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Jacob86 last won the day on June 28 2011

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  1. What exactly are you "hmmm"-ing? In the quote, I am not claiming that contradictions are possible, I am restating, in question form, what seems to be the Objectivist position (or at least the position of whoever I was arguing with at the time). I was *asking* if that was the position of my opponent based on the preceding conversation.
  2. Kantian Christianity ("Kantianity"), i.e., the anti-intellectual, faith-based, altruistic, humility mongering, Scriptural cherry-picking Christianity of the modern west is certainly not compatible with Objectivism...or reason...or life...or Capitalism...or Christ. But true Christianity is absolutely (and exclusively) compatible with reason and life and Capitalism and the good (i.e. rational) parts of Objectivism. Similarly, only parts of Objectivism are compatible with true Christianity. The irrational parts of Objectivism (those parts which stem from defunct epistemological assumptions) are not and cannot be compatible with a rational worldview. They must be traced back to their corrupt epistemological origins, up-rooted, and replaced by reasoning on proper epistemological grounds. How does one discern "true Christianity" from Kantianity and other counterfeits, you ask? Simple. 1) Start by being an individual determined to figure out the truth for yourself - regardless of cultural/historical/popular mis-representations, etc... 2) Then, discover and commit yourself to a rational epistemology (criteria by which to judge the true from the false). In doing this, make sure that you are able to explicitly state your epistemological laws, and that they do not contradict each other or themselves. 3) Understand that, just like with any other text or teaching, there are proper and improper ways to "interpret" the Bible and teachings of Jesus, etc.. There are contexts which must be understood, and philosophical hierarchies which must be obeyed. One could easily "derive" altruism or nihilism or any other irrational ideology from cherry-picking random lines or actions from characters (even heroes!) in Atlas Shrugged. Objectivists wouldn't tolerate such irrational "interpretation" with Rand's writing. Don't allow it with others either. A text or teaching must be read through the context and intent of the author. 4) Keep in mind the whole time that truth is truth whether you are immediately able to put it all together yet or not. When you reach an apparent contradiction, remember that contradictions do not exist. Rather than hastily denying what is incontrovertibly true, re-examine your assumptions and ask yourself if there is another way to understand the seemingly contradictory truths. If they are both true, you will find that they can be reconciled. In other words, be objective. It takes a little work, but understanding and conforming oneself to reality is sort of the whole goal of Objectivism (of life!), isn't it? There should be no question that it would be well worth it.
  3. Could explain a bit more about what you mean by "strict identity"? The question is this though: do the similarities still exist even apart from the functioning of a conceptual faculty? Does the conceptual faculty CREATE or DISCOVER the similarity? If it creates the similarity, we have nominalism and subjectivism. If it discovers the similarity then we have some form of realism and objectivism. I say that this second (discovery of the similarities) is a form of realism because it insists that the similarities are real - that they are metaphysically real. The reason that I seem to use the term "universal" in both the Randian and in the "traditional" sense at the same time is because there is a sense in which I am. In line with the traditional sense, I hold that universals are real - independent of the subject's mind - metaphysical realities. In line with the "Randian" sense, I hold that (provided we are thinking accurately) we discover these universals and process them using concept formation - forming epistemological universals in our minds which accurately (to some degree or other) reflect the metaphysical universals in reality. As an examples, all cats have their "cat-like" similarities (whatever they may be). The genus of cat (along with all the differentia) is all real, metaphysically before any subject comes along to notice it. This doesn't mean that they have something labeled "cat" on or in them, but it does mean that their similarities - their "cat-ness" is a metaphysical reality. This reality is gradually discovered by subjects who process it and eventually form concepts which accurately (to some degree or other) correspond to the reality of "cat-ness". The implication is that "cat-ness" or "man-ness" or "blue-ness" etc... are all metaphysical realities - metaphysical objects. This much must be true. Are they objects up in heaven which communicate some of their essence to particular things down here? Likely not. But just because one (or a hundred) theories about the nature of these objects turns out to be wrong, this does not negate the fact that they must be objects none-the-less. The hangup that Objecitivists seem to have with this is that they can't conceive of a metaphysical object which is not a physical object because they believe that only physical reality exists. This is why most "Materialists" are also nominalists. Objectivists have enough sense to reject nominalism but seem unwilling to follow through with the implications of realism.
  4. Plasmatic, if I understand the above correctly, it is similar to what I have been saying regarding this issue. If universals have actual referents in the real world (to avoid subjectivism/nominalism) then some form of realism is true - we need not know the details about which form is true in order to know that some form is. Plato could have been wrong about the nature of the universals (an ideal cat in heaven) as well as how we come to know them (from a past life), without being wrong about the fact that they must exist in order for objective truth to be possible. I don't know why it is so difficult for intellectuals to distinguish between good and bad elements of one's philosophy. It seems that followers of philosophy in general are wholly incapable of hearing "realism" without seeing a giant "ideal cat" sitting on a giant "ideal chair" in heaven. It's kind of sad.
  5. For those who were curious above, I just recently (this morning) discovered Scott Ryan's book and, out of curiousity, searched on here to see if anyone had addressed it. I've only read small excerpts of the Amazon preview thus far, but will likely purchase it in order to study it more in depth. He does seem to be saying much of what I would say in regard to epistemology (which is semi-exciting), but his form of "theism" (panentheism) and his inability to value those aspects of Rand's thought that are extremely and uniquely valuable is quite off-putting. I'm glad you all thought of me though
  6. Well, whether it's a product of "being sapient" or not is sort of irrelevant. The relevant question is this: Is it TRUE or not? And on what grounds? Atheists (obviously) say that it is not true, and they base that on certain grounds, some of which are "logical arguments against the existence of God" or instances in which they claim that the concept of God violates the Law of Identity. The purpose of this thread is to discuss those particular arguments/claims. Would you like to contribute to that?
  7. Ummm, not to interrupt or anything but how the discussion in the last 8-10 posts relevant to the topic of the thread....?
  8. The way that I am using it, "logical necessity" does not mean "no logical alternatives currently exist". Rather, it means "the only possible alternative is self-contradictory". When there are only two alternatives (A or ~A), if one of those is contradictory, then the other is necessarily true. That is what I mean by logical necessity. With that explanation, would you still reject an argument from logical necessity (the way that I mean it here)? This equates "what we've experienced" with "all that is logically possible". Remember, I'm not really making a positive argument for any particular mircales here or for miracles in general. I'm showing that the premise of "miracles being impossible" - which Atheists use as an argument against Theism - is an unsupported premise.. it is an assumption with no scientific or philosophical backing. If you'd like a picture illustration, I am not so much building my castle (proving my worldview) here as much as I am demolishing yours (showing that you don't have quite as much "reason" on your side as you think). OR, you could say that I am disarming the weapons (arguments) that you (Atheists in general) are attempting to use against my castle (Theism). If you wish to prove that miracles are IMPOSSIBLE, arguments like "I've never seen one" or "I want one like this" won't cut it. You must prove that miracles, as such, are impossible. Apart from that, you could justifiably say that they are highly unlikely, but you have no just backing for the assumption that they are impossible. I don't wish to assert that He exists outside of existence. I do hold that God is infinite, omniscient, and omnipotent. I do not see how these contradict the basic axioms. Could you elaborate?
  9. Except the means which you propose above ("one only need look out to reality and see possibility after possibility") would *only* supply you with information concerning that which has/is happening. It can tell you nothing about what could/will happen. As an example: 2,000 years ago, based on what was seen, men considered it "impossible" that Man could fly to the moon. They were right, in a sense; they were right that at that time and in that context, it was impossible. However, that type of possibility/impossibility must be distinguished from the logical possibility/impossibility because apart from tat distinction, it could/should be said that we have "done the logically impossible and defied logic"... as some idiots are happy to proclaim. You could say that it was contextually impossible, but not logically impossible. A contextual impossiblity is something that is "impossible" but not contradictory. A logical impossibility is a contradiction. Personally, to avoid confusion, I actually prefer to reserve the terms "possible" and "impossible" to refer to "non-contradictory" and "contradictory".
  10. The "theme" of this particular thread is logical arguments against the existence of God. As a Theist, therefore, I am simply focusing on the refutation of any possible logical arguments against the existence of God in this thread. I do have positive arguments for the existence of God (mostly expounded in the "Argument for the Existence of God" thread), but I have intentionally tried to keep positive arguments to a minimum in this thread in order to stay on topic. I am also very happy to discuss positive argument for God over email, etc.. with any individual who would like more clarifying discussion than what can be had on the forum. Now aside from simply staying on topic, I will add that there is a certain value in addressing the logical (philosophical) arguments against God's existence before moving to positive arguments or "proof". In "proving" my position, my personal expertise and preference lies in logical arguments rather than "evidential" ones. From the way you have discussed "proof" or the lack-thereof above, I assume that you are referring more to the lack of scientific/empirical evidence. Quickly, I would like to ask if you would accept an argument from logical necessity (as proof FOR His existence) - apart from empirical evidence - and if not, why not? Regarding empirical evidence, however, it is always good (and necessary) to clear the philosophical ground before moving on to more specified studies/ inquiries. This debate is a perfect example of that. The typical Atheist has a philosophy that says "miracles are logically impossible and therefore have never happened - which means all apparent "evidence" of miracles is to be dismissed as hoax, illusion, etc..." But when asked "On what do you base the assumption that miracles are impossible?", the Atheist answers "on the basis that none have ever happened". So, it is a circular argument: "Miracles can't happen because the submitted evidence for them must be discounted because they can't happen". This was addressed (much more eloquently) by C.S. Lewis in the book "Miracles". Before you can objectively analyze any potential evidence for miracles, you must first establish whether or not they are logically possible. If they are logically impossible, then no evidence need be consulted. If they are logically possible, then the potential evidence needs to be treated with the same objectivity as potential evidence for any other claim. So, the purpose in addressing and refuting the logical arguments against God (and miracles) is to clear a path to the consideration of positive arguments FOR them. The emphasis of my studies, though, does not deal much (right now) with the empirical arguments - though, with the right philosophical framework, there are good resources out there concerning the historicity and reliability of historical Biblical accounts. I think all of that should sufficiently deal with the majority of your post which seems to address the lack of positive evidence. You did mention a potential logical argument against God concerning the issue of Him being infinite, and I hate to leave you hanging, but I gotta go. I will do my best to respond to that particular issue soon. Thanks for the discussion!
  11. This is where I think the disconnect is. I'm saying that the method, itself, ALSO requires validation. So Objectivists say that perception (the directly observable) is the ultimate form of validation and that logic is the process or method used in this validation. Now, take that principle and treat it like any other proposition. Try to validate, by perception, the proposition that "logic is the proper method" for validation. OR, try to validate, by perception, that "perception is the ultimate means of validation". What I'm saying is that the basic Objectivist Epistemological law violates itself. The first test for any Epistemological law is that it meets it's own criteria (this is where both the empiricists and the rationalists failed). But the reasoning process you went through to formulate that observation (which I completely agree with) ASSUMES the validity of the Law of Identity up front. "To see something (A) is (=) to see something (A)". In this instance, you have not abstracted the law of identity from your perception -- you have applied the law of identity to your perception. There's a difference. There is no way to abstract the law of identity (or any other UNIVERSAL law) from perception... without already assuming it - which is what Objectivists do without admitting it. Again, there is absolutely no need for trial and error when it comes to VALIDATING the laws of logic or correlaries thereof. Trial and error could and often are useful in the DISCOVERY of them, but to use trial and error in order to VALIDATE them is to assume that it is possible that they are not true: to assume that contradictions are possible-- which would crumble all objectivity.
  12. I think that's a good idea... however I'm not sure which part you're wanting elaboration on. haha. So, I'm going to try and elaborate generally and if you'd like more specificity, please let me know. My position (and the position of MUCH of philosophical Theism throughout the centuries -- especially pre-Kant) is that God cannot (and would not want to!) make "A = ~A"... He cannot commit contradictions. If He has performed any miracles, they are not contradictions because contradictions are inherently impossible - not just "impossible for US as humans", but impossible in and of themselves. Miracles are instances of A behaving in an unordinary way - but not ultimately against its nature. There are certain things (Miracles) that God can do and we will never learn to do because those things are within the nature of God to do, but they are not within our nature to do. By referring to "two different natures" here, I am not referring to different realities/dimensions. I simply mean that God has a nature and Man has a nature, and so does every other existent. And each existent can only act in accordance to its nature. If God created water, then part of the nature of water is that it is dependent on God and part of the nature of God is that He is influential over water, and therefore He can cause water to act in such a way that a man could walk on top of it when and if He so chooses. Man did not create water and therefore Man cannot make water "walkable' by fiat (Man might find some technological way to do so in the future.. but it won't be by fiat like it is with God). Does that make sense? Similarly, WE could never be infinite, omnipotent, etc... because it is not within the nature of Man to be those things. But that does not mean that it could not be in the nature of God to be those things. Just like its not in the nature of an amoeba to build a space ship and fly to the moon -- this doesnt mean that it is impossible for ANYTHING to build a space ship and fly to the moon. The "if" clause was probably more confusing than helpful. What I was trying to get across is that If God exists and He is the "Immovable Mover", there are certain other things which must be true about Him-- attributes which He must have in order to be that type of God, attributes which very few religions actually ascribe to God. In other words, if God did not have xyz attributes, it WOULD be an instance of "A = ~A". But that is really a side point, so I apologize for bringing it up. Haha! You're funny. I like you. Perhaps those conversations can be had over email or in another thread (though I can't imagine such a thread being appropriate on this forum..??)
  13. Why is that?? If I may pre-empt your answer (for the sake of saving us both time), its because to you "God-creator" means "creator of all existence -- including HIM if He exists". I don't know how many times I have to say that that is a straw man. Maybe this time it will stick though... God created ALL OTHER EXISTENTS. He EXISTS (and is therefore "part" of existence) and created ALL OTHER existents -- all existents which are not Himself. If that's unclear, please ask clarifying questions so I can try and make it more clear... if possible. He absolutely must "obey" the laws of identity and causality!!... (which is just another way of saying "He must be Himself") Why do you think that "eliminates omnipotence, omnipresence and other divine attributes"? What is it about those attributes that creates/leads to a contradiction? What is it about them that adds up to "A = ~A at the same time and in the same relationship"?
  14. Who ever said anything about thinking "on His level"? You don't need to think on some mystical "higher level" in order to see that what He does is logical - you simply need to better understand what logic IS and what it ISN'T... and then understand what God has done and what He hasn't. In other words, be able to distinguish between contradictions and anomalies, and be able to distinguish between legitimate philosophical theism and strawmen. It actually follows very certainly, but that's a topic for a different thread (perhaps "Argument for the Existence of God" and I am currently writing on that subject (and a lot more) and will be happy to send you a copy the finished product when it's complete. I'm not sure what your argument is here. You seem to be describing a lot of stuff about consciousness --- but are you arguing that those things are essential to consciousness such that a being without a physical body could not have consciousness?? You seem to be saying that if God is logical and does not act against His nature (i.e. creates what He does because of who He is rather than arbitrarily), then He can't possibly have a personality. Does that mean that the essence of personality is acting against your nature? Would you accuse Galt of having little to no personality because he was so logical and always acting according to his nature???
  15. I completely agree - as do the majority of serious philosophical theologians. The "theist" who holds that God transcends existence (i.e. doesn't exist) is largely a strawman.
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