Theists misusing philosophy


Friends, let us be honest, almost everyone who is religious, became so following either reading scripture[few actually do read], being taught by their parents or pastors and very few if any through reading the philosophical arguments for the existence of god. All the apologists almost to a man, starting from Anselm, Aquinas, Augustine to present day Alvin Platinga and Craig have been religious and have called on philosophy to make their irrational beliefs look rational. This, I call an abuse of philosophy. It detracts real philosophers from dealing with more serious issues such as how to create a humanist morality, questions of good life and death and so on for we have to spend time to show the problems with their arguments. Those sophisticated theologians and apologists, who think that by studying Aquinas or Anselm or Platinga, their beliefs transform once and for all to be rational, no, they are still irrational albeit with sophistication.

Having said that, I believe strongly, that it is to abuse philosophy to support a religion or theological position. Maybe am presumptuous, but please tell me, how can engaging in philosophy help in supporting the resurrection story or walking on water, or feeding the hungry or cursing a fig tree out of season. Or better still, how does philosophy aid one in supporting a claim that Mo, if he lived, went to heaven on a winged horse, or that Moses by the use of a rod split the Red Sea and that men and women walked on the floor of the sea! And while at it, was the sea bed dry or muddy? Am patient, am waiting for a philosophy that is going to rescue such beliefs from irrationality!

Some theist may come here and tell me that oh, this argument is proof for god! What nonsense! I am not going to stop anyone from engaging in speculative reason, what we must always remember, is, it is speculative. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been able during the ages to formulate sound and logical arguments that one has to accept the conclusion from the premises. Some of these formulations though logically follow each other, have false premises in their structure and are this invalid and this is the fate of all the arguments for god.

The next problem one encounters in engaging these sophisticated theologians and apologists, is a problem of definitions. The character god is never defined, you can’t tell what god, if any, the theist is defending. The theist then accuses the atheist of attacking a caricature of his god, a Strawman of a god, a god which is so flexible, one is never sure what it means. I think, then, it is only fair for the theist to be forthright to declare which particular god he wants to defend, whether it is the god of scripture or the god of philosophers, a god that doesn’t have to exist and if it does, exists only in the minds of those philosophising! I ask further that this god, has to be internally coherent and not open to contradictions within  its definition. While at it, please remember saying that a god exists doesn’t make it so, two that existence doesn’t tell us anything about the nature of the said thing.

In conclusion, I contend here, that the likes of Platinga, Craig and their followers perverse philosophy when they hide behind it claiming it supports their beliefs, which at the core, are based on scripture and are irrational to say the least and delusional at best.

                                                                                                                             

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

108 thoughts on “Theists misusing philosophy

    • makagutu says:

      There is no point in hiding behind philosophy, don’t you think?

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      • Arkenaten says:

        What else can they hide behind? 😉

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        • makagutu says:

          Scripture for example would be a good place to start for the god in scripture is both good and bad depending on what you want to defend

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          • Arkenaten says:

            There really is nowhere to hide in scripture, which is why the likes of Craig have to use a philosophical approach.
            And of course there is the presupposition that god exists, and they proceed from this.
            All biblical defenders and theists of all shades must demonstrate where they derive their idea of from and then demonstrate the veracity of this source; be it revelation or scripture.
            But they cannot, can they? Hence twits like Prayson and P&W and Deblis who will prattle on for an age and say nothing.

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          • makagutu says:

            Indeed! they can’t! I think we give them much leeway by engaging them in their fancy claims before they show from where they derive their idea of god and demonstrate that it is a reliable source for any rational being.

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  1. LEjames says:

    This is a good argument.

    My view is that, say an apologist actually convinces someone that religion is correct by using Greco-Roman argumentation, what happens then?

    “Okay, now that it’s settled, lets all turn our books to the story of the talking donkey…”

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  2. Mordanicus says:

    Theologians will turn to their standard tool: You do not understand the argument! Well if you make a nonsensical statement, of course we cannot understand you.

    Suppose I want to prove the existence of something called “W”. But I never define what W actually is, however, I repeat over and over again that W is a necessity for the existence of the universe. When confronted with the question why W is a necessity, I explain that W is what prevents the universe from collapsing.

    Now this argument is far from convincing.

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  3. john zande says:

    Nice one, my friend!

    I believe your continued pressing for thought on a Good Life and (more importantly) a Good Death is perhaps the most noble of all humanist pursuits. Until we humanists reclaim death from the theologians the supernatural hogwash will continue to pollute this world.

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  4. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Excellent perspectives, my Nairobi brother. Let’s remember that it just isn’t philosophy that these belief systems abuse. The theists twist and steal any idea imaginable and put it to their use, as long as it’s convenient for them to do so. They also abuse, as you pointed out earlier, women, same gender loving people, the Deaf, the blind and the uncircumsized. Here in the USA, they often triumph the separation of church and state (as long as everything goes to their liking). Once the opinion changes, they are quick to wed their beliefs and the government into one. Let me stop here, I think I’ve digressed too far from your post! Sorry, my friend! I’m feeling very feisty today! Much love! ,

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    • makagutu says:

      You never need apologise for digressing. You are a great friend of this blog 😛

      Of course, they abuse everything they can lay their hands on, even right to death. How insidious and how wrong can a system of belief be before it is finally abandoned by rational people?

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  5. You include me in your little list ( I got your pingback)? Your whole case depends on your question-begging assumption that theism is irrational. Anti-theists haven’t shown this. Also, regarding definitions of God that are supposedly missing, I’ve posted several times on that very topic.

    Anti-theists like you think that all you have to do to disprove God’s existence is find a few problem Bible passages. I agree, the Bible has problems at certain points. Ancient books are easy targets. But none of this is an argument against theism.

    You act like philosophy is some special form of reasoning that desperate theists are clinging to. No, philosophy is just plain ole’ reasoning. If you got a problem with it, then show us the flaw, fallacy, or bad argument. But don’t just complain that we are using logic to defend our beliefs. You do too (or at least try to).

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    • I must admit I sound a bit miffed. I was taken back by your post. I don’t want to spread the angry vibe — my apologies. I still think that my criticisms are legitimate, however. But my tone was not appropriate.

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      • makagutu says:

        No, I don’t find your criticisms legitimate. You are arguing emotionally so much such that you don’t respond to any of the claims I make but indulge in a verbal assault of why I and other anti-theists, whoever they are, are wrong.

        Apology accepted.

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    • makagutu says:

      Let us start from somewhere, shall we. You say philosophy is just plain old reasoning. Last I checked the simplest definition for philosophy is love of knowledge/wisdom. From wikipedia I got these definitions

      The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline.
      A set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning such study or an aspect of it.

      And knowledge has been defined elsewhere as justified true belief. I hope thus far we are in agreement.

      Now tell me, are you miffed because I mentioned you or what really is the problem? And did you respond to any of my claims? I will enumerate them here
      1. Religious people , are such and such, because of either lessons taught to them by their parents, pastors or teachers about deity
      2. Few religious people read their scriptures consistently and critically
      3. All religious apologists to a man, before they developed arguments for the existence of god, took the existence of god as given
      4. You can philosophize all day, but philosophy is not going to rescue you when you want to make a talking donkey, snake etc rational.

      Then you went further anti-theists like myself find a few problem verses in the bible, basically cherry pick to disprove god’s existence. This statement assumes it’s only the christian rather the Judaic god we lack a belief in, no no my friend, you miss the point by a million miles. Tell me, if you may, what idea of a god do you get from the bible? I will be patient, I promise.

      In your post, you said the premise in 1 is controversial and instead proposed a weaker premise that then you can rally as support for your god’s existence. So tell me, where am wrong. I said, writing that something exists doesn’t make it so and that the said existence does not give us information into the nature of the thing itself.

      Lastly, you said my whole post is question begging. Let us posit that theism is rational, please show me how. Am patient.

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      • Amyclae says:

        “Let us posit that theism is rational, please show me how.”

        Too easy, St. Anselm to the rescue;

        1. Our understanding of God is a being than which no greater can be conceived.
        2. The idea of God exists in the mind.
        3. A being which exists both in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only in the mind.
        4. If God only exists in the mind, then we can conceive of a greater being—that which exists in reality.
        We cannot be imagining something that is greater than God.
        Therefore, God exists.

        Or, Kurt Gödel

        Definition 1: x is God-like if and only if x has as essential properties those and only those properties which are positive
        Definition 2: A is an essence of x if and only if for every property B, x has B necessarily if and only if A entails B
        Definition 3: x necessarily exists if and only if every essence of x is necessarily exemplified

        Axiom 1: If a property is positive, then its negation is not positive
        Axiom 2: Any property entailed by—i.e., strictly implied by—a positive property is positive
        Axiom 3: The property of being God-like is positive
        Axiom 4: If a property is positive, then it is necessarily positive
        Axiom 5: Necessary existence is positive
        Axiom 6: For any property P, if P is positive, then being necessarily P is positive

        Theorem 1: If a property is positive, then it is consistent, i.e., possibly exemplified
        Corollary 1: The property of being God-like is consistent

        Theorem 2: If something is God-like, then the property of being God-like is an essence of that thing

        Theorem 3: Necessarily, the property of being God-like is exemplified

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        • all have premises that are assumptions that cannot be shown to be true. I do ask you to show me where you can show that anything a human mind can imagine exists. One of the problems with this is it would mean that *all* religion’s gods exist since we can imagine them and all religions claim that theirs is the “greatest”.

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          • Amyclae says:

            “all have premises that are assumptions that cannot be shown to be true.”

            So does the argument ‘arguments exist,’ ‘causal relations exist,’ and ‘rationality exists’ and yet, I am sure, you have no trouble accepting those? At some point, I doubt this comes as much surprise to you, assumptions are made.

            Secondly, he was asking for a defense of ‘theism.’ Your point of ‘all religions’ lands flat on its face. (1) Because the proof works neither for religions, such as Buddhism, where there is no penultimate entity nor for religions with a proliferation of them (Hinduism, Shintoism et al). (2) Because even though it allows for the existence of ‘all’ Abrahamic traditions the purpose of the question was, again, to provide a rational justification for theism. That is provides justification for a theism that is used by more than one ‘religion’ is immaterial and irrelevant.

            Try reading next time before you reply.

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          • I have read your post and I have shown its flaws. You have yet to show me how your claims of how Anselm’s nonsense work in the real world and do not depend on premises that are baseless.

            Why yes, arguments exist. That does not mean that they all work. Causal relations exist but this does not support your claim that everything that man can imagine is true. And rationality exists but that does not mean that your claims are rational. Where is the evidence that any supreme being exists at all? Oh yes, there is none. The cosmological argument fails since there is no evidence we need a beginning. The onotological argument fails since it assumes a perfect being (or in the case of Buddhism, Shinto, etc a perfect state) must exist because we can imagine it. No evidence of such a being existing and certainly no evidence of a defined being existing or some ideal state existing in the case of some forms of Buddhism. It all depends on assumptions that the theist insists are “true” and for which they have no evidence.

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          • Amyclae says:

            This is why philosophy, contrary to popular claims, is not for everyone.

            I do not ask you whether arguments exist, or causal relations exist or rationality exists–I asked you what *your* arguments were for them without the presence of assumptions.

            To put it another way, prove to me that arguments exists. Your answer: “Arguments exist because of [argument #101].” Of course, I hope, there is no reason to go on any farther: you cannot prove something using the same something. No one can say, rationally, ‘The Bible is true because the Bible.’ Equally, no one can say ‘rationality exists because rationally… [Argument #102].” Circular reasoning is circular.

            Causal relations, well, look no further than Hume.

            The point being, this flew over your head because you’re simply ignorant. That’s not an insult, by the way, it is just the way it is. These arguments are part and parcel of some precocious high school students’ education, and the type of stuff regurgitated to the point of nausea in introductory philosophy classes across the globe. The reason you do not believe I was pointing something crucial out is related, directly, to my own shortsightedness in believing that we are playing with the same, equal knowledge base. It’s evident that we are not.

            To disabuse you of your precious notions, the world all around us is predicated on assumptions–very few have demonstrable ‘evidence.’ The lack of evidence, simply put, is not enough to disprove a claim. ‘An argument from silence,’ as it were, only works in very narrow circumstances.

            “The cosmological argument fails since there is no evidence we need a beginning.”

            False, nothing comes from nothing.

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          • makagutu says:

            Let us start with your last statement. You write nothing comes from nothing. That is a principle of sufficient reason, that comes from the idea that every effect must have a cause. If this is the case, then, it is pure special pleading to suggest that your god is uncaused. Secondly, if as theists tell us that god is pure spirit, immaterial and immutable, I would want to be told how such a being manages to create that which is material.

            I don’t follow the rest of your argument, if we can call it so.

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          • Amyclae says:

            “it is pure special pleading to suggest that your god is uncaused”

            How is it ‘special?’ Do you also declare, boldly and inaccurately, that saying 2+2=4 is a bit of special pleading for why logic is uncaused? The universe and all its laws in its entirety? ‘Special pleading’ is simply an arbitrary distinction used by those, like yourself, who have backed themselves into a logical corner and now must appeal to base emotions to get yourself out of such an embarrassing spot.

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          • Amyclae, for all of your claims about how great your education is, it is curious that you are evidently ignorant of logical fallacies. Special pleading is when a person wants to declare that their pet case doesn’t have to follow the rules that they have claimed apply to “everything”. You can find out what special pleading is here: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/special-pleading.html and it’s also a great resource for other types of logical fallacies, fallacies that theists constantly use. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ Special pleading is not an “arbitrary distinction” at all; we know it is a logical fallacy. You seem to need to misrepresent it in your desperation to discount it. No one is appealing to base emotions, amyclae. If you really think they are, show where this is.

            No one is claiming that math is “special pleading” nor is anyone claiming that the universe and its laws are subject to special pleading. Nice attempt at a strawman argument (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html) there, but it fails as usual. The laws of the universe have been shown to be supported with evidence, by observation. Again, it seems that you are a theist who knows a little logic because that is all that is left to support their beliefs, but has intentionally or unintentionally missed the part where the validity of logical arguments depend on the validity of their premises.

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          • so, amyclae, I am to believe that your “equal knowledge base” is better than mine? I see no evidence of it, but it seems that you are doing your best to be as obliquely insulting as possible. I guess that might be all you have as a rejoinder.

            No, amyclae, the world around us is not “predicated on assumptions”. There is plenty of evidence of just about everything *except* the gods that people like you claim exist. A lack of evidence for an imaginary being is enough to disprove a claim especially when accompanied with evidence that precludes such an imaginary being as described by the various religions. It is easy to disprove a god that has attributes and that is my opinion of why the gods of all religions have become more and more vague as time has progressed.

            We know physical laws and they are not built on “assumptions” but on observations and we have reason to trust observations. This is not some Dr. Seussian universe where anything can happen. Your claims of the world around us being only predicated on assumptions is just one more attempt by a theist to use the tired ol’ “we don’t know everything so we don’t know anything” nonsense to allow their god to exist. Poor gods, they certainly have gone from being Omni-everything to living under rocks.

            An argument from silence can indeed be limited Now let me ask, please do tell me why you don’t believe in some religion’s gods but believe in your own? Amyclae, are you using that pesky “argument from silence” yourself?

            You claim that “nothing comes from nothing”. That shows your ignorance of current research and the usual theist clinging to science as long as it supports their particular mythos. I will guess that you will follow up with the usual Christian special pleading that wants to claim that their god has “always” existed, again with no evidence. The universe may be cyclical, it may always exist in some form. There may be something outside of this universe. We just don’t know *yet*.

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          • Amyclae says:

            Another plump, perfect and appetizing apologist for the death and dearth of philosophy–let the stew begin!

            To be upfront, you can believe anything you want. As you’ve already made clear, you will believe anything. Have I shown you my Nigerian friend? He needs help getting to America.

            And while I admire your honesty, your feelings truly are important to the conversation, it seems the slightest provocation sends you into bemusing, amusing and losing conclusions. I hardly need to do anything. If pointing out a discrepancy between our scholarly pursuits is perceived as a ‘rejoinder,’ who am I to correct you?

            I am sure there are some perplexed readers out there who find it not at all surprising that among all the bloggers in the world two come together where one has read less on the subject than the other. Where one has written less on the subject. Such is life and bemoaning your fate changes little.

            “There is plenty of evidence of just about everything *except* the gods that people like you claim exist.”

            Oh! There is evidence of reason? There is evidence of love, of emotion and imagination? There is evidence of judgment? My dear boy, tell the world! I’ll make sure to message Kant, or at least tap on his tombstone. Better yet, once you publish the findings of how you quantified reason and love (not to mention ‘thoughts’ themselves) grant me the small, small favor of putting my name in your acknowledgments. Even poor, benighted and ignorant theists like myself need some appreciation every now and again.

            “We know physical laws and they are not built on “assumptions” but on observations and we have reason to trust observations. This is not some Dr. Seussian universe where anything can happen.”

            And yet the universe did happen. A curious incident, no?

            And you bring up, again, this ‘reason.’ Prove to me your reason exists. Show me your evidence.

            Actually, let’s just jump straight to the part where you sputter incoherently and inchoately. “Reason exists because of reason.”

            Sometimes the argument looks a little different, but ultimately the only way you can identify reason is by using reason. Well, my dear boy, the problem is that you cannot prove something tautologically. It rings, as they say, falsely.

            “Your claims of the world around us being only predicated on assumptions is just one more attempt by a theist to use the tired ol’ “we don’t know everything so we don’t know anything””

            I am afraid that your futile efforts to break free of this cage, your own construction, wears even on the hardiest and dullest of minds, which is to say: you. I say it is definitely possible to know everything but, I’m afraid, that requires certain logical assumptions. Narrow assumptions and ones that, I believe, are justifiable. Yet to say, ultimately, no assumptions are possible anywhere is a certain type of philosophy that precludes absolute knowledge of every- any- thing.

            I hope you do not find this too insulting, I feel as if I have my tone has been (rightfully) disciplinarian, but the sad thing about your argument is that you, ostensibly, throw at me–as an insult–the very philosophic conclusion you are unwittingly supporting. How sad.

            As for gods living under rocks, well, I certainly can’t speak to it. But I have a sinking suspicion that you are altogether too familiar with such a life.

            “Now let me ask, please do tell me why you don’t believe in some religion’s gods but believe in your own?”

            This seems like an appropriately frothy and unserious question. I expected as much. Perhaps you would do well to sharpen it. For instance, why do you include the modifier ‘some?’ Did I state, somewhere, that I was a polytheist? And when you mention ‘some religion’s gods’ do you mean religions’ or religion’s?

            “That shows your ignorance of current research and the usual theist clinging to science as long as it supports their particular mythos.”

            I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark here and summarize that you are referring to the Copenhagen ‘school’ of quantum mechanics? ‘There is no particle and suddenly, we find, there are is a particle?’

            If it is, don’t worry yourself. Yes you are that predictable and yes you’re wrong. There’s no reason to beat yourself up over it. The error you’ve made is by conflating two, discrete categories: operational and ontological. Since every novice learns best by researching themselves, I leave it up to you to worry at what–exactly–the academic community deduces from that distinction.

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          • more strawmen arguments. ah, where is anyone claiming the death of philosophy? Hmmm? And you certainly have done little, amyclae. Rather than answer questions asking where you have found problems with our posts, you waver your hands and make vague claims giving no specifics, the usual response from someone who has no actual answers and is trying to avoid having to provide examples since they have none. Where are these “losing conclusions”, amyclae? Surely you can show one of them if you are so sure that they exist, right?

            You also do the usual “you can believe anything you want”, which also is an attempt to absolve yourself from needing to provide evidence for your claims.

            It’s hilarious that you trot out the usual theist nonsense. Yes, there is evidence of love, judgment, etc. I know my husband loves me because of his actions. (cue attempt to redefine “evidence”) And yes, we even have evidence that amyclae is wrong with your attempts at make believe when fantasizing that I am a teen age boy. I’m anything but that strawman that you are trying so hard to argue against. Oh and evidence for thoughts themselves, well, there is such a thing as an EEG, etc. We can convert thoughts to actions: http://www.ncats.nih.gov/news-and-events/features/brain-signals.html

            The universe did happen by golly. And right now we have hypotheses that are waiting for observational evidence to confirm them that do not require some magical being at all. Again, a beginning does not require an actor. I have reason to trust physics since it works. Evidence that it works? The computer in front of you. So, your claim that I am saying “reason because reason” is just one more strawman, that you have created to argue against. I haven’t said that at all.

            and ooh, disciplinarian? ROFL. As my hero says, “Oh My!” No, amyclae, I don’t find you to be a disciplinarian since you have yet to support any of your claims.

            And no, amyclae, you haven’t claimed to be a polytheist. You have done a lovely job of avoiding a question though. Very unsurprising that you have declared a serious question “frothy and unserious” just to avoid answering why anyone should consider your god any more real than another religion’s god/s. I would enjoy you showing how you can disprove quantum mechanics. As you said, surely if this was true, you could publish to great acclaim.

            And finally more big words evidently designed to “scare” me. It’s always good to see you creating excuses so you don’t have to actually explain them. you have no idea what you’ve said, about operational and ontological categories, don’t you?

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          • Amyclae says:

            “Where are these “losing conclusions”, amyclae? Surely you can show one of them if you are so sure that they exist, right?”

            You see those words that you’ve written? Yes, there.

            “It’s hilarious that you trot out the usual theist nonsense. Yes, there is evidence of love, judgment, etc. I know my husband loves me because of his actions. (cue attempt to redefine “evidence”)

            “And yes, we even have evidence that amyclae is wrong with your attempts at make believe when fantasizing that I am a teen age boy.”

            I call you a little teenage boy because that’s how you’re acting. It has nothing to do with your physical attributes.

            “Oh and evidence for thoughts themselves, well, there is such a thing as an EEG, etc. We can convert thoughts to actions: http://www.ncats.nih.gov/news-and-events/features/brain-signals.html”

            I applaud your complete ignorance. That is not evidence of ‘thinking.’ Quick call to several, friendly MD’s also confirm it. At best, it proves that there is a physiological reaction that occurs in the brain when ‘thoughts’ happen.

            “I have reason to trust physics since it works. Evidence that it works? The computer in front of you. So, your claim that I am saying “reason because reason” is just one more strawman, that you have created to argue against. I haven’t said that at all.’

            Yes, that’s exactly what you have said. You know evidence gives credence to claims because of reason. Without reason there’s no justification for evidence, much less justification for credence on account of evidence.

            “and ooh, disciplinarian? ROFL. As my hero says, “Oh My!” No, amyclae, I don’t find you to be a disciplinarian since you have yet to support any of your claims.”

            Here:

            Within our lexicon we have four primitives (Pr 1-4), three definitions (D1-3), three modal axioms (M1-3), three theorems (Th 1-3), and three premises (P1-3). I then prove the salient premises.
            Pr 1) P(X) – It is better to have X than to not. P(X), by definition, means that X is a perfection – that it is better to have X than not to have X.
            Pr 2) Gxy – x is greater than y. Gxy, by definition, means that x is greater than y.
            Pr 3) [aF] – the property of being an F.
            Pr 4) [aF]x – x has the property of being an F.
            D1) Sx = (¬◊(∃y)Gyx ∧ ¬◊(∃y)(x≠y ∧ ¬Gxy)) – Sx means that x is supreme — that it is not possible that there exists some y such that y is greater than x, and that it is not possible that there exists some y such that (x is not identical to y, and x is not greater than y). This is a long-winded way of saying that, if x is supreme, then nothing is possibly greater than x, and nothing else is possibly as great as x. Think of perfection as a property that it is necessarily better to have than not; and define the property of being supreme as the property that a thing has if and only if it is impossible for something to be greater and impossible for there to be something else than which it is not greater.
            D2) ¬((∀x)Sx ⊃ (∀x)¬Sx) – It is not the case that for all x such that x is supreme, it is entailed that for all x such that x is not supreme. Perfections only entail perfections.
            D3) (∀x)Sx ⊃ (S ⊆ x ↔ ∀ψ(ψ∈S ⊃ ψ∈x)) – It is implied that for all x such that x is supreme, supremity is a subset of x if and only every element of supremity also pertains to x.
            M1) (X)(P[aX]) ⊃ ¬P([a¬X])) – For any property X, if the property of being X is a perfection, then it is not the case that the property of being not-X is a perfection. In other words, being X and being not-X cannot both be perfections. A property is a perfection only if its negation is not a perfection. It is better to have a property than not only if it is not better to not have that property than not.
            M2) □(x)[Sx ⊃ ∀x(Yx ∧ Zx)] ↔ ∀x(P(Y)x ∧ P(Z)x) – If, for all x such that x is supreme, if it is the case that (x constitutes Y and Z), then it is implied that Y and Z are perfections. Perfections entail only perfections. It is always better to have that which is a necessary condition for whatever it is better to have than not.
            M3) P([aS]) – The property of being supreme is a perfection. A thing is supreme if and only if it is necessarily greater than everything else solely by virtue of having some set of perfections, making the extension of the property of being supreme identical with the intersection of the extensions of those perfections. For every Z, all of the nontautological essential properties entailed by Z are perfections if and only if the property of being a Z is a perfection. Every nontautological essential property entailed by the property of being supreme is a perfection, so the property of being supreme is a perfection.
            Th 1) ◊(p ∧ q) ⊃ (◊p ∧ ◊q) – If, possibly, (p and q), then possibly, p and possibly, q.
            Th 2) ◊¬◊p ⊃ ¬◊p – If it is possible that it is not possible that p, then it is not possible that p. This is an instance of the S5 axiom of modal logic.
            Th 3) ◊(∃x)Fx ⊃ (∃x)◊Fx – If it is possible that there exists some x such that x is F, then there exists some x such that it is possible that x is F.
            P1) ◊(∃x)Sx – It is possible that there exists some x such that x is Supreme. If we assert the negation of this proposition we arrive at contradictions and are forced to concede that it is possible that some x exists which is Supreme.
            P2) (x){(∀x)Sx ⊃ S∈(∃x)} – Supremity is a property of some existing thing that is Supreme.
            P3) (∃x)Sx – There exists an x such that x is Supreme.

            Proof of Th 3;
            Corollary: ◊∃xφ ⊃ ∃x◊φ
            1) ∀x□φ ⊃ □φ
            2) □(∀x□φ ⊃ □φ)
            3) □(∀x□φ ⊃ □φ) → (◊∀x□φ ⊃ ◊□φ)
            4) ◊∀x□φ ⊃ ◊□φ
            5) ◊□φ ⊃ φ
            6) ◊∀x□φ ⊃ φ
            7) ∀x(◊∀x□φ ⊃ φ)
            8) ∀x(◊∀x□φ ⊃ φ) ⊃ (◊∀x□φ ⊃ ∀xφ)
            9) ◊∀x□φ ⊃ ∀xφ
            10) ∀x□φ ⊃ □∀xφ
            Proof of P1;
            Corollary: ¬◊(∃x)Sx ⊃ ◊(∃x)Sx
            1) ¬◊(∃x)Sx
            2) ¬◊(∃x)Sx ⊃ □(x)(Sx ⊃ ¬Sx)
            3) □(x)(Sx ⊃ ¬Sx) (1,2)
            4) □(x)([a¬S]x ≡ ¬Sx)
            5) (□(x)(Sx ⊃ ¬Sx) ∧ □(x)([a¬S]x ≡ ¬Sx)) ⊃ □(x)(Sx ⊃ [a¬S]x)
            6) □(x)(Sx ⊃ [a¬S]x) (3,4,5)
            7) P(S) (M3)
            8) (P(S) & □(x)(Sx ⊃ [a¬S]x)) ⊃ P[a¬S]) (M2)
            9) P[a¬S] (6,7,8)
            10) P(S) ⊃ ¬P[a¬S]
            11) ¬P[a¬S] (9,10)
            12) ◊(∃x)Sx (1-11)
            Proof of P2;
            Corollary: (x){(∀x)Sx ⊃ S∈(∃x)}
            1) ◊(∃x)Sx
            2) ◊(∃x)Sx ⊃ (∃x)◊Sx (Th 3)
            3) (∃x)◊Sx (1,2)
            4) ◊Sv (2)
            5) ◊(¬◊(∃y)Gyv ∧ ¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy)) (4, D1)
            6) ◊(¬◊(∃y)Gyv ∧ ¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy)) ⊃ (◊¬◊(∃y)Gyv & ◊¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy)) (Th 1)
            7) (◊¬◊(∃y)Gyv ∧ ◊¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy)) (5,6)
            8) ◊¬◊(∃y)Gyv (7)
            9) ◊¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy)
            10) ◊¬◊(∃y)Gyv ⊃ ¬◊(∃y)Gyv (Th 2)
            11) ◊¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy) ⊃ ¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy) (Th 2)
            12) ¬◊(∃y)Gyv (8, 10)
            13) ¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy) (9, 11)
            14) ¬◊(∃y)Gyv ∧ ¬◊(∃y)(v≠y ∧ ¬Gvy) (12,13)
            15) Sv (P25, D1)
            16) (∃x)Sx (15)

            Prove this wrong, or shut up and admit you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Well well, Max. You may have to shut up sooner than you think.
            I don’t need to prove this wrong, I only need to show you where it is weak and that is enough. First problem is to be found here

            Pr 1) P(X) – It is better to have X than to not. P(X), by definition, means that X is a perfection – that it is better to have X than not to have X.

            The aim of this argument is to prove that a god exists, but starts with it as a silent premise. It assumes already that is is better to have god than not. All other definitions, axioms and whatever they are develop this assumption. What is perfection? It is not defined, it is just assumed? I would want you to define perfection and why you think it is necessary.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            It is simple logic that ‘something’ is better than ‘nothing.’ Call it whatever you want, but I’m afraid no one with a degree or knowledge in the field is going to contest this.

            And is that the best you have? A bit of semantic posturing about what is perfection? How laughable. It’s obvious the argument went over your head because only one of us knows anything about philosophy…

            At this point, if it’s not already clear, I have grown immensely tired of debating this subject. Not theism but basic philosophic foundations. The old tried and true arguments you and your curiously moronic friend are oblivious of does not absolve yourselves.

            If there is anything that you should take away, it is that not only do theists have degrees in philosophy and (apparently) know it better than you but that your precocious arguments simply do not stand up to scrutiny. You have your assumptions and, apparently, it is only enough for you to assert. How quaint.

            Moreover, this all possible and accomplished from my smartphone. How interesting.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            aha, so you are the only who knows philosophy? For one claiming to have a monopoly of philosophical knowledge, your argument that it’s better for god to exist than not is proof that god exists is beyond myopic.
            well am also quite tired of playing word games with a person who thinks that by dropping names of philosophers, he has made a sound argument. That’s really being silly.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            oh and all this is accomplished from my not so smartphone. How interesting 😛

            Like

          • oh my. Well, amyclae, meet me at “camera three” so we aren’t restricted by column size: https://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/theists-misusing-philosophy/comment-page-1/#comment-5584

            Like

          • oh and amy, no I did not use a circular argument. You again try your best to create strawmen and again misrepresenting me e.g. bearing false witness. It’s hilarious when a theist asks me something like “prove to me that arguments exists. Your answer: “Arguments exist because of [argument #101].” you cannot prove something using the same something”.

            Of course I can use various arguments to prove that the class of “argument” exists. I can use an apple to show that the class of “fruit” exists. I know that arguments exist since I am experiencing them and others have experienced the same thing. There are very many different arguments and some fail and some do not. No one is saying since arguments exist then the arguments are true, so your attempted analogy of “The bible is true because the bible” [I am assuming you meant to finish this with “because the bible exists”]

            Here we see the theist heading toward solipsism.

            and please amyclae, do explain what Hume said about “casual relations”, how you know one philosopher’s ideas are more “right” than anothers and how it relates to your claims about your god. For, amyclae, it’s easy to drop names but it’s quite a bit harder to show you know what you are talking about.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            “I can use an apple to show that the class of “fruit” exists.’

            I’m afraid you cannot do that. Showing an object that you, yourself, has classified as a ‘fruit’ and then declaring that it should be a ‘fruit’ for everyone else is easily the most dissmissable type of argument.

            At this point it is evident to me that you’re simply arguing to argue. No one goes over to someone else and, to prove their point, says that an item within a wider category proves the category. I don’t go up to you with a single man to prove ‘male,’ you don’t go up to people with one thought to prove ‘thinking.’

            Prove to me that animals exist! ‘Well, here is a cat.’ Um, I’m sorry, but that–at best–proves that cats exist. This is painfully basic philosophy.

            Hume says they don’t exist in any meaningful sense even if we perceive them. Boom. Best abstract, ever.

            Like

          • Oh my. The problem with your claim is that “I” am not the one who classified the object. And if it’s so “most dismissable type of argument”, Why aren’t you doing just that? Hmmmm?

            And golly Hume “says”. Again, how do you know that Hume is right? Oh yes, because he agrees with you. Ah, solipsism at its best.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            If you’re trying to prove something *you* are classifying it. Jus admit you were wrong. We already know it.

            Seriously, this is getting pathetic… So now it’s just ‘Hume is wrong because he disagrees with me?’ Sigh. Well, since there’s no reason to continue to abuse your frail grasp of philosophy I’ll let you have the last word of this discussion.

            Cue cute quip about theism.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Of course, if any of the symbols don’t appear on your computer (they’ll appear as little’?’ marks, usually) feel free to ask for clarification.

            Like

          • “To disabuse you of your precious notions, the world all around us is predicated on assumptions–very few have demonstrable ‘evidence.’ The lack of evidence, simply put, is not enough to disprove a claim. ‘An argument from silence,’ as it were, only works in very narrow circumstances.”

            But there are necessary assumptions and unnecessary ones. We necessarily assume that there is a world apart from our perceptions as the cause of our perceptions, for example. We necessarily assume sufficient understanding of language to be able to communicate with each other. There is no necessity to assuming that a string of grammatical sentences, be they an argument or not, tell us something about the world. They may or may not. Whether they do is contingent upon the existence of things in the world. Even if one were successfully to argue that the meanings of words in our language can be so arranged as to prove the existence of God, that is a linguistic implication standing in need of verification. It’s only a fact about language, not about reality or metaphysics.

            ‘“The cosmological argument fails since there is no evidence we need a beginning.”’

            “False, nothing comes from nothing.”

            So those subatomic particles that pop into and out of existence…what about them? Where do they come from?

            Besides, it’s not clear that nothing ever existed. Our universe might well have sprung from another universe or another dimension, the Big Bang functioning as an impenetrable wall between us and the reality from which our universe sprang.

            I believe it’s more intellectually honest to admit I/we don’t know how the universe came about than to attribute it to some sorcerer named Yahweh.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I asked to be shown how theism is rational, you failed. You touted the OA and Kurt Godel’s mathematical theorem which are nothing but mind gymnastics. The furthest they can take us, is that the mind can conceive of such a concept, nothing more beyond that.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Gymnastics that have, nevertheless, left you with the rather disappointing conclusion that rational thought in its entirety is unfounded.

            I’ll wait while you pick yourself up from that faceplant.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            You have a long time to wait since as I see it, you are not capable of having one and as such thinks everyone has suffered the same fate!

            There is still hope for you though, all is not lost 😛

            Like

        • makagutu says:

          Amy, if you allow me to call you so, you didn’t surprise me, there is nothing rational in calling Anselm to the rescue. All you have done here is to define god into existence. The assumption made in the OA is to assume that because existence belongs necessarily to the object of the conception, the existence of the thing is also posited necessarily. This, however, is not the case simply because my being able to think of something doesn’t translate to the thing existing. Since the conception of a maximally conceivable being is in the mind, there is no contradiction in annihilating such a thought. Nothing can rescue the OA and as such it doesn’t make theism rational.

          The same fate befalls Kurt Godel’s theorems. There is nothing in definition 1 or in the following axioms that can tell us the nature of god and why it is necessary. It is mere tautology and you can spend all day arguing like this and all you will have achieved in misdirect reason from where it has a footing, in experience, to speculation.

          So again, I ask, show me how theism is rational

          Like

          • Amyclae says:

            If you accept that, then why, exactly, do you believe in rationality or arguments–does not your contrived dilemma destroy the very foundation that it rests upon?

            To take a sharper tone, if you believed anything you just said then you would have fundamental problems with believing in ‘rational’ thought at all. Such as it is, your argument would adopt the predictable pattern of ‘rational thought exists because ‘rationally’… Which is, needless to say, more tautological and circular than the best geometric circle.

            To take another tact, in trying to disprove the theorem you must–inevitably–throw out rationality in toto. A conclusion that I find peculiar.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            To what point are you responding to? You presented two arguments to support theism, I showed you where each of them fails, then you come back and write three paragraphs of what is at best nonsense! Where is my argument circular?

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            The entirety of your post. If you legitimately have trouble keeping up, there’s not much I can do for you–this is imply modal logic 101. I’m neither in the mood nor patience to guide someone through an education they should have already acquired.

            It’s, quite simply, not nonsense. Prove that rationality exists.

            “Rationality exists because rationality.”

            Wait a second, that’s tautological! That’s nonsense! How do people with actual knowledge (attempt) to get around such an obvious dead end? Easy, modal logic. Yet, as you blunder through philosophy, you cut off that ‘escape hatch’ with your reply.

            So then, I’m afraid, you are left with the rather amusing and bemusing conclusion that rational thought is impossible. How sad.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            For us to continue the discussion, I think it is important we start from where we are in agreement. Now, Modal logic in it’s narrowest sense concerns

            studies reasoning that involves the use of the expressions ‘necessarily’ and ‘possibly’.

            SEP
            If we are agreed on that definition, and since am open to persuasion, tell me in the original post where such expressions are involved.

            Two, please tell me, at what point do I present a situation similar to the one you posit above, that is, rationality exists because rationality[I can’t make sense of this statement]

            And while you are it, show me where in the criticism of the OA or Kurt Godel I engage in tautology.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Take this for what it’s worth, but will anything I say change anything at all? I sincerely doubt it.

            I think I am just going to conclude by pointing out that “Rationality exists because rationality” is the bedrock for all defenses of reason–all of them. The only way you can prove reason is to use reason. Thus “Reason because of reason.” Circular reasoning is circular. Your previous line of argumentation, tough as it may seem, precludes the usual escape hatch some have used to excuse themselves from this (at best) unsatisfactory and (at worst) nonsensical answer.

            To put it in laymen terms, or as near as I can, if something is ‘perfectly’ ‘necessary’ in some ‘world’ (or ‘universe’ or, perhaps, ‘situation’) then it is ‘perfectly’ ‘necessary’ in all ‘world/universe/situations.’ Or, at the very least, possible. Such as it is, our ability to posit its existence somewhere proves its existence everywhere… Or thereabouts.

            To give an example, 2+2=4 no matter what the conditions are. Things can fall up but, assuming a few things, 2+2 =/= 5.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Why would what you say not be worth anything? Changing me is not your prerogative, yours is to present a convincing and persuasive argument in defense of the case you are making which unfortunately you fail to do.

            Reason fortunately or unfortunately is the faculty by which we are led to error and that we have to call on again when we are to get out of the same errors, you can call it circular all you want but you must use it.

            And why the condescending attitude? You say to put it in layman’s term presupposing that if you said it differently it would not be understood! Now to come from positing to exist in all possible worlds to it existing in all possible worlds is a leap of faith and the simple rebuttal is if I annihilate the thought in one world, I do it in all possible worlds. Our ability to posit it’s existence, doesn’t make it exist.

            There is nothing in 4 that is 2+2, but once you start from 2+2, there’s only one answer you can come to unless one is insane.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            If you must know where you went wrong, I’ll give you hint: modal logic. You probably should’ve not slept through that class.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            At least here you are right, if there was ever such a class, I slept through it. But I remember my teacher telling us that learning the different paint strokes doesn’t make one an artist or similarly learning the rules of logic makes one a logician, the times when these lessons come into use to correct the errors we may have made.
            So again, tell me, in the Kurt Godel theorem, which starts with the assumption that things godlike are positive and ends by saying a god exists, what, if any, does this tell us about the nature of this god? Two how does this god, even if the premises are sound, become the god of theism?

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            The answers on that are varied and, truthfully, “what does this tell us about nature of this god?” is simply answered by ‘almost nothing.’

            I think the ‘best’ reply I’ve seen is any and all properties that keep in mind that a thing is supreme if and only if it is necessarily greater than everything else solely by virtue of having some set of perfections, making the extension of the property of being supreme identical with the intersection of the extensions of those perfections. So for every attribute, all of the nontautological essential properties entailed by the attribute are perfections if and only if the property of being an attribute is a perfection. Every nontautological essential property entailed by the property of being supreme is a perfection, so the property of being supreme is a perfection.

            Of course, that just leaves us with a whole range of opinions. The long digression simply keeps the theorem logically consistent, and theoretically any attribute that can be fit into that category works. But, of course, all sorts of craziness can get thrown in there and that’s where the argument falls apart.

            But, in Gödel’s defense, he’s trying to prove ‘theism.’ Preferably ‘monotheism.’ Ultimately, I can see why Russell and theists have found it so peculiar–consistent but, somehow, unsatisfying. To sub in Aquinas, ‘to those without faith no explanation is possible, to those with faith no explanation is needed.’ He inhabits a gray netherworld of academic navel-gazing, to be perfectly blunt.

            But, again, the actual qualities are arguably beside the point considering what he was trying to prove. There is a proof out there, accept it or leave it.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            In quoting Aquinas, you realize the belief in god involves faith, nothing else. And he was a monk of priest, am not sure which and such a believer even if he was sharp and highly perceptive.

            To say there is proof out there without stating what this proof actually is, I think, you agree, is intellectual dishonesty.

            Like

          • Amyclae, have you read this paper? It’s very interesting but it doesn’t seem to support your claims.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            No, it doesn’t. I know this may come as a shock, but unlike you I’m willing to provide a fair debate of the ideas I hold. It’s called intellectual honesty.

            Like

          • So. you claimed that this paper was “A good example of what I’m making something of a hash out of out”. Now, I may be mistaken about your meaning, but if I say here’s a paper that is a good example of what I was trying to explain, this would mean that I would find a paper that supported what I was trying to explain. It seems that you picked this paper and hoped no one would actually read it.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            … You are simply an idiot. I am sorry, there is no other way to describe it. Enough is enough because now, it becomes clear, you cannot read. If you could read or understand philosophy ‘at all’ the very first page presents a form of the argument I’m making.

            Let that sink in for a second. The. First. Page. The first paragraph. The first sentence.

            What was that? The very first page is a neat simile of the argument I am discussing here? Why yes, yes it was.

            The. First. Page. Repeat after me and retread that article again and again. Then actually read it: the article, in discussing it, involves two or three *more* versions directly while accounting for another two or three in the footnotes.

            In short, if you could function at at a critical level at all and were not such a blundering moron, you could see that the article–while critical–provides good summaries and directions for upwards of half a dozen variations of the argument… Half a dozen.

            And then you wonder why I linked to it? Hahaha.

            Also, since was also worried about pay walls, seeing as JSTOR has a semipermeable one, it was an obvious choice. Something you’d know if, well, lets not belabor the point.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Max, calling people names on this blog is prohibited and is a reserve of the host to declare people idiots or silly persons. On the about page, if you have a chance to read it, it says clearly that we expect civility and that we will argue against ideas and not ad hominems. Either you can support your ideas or you can’t. Which is it going to be?

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            You don’t know what ad hominem is. That’s a debating strategy. “View X is wrong because you are an idiot.” As is clear, if you bothered to read, I didn’t say that. I said ‘You are an idiot.’ There was no connecting clause that implied their views were wrong on account of their idiocy.

            Learning, it’s a wonderful thing.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Max, I will refer you to Wikipedia and look at Attributing minor properties which is a class of ad hominem arguments too.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Clearly, you don’t understand that either.

            Repeat after me: an AH must be a part of a wider argument. ‘View X because my opponent is an idiot.’ If an argument, however, is simply ‘View X’ then it is not.

            This is obvious. Otherwise we’d have people dismissing arguments for why Nazi war criminals are evil, or even not good, as nothing more than AH attacks.

            Sorry but you are just wrong.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            you really are a silly person! In that statement where I wrote about ad hominem arguments I also wrote about calling people names. So how is calling someone a moron or idiot name calling?

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Wow, just wow. On a post where you call out theists for misusing philosophy you have 1.) declared rational thought impossible, 2.) Ignored and, frankly, fabricated the views of Bertrand Russell, 3.) completely ignored the proofs for the ontological argument for God, 5.) committed a whole host of small philosophic mistakes [e.g. Why is something greater than nothing], 5.) failed to interact with academic work I’ve provided from third parties *at all*, 6.) accussed Kurt Godel of intellectual dishonesty based on absolutely nothing, and to cap it all off 7.) provide your own definition of AH and then ignore a correction to it.

            Yeah, clearly it’s the theists who are misusing philosophy.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            wow, just wow.
            1. Where did I declare rational thought impossible
            2. I didn’t fabricate Rusell’s views. I copied a quote from Wikipedia and pasted it here, if it is a fabrication, am not the guilty party
            3. I didn’t ignore the proofs, I showed you why they are fallacious and you didn’t respond to any of them but kept going on a tangent dropping names of philosophers and pasting long and unwindy arguments without supporting them
            4. where is the mistake? I asked you is your argument here that it is better for god to exist than not to exist, makes god exist?
            5. I didn’t accuse Godel of intellectual dishonesty, I showed you where in my opinion the theorem is fallacious. You are free however to show the relevant part in this thread where I say Godel is intellectually dishonest
            6. I didn’t define AH, I said no name calling on this blog and indicated no ad hominems either. Show me where I defined AH. I then linked to a wikipedia page with the definitions of AH.
            7. You are a liar and you have consistently failed to answer simple questions I have asked you since you started responding to this thread. Dropping names of philosophers doesn’t make you one.
            For the umpteenth time, show me how theism is rational and don’t tell me Kurt Godel or whoever you want to drop this time round.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            “Max, I will refer you to Wikipedia and look at Attributing minor properties which is a class of ad hominem arguments too.”

            So you wanted to point me in the direction of a definition of AH that I, clearly, already knew? Please. Stop lying. It’s sad and pathetic. You pointed me in that direction because you thought, well, something. You’ve been schooled because, like a thousand other pretentious atheists and so-called ‘debaters’ on the internet, you’ve conflated anything that is remotely derogatory (no matter how well-founded) with ad hominems to the point where you forgot the difference–assuming, and this is a big assumption, you learned the correct definition in the first place.

            I’m not the liar, you are. Keep digging that hole.

            Here’s another quote I found, “I like Jews.” Hitler said it. Thus, Hitler must have liked the Jews.

            Oh. Wait. You’re saying that’s a fabrication? That cheery picking a quote out of context and with little regard to its import is dishonest? Well, it’s not my fault! It’s the fault of those who let idiots like me (read: you) get ahold of the quotes. It’s their fault!

            Hahah.

            For Christ’s sake, show a little responsibility. You have no clue what Russell’s views are. It’s not a big deal. Certainly it’s not your first mistake.

            You did ignore the proof. You provided some semantic garble what is ‘perfection.’ Even if people have different conceptions of perfection, you never showed how that was a defeater for the argument. You simply said ‘people have different definitions of perfection.’ Perhaps, perhaps not but that’s all you said about it… To a proof that, while short, clearly taxed your woefully inadquete knowledge base.

            It’s like, here’s an example, I was a famous philosopher and to prove your point you seized on one of my famous quotes to prove something about my whole work.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Last I checked, I wasn’t omniscient, I wouldn’t know what you know from what you don’t.
            For a guy who claims to be so knowledgeable, you are a silly person and a dickhead. You have chosen to pick unnecessary fights, gone in a tangent avoiding the questions I ask and then resort to call anyone who questions you names. That is a good argument you got there, quite impressive I must tell you.
            At no point have I said, I know Russell’s views on Godel’s argument. If by saying that I misrepresented will make you go to the toilet, you have it!
            You presented two arguments. Anselm’s OA and Godel’s OA. I responded to Anselm. In my response to Godel’s argument, I said it starts with a silent assumption in the thing it sets out to prove, maybe am wrong on that but you haven’t shown me where on the other hand you chose to pick on my questioning of perfection. Call it semantics, call it whatever, by insulting me and deflecting the question you are not making any argument. In fact, all you have done in this thread apart from calling me names is to rewrite Godel’s argument. You have not included any of your thoughts to show why you think it is a good argument or is it a good argument because I can’t show where it is fallacious? It doesn’t work that way, for fucks sake, think for yourself. You can parrot ideas and throw insults but at the end you haven’t said anything.
            So I say again, show me how theism is rational. It is a simple question. Show me how believing a donkey talked is rational; how a person who hears voices telling him to kill his child and goes ahead with the plan is rational; how making your father drunk to have babies with him is rational.
            If you can’t show me this, then maybe you belong to a different group of theists who believe that Mo flew a winged horse, or the group that believes their god wants foreskins. Where do you belong?
            And by the way, tell me, if in your very well informed opinion Godel’s OA is such powerful, why is their need for the likes of you, WLC, Platinga to still develop other arguments for god? Don’t you think one, if it was really needed, would be enough? Just asking.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            A little addendum: Ultimately, within the article there is ample resources to learn about the gist of my position, others’ position(s) and everywhere in between. Discussion, it’s a wonderful thing.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I saw the link, it is a reworking of Kurt Godel’s theorem with a few additions. It doesn’t bring god into existence, nope, it just make the argument more convincing.

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            If someone asked me for a proof “Prove that cats exist” and they, somehow, provided a good proof for why they exist I could then ask for a proof for what are (to stretch this metaphor to the breaking point) some unifying characteristics of cats. Yet if this abstract philosopher could only provide a proof for the former and not the latter, perhaps he simply is not a biologist, I think there’s little reason to accuse him of any sort of dishonesty.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I have to say I didn’t get a thing of what you meant. How am I being dishonest or rather who is being dishonest?
            And I wouldn’t need to be a biologist to prove a cat exist, especially if what is a cat has been agreed on, I would definitely be able to show it exists. On the other hand, the OP asked whether what a god is, has been agreed on. Have you answered this question?
            I asked also that I be shown how theism is rational, what did you do, you said one word modal logic then called on Anselm and Godel to the rescue, you could go one and call on Aquinas, Aviciena, Pascal and even Sir Isaac Newton but we will still have the same problem of showing that a deity exists and whether theism is grounded on rationality.
            Am patient and open to persuasion, so tell me, Max, has what a god is been agreed on and what is it? And are the beliefs upon which theism is grounded rational?

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Mate, I already provided the proof. Accept the premises are not, but at the end of the day–even according to atheists who are actual philosophers, like Russell–the proof is logically consistent. I don’t need to produce anything because it already exists.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Max, this is what Russell says of Godel’s argument

            “The argument does not, to a modern mind, seem very convincing, but it is easier to feel convinced that it must be fallacious than it is to find out precisely where the fallacy lies.”

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            Wow! A quote cheery picked from Wikipedia! Wow! I wonder if his views are more complex than that and whether, pay attention now, whether that was Russell as public intellectual or as philosopher! Hmm, I wonder…

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            You seem to be rather absorbed in thinking you know something. You know fully well, if you know anything that the fact that the argument is logically consistent doesn’t make god exist and that is the crux of the matter. Calling people names, assuming airs and such and such don’t simply make it so.
            Two, to paraphrase Einstein, if you can’t explain something to your grandma, then you probably don’t understand it. If the existence of god is given, you wouldn’t need to go great lengths to develop complex arguments understood by just a few philosophers and one argument should be sufficient!

            Like

          • Amyclae says:

            So that’s your defense for completely ignoring Russell’s views–‘sorry, but I’m right because you can’t explain PhD level work to me.’ Great. If it matters, you are as wrong about Russell as you are about everything else.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            What is this everything else am wrong about? You haven’t responded to the questions I have asked you but keep going on a tangent on how I can’t prove Godel wrong.
            One thing am not wrong about is that you are delusional and are are a silly person.

            Like

    • Atheist Slut says:

      do you think all that atheists find wrong with theism is a few faulty Bible passages?

      Like

  6. Atheist Slut says:

    I’m glad you delved into this topic. I have had many a tedious debate with a Catholic seminarian about theism and philosophy. Whenvever I try to have a real discussion on belief, he throws Augustine or Lewis quotes at me, and says they prove why atheism is so illogical. It’s like, what the fuck dude. Quit drinking the Kool-Aid, and assuming your “philosophy” for religion is all the rebuttal you need!

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Thanks AS for reading and commenting, some people can be annoying when you try to engage with so I think it best not to start. However, when we agree to have a debate, the first condition requires that god must be properly defined, only then can we have a discussion.

      Like

  7. Hi there, Mak!
    I’m reading “Human, all too human,” and this ties in perfectly with what you’re saying.
    “Thus: a certain false psychology, a certain kind of fantasy in the interpretation of motives and experiences is the necessary presupposition for becoming a Christian and for feeling the need of redemption.” HH 1, 135
    It’s quite funny to quote a Book on this subject, by the way!
    But what I mean to say is, that even psychology can be of help to see where we go wrong in our interpretations. Like you yourself already said, philosophy often helps to confound in these matters!

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Hey friend, how are you? You haven’t written lately, everything alright?

      Of course, if your idea is to confound your listeners, then engage in philosophy and avoid all other questions like why the donkey talked to Balaam, why god wants foreskin of young males, why, for example, dead men walked out of their graves and many other ridiculous revelations.

      Like

  8. mixedupmeme says:

    For a lot of us …. well me …. the problem is not discussing/arguing with philosophers or apologetic like people. And I am not even interested in having a discussion with those folks who are familiar with all the literature. I would fail.

    I deal with friends/relatives that just believe. End of story. It’s just warm and fuzzy to them. And Jesus was never Jewish. He just appears on Xmas eve. And they never heard of Abraham.
    And you never can pin them down on what they believe or why they believe what they believe. The topic is just off limits.

    Like

  9. as you’ve noted, philosophical or “logical” arguments used by theists can be used to only get so far, e.g. deism. But they still fail to provide actual evidence even for the poor vague deistic deity, since they depend on premises that cannot be shown to be true.

    I have yet to see a theist of a stated type of faith be able to make the jump from vague deism to their actual god and claimed events. They seem to think that if they can only get an atheist or agnostic to agree to a deistic god then “of course” they’ll accept that the theist’s god is the “right” one.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      In fact, club, it is impossible for some of the arguments to lead to just a single god. Take for example the argument from design, one could say there are many designers for the different life forms. To get to the god of theism, one has to then engage in theological somersaults, question begging and a lot of special pleading.

      Like

    • SteveInCO says:

      Generally, the theist uses the pseudo-philosophical squid-ink-of-obfuscation argument (like the OA) to try to prove there is a supreme being of some sort, (though it’s not necessary even to them to assume there’s only one–at this point). That’s step one. And you are right, even if those arguments were worth anything, they’d not get you all the way to where the theist wants you to go. That’s why they go on to the next step: they will try to demonstrate that the bible as a book has such remarkable properties the only explanation for it is that it must really be a message from that supreme being or group of supreme beings. Then, now that they’ve “established” the Bible as being the supreme being(s) talking to humanity, in large part about themselves, you can proceed to “learn” all kinds of stuff about it or them from reading its/their testimony–including the “fact” that there’s only one.
      One thing I kind of elided over is they have to argue somewhere in the middle of this that the (alleged) author of the bible isn’t lying through his/her/its/their teeth.

      Like

  10. Gemini Gemma says:

    Great article! I find it silly, that theists and religious nut jobs alike seek one true God a “Higher Power” per se. My question is, why in the world do you need a ‘higher’ or ‘superior’ power over you, are we humans that helpless and stupid that we need an imaginary ‘father figure’ to control and guide our lives. God cannot be proven, unless you are using convoluted and misinterpreted logic. Each of us are ‘God’ for the lack of a better term, because we are the ones in control of our own lives and minds. To believe in a ‘Superior power’ is to enslave yourself spiritually.

    I had a chance to take some theology classes in my university, and the all so called ‘rational’ arguments revolve around the nonsense that ‘God exists’, yet there is no proof of God or Gods. Sorry, you cannot spin something and make it intellectual just because you use logic to an already illogical argument.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Thanks Gemini for reading and commenting.

      If you did read the comments by the resident apologist Amy, you get the sad feeling that he thinks by having a sound and logical argument for god, the said god comes into existence. And you are definitely right, they are nut jobs!

      Like

  11. here at “camera three”:

    It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a TrueChristian like “amyclae”. They are some of the best arguments against religion and especially Christianity. This type of Christian is the most silly in a batch of a lot of silliness. I’m going to make the guess that amyclae is a Roman Catholic. Most Protestants don’t cite “saints” and usually argue more for actual evidence of the Christian god, not the more obscure philosophical claims. They also seem to have no problem in breaking their god’s rules because they can just hop into a closet and confess.

    The philosophical claims, as makagutu has ably said, only work to argue for a vague concept, not even limited to one magical being. There could indeed be many, another problem you have no answer for. The ontological argument is confounded by the problem that no theist can agree on what “perfect” means, nor can it show that such a being must exist. It’s also dependent on assuming humans can imagine something “perfect”. No reason to think so. The cosmological argument fails because you have yet to show that a beginning is needed for the universe and that there is some magical being that has caused the universe. Indeed, neither of these arguments help support the claim of a personal Christian god and can be seen to damage such a claim since none of the purported attributes of this god,, or any human-created god can be found at all. If you find the ontological argument and cosmological arguments valid, you left with being at best a Deist since no religion has evidence of its particular god(s), eschatology, etc. No salvation, no damnation, no special position in the universe for you.

    It’s hilarious to watch you glom onto the multiple universe hypothesis to prove your god when you are so very sure that other ideas from quantum mechanics simply can’t be true. Like so many theists, you wish to pick and choose what science is compatible with your mythic nonsense. However, science is not a “box of chocolates” as it were. The science that supports computers is the same science that supports quantum mechanics that indicates things can come from nothing and the same science that shows that magical floods can’t happen. The science that allows for antibiotics, modern foods, etc, is the same science that supports evolutionary theory.

    You claim to know so much about logic but you are amazingly ignorant about logical fallacies. This tells me that you are simply parroting what you’ve been told by someone who you trust and have not progressed beyond that. Insisting that special pleading is some emotional appeal demonstrates this clearly. You also make claims that I and others have used circular arguments. Of course, when asked to show these supposedly circular arguments, you are unable to. This inability or unwillingness makes it appear that you either have no idea what a circular argument is, and are just throwing out the term hoping shit will stick to a wall; or are intentionally lying.

    You want to pretend you are disciplining others by using petty insults which I find to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen a Christian do. It’s great to watch a wannabee bully trying to excuse their actions. Wanting to punish others for not agreeing with you is a very typical Christian fantasy. Someone has dared to say that you are not the special snowflake that you are sure you are, so they need to be shown wrong. That ridiculous delusion culminates with the ultimate violent revenge fantasy in the Book of Revelation. And hmmm, it’s been how many millennia you’ve been waiting?

    You have intentionally misrepresented what I and others have said, in order to create strawmen for you to argue against. When shown what you are doing, you have continued and that makes it and intentional lie. You have intentionally lied about what others have said in papers you wish to cite as supposed support for claim, and then try to claim how honest you are *after* you are caught. I do love your response to my asking “where are these “losing conclusions?”. You say hilariously “You see those words that you’ve written? Yes, there. “ Yep, again no ability to actually cite a quote, nope, just vague claims. How wonderful, amyclae! And now we have claims that I am “acting” like a teen-age boy. Where am I doing that, amyclae? How does a “teen-age boy” act?

    Then you say “I applaud your complete ignorance. That is not evidence of ‘thinking.’ Quick call to several, friendly MD’s also confirm it.” First, amyclae, saying “no it’s not”, is not an answer, it is just trying to claim that you know something. You have to tell me *why* that’s not evidence of thinking. And, since these are friendly doctors, please do give me their contact info. If you won’t, then it’s just an appeal to authority, yet one more fallacy.

    Also, nice plagiarism. I always love to see Christians stealing work and not giving proper citations. And most delicious, an ad hominiem claim about me “You are simply an idiot. I am sorry, there is no other way to describe it. Enough is enough because now, it becomes clear, you cannot read. If you could read or understand philosophy ‘at all’ the very first page presents a form of the argument I’m making.” A baseless claim that I am an “idiot”, that I somehow can’t read and thus that makes my claims wrong. I have read the paper, amyclae, and you cited the paper, not just the “first page” as a good explanation of your position. You did not say that it was a good overview of the argument; you said that the document was “A good example of what I’m making something of a hash out of out:”.

    Considering all of the above, you are an excellent example of a TrueChristian. And as a TrueChristian, you do more damage to the idea of religion and Christianity than any atheist could ever do.

    Like

    • Amyclae says:

      First of all, what I said to you was not a ‘petty’ insult. It was a sincere, encompassing and ‘significant’ insult. If there is anything that you can take away from this conversation it is simply how little I think of your intellectual capabilities. If that is what you consider ‘petty,’ then all the better–no skin off my nose–but I hope you are not confused by my deeply held opinion of you. I have tried my best to express it in many ways. In fact, my argument has been from my first post ‘Resolved: You are incapable of discussing philosophy.’

      Second, I am not a denominational Christian much less Roman Catholic. Swing and miss. If there is a religion I am an adherent to it is philosophy, reason and history. That they have led me to claims that you consider ‘Christian’ is, at best, a coincidence and realistically of little significance.

      “so very sure that other ideas from quantum mechanics simply can’t be true.”

      Sigh. It always astounds me at how atheists, the so-called defenders of science, know so little of it.

      The misconception, simply put, is that because scientists are not able to appropriately identify the creation and disappearance of particles then, so the media tells us, the particles themselves *must* appear and disappear.

      The problem is that the part of quantum mechanics that has to do with probabilities (e.g. a particle has a 20% chance of appearing here, disappearing there; ‘teleporting’ from here to there) is not expressed by statements, but is essentially a set of instructions that we accept when we accept the theory. Quantum mechanics does not tell scientists anything about probabilities. At best, it instructs them to assign probabilities in a certain way. And since instructions are neither true nor false, this part of quantum mechanics cannot be interpreted as ontological.

      This may sound like splitting hairs, but it’s quite significant to the field. It explains, in part, the defining contradiction between General Relativity and QM. Ultimately, the ‘probabilities’ associated with quantum mechanics are a problem because, as it has often been posed, how can one consider the logic of quantum mechanics when the mathematics used in quantum mechanics depends in such a thorough fashion on classical logic (e.g. ‘nothing comes from nothing’)?

      How is this? Scientists in the field (infer? affirm? assume?) the functional logic of events’ probability must be defined, so every event of algebra must be assigned a probability but the algebra of events in quantum mechanics cannot be closed under the conjunction of events and satisfy ‘every measure is defined’ (a requirement of Boolean algebra). The ole’ can’t know where it is and where it is going at the same time. Hence the algebra of events in quantum mechanics is not defined by a Boolean algebra, because every Boolean algebra is closed under conjunction.

      The issue is, however, is that journalists and scientists–or, at least, a few of the former–sometimes produce soundbites that are misinterpreted. Yes, they do not use ‘classical’ logic in working with quantum mechanics (though, confusingly enough, classical logic is used as the foundation for quantum mechanics) **operationally**. But that is something altogether different from ontological certainty.

      Yes, very few people who are in the field make the claim **ontologically**. Even though it is impossible to define (operationally) certain features of quantum mechanics, or any at all, with complete certainty it is still a far cry from ‘knowing’ certain features (ontologically). Thus, while scientists of that field will use as an operational precept ‘something comes from nothing’ they are not making an ontological claim because they do not have that sort of evidence. Most are not even considering it.

      Turn back to the old cat metaphor, the one with a poor felix and poison. The point of the metaphor is not concerning itself with whether the cat is alive or dead. Saying ‘the cat is dead’ or ‘the cat is alive’ would be an ontological claim. Yet, if you notice, that is never defined because quantum mechanics is not (chiefly!) concerned with such statements. As the metaphor plays out the focus shifts to ‘us’ and how we, operationally, compensate for the lack of our ontological knowledge.

      To try and twist the metaphor into an expression of ontological certainty would explode it. Equally, to try and assert ontological principles (e.g. ‘nothing comes from nothing’) from QM would do a grave disservice to the field not to mention my patience.

      So now that that messy business is over, I’ll accept your apology. I’m afraid it is you who are cheery-picking what bits of science you want to use.

      ” Wanting to punish others for not agreeing with you is a very typical Christian fantasy.”

      I’d argue that it is a very typical fantasy for all creeds.

      “You have to tell me *why* that’s not evidence of thinking.”

      Easy. Let’s imagine that we are able to interact with brain matter in such a way that we are able to ‘force’ ‘thoughts’ into other peoples’ brains. Quite the hypothetical, but suspend your disbelief for a second. I’m not sure how it would happen or under what circumstances, yet it would be possible. Using the springbroad of recent developments we attach some gizmos to some poor fool’s brain and alter all the stuff we need to alter so this person has a ‘thought.’

      For simplicity’s sake let’s say this thought is an image. No abstract nouns, but simply a picture. A picture of, because I’m creating this hypothetical, Clio.

      The image ‘appears’ in the person’s head and he exclaims ‘Clio!’ Or, maybe, ‘aardvark!’ I’m not sure, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter, however, is what sick bastard would say that was a ‘thought?’ That isn’t a thought, that’s a puppeteer fiddling with the strings of a puppet. Granted, in some technical sense you could say ‘why, yes, that was a thought.’ It fits a lot of the criterion but it misses one significant one: agency. To be a thinking person you have to be more than a collection of firing neurons.

      More importantly, however, if that appeal does not work for you then here’s a more technical one. There’s simply not enough evidence to make the distinction between whether someone has a thought and what we perceive in their brains occurs, or whether what we perceive in their brain occurs then a thought happens. Seizing on one poorly related almost-study by a journalist trying to read their deadline and wordcount does not change the consensus. And if relating the consensus is an appeal to authority (and, supposedly, grounds to dismiss it), well, reality can’t win every time. I understand how difficult it can be for you to accept when you’re wrong.

      “Also, nice plagiarism.”

      Thank you. Remind me, again, who I plagiarized from?

      But nice rebuttal. I give you points for trying. Too bad you haven’t shut up.

      “You did not say that it was a good overview of the argument; you said that the document was “A good example of what I’m making something of a hash out of out:””

      You’re right, it’s not a good example: it’s a great one.

      This is actually sort of fun. I really hope I’m not a TrueChristian because then you’d have to look in the mirror and say “Oh Lord, I’ve just been proven wrong three times in one post. Fuck. By a TrueChristian no less!”

      Like

      • Amyclae says:

        I think one problem you’re having is that you’re simply not reading my posts, or you’re not reading the paper. Something like half of the criticisms (a made up statistic, but hopefully you get the point) that the paper expresses are the criticisms I expressed to makagutu.

        For whatever reason you’re seeing some critical insights of the theorem, even though I repeated them myself, and then you’re declaring that even though my critique of the argument and the authors critique of the argument line up neatly somehow that proves…. Well, I’m not sure.

        Like

      • Awesome, I do love to see a Christian deny things andn call anyone who disagrees with them a “sick bastard”. I must applaud you! It’s getting so it sounds like a barnyard here, cocks crowing and all of that. There is no evidence of you being an adherent of history, philosophy or reason. You are an adherent of what you have made up to support your beliefs in magical beings. Unfortunately, your premise “Resolved: You are incapbable of discussing philosophy” is demonstrably baseless. And I’m awfully glad you declared that you’ve won. I guess you’d have to since no one else would notice.

        Hilarious attempt at claiming that thoughts aren’t thoughts. So, please do explain what “thoughts” consist of. If there doesn’t need to be electrical impulses or a brain, then surely a ancephalic child can think? Or do you wish to just try to tell me to “shut up again? That’s always such a good rejoinder.

        Well, unless your website is this and your name is Ray Maydole, what you have cut and pasted is here: http://dovetheology.com/apologetics/arguments-for-gods-existence/modal-perfection-argument/ Not one bit of citation in your comment here: https://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/theists-misusing-philosophy/comment-page-1/#comment-5553

        And alas, I have offered no apology, so again you are demonstrated as a liar. Congratulations.

        Like

    • makagutu says:

      Club, you know what I find amusing with this silly person, for lack of a better word, is his failure to show why he thinks Anselm’s and Godel’s OAs are sufficient in showing that his god exists. He has also refused to tell me how philosophy makes cursing a fig tree out of season, talking snakes and drowning everyone save 8 rational. Am waiting for an answer still.
      He has spent his time calling me and you names, claiming he is the philosopher and we are amateurs who know zilch about what he is talking about.
      For a christian, he is a liar and very delusional[well .. all of them are delusional].

      Like

  12. […] years ago, I wrote this post where I argued that those goddites who resort to philosophy to justify their delusions beliefs are […]

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