Theism's fatal flaw
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18-02-2015, 06:22 PM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(18-02-2015 05:03 PM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  Scotsman, I'm going to copy and paste the first and only reply to your initial post (I copy/pasted it to the other board like I mentioned):

"I think that's a lot of hot air...big words, obfuscation while basically forcing the poor stupid believer into a trap by defining the parameters of his belief.

Fortunately, I know what to do with a Gordian Knot.."

That's funny, and typical. Notice the person does not detail any of these obfuscations. I guess we're just supposed to take it on his word. I would simply ask him or her how I can reliably distinguish what he calls "God" from something that he may merely be imagining? He is going to have a very hard time doing that. He will most likely get angry, call you some names and then flee.

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18-02-2015, 06:39 PM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
I basically did ask him that. I also asked him to define God, and to explain to me how he knew his God was the real God....

...not a single straight answer.

I started a thread here "Who Wants to Play" with a link attached for anyone who wants to make an account and dive in.
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18-02-2015, 06:55 PM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(12-02-2015 01:50 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  There is a fundamental flaw in theism that I believe is inescapable and insurmountable.

Typically when dealing with a theist I will ask him or her to name their primaries, name the fundamental starting point of their world view. After all if the starting point can be shown to be false then the whole thing comes crashing down.

Almost invariably they will say either "God" or the words found in the Bible. I will then usually point out that this is an improper starting point.

A starting point must be undeniably true, since the rest of the hierarchy of the worldview is dependent upon its truth. If the starting point is at all questionable, then the rest will be at best questionable. "God" is not undeniably true. I can deny the existence of God without contradicting a single fact that is known to be true. So "God" as a starting point fails in this regard.

A proper starting point to knowledge must be fundamental. It must be conceptually irreducible. That means that it does not rest on any antecedent concepts. For if it does then it is not a starting point, one of the concepts it rests on is the staring point and we would have to discover which one is the most fundamental and that one would be the true starting point and we would have to make sure that this was true. In other words we can't begin our knowledge in mid stream if we want to be sure it is true. The concept "God" is not conceptually irreducible and so is not a proper starting point. It rests on antecedent concepts. It is even worse if the Bible is the starting point since it is a book consisting of Thousands of different words, each standing for a concept. So "God" fails in this regard.

A proper starting point, being conceptually irreducible and not inferred from prior knowledge must be something that is directly observable. It must be perceptually self evident. Obviously God fails this test in spades.

A proper starting point must be universal. It must be implicit in all subsequent knowledge. But we all learn many things before we ever hear about God. Since "God" is not conceptually irreducible then the concepts which must necessarily precede it do not assume its truth. Therefore "God" also fails in this respect.

But it is even worse. "God" is not only not directly observable but it is also not logically inferred from any concretes. When we look at the world we see only natural, finite, corruptible, mutable and imperfect things. We can't logically infer a supernatural, infinite, incorruptible, immutable and perfect thing. Inference from the natural can only lead to more of the natural.

But it gets still worse for the God belief. Not only is the starting point of the theistic worldview improper and logically uninferrable, but the only alternative we have if we want to apprehend "God" is to imagine it. We can't see it, taste it, hear it, touch it or smell it. We have to imagine it. It is indistinguishable from something that is merely imaginary. Imaginary things are not real and do not actually exist.

So this, I think is a fatal flaw. Theism begins with a starting point which is indistinguishable from something that is merely imaginary. What do you all think?

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18-02-2015, 06:58 PM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(18-02-2015 06:39 PM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  I basically did ask him that. I also asked him to define God, and to explain to me how he knew his God was the real God....

...not a single straight answer.

I started a thread here "Who Wants to Play" with a link attached for anyone who wants to make an account and dive in.

Notice how he put words in my mouth. I said nothing about anyone being stupid. You won't get a straight answer because there isn't one to give. I did not set any parameters for anyone's belief. I simply go by what believers tell me when I ask them what their starting point is. If it is flawed then that's their problem. I'm simply pointing out the flaw.

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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19-02-2015, 07:10 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(18-02-2015 09:43 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 10:43 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I would probably have to decipher the meaning of this using a series of examples.

I hold that my wife has never been unfaithful to me during the several years of our relationship, though I haven't combed through all her texts, her Facebook messages, confirmed her whereabout on every particular occasion, hired a private eye to investigate. I hold this to be true, through my own subjective evaluation.

Bob holds that life is nothing but sound and fury, signifying nothing, this belief is based on his subjective evaluation of life. His friend Adam on the other believes the opposite, based on his own perception of life, that there does seem to be some rhyme and reason for it, some sense of moral direction, as signifying something, rather than nothing. There seems to be some story here, one in which we’re all a part of, rather than a meaningless series of coincidences.

How does the role of self-evident truth apply here? Is the self-evident truth in regards to my wife, the fact that she exists? If so wouldn’t that mean the conclusions of Bob and Adam are also based on a self-evident truth, that life exists?

I'm not sure what these examples have to do with a philosophical starting point. For instance my starting point is existence. In both of these examples my starting point is implicit. You would have to exist and your wife would have to exist before you could suspect her of any thing. Bob would also have to exist in order to contemplate the meaning of his life. Now suppose a Solipsist believes that he is a consciousness only and he can't be certain that anything exists. We know he is wrong because existence exists and consciousness is a product of existence.


You didn't mention anything about Adam, if the same applies for both Bob and Adam:

"His friend Adam on the other believes the opposite, based on his own perception of life, that there does seem to be some rhyme and reason for it, some sense of moral direction, as signifying something, rather than nothing. There seems to be some story here, one in which we’re all a part of, rather than a meaningless series of coincidences."

Adam exists, life exists, and he led to believe on the basis of his subjective evaluations, that all this is true.

Adam is starting from a proper starting point correct?
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19-02-2015, 07:22 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(18-02-2015 09:43 AM)Chas Wrote:  The Genesis story is, like other pre-scientific tales, a myth. It is an attempt by ignorant people to explain there existence.

So using the scientific method, you are led to the conclusion that Genesis was written to explain how we came about, a gap in the pre-modern world, filled by later scientific discoveries. Which to me amounts to someone who says the three little pigs, was written as an explanation of the behavior of wolves and pigs.

The atheists, Philosopher John Gary understands the Genesis story to mean this:

"As the Genesis story teaches, knowledge cannot save us from ourselves. If we know more than before, it means only that we have greater scope to enact our madness. But – as the Genesis myth also teaches – there is no way we can rid ourselves of what we know . . . The message of Genesis is that in the most vital areas of human life there can be no progress, only an unending struggle with our nature."

So is his view incorrect, while yours is the most accurate one, which best explains the evidence, and is the more rational, logical, and analytically correct conclusion?
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19-02-2015, 07:37 AM (This post was last modified: 19-02-2015 07:49 AM by Chas.)
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(19-02-2015 07:22 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-02-2015 09:43 AM)Chas Wrote:  The Genesis story is, like other pre-scientific tales, a myth. It is an attempt by ignorant people to explain there existence.

So using the scientific method, you are led to the conclusion that Genesis was written to explain how we came about, a gap in the pre-modern world, filled by later scientific discoveries. Which to me amounts to someone who says the three little pigs, was written as an explanation of the behavior of wolves and pigs.

The atheists, Philosopher John Gary understands the Genesis story to mean this:

"As the Genesis story teaches, knowledge cannot save us from ourselves. If we know more than before, it means only that we have greater scope to enact our madness. But – as the Genesis myth also teaches – there is no way we can rid ourselves of what we know . . . The message of Genesis is that in the most vital areas of human life there can be no progress, only an unending struggle with our nature."

So is his view incorrect, while yours is the most accurate one, which best explains the evidence, and is the more rational, logical, and analytically correct conclusion?

The Genesis story does not have a single meaning. Part of it is about knowledge (the Garden episode), part about origins ("In the beginning ..."), part about hate and envy, and so forth. Just read the text.

I don't know if you misunderstood Gray or cherry-picked that quote, but I seriously doubt he meant that was the only or entire meaning of Genesis.

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19-02-2015, 09:41 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
(19-02-2015 07:10 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-02-2015 09:43 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  I'm not sure what these examples have to do with a philosophical starting point. For instance my starting point is existence. In both of these examples my starting point is implicit. You would have to exist and your wife would have to exist before you could suspect her of any thing. Bob would also have to exist in order to contemplate the meaning of his life. Now suppose a Solipsist believes that he is a consciousness only and he can't be certain that anything exists. We know he is wrong because existence exists and consciousness is a product of existence.


You didn't mention anything about Adam, if the same applies for both Bob and Adam:

"His friend Adam on the other believes the opposite, based on his own perception of life, that there does seem to be some rhyme and reason for it, some sense of moral direction, as signifying something, rather than nothing. There seems to be some story here, one in which we’re all a part of, rather than a meaningless series of coincidences."

Adam exists, life exists, and he led to believe on the basis of his subjective evaluations, that all this is true.

Adam is starting from a proper starting point correct?

The fact that he exists does not tell us what his philosophical starting point is. If he supposes that a God created everything in existence by an act of conscious will then he does not have a proper starting point. He puts consciousness as his primary and existence as his secondary axiom. Both of these are axiomatic concepts but he has the order wrong. It is an error of hierarchy. It's existence first and consciousness as a corollary and product of existence. Not consciousness first and then existence as a corollary and product of consciousness. This is the fundamental flaw of theism. It holds that existence is a product of a consciousness and not the other way around. If he makes this error at the beginning then it will have profound impact on his idea of what is knowledge and how it is obtained. He will be led inevitably to epistemological subjectivism. He will inevitably blur the distinction between the real and the imaginary.

The fact that consciousness is a product of existence is directly observable. Consciousness is a faculty of certain biological organisms. It is dependent on existence in at least three ways. One is the structures of the brain and the sense organs. Two is something that exists to be conscious of, an object of consciousness. Three, it serves a purpose in that it helps the organism possessing it to deal more effectively with its environment. No where do we observe a consciousness without these three things. We also do not observe any consciousness which creates its own reality. consciousness is the faculty that perceives reality, not the faculty which creates this. This is readily observable and testable by anyone anywhere at any time. Just focus on any object around you and try to alter it or make it do something by an act of conscious will. You will find in every case that the object does not conform to your conscious desires but instead it is your consciousness that conforms to the object.

If we want to see a consciousness that enjoys primacy over its objects, as gods are supposed to enjoy, then we must use our imaginations. But the imaginary is not real and does not exist. Therefore if someone claims that there is a consciousness which enjoys primacy over its objects then they have not arrived at this conclusion objectively but subjectively by looking to their imagination.

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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19-02-2015, 10:09 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
"Existence exists" is all well and good so far as it goes, but, it doesn't actually go anywhere on its own... Any useful or interesting conclusion inevitably involves additional assumptions.

A justification by way of "self-evident" is dangerous ground. History is rife with "perceptually self-evident" truths that are nonetheless wrong.

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19-02-2015, 10:15 AM
RE: Theism's fatal flaw
Okay true scotsman,

Same poster replied back. Here's his second response:

Well, I'd point out that the above statement is absurd, as it can be argued that nothing in reality "is indistinguishable from something that is merely imaginary."

The whole long statement can be summed up in the above sentence. The premise is weak, and the author basically seems to be spending his effort in creating a logic puzzle designed to arrive at his predetermined answer.

This is grade school debate team stuff. Sorry if it's not blowing anybody's skirt up...
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