*HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
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06-09-2015, 04:07 PM
*HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
Salutations! I have recently sparked a conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be an apologist with an masters degree in apologetics from Biola University.

He has been doing research for 3 years on his thesis and has formulated a rather short argument against naturalism, which can be read here; http://freakengministries.com/freethinki...-oxymorons

I have objections to most of his premises and of course his conclusion, and I did post a brief comment about the first premise. I would like a second opinion on my objection and maybe a little insight to his responses to my objection and if I may be missing the point entirely or committing a fallacy.

My comment and his which are much shorter than the argument itself I will just post in this thread starting with mine following his.

Me - Hey XXXX! I've really enjoyed reading and thinking about this argument! But, of course I have few objections. I'll only address the first premise here as to maintain brevity. And, please please let me know if I am attacking any kind of straw man!

1- If naturalism is true, the immaterial human soul does not exist.

I feel, that you may need to establish what you mean by ''immaterial human soul'' just a bit more. Granted, I am only addressing this blog version so feel free to point me in the direction of a more detailed version if one does exist!

You say in support of the premise (I assume).

"By far, the most common worldview of the atheist persuasion is that of naturalism (that nature is all there is). If they hold that things outside of nature exist, they would be admitting that naturalism is false, and in effect, agreeing with the theist that not only does nature exist, but so does the “supernatural” (things other than nature). This is a move the committed atheist does not want to make because God, if He exists, falls into the supernatural category. By admitting the supernatural exists, they tacitly admit the plausibility of God’s existence.

Like the Biblical view of God, the human soul, by definition is not a physical or material type of thing. It is an immaterial aspect of our existence, which if it does exist, leads to some tremendous conclusions. However, if the soul does not exist, that leads us to our second premise."

The Merriam-Webster's New World College Edn. definition of soul is an entity which is regarded as being the immortal or spiritual part of the person and, though having no physical or material reality, is credited with the functions of thinking and willing, and hence determining behavior.
The definition of mind is;
1a - the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills and especially reasons.
1b - the part of a person that thinks, reasons, feels, and remembers.

I do recognize that each one of the terms has it's own distinctive meaning and cannot be used interchangeably, although that is why I think it is necessary for you and I and whoever would object, to agree upon a set definition of the word soul.

What P1 makes me think, is that you believe the soul is some aspect of our existence that isn't identical or produced within the body. I think this because of the wording of the premise. I don't see why a soul couldn't exist if naturalism were indeed true. The seemingly common trend in today's neuroscience is that the brain produces consciousness or our minds. But, that of course doesn't entail what a soul is exactly. If the soul is distinctly different from our minds then I don't understand how you can establish the first premise at all. If mind ≠ soul, then what exactly is a soul? The immaterial disembodied essence of thinking and willing? Well, if that is the case I feel you may need to reword the premise to reflect as much.

RP1 - "If naturalism is true, the immaterial human soul independent of the body does not exist." but feel free to reword in any way you see fit.

I'll stop here for fear that I may be attacking a position or argument that you aren't putting forth! Have a good day and I'm looking forward to your reply!

Him - Oh my goodness! Joe it's really good to hear from you but you just missed the party! I just had a three day debate on this very topic here on my Facebook wall. Finally the objector admitted my argument was valid and sound. However at that point he deleted his entire post.

I've spent the last two days debating a physicist on another page. That debate went fantastic as well but now my brain is fried and I'm ready for the weekend and to be with my family.

Although the original objector deleted the long thread after admitting my argument was sound, I did save the entire conversation on a Word Doc.

Perhaps I can send it to you?

This is as you noted, just a pop-level blog based on 3 years of research. My thesis is in the process of being published.

The one thing I think you might be missing is that my argument is focused on what is needed to infer the best explanation based on the laws of logic to possess justified true belief. While consciousness seems to play a role, my argument says nothing about it. It's all about libertarian free will.

I do realize he claims to have defeated my objection in another /debate/ but since it isn't Monday yet I haven't sent him my email and I haven't received the transcription of the other conversation. However, I do feel he didn't quite understand my objection fully, granted he claimed he was "fried" at he moment. He said that i was missing that his argument is focused on what is needed to infer the best explanation based on the laws of logic to possess justified true belief. In my mind, that means I didn't address the evidences that his argument is using to establish his premises and that the objection I raised has nothing to do with his argument. I don't think that is right because I feel that the objection I raised shed light on some necessary topics he needed to discuss or provided evidence for in order to establish his first premise, which consequently has nothing to do with "libertarian free will". However, I may be confused thusly I seek the help of this fine community.

Thanks!
- Joe
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06-09-2015, 05:10 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
Welcome to TTA, Joe.

Ordinarily we don't allow links on a first post but in this case, I think the folks here will enjoy dismantling this one.

How to tell your friend that they have wasted so much of their life on a faulty education?

First...
"Atheists love to label themselves as “freethinkers.” However, if they happen to be right, about the non-existence of God,"

Your friend is already demonstrating ignorance. Pity.

Second.
Premise 2 is the error. Has he not heard of Compatibilism?

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06-09-2015, 05:26 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
(06-09-2015 04:07 PM)JoeC.Meadow Wrote:  He said that i was missing that his argument is focused on what is needed to infer the best explanation based on the laws of logic to possess justified true belief. In my mind, that means I didn't address the evidences that his argument is using to establish his premises and that the objection I raised has nothing to do with his argument. I don't think that is right because I feel that the objection I raised shed light on some necessary topics he needed to discuss or provided evidence for in order to establish his first premise, which consequently has nothing to do with "libertarian free will". However, I may be confused thusly I seek the help of this fine community.

Premise three is a non sequitur.

His attempt to represent the logic symbolically is pointless and adds nothing other than a slight veneer of intellectualism, in the hopes that no one who actually understands it will come in and say "hey, this doesn't actually mean anything unless you define those terms and show why ¬ LFW → ¬ R & ¬ K", which he cannot do. His attempt to do so goes off on a tangent about whether or not we "choose" to be rational, which is irrelevant, and is just playing word games between "free will", "free thinking" and "rational".

It's nonsense.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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06-09-2015, 05:27 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
1-fucking DLJ. Tongue
2- Biola. Laugh out load

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06-09-2015, 05:38 PM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2015 05:48 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
He spends a lot of words defending his premises as sound and just states the argument is valid. I don't think it is. "P-->Q, Q, therefore P" is not valid reasoning. Instead of all those implications he needs to show that the implication is both necessary and sufficient instead of just sufficient. What he needs for all of his deductive steps is "P if and only if Q, Q, therefore P"." not "if then". "P<-->Q, Q, therefore P" is valid but his premises doesn't claim that. His argument is invalid, no point in wasting time arguing the soundness of his premises.

#sigh
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06-09-2015, 05:46 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
(06-09-2015 05:38 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  He spends a lot of words defending his premises as sound and just states the argument is valid. I don't think it is. "P-->Q, Q, therefore P" is not valid reasoning. Instead of all those implications he needs to show that the implication is both necessary and sufficient instead of just sufficient. What he needs for all of his deductive steps is "P if and only if Q, Q, therefore P"." not "if then". "P<-->Q, Q, therefore P" is valid but his argument doesn't claim that. His argument is invalid, no point in wasting time arguing the soundness of his premises.

So, essentially, what Joe Meadow should take from this thread is that there are so many holes in his friend's argument that he could use it as a sieve.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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06-09-2015, 05:54 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
(06-09-2015 05:46 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(06-09-2015 05:38 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  He spends a lot of words defending his premises as sound and just states the argument is valid. I don't think it is. "P-->Q, Q, therefore P" is not valid reasoning. Instead of all those implications he needs to show that the implication is both necessary and sufficient instead of just sufficient. What he needs for all of his deductive steps is "P if and only if Q, Q, therefore P"." not "if then". "P<-->Q, Q, therefore P" is valid but his argument doesn't claim that. His argument is invalid, no point in wasting time arguing the soundness of his premises.

So, essentially, what Joe Meadow should take from this thread is that there are so many holes in his friend's argument that he could use it as a sieve.

If I were his friend I would suggest he take down that argument before more people see it and he is humiliated even further. And I don't quite understand how someone can bother to familiarize themselves with logical notation without understanding the basic concept of implication.

#sigh
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06-09-2015, 06:06 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
I see the followng problem with premise 1: is there any evidence that our "natural" is nothing more than the outcome of someother "natural" process we simply aren't familiar with? Your friend is creating a false dichotomy here IMO. He is essentially saying that if it is outside of nature as we know it is magic. If he means "supernatural" in terms of something outside nature as we understand it, then the neutral position is the honest approach. However, he makes an argument for a magical being without ever demonstrating that an unknown natural answer is not possible, hence the false dichotomy. Everything after that is irrelevant since premise 1 is fallacious. As of yet, we have no knowledge of mechanisms other than what we see in nature. Was our universe made by the same apparent rules that govern our universe? We frankly don't know. Your friend is saying that it was a natural process (i.e. nature as we know it) or god (and specifically HIS god) without acknoledging that we could be a small part of another system that has plays by different rules. We just don't know and neither does he. That is a false dichotomy.

Also, where is his citation for the evidence of a soul to begin with? He presents no evidence there is one. He claims there is one, the burden of proof is on him to support it.

Tell him to come here. We love discussing this stuff as long as he is honest and can take it.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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06-09-2015, 07:07 PM
RE: *HELP* Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
Thanks for all the replies! Also, I apologize for the link on the first post I must have not read the rules as carefully as I thought I did. I'll be sure to bring up some of these objections the next time I speak to my friend.
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06-09-2015, 07:26 PM
Addressing an argument (partially); Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism
I got bored with the long link after reading as far as the bit about "free" thinking not existing if atheists are right.

Actually, as far as that goes, he has some allies among skeptics, some of whom believe there is no such thing as free will. Or more narrowly, no such thing as contra-causal free will. I think I'm in a minority at least on the SGU chat board in being agnostic on the question of free will. Until we really understand what consciousness is, I'm not prepared to take a stand on what it can do.

But maybe the bottom line is really just semantic. "Freethinker" really just means someone who rejects what all the preachers and church "authorities" tell us. So, yes, we are freethinkers in the sense the word is used. But whether anybody really has intellectual independence from all the influences, physiological and cultural, that form us, is an open question.

It looks to me as though the doofus has spent four years of his life to construct an argument that there are no atheists, and his whole argument is based on childish semantic tricks. Kind of like the proof that every horse has an infinite number of legs. The argument only works when spoken. It falls apart when written, so pretend you can't tell the difference between fore and four:

A horse has two legs in front. And he has forelegs in back. Two plus four equals six. Six is an odd number of legs for a horse to have, yet it's an even number. The only number that can be odd and even at the same time is infinity. Ergo, a horse has an infinite number of legs.

That's the intellectual level of the argument in the link.

I suggest you tell your friend: "God told me you're wrong. He told me he does not exist. God cannot lie, therefore there is no god."

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el cielo por alas,
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