Podcast #53 - Proof That God Exists
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17-01-2013, 10:02 PM
Podcast #53 - Proof That God Exists

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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16-09-2013, 10:25 PM
RE: Podcast #53 - Proof That God Exists
I've never heard that apologia before.

For anyone who needs a summary:
Sye's position is spelled out on the "proof" page of his site.
His claim is that the existence of god (his god, in particular) is a necessary precondition not just for the existence of "absolute truth", but for any "knowledge" to be possible at all. And there's a link to his explanation of why god is necessary for knowledge, truth, and logic.

I'm surprised that this argument has any traction.
It's based on the reading of a single New Testament passage, Romans 1:18-21.
And the whole argument hangs on the legitimacy of Sye's interpretation of that passage.

The text that he's relying on was transcribed and translated by a succession of mostly anonymous, demonstrably fallible, and possibly biased human editors. Its original may have actually been authored in Corinth by a historical Paul. But the earliest fragment of that text that we know of dates from around 200C.E., in a Greek manuscript on papyrus, discovered in Cairo around 1930.

And the argument's claim to universality can be undone in under 200 words:
Sye writes, neither "Truth" nor "Universal, immaterial, unchanging logic" would be possible without his god, according to the text he cites in Romans 1.
Romans 1 has a date of authorship not earlier than, say, the year 30C.E.
Without the text of Romans 1, Sye literally has no argument. It loses its keystone.
The argument must necessarily fail at times prior to the writing of Romans 1, when the text of Paul's letter to the Romans, which I suppose Sye takes to be divinely inspired, was not available to ground the argument.
So, even within the structure of Sye's argument, it is possible that there was a time when his argument did not hold. Since he contends that the argument holds today, and is irrefutably true, and there was a time when the argument did not hold, then there must have been a time when logic operated differently, or was only capable of proving a smaller set of propositions, thus admitting the possibility that there is no "God who is unchanging".

(I'll address the "since the creation of the world" assertion in Sye's passage in an endnote.)

The internal consistency of the argument might be salvaged, or at least supported to earlier times, if it cited older material for support. Such material could potentially come from the Septuagint, the Pentatuch, or the Torah. But he doesn't offer any alternatives. Romans 1:18-21 is the only supporting text.

That's just internal inconsistency. There are at least 4 separate problems with:
Absolute truth. (There might not be any. Remember that Kant's philosophy foundered when certain truths he took as axiomatic were superseded by new truths, revealed by modern physics. In the past century, physics has raised myriad new questions about truth and the limits of knowledge.)
Absolute morality. (Sye asked a TA caller, "How do you know it's wrong to molest children?" Ask the Etoro people. Their culture probably isn't optimal for encouraging human flourishing, but certainly no message inscribed on their hearts told them that what they're doing is wrong. Are they, as a people, inevitably condemned by Sye's god?)
Pluralism. (There are a lot of scriptural texts out there: the Avesta of Zoroastrianism, the Vedas etc. of Hinduism, the Koran, the Kojiki of Shinto. The Greek Theogony. The Icelandic Eddas. I could go on... Favoring one text over all the others is purely arbitrary, not evidence of unique truth.)
Epistemology. (You must rely on your senses and reason first in order to read scripture, to bring you into awareness of its "truth". Only afterward can you cede authority to Jesus as "lord of your reason". But your reason and your senses necessarily come first.)

And there are still many people alive in the world today who have never been introduced to Sye's god, or his scriptures. Romans 1 states:
"...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them".
Does that hold true for the uncontacted tribal peoples in the interior of New Guinea and other remote places?
Sure, many of them have been contacted by missionaries since the start of the 20th century. But a missionary showing up on your doorstep is very different from having the power of god demonstrated to you by miraculous works. Maybe only the people of the Levant of two millennia ago were worthy of that privilege.

If the truth of the god of Romans 1 really were inscribed on every human heart, perhaps the missionaries to the region would have had a warmer reception than this:
"In the year 1878, Sailasa the Fijian minister was journeying inland with a small party, and preaching the Gospel as he went; when they were suddenly attacked, killed and their bodies cut up and eaten." [Wikipedia entry on 19th century missionary Aminio Baledrokadroka]
Seems the locals didn't get that particular heart-inscribed memo...

I get the feeling that modern apologists just aren't trying.
The only real innovation they've offered in the past 800 years, since the work of Aquinas, seems to be increasing the disingenuousness of their arguments.

The most helpful statement that I found on Sye's proof page was in the opening line:
"...no one needs this proof."
And he's right about that. Very probably, no one will be talked into or out of faith by this sort of exercise in argument.

About that "since the creation of the world" bit...
The text of Romans 1, as presented by Sye, goes on to say,
"...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." [emphasis mine]
(His "invisible qualities" are "clearly seen", are they? That's very much like a sentence that Noam Chomsky used to illustrate a nonsensical proposition.)
So, even though god's qualities "have been clearly seen" "since the creation of the world", the interpretation that Sye's argument relies on was not available to man's reasoning faculties until Paul was divinely inspired to write it out explicitly, in his letter to the Romans. Perhaps it was "clearly seen" in the eyes of god, but it required divine inspiration to make it obvious to the minds of men.
Again, before the writing of Romans 1, Sye's argument cannot work as presented.
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02-05-2014, 03:00 AM
RE: Podcast #53 - Proof That God Exists
I'm not a Bible scholar (but I am an atheist) and I'm going to use a different tactic in this argument. What I can tell you is that my head is still hurting from all the face palming I was doing while listening to the podcast.

Forget god or the bible for a moment.

Sye uses English words like Proof, Knowledge, Truth, Universal, immaterial, unchanging logic.

He chose those words because, I guess, he looked in one or more dictionaries and decided no other words were sufficient in conveying his thoughts or opinions.

Now, having decided to use those English words (instead of any other words), he has also made the decision to abide by the universally acceptable definition of those words. god plays no part in the universally acceptable definition of English words. If he want to use the word 'proof' in a context that meant that god was part of the equation, he would need to pick another universally acceptable English word that meant god was part of the equation, but he can't use the actual word 'proof', because that word is not universally accepted to contain the concept of god.

I've looked into the definition of Sye's English words and can't find a reference to god. Therefore, he cannot claim to have 'proof' of god. He might have 'miposapolition' of god's existence (made up word that is universally acceptable to mean what Sye wants it to mean)

Am I missing something here?
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02-05-2014, 04:21 AM
RE: Podcast #53 - Proof That God Exists
(02-05-2014 03:00 AM)ZAtheist Wrote:  ...
Am I missing something here?

That he's getting (in)famous by doing what he does and there is money in that?


Also, welcome to the community.

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02-05-2014, 06:08 AM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2014 06:15 AM by Monster_Riffs.)
RE: Podcast #53 - Proof That God Exists
Here is an appropriate rap Drinking Beverage

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

Im_Ryan forum member
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