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A Critique of Objectivist Philosophy of Religion

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Right - if weak foundationalism is true, then there is no strong foundationalist flavored knowledge. There is, however, weak foundationalist flavored knowledge. Weak foundationalism is a whole different account of knowledge, not another way of achieving strong foundationalist knowledge.

The point is that if your conception of knowledge has no necessary connection to reality, in what sense can it be considered knowledge? You can term it whatever you want, but at the end of the day justification either ties claims to reality, or it doesn't. Your favored brand of 'justification' doesn't.

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I'm not understanding why it is that Objectivists "just have to respond" to every argument ever put out for theism, or it becomes a "problem for Objectivism." Is it a problem for you that you haven't

Well, first we would need to flesh out that claim a little. 'Must' for what purpose? We are talking about verifying claims, determining the truth of claims. If we take 'true' to mean 'consistent wi

General note: if I recall correctly, ctrl y is a fellow who used to be an Objectivist and now considers himself Christian. The only reason I mention this is because some people seem to think he is no

The point is that if your conception of knowledge has no necessary connection to reality, in what sense can it be considered knowledge? You can term it whatever you want, but at the end of the day justification either ties claims to reality, or it doesn't. Your favored brand of 'justification' doesn't.

Right, justification doesn't "tie claims to reality."

That sucks.

I wish it did.

Yeah...

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You don't have to spend your time on this thread if you don't want to. But you're simply mistaken in saying that if someone could possibly be justified in believing that weak foundationalism is false, then weak foundationalism is self refuting. Again, the claim is not that weak foundationalism implies that weak foundationalism is false; the claim is that weak foundationalism implies that (say) John Smith could be justified in believing that weak foundationalism is false. But since on weak foundationalism, we can be justified in believing things that are not true, that has no necessary implications for the truth of weak foundationalism.

I think you're confusing weak and strong foundationalism. On strong foundationalism, if a claim can be justified, then the claim has to be true. But on weak foundationalism, things are different.

Spelling it out, on weak foundationalism a claim can be justified and yet not be true. Okay.

That feature of the theory of weak foundationalism does not distinguish it from Objectivist foundationalism.

Objectivism also holds that a claim can be justified and yet not be true. Yet, Objectivism is not weak foundationalism as you/Swinburne have defined it. I will again reference Kelley (chapter 7), this time his discussion of justification:

Illusions and Perceptual Relativity

"Being F" vs. "Appearing F" can only be distinguished conceptually. Illusions are a conceptual phenomena, misclassifications based on real appearances.

3 facts jointly make illusions possible:

• Form varies with conditions.

• A concept of secondary quality is a concept of an external feature of objects, in respect of which they are similar independently of us.

• A concept of secondary quality is formed and predicated on the basis of similarities in the forms with which we perceive its instances.

For an illusion to occur one must perceive an attribute not in the usual form but another form in which one normally perceives a different attribute and for which one possesses a different concept. (An entirely novel appearance won't have a corresponding concept so no misclassification will occur thus no illusion.)

Only in relation to our concepts can we identify any form of perception as illusory. Abnormal conditions are those in which we perceive objects in illusory forms.

Definition of Normal Condition
- any condition of perception within a range that allows discrimination of the similarity to other objects subsumed by the same concept.

Second Principle of Justified Perceptual Judgment:
One must perceive the object in a form which is normal for the perception of F objects (F a concept of a sensory quality).

Third Principle of Justified Perceptual Judgment:
One must take into account any evidence one has that the conditions of perception are abnormal.

The conceptual override
- Using background knowledge of what F looks like in abnormal conditions to make a judgment makes that judgment an inference (i.e. not a
perceptual
judgment.)

Justified error
- An object which is Not-F may be perceived in the form and normal conditions for the perception of F. One can be perceptually justified in judging a Not-F is F.

Two concepts of justification:

• "Being in a position to know" is what justifies - meaning in contact with reality. Knowledge is the correct identification of things as they are independently of our beliefs. By this theory an hallucinator is not in a position to know what he asserts, and neither is the subject of an illusion.

• "Reasonableness" What justifies is what makes it reasonable to think so. Justification is normative, a standard of what ought to be cognitive conduct. But "ought implies can", a person cannot be held accountable to a standard impossible to apply in a given case. By this theory the subject of an illusion is reasonable in forming the judgment to which his experience prompts him, and so is the hallucinator.

Holding to either theory of justification in disregard of the other is another manifestation of issues discussed in Chapter 1. The first theory disregards the process of knowing {intrinsicism}, the second theory discards reality as the standard {subjectivism}. Objectively, a percept, even an illusory percept, arises from the interaction of object, senses and conditions. A subject takes an object to be F on the basis of similarities that are the real product of perceptual contact with reality. Hallucinations can be reasonably interpreted in certain ways, but there can be no perceptual justification without perceptual contact with reality. The subject of an illusion can be justified, an hallucinator cannot.

The firm foundation of knowledge is perception.

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But since on weak foundationalism, we can be justified in believing things that are not true, that has no necessary implications for the truth of weak foundationalism.

What epistemology did you use to determine that what you "justifiably" believe in is not true?

Whether an idea is true is verified outside your own mind. You don't just get to decide what you think is true or not and that belief suddenly be what is true. That would be the absence of an epistemology.

If you apply this "if it seems true, it is" nonsense to every claim, I think you'll find it works against you in attempting to "prove" something you believe or "argue a case" for something you believe. Under your epistemology, whatever seems true to me, is. It's pure subjectivism: as you said before, two different people can believe contradictory things and both be right. Don't try to call it something else.

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You don't have to spend your time on this thread if you don't want to.

My patience with the OP of this thread has worn thin.

Until ctrl y decides what to make this thread about, and stop dragging every responder all over the place, I refuse to continue participating.

Here's a short summation of some of the things he has made this thread about:

1. A "kind" sharing of a religious critique of Objectivism.

2. Basically spouting a long list of recent news in the apologetics world, and telling us Objectivism systematically fails because Objectivists don't respond to every little claim mystics make.

3. Pdf-dropping, the first time for some fine-tuning argument. Then backing off of this entirely by diplomatically stating that the fine tuning argument isn't related to theism (doesn't necessitate an agent setting them, but just that they fall in a range).

4. Admitting you don't know what Primacy of Existence and Primacy of Consciousness even mean (this one should be first choice for you if you think you ever understood Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology...)

5. Proposing that there are no foundations to knowledge.****

6. Proposing a "if it seems true, it's true" epistemology... Which makes all religions and all other truth claims true, even if they directly contradict, as long as it seems true to the person proposing it. It renders logic useless because contradiction doesn't matter anymore. In short, nonsense.

7. Claiming that "he's not here to convert people away from Objectivism,"* even offering for the thread to be closed if it looks that way, then admitting to taking on the task of "shaking our confidence" in Objectivist epistemology**.

8. Purporting that the universe is "impossible" without a God existing, too.

9. Dismissing us to go read Swinburne while refusing to bring any of the arguments to us.

10. Making your only mission for the thread out to be pointing out that it's academically respectable (why would that be conclusive in any way to an Objectivist?) to believe in God and that there's "lots of literature." ...Okay?

11. Demonstrating a general ignorance of fundamental Objectivist stances toward religion, God and mysticism, then claiming to have the perfect refutation of them. Cases in point: #4 above, the whole definition of "Arbitrary" boondoggle, that examination of any definition of God by means of reason is fruitless***

12. Complaining about the writing style in ITOE and calling out the entire Objectivist theory of concepts as lacking

13. Whining that: "People here apparently believe that they have a method of reaching the truth, "reducing concepts to reality," which all knowledge must conform to." Yeah, we claim to an epistemology.

14. Arbitrarily deciding that he doesn't have to define God, and choosing dictatorially that we are talking about epistemology only.

15. Claiming the foundation of science is Christianity, and elsewhere that "science depends on a worldview like Christianity." (...)

16. Telling Dante to clarify a position he took in a thread about something else. *****

This nonsense about weak foundationalism should have been over when the OP stated that "under weak foundationalism, you would be justified in believing weak foundationalism is false." The fact that no problem could be seen there betrays a fundamental ignorance or a willful misuse (much more probable) of the process of logic. Sorry, buddy, it does.

Pick one of these. When you meet a fundamental disagreement, don't just keep telling us you disagree again and again. Leave. If you choose to stay, make an actual case for your position.

And for the love of whatever God you think seems real today, stay on topic.

Someone needs to lead you through a series of the question "Why?" over and over, and hopefully when it leads you to a shrug of your shoulders, you'll realize how weak your foundation is.

Think of it this way: in the case of the Swinburne book. If you: a ) brought the arguments to us, b ) heard our responses, and c ) saw that you fundamentally disagree with us somewhere, don't make the thread go on for 89 pages by insisting on saying "nuh uh" and "well we disagree then" to every post we make. Create a new thread about the fundamental, and discuss that there. Stop wasting everyone's time, including your own.

Again, I may be speaking for myself only, but in my opinion, you're being extremely rude by doing all of this.

* http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276563

** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276635

*** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276592

**** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276660 , http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276672

***** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276680

tl;dr The OP needs to pick something to talk about to warrant my participation. Otherwise this will turn into another one of those "But what about? But what about? But what about?" threads again. I don't believe that the OP is willing to be reasoned with on these topics, nor that he actually wants our opinions or our feedback.

If reality, without your help, does not convince a person of the self-evident, he has abdicated reason and cannot be dealt with any further.
Edited by chuff
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I'm sure you guys have a lot of criticism for me.

Any thoughts on the phenomenon of pious fraud? How about schizophrenia, particularly Jerusalem syndrome?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVUNPeCCRUw

My patience with the OP of this thread has worn thin.

You need to learn to have fun talking to people like ctrl y. They've got the Templeton Foundation, the Discovery Institute, and plenty of other sources of funding, so this crap isn't going away. BTW, what does OP stand for?

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My patience with the OP of this thread has worn thin.

chuff,

Okay. You're right. I didn't think the purpose of this thread through when I started it, nor did I completely think through some of the positions I've put forward. I'm going to stop wasting everyone's time now, admit defeat and leave the thread (unless a really good reason to return materializes).

I'm going to take a couple of days to study and gather my thoughts, and then I'll post a more focused thread which will explain, as carefully as I am capable of, why I left Objectivism for Christianity. Would you be willing to participate in a thread like that?

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I'm going to stop wasting everyone's time now, admit defeat and leave the thread (unless a really good reason to return materializes).

You helped to validate Harry Binswangers observation that most people are unable to understand Objectivism for me in this response.

In the process of admitting of defeat, take the opportunity to examine the nature of principle you were faced with. Before you can 'defeat' Objectivism, you need to discover its identity. Only when you focus your consciousness to fully process its proper identification will you understand what you are dealing with and know how to proceed from there.

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chuff,

Okay. You're right. I didn't think the purpose of this thread through when I started it, nor did I completely think through some of the positions I've put forward. I'm going to stop wasting everyone's time now, admit defeat and leave the thread (unless a really good reason to return materializes).

I'm going to take a couple of days to study and gather my thoughts, and then I'll post a more focused thread which will explain, as carefully as I am capable of, why I left Objectivism for Christianity. Would you be willing to participate in a thread like that?

Probably not, from how you describe it. I wouldn't participate because it would not follow these forum rules:

Consistency with the purpose of this site

Participants agree not use the website to spread ideas contrary to Objectivism. Examples include religion, communism, "moral tolerationism," and libertarianism. Honest questions about such subjects are permitted.

Keeping threads on topic

Participants agree to make posts on topic, discussing relevant issues at hand. If a participant wants to start a discussion in a different direction, simply begin a new thread.

You may find it extremely difficult to start a thread about "Why ctrl y Thinks Christianity Is Better Than Objectivism" without ignoring one or both of these rules.

edited to add:

@ctrl y,

Don't get me wrong. Each of the topics this thread was almost about would make good threads (and most of them probably already have).

Edited by chuff
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You need to learn to have fun talking to people like ctrl y. They've got the Templeton Foundation, the Discovery Institute, and plenty of other sources of funding, so this crap isn't going away. BTW, what does OP stand for?

OP stands for Original Poster.

Yes, I understand how full and vast the influence of religious thought is. My impatience toward ctrl y did not arise from his religious beliefs, but from his refusal to stay on one subject long enough to come to a conclusion on it without bringing up something else, as well as the "Read this book, read this paper, read this essay" attitude, which we resolved earlier.

(A satisfactory conclusion for me does not necessitate a "I'm wrong, you guys win" position. I hope that is clear. I would accept as a conclusion something like: "Well, I understand the side I am coming from and the side you are coming from, understand the arguments against it and the formulation of them, and still disagree about X, and am not wavering." Then the thread would be over.)

edit: typo

Edited by chuff
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I knew I recognized you.

The OP seems to favor determinism (see this thread and this thread) (in spite of the fact that it dooms Christianity's central tenet of man's culpability for sin, since it makes man incapable of volition).

The OP also seems to need an "authority's" opinion on something in order to believe it (this thread betrays such thinking, as well as a fear of the Good). So in the case of this thread, it's so-and-so Christian philosopher's word against ours (which he wants to make us read). Nothing to do with the OP's mind or judgment. This case is precisely why we ought to reserve the right to say, "You know what? No. I'm not wasting my time."

I don't think it a dangerous prospect to ignore any further threads created by the OP, considering the incomprehensibility of this one combined with the severe lack of basic understanding and inexplicable accompanying stubbornness that are evident in this one.

My advice: Read the literature and understand for yourself. Questions, debate, reasoning, about a topic all go here.

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I knew I recognized you.

The OP seems to favor determinism (see this thread and this thread) (in spite of the fact that it dooms Christianity's central tenet of man's culpability for sin, since it makes man incapable of volition).

The OP also seems to need an "authority's" opinion on something in order to believe it (this thread betrays such thinking, as well as a fear of the Good). So in the case of this thread, it's so-and-so Christian philosopher's word against ours (which he wants to make us read). Nothing to do with the OP's mind or judgment. This case is precisely why we ought to reserve the right to say, "You know what? No. I'm not wasting my time."

I don't think it a dangerous prospect to ignore any further threads created by the OP, considering the incomprehensibility of this one combined with the severe lack of basic understanding and inexplicable accompanying stubbornness that are evident in this one.

My advice: Read the literature and understand for yourself. Questions, debate, reasoning, about a topic all go here.

Except that those threads are all between one and four years old.

Why is there so much psychologizing on this site? I've been to a number of forums, and I've never come across one where nobody can ask questions about determinism, intrinsic value, God, and so forth without having his mental stability questioned and his past posting history carefully dissected with a microscope. This isn't the first time someone's looked into my past posts, brought out all the threads where I disagreed with Objectivism, and used those threads to construct a bizarre unfalsifiable narrative, either. (I think it's the third time - and this time the culprit is a 20 year old kid, I see - he's probably qualified to diagnose my psychology, right?) Why not just let people make the arguments and ask the questions that interest them? Is there something about Objectivism that turns people into paranoid amateur psychologists?

Edited by ctrl y
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Except that those threads are all between one and four years old.

Why is there so much psychologizing on this site? I've been to a number of forums, and I've never come across one where nobody can ask questions about determinism, intrinsic value, God, and so forth without having his mental stability questioned and his past posting history carefully dissected with a microscope. This isn't the first time someone's looked into my past posts, brought out all the threads where I disagreed with Objectivism, and used those threads to construct a bizarre unfalsifiable narrative, either. (I think it's the third time - and this time the culprit is a 20 year old kid, I see - he's probably qualified to diagnose my psychology, right?) Why not just let people make the arguments and ask the questions that interest them? Is there something about Objectivism that turns people into paranoid amateur psychologists?

My apologies for not paying closer attention to the time of the postings. And I admit that psychologizing you to the extent that I did was unwarranted.

The trends I noted, however, are visible in the thread we're posting in right now. I combined characteristics of your posts (1-4 years old though they were) that I noticed with those that I noticed here. You must understand that while I hastily made a judgment of you, I was also quite frustrated at having wasted my time. Others have expressed similar frustrations that I would not have known about had I not been curious as to your other threads.

That being said, in your posts in this thread you seem to be pitting figures of authority for one side against the other's ("you can't disprove this academic writing with your side's literature," it's like Bible-verse fights). Keep in mind also that I am treating this thread as I would one started by anyone foreign to the ideas.

For hasty, unwarranted generalizations I made about you, ctrl y, I apologize. In your thread about Atlas, for example, you demonstrated an admirable desire to understand.

Now, in response to your accusations against me:

Though I realize you are fed up with being psychologized over and over again, I did not say you were mentally unstable.

And I don't need a framed degree on the wall or whatever other qualifications you think I need in order to spot a trend in your posts and link it with other posts you have made. Especially after the last 5 pages of this, which I've attended to closely.

I sincerely hope you'll excuse me for the fatal mistake of being my age.

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Why is there so much psychologizing on this site? I've been to a number of forums, and I've never come across one where nobody can ask questions about determinism, intrinsic value, God, and so forth without having his mental stability questioned and his past posting history carefully dissected with a microscope.

You state that like it happens all the time, yet no one here in this thread questioned your mental stability even. I've seen plenty of discussions on God, intrinsic value (one thread made by me even), and determinism, and most proceed fine. Annoyance only really comes in when important questions are outright ignored and evaded.

I agree with Chuff:

"(A satisfactory conclusion for me does not necessitate a "I'm wrong, you guys win" position. I hope that is clear. I would accept as a conclusion something like: "Well, I understand the side I am coming from and the side you are coming from, understand the arguments against it and the formulation of them, and still disagree about X, and am not wavering." Then the thread would be over.)"

Edited by Eiuol
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You state that like it happens all the time, yet no one here in this thread questioned your mental stability even. I've seen plenty of discussions on God, intrinsic value (one thread made by me even), and determinism, and most proceed fine. Annoyance only really comes in when important questions are outright ignored and evaded.

I agree with Chuff:

"(A satisfactory conclusion for me does not necessitate a "I'm wrong, you guys win" position. I hope that is clear. I would accept as a conclusion something like: "Well, I understand the side I am coming from and the side you are coming from, understand the arguments against it and the formulation of them, and still disagree about X, and am not wavering." Then the thread would be over.)"

I agree with the passage you quoted as well. Thanks for reposting it.

Your point that no one questioned my mental stability per se is conceded. I was a little loose in my formulation of my last post because I was frustrated with having someone psychologize me and then say that any future OPs I made should be ignored. A Christian should have thicker skin than that, though.

To digress a little, this is one of the things I like about Swinburne - his character comes through in his writing. For example, his response to Dawkins' blistering criticism of his work was very classy and diffident: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~orie0087/framesetpdfs.shtml

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I agree with the passage you quoted as well. Thanks for reposting it.

Your point that no one questioned my mental stability per se is conceded. I was a little loose in my formulation of my last post because I was frustrated with having someone psychologize me and then say that any future OPs I made should be ignored. A Christian should have thicker skin than that, though.

To digress a little, this is one of the things I like about Swinburne - his character comes through in his writing. For example, his response to Dawkins' blistering criticism of his work was very classy and diffident: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~orie0087/framesetpdfs.shtml

Sounds fair to me. If you'll agree to move on with me away from this mess we've both contributed to making, I'd gladly participate in a different thread about a specific claim or position of Swinburne's (provided we note the caveats from before). I must remind you if something similar happens in our hypothetical new thread you won't be seeing me.

Besides, if I'm going to be a stickler on the rules, I'm pretty sure I nested quotes in this thread.

edited to add: Your link is to an index page with multiple links on it.

Edited by chuff
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Sounds fair to me. If you'll agree to move on with me away from this mess we've both contributed to making, I'd gladly participate in a different thread about a specific claim or position of Swinburne's (provided we note the caveats from before). I must remind you if something similar happens in our hypothetical new thread you won't be seeing me.

Cool. I'm glad we got past that.

edited to add: Your link is to an index page with multiple links on it.

My bad. The one I referred to is the second from the bottom, entitled "Response to Dawkins' The God Delusion."

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