actions, good or bad. And this is just one of many ways that morality springs from material reality.

        Now for you to say the laws of logic need no backing, cannot be stated without using these same laws beforehand….

        and i am circular?

        No, you’re just confused. The laws of logic are their own foundation. That’s what “necessary” means. When you try to find out what the “necessary” preconditions are, on which all other things are contingent, you are by definition looking for a set of conditions which depend only on themselves. It would be silly to reject the self-consistency of logic on the grounds that it turns out to be exactly what you were looking for and exactly what is required for everything else to truly exist, and therefore it must (somehow!?) be wrong. It might even be a sign you were rejecting the truth just because it’s true.

        You wouldn’t want to do that, would you?

  51. murk Says:

    Re: omnipotent

    He said the sun will not fail to rise, or the seasons (Gen 8)

    So is He powerless to do this?
    Or powerful in keeping His promise?

    Does a river without banks have any power?
    Or does it become a stinky swamp?

    re: Rock – you said there are only two alternatives
    it is logically necessary that the impossibility of a rock to big to lift existing if God exists.

    So your answer was nonsense or a nothing

    Doing able to do anything is quite different from able to do nothing
    (or non-sense)

    In the account of Micaiah

    The King of Israel knew what the truth was;
    as revealed by his two statements (1 Kings 22:8, 22;16)
    Since God is not sparing in revealing reality to all people

    He willfully believed a lie – desiring to be autonomous

    God does whatever He wants – no one can say to Him “what are you doing”

    He is also good

    Using people to do evil because His gifts and calling are irrevocable
    He foreordains His purposes within the freedom of choice He has given us (He gave the earth to man and we trashed the place and made destroyed knowledge because we hate Him – He determines reality
    and History – suppress this and all thinking is futile)

    We are evil and cannot help ourselves
    He solved the problem via Jesus death and resurrection
    His justice is satisfied through His own sacrifice – He is just and justifies
    (Romans 3:26)

    How do you account for justice in your worldview ?

    (such as in the torture and execution of His only Son)
    Or spirits (such as the account of Satan and God in the book of Job)
    Does not mean He lies

    We are also told not to be deceived – entailing He made this possible

    why is lying absolutely wrong in your worldview ?

  52. J. Simonov Says:

    I have answered many of the questions that you have re-issued in your last couple of comments. But like I say, I am not answering any more of your questions until you tell me how you formed the concept “trust”.

    Or you could admit that you just don’t know, which I think we can all tell is actually the case.

    By the way, if you want to take the position that God’s omnipotence is bound by logic, then you are subordinating God to logic. God doesn’t have the power to set aside or rearrange the laws of logic, and so can’t make a logically contradictory rock? Hmmm, how interesting. You just keep putting limits on what the omnipotent Almighty can do. Keep on spitting in God’s eye, buddy. You’re hilarious.

    • J. Simonov Says:

      Also, I see you don’t have a way out of your self-refuting rationality trap. It doesn’t matter where you insist it comes from, if you start from the position that we can’t legitimately use rationality without a basis for trust, and the only way to get that trust is WITH RATIONALITY, then you’re done. There’s nowhere for you to go. Knowledge is just impossible in your worldview.

  53. murk Says:

    When Jesus was in front of Pilate – Pilate asked Jesus
    “don’t you realize I have power either to free you or crucify you?”

    “Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…'”

    One had what he thought a correct view of reality
    But Pilate was wrong in this assumption

    and you have not answered:

    how you know the future will be like the past
    that your reason is reasonable

  54. J. Simonov Says:

    What you don’t seem understand, among many other things, is that this is an exchange, not an interrogation. I am not “on trial” here, no matter how many times you stamp your precious little feet and scream “yes you are BECAUSE JESUS!”. I will not endlessly answer new rounds of your questions while you duck, dodge, dip and dive away from my questions. If you want this to go on, you will answer how you formed the concept of trust. Period.

    And speaking of unanswered questions, the last time you asked me how I knew the future would be like the past, I asked YOU what connection, if any, there is between past and future. You went silent like a spooked deer. I think you must realize how stupid your question is, and that any proper answer would fatally undermine your cute little presuppo script.

    • murk Says:

      if the future is not like the past we cannot know anything
      you are making knowledge claims
      thus future must be like the past

      you claim that material reality is foundational
      yet to know this you must know everything
      you also must hold to the universal absolute invariant laws of logic,
      morality to know this
      yet these things had to be different for you to account for
      origin of you, stuff, intelligence

      nice dodge

      your first paragraph grants you what you will not allow me

      i’m outa here

      to much inconsistency going on
      you don’t want to know or learn

      take care

      murk

      • Deacon Duncan Says:

        you claim that material reality is foundational
        yet to know this you must know everything

        You claim there exist absolute laws of logic, yet by your arguments you deny that any such thing exists. Otherwise we would not need to know everything in order to observe that material reality—that which exists in and of itself, apart from any individual observer’s perception of it—is foundational.

        The alternative to material reality is subjective reality—that which depends on the perceptions of an individual observer for its existence and character. But how can any subjective reality exist unless there is an observer to perceive things? All subjective realities are contingent on the existence of a material reality within which an individual observer can exist to make his/her/its observations, out of which arise his/her/its subjective realities. You don’t need to know everything to see that this is necessarily true. Material reality is foundational. When you deny material reality, and try to base your logic on something else, you end up with an irrational God and an arbitrary, tyrannical “morality.”

        you also must hold to the universal absolute invariant laws of logic,
        morality to know this

        Just as you must deny them in order to claim that we cannot know these things. So in other words, atheists and skeptics are the ones upholding absolute logic and real morality, and believers are the ones opposing it with empty pseudo-philosophies.

        yet these things had to be different for you to account for
        origin of you, stuff, intelligence

        Now you’re really tying yourself into a knot. Why would the real world have to be irrational and chaotic in order to produce the laws of nature? That doesn’t even make sense.

  55. J. Simonov Says:

    “if the future is not like the past we cannot know anything
    you are making knowledge claims
    thus future must be like the past”

    If you would only consider what the connection between past and future is, then this would be a resolved issue. Instead you refuse.

    “you claim that material reality is foundational
    yet to know this you must know everything”

    Knowing particular claims is not the same as knowing everything. We’ve been over this. You’re just mindlessly repeating falsehoods. Who do you think you’re impressing with this behaviour?

    “you also must hold to the universal absolute invariant laws of logic,”

    Logic is not a problem for atheists, as I have explained to you at length.

    “morality to know this”

    You don’t need an account of morality to have a consistent metaphysics, or at least it’s not obvious that you do. Why would you?

    “yet these things had to be different for you to account for
    origin of you, stuff, intelligence”

    I have asked you previously what SPECIFICALLY had to be different, and you refused to answer. Again, your mindlessly repeating obvious falsehoods without interacting with relevant questions/answers is not impressing anyone.

    “your first paragraph grants you what you will not allow me”

    Murk, I have asked only that you answer ONE MEASLY QUESTION for upwards of a month now, and this after I have answered TONS of your questions. Rather than do that, you simply barrage me with loads of new questions, while ignoring or misrepresenting previous answers. You are the one being impolite, here.

    “you don’t want to know or learn”

    You’ve got some real chutzpah impugning anyone else`s desire to learn. Your whole overarching tactic is clearly to bury your opponents under an avalanche of questions, in the hope that they will eventually break down and say “Duh, I dunno. Must be Jesus!”. Even when we provide indisputable answers, you just ignore them, and then repeat your questions after enough time has passed that you hope everyone has forgotten.

    Well, we haven’t forgotten. You’ve got nothing, and we all know it. You sabotaged your entire worldview on this very thread, and it will be preserved for as long as this website persists.


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