Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
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27-05-2016, 06:28 PM (This post was last modified: 28-05-2016 07:45 AM by true scotsman.)
Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
So often theists point to "the universal, abstract laws of logic and nature" to prove that a god exists. They say that you can't have these universal laws without a universal mind to account for them. As is so often the case, what the theist claims is literally the opposite of the truth. I thought of a good analogy to explain why. Hopefully, it will not bore you.

I was stuffing my wife's new North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag back into its stuff sack the other day and it struck me that it is a perfect analogy to use to explain universality and concepts. For those who are not familiar, a stuff sack is a bag with a drawstring that you literally stuff a sleeping bag or clothes into and it compresses them into a smaller size to make them easier to handle and easier to pack into the limited space and capacity of your backpack. That's exactly like what a concept does except it dose it on a vastly larger scale. A concept is an abstraction or a mental integration of things that we perceive. It takes an number of things and compresses them and condenses them into one thing. Unlike a stuff sack though, which holds only one sleeping bag a concept can hold and compress an unlimited number of things.

consider the concept "sleeping bag" and imagine it as the aforementioned stuff sack. You can literally put an unlimited number of sleeping bags into the concept sleeping bag and you will always be able to stuff in more. A concept is an open ended mental integration of two or more similar concrete things (units) into a single mental unit. So if the brain is analogous to the backpack and a concept is analogous to the stuff sack, a concept allows one to cram an unlimited number of units and reduce them to a single unit. The reason we need this ability is that we only have so much room in the backpack, our brains can only hold onto a finite number of units at one time. Universality is essentially the open endedness of a concept's reference. Thus, when we come across a new sleeping bag, one we've never seen before, into the bag it goes without a problem. Concepts extend the range of the mind from the immediately perceptible to the ends of the universe. Once I have the concept "sleeping bag" I can know about all sleeping bags, anywhere in the universe. That's universality. behold the awesome power of the Human mind.

This open endedness is a result of the particular way our brains form concepts, specifically the process of measurement omission. When we form a concept we take a number of similar things, units, and we group them together on the basis of their similarities. We see that groups of things which share in their essential characteristics differ only in their specific measurements. Sleeping bags very in their color, their filling, their r-value, their size, their weight, the type of fabric they are made of and a lot of other things and yet they are all subsumed under the concept "sleeping bag" because when we form the concept "sleeping bag" we retain the similarities and abstract away or de-specify their specific measurements. The principle is that these measurements must exist in some quantity but they may exist in any quantity.

It is not only the measurements I listed above that are de-specified but also the measurements of time and place. Likely when I use the concept "sleeping bag" you know instantly what I am referring to, even though we likely have never seen the same sleeping bag. The concept sleeping bag includes all sleeping bags, those that exist now, all those that have ever existed and all those that ever will exist and it does so whether they are in my closet or on the other side of the universe.

Now most concepts are not universal in the scope of their reference but they are all universal in their application within the scope of their reference. The concept "sleeping bag" applies to all sleeping bags, universe wide but not to grapes or buildings or fishing rods. There are however three which are universal in the scope of their reference. One of those is the concept "identity". It applies to everything that exists. To exist is to be something and to be that thing and only that thing. Everything that exists possesses a specific identity. Even two snowflakes, if they were identical in every way, would be separate things with their own specific identity. Existence and identity are essentially the same concept: to be something is to exist and to exist is to be something. The concept "universe", as I inform it, is synonymous with the concept "existence". universe means the sum total of what exists. We can stuff everything that exists into the concepts "existence" and "universe'. These are completely open ended classifications. If something exists, in whatever form it exists, at whatever time it exists and in whatever place it exists, it will fit into our stuff sacks labeled "universe" and "existence". We can condense the whole universe, everything that exists, into a single unit. That is universality! I wish I really had a stuff sack like, I'd be able to carry a whole lot of beer on my next trip to the mountains.

Now logic is a corollary to the law of identity which is the formal recognition that a thing is itself and not something other than itself. Logic is the law of identity applied to the task of identifying the things we perceive. Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Once we grasp the law of identity we also grasp the principle of non-contradiction: A thing cannot be A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect.

The abstract (conceptual) laws of Logic being corollaries of the law of identity, are universal because the concept "existence" is universal in scope and in application. The laws of logic are universally applicable because time and place are omitted measurements. Where ever something exists, it exists, and it has identity. Whenever something exists it exists and has identity. No matter where you go in the universe you are still you, you still have identity. And in order to identify the facts correctly, we must identity them in a non-contradictory fashion. Since knowledge is knowledge of what exists and the universe is the sum total of what exists, the laws of logic are universally applicable. You see theists, universality is not some mysterious, mystical notion that we can't explain.

So theists, to recap:

Universality is a feature of concepts.

Universality is essentially the open endedness of concepts.

It results from the process that our brains, with their limited capacities to hold onto units go through in forming conceptual integrations, i.e. measurement omission.

It is made necessary by the limitations of our minds to hold a limited number of concretes at one time. an omniscient, infinite mind would have no need for the abstraction process, i.e. measurement omission, and it would have no need for logic since it would not have the task of identifying what it perceived. It would already know the identity of everything because the identity of everything would be dependent on it.

Bottom line:
"Supernatural? We don't need no stinking supernatural" to account for the universal laws of logic and nature.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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15-06-2016, 09:34 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(27-05-2016 06:28 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  So often theists point to "the universal, abstract laws of logic and nature" to prove that a god exists. They say that you can't have these universal laws without a universal mind to account for them. As is so often the case, what the theist claims is literally the opposite of the truth. I thought of a good analogy to explain why. Hopefully, it will not bore you.

I was stuffing my wife's new North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag back into its stuff sack the other day and it struck me that it is a perfect analogy to use to explain universality and concepts. For those who are not familiar, a stuff sack is a bag with a drawstring that you literally stuff a sleeping bag or clothes into and it compresses them into a smaller size to make them easier to handle and easier to pack into the limited space and capacity of your backpack. That's exactly like what a concept does except it dose it on a vastly larger scale. A concept is an abstraction or a mental integration of things that we perceive. It takes an number of things and compresses them and condenses them into one thing. Unlike a stuff sack though, which holds only one sleeping bag a concept can hold and compress an unlimited number of things.

consider the concept "sleeping bag" and imagine it as the aforementioned stuff sack. You can literally put an unlimited number of sleeping bags into the concept sleeping bag and you will always be able to stuff in more. A concept is an open ended mental integration of two or more similar concrete things (units) into a single mental unit. So if the brain is analogous to the backpack and a concept is analogous to the stuff sack, a concept allows one to cram an unlimited number of units and reduce them to a single unit. The reason we need this ability is that we only have so much room in the backpack, our brains can only hold onto a finite number of units at one time. Universality is essentially the open endedness of a concept's reference. Thus, when we come across a new sleeping bag, one we've never seen before, into the bag it goes without a problem. Concepts extend the range of the mind from the immediately perceptible to the ends of the universe. Once I have the concept "sleeping bag" I can know about all sleeping bags, anywhere in the universe. That's universality. behold the awesome power of the Human mind.

This open endedness is a result of the particular way our brains form concepts, specifically the process of measurement omission. When we form a concept we take a number of similar things, units, and we group them together on the basis of their similarities. We see that groups of things which share in their essential characteristics differ only in their specific measurements. Sleeping bags very in their color, their filling, their r-value, their size, their weight, the type of fabric they are made of and a lot of other things and yet they are all subsumed under the concept "sleeping bag" because when we form the concept "sleeping bag" we retain the similarities and abstract away or de-specify their specific measurements. The principle is that these measurements must exist in some quantity but they may exist in any quantity.

It is not only the measurements I listed above that are de-specified but also the measurements of time and place. Likely when I use the concept "sleeping bag" you know instantly what I am referring to, even though we likely have never seen the same sleeping bag. The concept sleeping bag includes all sleeping bags, those that exist now, all those that have ever existed and all those that ever will exist and it does so whether they are in my closet or on the other side of the universe.

Now most concepts are not universal in the scope of their reference but they are all universal in their application within the scope of their reference. The concept "sleeping bag" applies to all sleeping bags, universe wide but not to grapes or buildings or fishing rods. There are however three which are universal in the scope of their reference. One of those is the concept "identity". It applies to everything that exists. To exist is to be something and to be that thing and only that thing. Everything that exists possesses a specific identity. Even two snowflakes, if they were identical in every way, would be separate things with their own specific identity. Existence and identity are essentially the same concept: to be something is to exist and to exist is to be something. The concept "universe", as I inform it, is synonymous with the concept "existence". universe means the sum total of what exists. We can stuff everything that exists into the concepts "existence" and "universe'. These are completely open ended classifications. If something exists, in whatever form it exists, at whatever time it exists and in whatever place it exists, it will fit into our stuff sacks labeled "universe" and "existence". We can condense the whole universe, everything that exists, into a single unit. That is universality! I wish I really had a stuff sack like, I'd be able to carry a whole lot of beer on my next trip to the mountains.

Now logic is a corollary to the law of identity which is the formal recognition that a thing is itself and not something other than itself. Logic is the law of identity applied to the task of identifying the things we perceive. Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Once we grasp the law of identity we also grasp the principle of non-contradiction: A thing cannot be A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect.

The abstract (conceptual) laws of Logic being corollaries of the law of identity, are universal because the concept "existence" is universal in scope and in application. The laws of logic are universally applicable because time and place are omitted measurements. Where ever something exists, it exists, and it has identity. Whenever something exists it exists and has identity. No matter where you go in the universe you are still you, you still have identity. And in order to identify the facts correctly, we must identity them in a non-contradictory fashion. Since knowledge is knowledge of what exists and the universe is the sum total of what exists, the laws of logic are universally applicable. You see theists, universality is not some mysterious, mystical notion that we can't explain.

So theists, to recap:

Universality is a feature of concepts.

Universality is essentially the open endedness of concepts.

It results from the process that our brains, with their limited capacities to hold onto units go through in forming conceptual integrations, i.e. measurement omission.

It is made necessary by the limitations of our minds to hold a limited number of concretes at one time. an omniscient, infinite mind would have no need for the abstraction process, i.e. measurement omission, and it would have no need for logic since it would not have the task of identifying what it perceived. It would already know the identity of everything because the identity of everything would be dependent on it.

Bottom line:
"Supernatural? We don't need no stinking supernatural" to account for the universal laws of logic and nature.

Wow,

Not one theist has anything to say.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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[+] 1 user Likes true scotsman's post
15-06-2016, 09:45 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 09:34 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(27-05-2016 06:28 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  So often theists point to "the universal, abstract laws of logic and nature" to prove that a god exists. They say that you can't have these universal laws without a universal mind to account for them. As is so often the case, what the theist claims is literally the opposite of the truth. I thought of a good analogy to explain why. Hopefully, it will not bore you.

I was stuffing my wife's new North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag back into its stuff sack the other day and it struck me that it is a perfect analogy to use to explain universality and concepts. For those who are not familiar, a stuff sack is a bag with a drawstring that you literally stuff a sleeping bag or clothes into and it compresses them into a smaller size to make them easier to handle and easier to pack into the limited space and capacity of your backpack. That's exactly like what a concept does except it dose it on a vastly larger scale. A concept is an abstraction or a mental integration of things that we perceive. It takes an number of things and compresses them and condenses them into one thing. Unlike a stuff sack though, which holds only one sleeping bag a concept can hold and compress an unlimited number of things.

consider the concept "sleeping bag" and imagine it as the aforementioned stuff sack. You can literally put an unlimited number of sleeping bags into the concept sleeping bag and you will always be able to stuff in more. A concept is an open ended mental integration of two or more similar concrete things (units) into a single mental unit. So if the brain is analogous to the backpack and a concept is analogous to the stuff sack, a concept allows one to cram an unlimited number of units and reduce them to a single unit. The reason we need this ability is that we only have so much room in the backpack, our brains can only hold onto a finite number of units at one time. Universality is essentially the open endedness of a concept's reference. Thus, when we come across a new sleeping bag, one we've never seen before, into the bag it goes without a problem. Concepts extend the range of the mind from the immediately perceptible to the ends of the universe. Once I have the concept "sleeping bag" I can know about all sleeping bags, anywhere in the universe. That's universality. behold the awesome power of the Human mind.

This open endedness is a result of the particular way our brains form concepts, specifically the process of measurement omission. When we form a concept we take a number of similar things, units, and we group them together on the basis of their similarities. We see that groups of things which share in their essential characteristics differ only in their specific measurements. Sleeping bags very in their color, their filling, their r-value, their size, their weight, the type of fabric they are made of and a lot of other things and yet they are all subsumed under the concept "sleeping bag" because when we form the concept "sleeping bag" we retain the similarities and abstract away or de-specify their specific measurements. The principle is that these measurements must exist in some quantity but they may exist in any quantity.

It is not only the measurements I listed above that are de-specified but also the measurements of time and place. Likely when I use the concept "sleeping bag" you know instantly what I am referring to, even though we likely have never seen the same sleeping bag. The concept sleeping bag includes all sleeping bags, those that exist now, all those that have ever existed and all those that ever will exist and it does so whether they are in my closet or on the other side of the universe.

Now most concepts are not universal in the scope of their reference but they are all universal in their application within the scope of their reference. The concept "sleeping bag" applies to all sleeping bags, universe wide but not to grapes or buildings or fishing rods. There are however three which are universal in the scope of their reference. One of those is the concept "identity". It applies to everything that exists. To exist is to be something and to be that thing and only that thing. Everything that exists possesses a specific identity. Even two snowflakes, if they were identical in every way, would be separate things with their own specific identity. Existence and identity are essentially the same concept: to be something is to exist and to exist is to be something. The concept "universe", as I inform it, is synonymous with the concept "existence". universe means the sum total of what exists. We can stuff everything that exists into the concepts "existence" and "universe'. These are completely open ended classifications. If something exists, in whatever form it exists, at whatever time it exists and in whatever place it exists, it will fit into our stuff sacks labeled "universe" and "existence". We can condense the whole universe, everything that exists, into a single unit. That is universality! I wish I really had a stuff sack like, I'd be able to carry a whole lot of beer on my next trip to the mountains.

Now logic is a corollary to the law of identity which is the formal recognition that a thing is itself and not something other than itself. Logic is the law of identity applied to the task of identifying the things we perceive. Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Once we grasp the law of identity we also grasp the principle of non-contradiction: A thing cannot be A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect.

The abstract (conceptual) laws of Logic being corollaries of the law of identity, are universal because the concept "existence" is universal in scope and in application. The laws of logic are universally applicable because time and place are omitted measurements. Where ever something exists, it exists, and it has identity. Whenever something exists it exists and has identity. No matter where you go in the universe you are still you, you still have identity. And in order to identify the facts correctly, we must identity them in a non-contradictory fashion. Since knowledge is knowledge of what exists and the universe is the sum total of what exists, the laws of logic are universally applicable. You see theists, universality is not some mysterious, mystical notion that we can't explain.

So theists, to recap:

Universality is a feature of concepts.

Universality is essentially the open endedness of concepts.

It results from the process that our brains, with their limited capacities to hold onto units go through in forming conceptual integrations, i.e. measurement omission.

It is made necessary by the limitations of our minds to hold a limited number of concretes at one time. an omniscient, infinite mind would have no need for the abstraction process, i.e. measurement omission, and it would have no need for logic since it would not have the task of identifying what it perceived. It would already know the identity of everything because the identity of everything would be dependent on it.

Bottom line:
"Supernatural? We don't need no stinking supernatural" to account for the universal laws of logic and nature.

Wow,

Not one theist has anything to say.

Quote:Bottom line:
"Supernatural? We don't need no stinking supernatural" to account for the universal laws of logic and nature.

Hi, resident theist here.

I never said that the laws of logic and nature needed to be boiled down to a supernatural cause. You said that. Not me.
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15-06-2016, 09:55 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 09:45 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 09:34 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Wow,

Not one theist has anything to say.

Quote:Bottom line:
"Supernatural? We don't need no stinking supernatural" to account for the universal laws of logic and nature.

Hi, resident theist here.

I never said that the laws of logic and nature needed to be boiled down to a supernatural cause. You said that. Not me.

Actually I do not say this. I don't believe there is such a thing as the supernatural or gods. This is what theists say, at least the ones who use the transcendental argument for God or TAG. So I'm not trying to refute a straw man here. This is a common argument of Christians, particularly the presuppositionalists.

So you are going on record here to say that the laws of nature do not have their source in a god. In other words they are independent of God? This is a new one. If God is not the source of the laws of nature then we don't need it to explain existence.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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15-06-2016, 10:03 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 09:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 09:45 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Hi, resident theist here.

I never said that the laws of logic and nature needed to be boiled down to a supernatural cause. You said that. Not me.

Actually I do not say this. I don't believe there is such a thing as the supernatural or gods. This is what theists say, at least the ones who use the transcendental argument for God or TAG. So I'm not trying to refute a straw man here. This is a common argument of Christians, particularly the presuppositionalists.

So you are going on record here to say that the laws of nature do not have their source in a god. In other words they are independent of God? This is a new one. If God is not the source of the laws of nature then we don't need it to explain existence.

Wait a minute. Your sleeping bag analogy was kind of confusing to me, but I do think that G-d caused the big bang. It's just that I think that the laws of nature and logic are products of that bang, not of specific design.
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15-06-2016, 10:49 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 10:03 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 09:55 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Actually I do not say this. I don't believe there is such a thing as the supernatural or gods. This is what theists say, at least the ones who use the transcendental argument for God or TAG. So I'm not trying to refute a straw man here. This is a common argument of Christians, particularly the presuppositionalists.

So you are going on record here to say that the laws of nature do not have their source in a god. In other words they are independent of God? This is a new one. If God is not the source of the laws of nature then we don't need it to explain existence.

Wait a minute. Your sleeping bag analogy was kind of confusing to me, but I do think that G-d caused the big bang. It's just that I think that the laws of nature and logic are products of that bang, not of specific design.

So then you are saying that the laws of nature reduce to a supernatural cause.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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15-06-2016, 10:54 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 10:49 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 10:03 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Wait a minute. Your sleeping bag analogy was kind of confusing to me, but I do think that G-d caused the big bang. It's just that I think that the laws of nature and logic are products of that bang, not of specific design.

So then you are saying that the laws of nature reduce to a supernatural cause.

Yeah, I suppose. I wan't framing it that way at first, but I can see how it boils down to that now.
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15-06-2016, 11:03 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 10:54 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 10:49 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  So then you are saying that the laws of nature reduce to a supernatural cause.

Yeah, I suppose. I wan't framing it that way at first, but I can see how it boils down to that now.

Thank you. I realize that not all theists make this argument explicitly but they do make it implicitly. I suppose I should have said "a big nail in the coffin of pressuppositionalism.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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15-06-2016, 11:09 AM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 11:03 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 10:54 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Yeah, I suppose. I wan't framing it that way at first, but I can see how it boils down to that now.

Thank you. I realize that not all theists make this argument explicitly but they do make it implicitly. I suppose I should have said "a big nail in the coffin of pressuppositionalism.

I don't even know what presuppositionalism is, and running out the door, so Googling it will have to wait. (I think someone told me once, but I forget.)

Probably it's a Christian thing.
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15-06-2016, 12:24 PM
RE: Demystifying Universality: A big nail in the coffin of Theism
(15-06-2016 11:09 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(15-06-2016 11:03 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Thank you. I realize that not all theists make this argument explicitly but they do make it implicitly. I suppose I should have said "a big nail in the coffin of pressuppositionalism.

I don't even know what presuppositionalism is, and running out the door, so Googling it will have to wait. (I think someone told me once, but I forget.)

Probably it's a Christian thing.

Yes it is the position that one can not make sense out of anything unless one accepts the existence of a transcendent being like God. They say that knowledge, the abstract laws of logic and nature presuppose the Christian God. Just Google Sye Ten Bruggencate or Matt Slick.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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