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You Don’t Believe in God – Disprove Him!

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Dormin111
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That is not the form of the argument/ position Oism takes. Oism takes the position that the concept "god" contains incommensurate/impossible characteristics and is irrational/ impossible.

 

I see. Alright. Well then I see my argument wasn't right so I withdraw my statement. 

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Euiol, I was intending the Peikoff quote to be more specific to the topic. Your pointing at the validity/veridity position some philosophers hold. I hoped that the quote would help you think more on that premise.

Listen to what you wrote:

"Logic can't be applied to a nothing like god, and you don't logically come to the conclusion that there isn't a god. It's just impossible on the face of it to apply any reasoning to the (invalid) concept; there isn't a connection to perception."

"it is indeed possible to be internally logical but not apply to how reality works. There's a contradiction to reality somewhere, but insofar that there are premises, logical conclusions can be made"

Edited by Plasmatic
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It's not special. It's universal. Everyone has the same opportunity to freely choose.

Yes, you most certainly can. For every truth is double edged and cuts both ways. No matter what we choose... everyone gets exactly what they deserve as the consequences of their choice.

Are you arguing that belief in "God" is good because the consequences for such belief are beneficial?

This is such a crass form of pragmatism I didn't expect to ever see it.

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Euiol, I was intending the Peikoff quote to be more specific to the topic. Your pointing at the validity/veridity position some philosophers hold. I hoped that the quote would help you think more on that premise.

I see what you mean. I am more comfortable saying that logic can be applied to floating abstractions or even invalid concepts, but if we are talking about the rational use of logic, it is impossible to apply logic to a nothing. So, at least if one agrees with Objectivism on epistemology, it is not possible to create a sound argument to disprove god. There is nothing at all in reality to apply logic to regarding god.

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Are you arguing that belief in "God" is good because the consequences for such belief are beneficial?

Not at all...

 

Arguments are pointless when there is neither proof for or against God. If there was, it would violate the sovereignty of your free choice of denial. This choice has to all be on you... so that the deserved consequences of your own actions are all as the result of your own free will and there is no one else for you to blame except yourself for getting what you deserve. And I am just as free to choose as you are and the consequences are all on me as I also get exactly what I deserve as the result of my own free choice.

 

This is the highest form of love... to never violate the sanctity of our own free will as a free men.

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Lol, "the highest form of love", is one which we must choose without any virtue to be known or experienced

You don't understand. The highest form of love is the right that you can freely choose. And you  already know and enjoy that right by your own personal experience. What you do with it is totally up to you because you're the only one who is personally responsible for your own life.

 

Ayn Rand was wise enough to recognize this right:

 

"The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men."

 

The issue of God is completely prooflessly open so there is nothing that can violate your personal autonomous right of free choice.

 

 

and if we don't choose this absentee object of affection we burn in hell.....

You can only create your own personal hell right here and now by your own actions. This is why you have complete freedom of choice. So that there is no one else for you to blame for the just and deserved consequences of your own actions.

No thanks, I'd take a superficial blonde with DD's over that any day.

That's your own free choice and your own consequences. I freely chose a good woman for a wife. :thumbsup:

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Whose fault is it if the revealed word is not made to known to those other than the chosen?

Everyone who is an adult already knows right from wrong. That's the only "revealed word" you need to know.  Belief in God is not necessary to enjoy the rewards of doing what's morally right, so it's only your own fault if you fail to do it.

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Not at all...

Arguments are pointless when there is neither proof for or against God. If there was, it would violate the sovereignty of your free choice of denial.

This makes no sense whatsoever. You're saying if there is proof for or against god, that would deny freedom of choice to deny? Accepting the existence of a nothing is impossible to think about aside from what you arbitrarily assign to the "nothing". Choosing to believe in that nothing is irrational and denies all sorts of ways one should make rational decisions. You talk about freedom of action, and choosing irrationality is something Rand consistently says is immoral or improper thinking.

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Not at all...

Arguments are pointless when there is neither proof for or against God. If there was, it would violate the sovereignty of your free choice of denial. This choice has to all be on you... so that the deserved consequences of your own actions are all as the result of your own free will and there is no one else for you to blame except yourself for getting what you deserve. And I am just as free to choose as you are and the consequences are all on me as I also get exactly what I deserve as the result of my own free choice.

This is the highest form of love... to never violate the sanctity of our own free will as a free men.

How could someone possibly be responsible for a "choice" that has no clear sign of which one is right?

Also, how are decisions that one can be informed about not free? It seems like you are saying that only decisions that are entirely arbitrary are made freely.

As I said earlier, you could say these same things about any proposed supernatural idea, why do you choose to believe in God and not in reincarnation?

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Love is not violating the volition of others... and that's a valuable virtue to possess because it means that your volition can't be violated.

A completely nonsensical idea. Volition by definition can't be violated. Your talking in circles. Love pressuposes choice.

"valuable virtue to have"

How am I to attribute virtue to a entity for which there is no evidence/proof of?

Edited by Plasmatic
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This makes no sense whatsoever. You're saying if there is proof for or against god, that would deny freedom of choice to deny?

Yes. To deny... or to affirm.

Accepting the existence of a nothing is impossible to think about aside from what you arbitrarily assign to the "nothing". Choosing to believe in that nothing is irrational and denies all sorts of ways one should make rational decisions.

I don't believe. I know. And this is why I don't believe in the "nothing" you described any more than you do.

You talk about freedom of action, and choosing irrationality is something Rand consistently says is immoral or improper thinking.

See? You have already freely made your own choice of what seems right to you. It is inherent in each choice to regard what was rejected as being wrong. This is your right as a free man. The beauty of the moral justice in all this is that we each get exactly what we deserve as the results of the choice we have freely made.

Edited by moralist
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No one can force you to do something against your will?

Lots of luck trying that line on the next cop who pulls you over.

It's these type of rediculous equivocations that the religious thrive on. That is not an example of violating volition. It's an example of choice. Your switching from a hypothetical entity granting its creation the attribute of volition, to force limiting options to choose from.

The police lights flashing doesn't suddenly remove my faculty of volition.

Edited by Plasmatic
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It's these type of rediculous equivocations that the religious thrive on. That is not an example of violating volition. It's an example of choice. Your switching from a hypothetical entity granting its creation the attribute of volition, to force limiting options to choose from.

The police lights flashing doesn't suddenly remove my faculty of volition.

Thanks, Plasma... you caused me to rethink my comment.

We always have the freedom to choose to do what's morally right.

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  • 2 months later...

I recently got into a debate with someone over the existence of God. Growing up in an atheist household and a generally non-religious community, I never had much of an opportunity to develop an argument against the existence of God, so it took me some time to formulate my thoughts. I will write here the focal point of the debate, and my thoughts on the subject. I hope I can get some pointers.

Part 1

My opponent – “God exists.You think he logically does not? You are making a positive assertion, therefore you must prove it logically.”

 

Me – Reason is the means by which man navigates the world around him. The construct of reason originates with empirical evidence gathered by our senses. Man uses his senses to see the world around him and construct patterns based on what he sees. Through such observation, we have formulated logic through the law of identity (or non-contradiction), and its corollary, the law of causality.

 

When one makes a logical assertion, he must necessarily rely on positive evidence. There is no other way to make an assertion. If I am standing in the middle of an open field and someone asks me if there is a wall in front of me, I can only logically respond by pointing out that there is a lack of positive evidence of the wall. I can use my eyes and reach out my hand to deduce that there is no wall in front of me. The only reason I would be wrong is if I were under some sort of extremely heavy mind altering substances.

 

The religious argument fundamentally rejects this very basic notion of logic. It instead posits, “something is held to be true, or at least possible, until it has been proven false.” But the entire concept of “proving something false” is technically invalid. The term is often used colloquially, but you cannot actually use empirical evidence to prove something is false. After all, how can anything really be “shown” to be false? (Someone could use conceptual logic to prove something false with a syllogism, but any concrete application would necessarily require empirical evidence which is validated through positive assertion).

 

Going back to the wall example: despite the fact that I sense no wall, a person could suggest that maybe the wall is there, but it is beyond my capacity to sense it. Even if I possessed the most advanced cognition tools on earth, I could never actually demonstrate that the wall does not exist. Nor can I disprove that the wall is beyond my cognition. The justification for the wall’s existence doesn’t even have to be supernatural; perhaps the wall was built by super advanced alien technology which I cannot perceive.

But this is all irrelevant. Logic does not work this way. If one were to consistently apply this method of logic, no decisions could ever be made and all action would be chaos. After all, can you disprove the notion that there is an invisible bomb strapped to your chest right now? Can you disprove that I am God just messing around with your head. Well, no, no one can technically disprove these things.

 

 

>>>Me – Reason is the means by which man navigates the world around him.

 

Reason is one means. Why can't there be others? In any case, much depends on your metaphorical use of the term "navigates."

 

>>>The construct of reason originates with empirical evidence gathered by our senses. 

 

You have it backward. One already exercises a pre-existing rational faculty in deciding WHICH piece of empirical data should be esteemed as "evidence", and which should be tossed aside as irrelevant. See Karl Popper's "Conjectures and Refutations."

 

>>>Man uses his senses to see the world around him and construct patterns based on what he sees.

 

Man uses his senses to perceive the world around him and, he uses his rational faculty to sift through all this sense data until he finds sensory evidence that his reason tells him counts as evidence for a pattern that he *already suspects, or believes, is inherent in nature.* This process always involves some "confirmation bias", which is why the great innovation of the modern scientific method was to CHALLENGE one's own pattern-making by putting it through a test called an "experiment." As Popper convincingly shows, the real logical purpose of any experiment is to attempt to falsify one's hypothesis (i.e., "pattern"). If one fails to falsify the pattern, the experiment is somewhat misleadingly called a "successful proof" of the hypothesis, and the hypothesis is taken to be "true"; i.e., TENTATIVELY true . . . until a more rigorous challenge is designed, and the limits of the hypothesis established (i.e., "such-and-such a pattern is true **within a certain context**, but beyond that, it is no longer true; ergo, to integrate BOTH contexts into one, requires a new (or greatly modified) pattern").

 

>>>Through such observation, we have formulated logic through the law of identity (or non-contradiction), and its corollary, the law of causality.

 

Man did not, nor does he, formulate the laws of logic by means of perception. Perception, no doubt, *validates* and *confirms* his innate understanding of logic, but he doesn't peer out into the world and see the laws of logic. To think otherwise is pure mysticism. You don't see, hear, smell, taste, or feel "A is A". You intellectually grasp "A is A" first as a NECESSARY TRUTH, and this necessary truth is then confirmed by means of things we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.

 

>>>When one makes a logical assertion, he must necessarily rely on positive evidence. There is no other way to make an assertion. If I am standing in the middle of an open field and someone asks me if there is a wall in front of me, I can only logically respond by pointing out that there is a lack of positive evidence of the wall. I can use my eyes and reach out my hand to deduce that there is no wall in front of me. The only reason I would be wrong is if I were under some sort of extremely heavy mind altering substances.

 

>>>The religious argument fundamentally rejects this very basic notion of logic. It instead posits, “something is held to be true, or at least possible, until it has been proven false.” But the entire concept of “proving something false” is technically invalid. The term is often used colloquially, but you cannot actually use empirical evidence to prove something is false. After all, how can anything really be “shown” to be false? (Someone could use conceptual logic to prove something false with a syllogism, but any concrete application would necessarily require empirical evidence which is validated through positive assertion).

 

>>>Going back to the wall example: despite the fact that I sense no wall, a person could suggest that maybe the wall is there, but it is beyond my capacity to sense it. Even if I possessed the most advanced cognition tools on earth, I could never actually demonstrate that the wall does not exist. Nor can I disprove that the wall is beyond my cognition. The justification for the wall’s existence doesn’t even have to be supernatural; perhaps the wall was built by super advanced alien technology which I cannot perceive.

>>>But this is all irrelevant. Logic does not work this way. If one were to consistently apply this method of logic, no decisions could ever be made and all action would be chaos. After all, can you disprove the notion that there is an invisible bomb strapped to your chest right now? Can you disprove that I am God just messing around with your head. Well, no, no one can technically disprove these things.

 

 

 

There are big differences between these two: 

 

"I have no actual evidence that X exists, therefore  it behooves me to believe that it does not in fact exist."

 

"I have no actual evidence that X exists, therefore I'll keep an open mind about it until I'm in a context that requires that I consider the matter further. Until such time, my conclusions about such an assertion shall be 'I just don't know.'"

 

It's one thing to be on a beach where someone asserts that there's a wall in front of you. You might, for example, walk to the spot where the wall is supposed to be and assert, "Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time and in the same respect; ergo, since I am in this spot, a wall is NOT in this spot. Therefore, there is no wall here." (You could also assert that if both you and the wall are in the same spot, then perhaps you are the one who doesn't exist. You could ask your interlocutor that, and if he replies, "Yes, I accept the fact that you do not exist," you could retort, "Well, then, whom, precisely, are you talking to? The wall?" And if he claims that he IS talking to the invisible wall, then you can justly counter that he must be crazy — because only crazy people talk to walls — and if he's crazy, you are justified in ignoring his original assertion about there being a wall.)

 

However, suppose you are on the beach, and your colleague says, "There is a brick wall, 3 meters high by six meters wide, on a certain beach in the south of China." You might say, "I have no evidence of that, but I'll keep an open mind about it and not commit myself to thinking that it does exist or doesn't exist, until such time as I need to acquire more data about it — for example, if I decide to take a trip to China and visit that beach." But it would be an epistemological mistake to say, "I have no evidence that such a wall exists on a beach in China; therefore, I'll commit myself to the belief that such a wall does not, in fact, exist."

 

How do you know it doesn't, in fact, exist? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. The actual correct answer — and the only intellectually/epistemologically honest one — is: "for the time being, I JUST DON'T KNOW."

 

I'm not sure if this is a problem with ObjectivISM or merely ObjectivISTS, but many followers of Objectivism (who used to call themselves "students of Objectivism" when Miss Rand was alive) feel uncomfortable saying "I don't know" and don't consider it to be a valid category of answer. They think it's a weakness, or a flaw in their "psycho-epistemology."

 

And, by the way, an upshot of claiming that a negative cannot be proven is that you would have to then admit that you cannot prove that contradictions do not exist. That is, you merely don't believe they exist because "in the full context" of your knowledge, you have no positive evidence that they exist. I don't think Miss Rand (or any good Aristotelian) would approve of such a position.

 

Regarding a Prime Mover, Creator, or God:

 

"Religious belief" was always just that: pure belief, perhaps based on sentiment, inclination, tradition, upbringing, etc.  "Theology," however, always attempted to justify, or ground, such belief by means of reason. Even many religious believers know nothing about theology and dislike the subject intensely.

 

Theologically, there are good arguments for design in the universe, which have only become more robust with recent discoveries, especially (though not exclusively) in biochemistry.

 

You might want to read philosopher Thomas Nagel's book, "Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False". See:

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0199919755

 

Nagel is an atheist, by the way.

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Oh boy, here we go:

Red, first I should warn you that if you plan on spouting non-objectivist epistemology here your going to probably need to do it in the form of honest questions in the section for such. Otherwise you will likely have a short stay here.

">>>The construct of reason originates with empirical evidence gathered by our senses.

You have it backward. One already exercises a pre-existing rational faculty in deciding WHICH piece of empirical data should be esteemed as "evidence", and which should be tossed aside as irrelevant. See Karl Popper's "Conjectures and Refutations.""

No, you are misunderstanding his point. Any method of thought-evaluation requires concepts which are derived from percepts. See Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand...

" >>>Man uses his senses to see the world around him and construct patterns based on what he sees.

Man uses his senses to perceive the world around him and, he uses his rational faculty to sift through all this sense data until he finds sensory evidence that his reason tells him counts as evidence for a pattern that he *already suspects, or believes, is inherent in nature.* This process always involves some "confirmation bias", which is why the great innovation of the modern scientific method was to CHALLENGE one's own pattern-making by putting it through a test called an "experiment." As Popper convincingly shows, the real logical purpose of any experiment is to attempt to falsify one's hypothesis (i.e., "pattern"). If one fails to falsify the pattern, the experiment is somewhat misleadingly called a "successful proof" of the hypothesis, and the hypothesis is taken to be "true"; i.e., TENTATIVELY true . . . until a more rigorous challenge is designed, and the limits of the hypothesis established (i.e., "such-and-such a pattern is true **within a certain context**, but beyond that, it is no longer true; ergo, to integrate BOTH contexts into one, requires a new (or greatly modified) pattern")."

Same misunderstanding .One cannot follow a pattern of thought concerning x until one has conceptualized x. You are jumping into propositional thinking before the concepts that make up propositions are dealt with. Of course Karl Popper refused to take up such a task and relegated it to "empirical psychology". In other words , "The concepts are here. How did they get here----- Blank Out---.

We do not run an experiment to see what we mean by the concept table.

"Man did not, nor does he, formulate the laws of logic by means of perception. Perception, no doubt, *validates* and *confirms* his innate understanding of logic, but he doesn't peer out into the world and see the laws of logic. To think otherwise is pure mysticism. You don't see, hear, smell, taste, or feel "A is A". You intellectually grasp "A is A" first as a NECESSARY TRUTH, and this necessary truth is then confirmed by means of things we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel."

Oism rejects the Analytic-Synthetic dichotomy in full. ALL truths contain concepts formed via integrations of sense data, including 1+1= 2. Have you read Peikoff in the back of ITOE on this topic yet?

"How do you know it doesn't, in fact, exist? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn't. The actual correct answer — and the only intellectually/epistemologically honest one — is: "for the time being, I JUST DON'T KNOW."

I'm not sure if this is a problem with ObjectivISM or merely ObjectivISTS, but many followers of Objectivism (who used to call themselves "students of Objectivism" when Miss Rand was alive) feel uncomfortable saying "I don't know" and don't consider it to be a valid category of answer. They think it's a weakness, or a flaw in their "psycho-epistemology."

And, by the way, an upshot of claiming that a negative cannot be proven is that you would have to then admit that you cannot prove that contradictions do not exist. That is, you merely don't believe they exist because "in the full context" of your knowledge, you have no positive evidence that they exist. I don't think Miss Rand (or any good Aristotelian) would approve of such a position."

Are you at all familiar with the Oist position on arbitrary assertions?

Edited by Plasmatic
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>>>Red, first I should warn you that if you plan on spouting non-objectivist epistemology here your going to probably need to do it in the form of honest questions in the section for such. Otherwise you will likely have a short stay here. 

 

Understood. I am duly awed by your authority, and consequently, will duly keep that in mind when I next rub your nose in your own nonsense. I suggest you at least try to enjoy it.

 

>>>No, you are misunderstanding his point. Any method of thought-evaluation requires concepts which are derived from percepts.

 

Wrong. That's nothing but pure empiricism a la Hume. Hume was wrong; Rand was right to reject Hume. 

 

>>>See Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand...

 

Alas, that Rand rejected Hume does not mean that Rand was right about her own epistemology, which is actually the weakest part of Objectivism.

 

>>>Oism rejects the Analytic-Synthetic dichotomy in full. ALL truths contain concepts formed via integrations of sense data, including 1+1= 2. Have you read Peikoff in the back of ITOE on this topic yet?

 

Yes, I have. Have you? I even heard Peikoff lecture in NYC years ago on the philosophy of Objectivism — including its epistemology — with Miss Rand in the audience (holding hands with Frank O'Connor), and with Rand answering many of the questions in the Q&A afterward. Were you there? Yes? No? Oh, you've only read a book? Big deal.

 

Oh, and by the way. One can reject the analytic-synthetic dichotomy AND reject the notion that all concepts are "integrations" of sense data. Sorry, but it's not either/or, much as you seem to think so.

 

Answer this:

 

Where does the concept of "geometrically perfect circle" come from? If you believe that it comes from observing and "integrating" a bunch of actual physical circles — all of which must, by necessity, be geometrically imperfect — then you'd be wrong. There is no incremental progression from the "physically imperfect" to the "geometrically and ideally perfect" in percepts; in fact, the very idea of "physically IMPERFECT" already relies on the concept of the "PERFECT" (i.e., the IMPERFECT is that which is NOT perfect). I'll wait patiently as you think of an answer and post it.

 

>>>Are you at all familiar with the Oist position on arbitrary assertions? 

 

You mean, Leonard Peikoff's position on arbitrary assertions. Peikoff believes he speaks on behalf of the entire philosophy itself, but he does not. That's simply a power-trip on his part.

 

I'm interested in TRUTH. And if truth happens to conflict with the "Objectivist position" on something (whether from Leonard Peikoff or someone else), then I guess it's the Objectivist position that will have to go. I take it you feel differently?

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>>>Are you at all familiar with the Oist position on arbitrary assertions? 

 

You mean, Leonard Peikoff's position on arbitrary assertions. Peikoff believes he speaks on behalf of the entire philosophy itself, but he does not. That's simply a power-trip on his part.

 

I'm interested in TRUTH. And if truth happens to conflict with the "Objectivist position" on something (whether from Leonard Peikoff or someone else), then I guess it's the Objectivist position that will have to go. I take it you feel differently?

Call me crazy, but I don't think you're going to discover the truth by relying on arbitrary assertions. Or cheap tactics like confusing the conversation on purpose, like you're doing here.
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