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I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum. Would this go better in Metaphysics or Debates?

I ask because I understand that Debates allows posts that attempt to proselytize for different worldviews, but on the other hand I'm not sure if just presenting an argument for a god counts as proselytizing for a different worldview. Hence the question.

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I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum. Would this go better in Metaphysics or Debates?

I ask because I understand that Debates allows posts that attempt to proselytize for different worldviews, but on the other hand I'm not sure if just presenting an argument for a god counts as proselytizing for a different worldview. Hence the question.

I would say it does not fit anywhere here.

Read Rand and see that there is no room for such mysticism.

Or read other posts on religion that have likely covered what you need.

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Thanks for the reply, TLD.

I would say it does not fit anywhere here.

Read Rand and see that there is no room for such mysticism.

Or read other posts on religion that have likely covered what you need.

My argument based on my interpretation of the argument of Richard Swinburne in his trilogy The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason. I do not know of any passage in Rand that covered Swinburne's theology (or could be applied effectively to Swinburne's theology). Perhaps you, or another of the many learned members of this forum, could point me to such a passage in Rand. I'm surprised to hear that Rand refuted theism, since I have been referred to non-Objectivist authors a couple of times when I asked an Objectivist where I could find a refutation of the case for theism developed by Swinburne.

Likewise, I'm surprised to hear that Swinburne has been covered on this forum. But perhaps you could post a link to the thread in which the reasoning in Swinburne's trilogy was covered.

Edit: I did a search for "Swinburne" on this forum, and the results I got were posts that I have authored in the past. Of course, none of the posts that I wrote on Swinburne were refutations of his reasoning.

Edited by ctrl y
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Edit: I did a search for "Swinburne" on this forum, and the results I got were posts that I have authored in the past. Of course, none of the posts that I wrote on Swinburne were refutations of his reasoning.

Uh... You can try here. I know it's from the 4AynRandFans forum, but it has some posts where Swinburne gets mentioned. I didn't read them, but at least they're not yours, so maybe... BTW, you should change the title of your thread, so other people don't come here expecting an actual argument for God, like I did.

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Uh... You can try here. I know it's from the 4AynRandFans forum, but it has some posts where Swinburne gets mentioned. I didn't read them, but at least they're not yours, so maybe... BTW, you should change the title of your thread, so other people don't come here expecting an actual argument for God, like I did.

Thanks for the link, but the Swinburne referred to in those posts appears to be a poet popular among Objectivists - distinct, of course, from the theologian Richard Swinburne.

Sorry about the title. I don't think I can change the title of the thread, since my ability to edit the OP has expired. Maybe a moderator could do that. (Mods, if you're there...?)

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I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum. Would this go better in Metaphysics or Debates?

I ask because I understand that Debates allows posts that attempt to proselytize for different worldviews, but on the other hand I'm not sure if just presenting an argument for a god counts as proselytizing for a different worldview. Hence the question.

Participation Terms

Each participant agrees, through use of this forum, to the following participation terms:

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.

1. Here's an argument for the existence of a God.

2. I accept it.

3. I'm presenting it in hopes that you will, or I think that you should accept it over Objectivism.

I'd say that's pretty direct.

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Chuff, the subheader for the debate forum reads like this:

At the time of it's creation, it seemd to me that this was the place on OO.net for honest disagreements with Objectivism.

I don't believe that total objection to the fundamentals of Objectivism qualifies as "honest disagreement."

If a person reads Rand at all, he should understand Rand's positions on fundamental principles.

Presenting counter arguments presented by opposers of Rand's philosoophy should be considered out of place here.

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My argument based on my interpretation of the argument of Richard Swinburne in his trilogy The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason. I do not know of any passage in Rand that covered Swinburne's theology (or could be applied effectively to Swinburne's theology). Perhaps you, or another of the many learned members of this forum, could point me to such a passage in Rand. I'm surprised to hear that Rand refuted theism, since I have been referred to non-Objectivist authors a couple of times when I asked an Objectivist where I could find a refutation of the case for theism developed by Swinburne.

In ITOE 2nd Edition, pg. 49, Rand states the following:

The truth or falsehood of all of man's conclusions, inferences, thought and knowledge rests on the truth or falsehood of his definitions.

(The above applies only to valid concepts. There are such things as invalid concepts, i.e., words that represent attempts to integrate errors, contradictions or false propositions, such as concepts originating in mysticism—or words without specific definitions, without referents, which can mean anything to anyone, such as modern "anti-concepts." Invalid concepts appear occasionally in men's languages, but are usually—though not necessarily—short-lived, since they lead to cognitive dead-ends. An invalid concept invalidates every proposition or process of thought in which it is used as a cognitive assertion.)

Rand points out that invalid concepts, in essence, are simply invalid. Asking to find a passage where Rand addresses Swinburne's theology specifically, is another example of illustrating that you have not understood or grasped the ability to understand the distinction between an invalid concept, and the process of consciousness required to validate concepts in general. As in the previous thread, you will continue to end back at this point.

On page 76, she points out:

"most people hold concepts as loose approximations, without firm definitions, clear meanings or specific referents; and the greater a concept's distance from the perceptual level, the vaguer its content. Starting from the mental habit of learning words without grasping their meanings, people find it impossible to grasp higher abstractions, and their conceptual development consists of condensing fog into fog into thicker fog—until the hierarchical structure of concepts breaks down in their minds, losing all ties to reality"

We can point you to various passages used, but we cannot grasp and comprehend them for you. We can point out that the concept "God" is a greater distance from the perceptual level than say "Man", and identify that an invalid concept is a concept which one cannot build a hierarchical structure to leading to the perceptual level, but you are the one that would need to discover and implement that process for yourself.

Edited to add:

Objectivism is not about refutation per se, but one of validation. That which is invalid cannot be validated. That which is invalid cannot be refuted directly, it is invalid because it simply cannot be validated. If the concept of "God" could be validated by the process discovered and identified by Miss Rand, "God" would not be considered as an invalid concept.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Understanding requires more than just reading. Information doesn't merely get absorbed and you get it, with any misunderstanding being evasion. It has to be processed, integrated with existing knowledge; it's a whole big process. Reading anything Rand wrote only means you know what she said, not that you truly understand what she wrote.

It's fine to present arguments about the existence of god and ask about an Objectivist-type response. Since ctrl_y is talking about an argument in favor of the existence to god as opposed to merely wondering what an Objectivist response would be, the debate forum is best. The debate forum can be a bit of a hassle if it's supposed to be open for anyone to reply, though. Anyway, if a disclaimer is given about what is intended, other subforums are fine to use. A disclaimer is fine for borderline cases, but cases of "extreme" proselytizing like "Christianity is the One and only True way, and I want to convert you" wouldn't be okay even with a disclaimer. As far as I can tell, ctrl_y primarily wants to know an Objectivist-type response and not much else.

You don't have to point out the obvious; that's partially why these forums extend so long.

I was merely noting that her positions on fundamental principles are not hard to determine; I said nothing about fully absorbing those positions and all on which they rest.

I did not take ctrl_y's question as merely wanting an Obj. take on Swinburne's take on God.

He started with "I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum."

As far as I am concerned, that is out!

And I think he was just looking for a refutation for a debate with someone else. Isn't that using Obj.ists for the wrong reason?

Edited by TLD
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For me the issue is about the intention of your post.

My position on this issue is this: The nature of the idea of "God" renders it arbitrary; if not then the idea becomes something-other-than-God. This is why I insist on a definition of God. Any definition of God that makes God "God," includes at least one contradictory element. (I hope that came across sensibly.) When all contradictory or arbitrary elements are removed, one is left with something non-God (as well as metaphysically true), such as "the universe" or "consciousness."

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I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum. Would this go better in Metaphysics or Debates?

I ask because I understand that Debates allows posts that attempt to proselytize for different worldviews, but on the other hand I'm not sure if just presenting an argument for a god counts as proselytizing for a different worldview. Hence the question.

I suggest, ctrl y, you take this to another forum, here’s an entertaining thread for you to check out. George H. Smith, author of Atheism: The Case Against God is a regular there, and he may deign to give you some of the beatings (er, explanations) you need. There’s no rule there against what you’re wanting to do.

I went through a similar period of questioning many years ago, though it was before (and as I was beginning) to explore Rand’s work, while you say you’ve read a great deal. BTW, I find that last part hard to believe, but I’m still taking you at your word. So, I have some sympathy for you.

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I did not take ctrl_y's question as merely wanting an Obj. take on Swinburne's take on God.

He started with "I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum."

As far as I am concerned, that is out!

And I think he was just looking for a refutation for a debate with someone else. Isn't that using Obj.ists for the wrong reason?

The point of forum rules is to establish minimum standards of civility and discussion beyond "anything goes," not to limit what can be discussed per se. Ctrl_y's question is perfectly fine for the debate subforum since he's making a specific argument and wants responses. Starting a thread on that sort of thing isn't so much of a problem. It is always quite clear who made the original post and if a question is asked, like in the "self-interest versus rights" thread. Ctrl_y coming in and posting on a random god thread he didn't start presenting his argument likely would be violating forum rules. Or him posting on an thread on rights declaring how wrong he thinks Objectivism is and posing his (just a hypothetical) alternate theory of rights-as-mysticism. I can't think of any examples to give of what I'm talking about except this: imagine you went to a communist forum and immediately started posting about how wrong you think they are about property rights by telling them about Objectivist theory on rights, and you find threads to post in in order to make some pithy remark in favor of property rights. Switch the context to a communist posting in this forum and the comparison should make sense. Compare that with if you presented an argument in favor of property rights and were genuinely wondering what a communist would say about it.

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He started with "I intend to make a sustained argument for the existence of a god on this forum."

As far as I am concerned, that is out!

Ambushing or hijacking a thread with such an argument would be "out." But discuscussions of fundamental principles, even arguments about them, should be OK given a few things: 1) That they are not misrepresented as, or confused for, Objectivist ideas. 2) That such arguments are kept polite and on point. 3) That they are sequestered from the rest of the posts in such a way that people who don't want to bother with them don't have to. The debate forum accomplishes all of these things and more. It can be helpful for Objectivists to have (or observe) structured debates with people they disagree with; it helps improve debate skills and expands knowledge about competing ideas. It can also be fun. The forum rules were set up to stop people who belligerantly held to other ideas from sparking a flame war that spreads across the forum threads, thus making the forum suck. It wasn't to sheild Objectivists from harmful ideas. It also wasn't to prevent the unearned legitimization of competing ideas. This forum has a pretty narrow niche, so there isn't much risk of harm due to "big tent" Kelly-style tolorationism.

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The rules of the forum are open for anyone to read, and anyone can help maintain the forum with 'self-policing' reminders of the forum rules and suggestions for the moderators. But beyond a certain point, people who are not moderators should not pretend that they are. A moderator has given what should be accepted as the official ruling on a proposed use of the debate forum. Case closed.

Stop harassing ctrl_y. My suggestion to the moderators as a non-mod would be to protect ctrl_y from further harassment.

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