January 04, 2014

Metaphysical Primacy, Timeless Truth and Atheist Presuppositionalism

There are two aspects which stand out in definitions of metaphysics: the fundamental nature of being and the fundamental nature of the universe. There are two aspects which stand out in definitions of primacy: that which is most powerful and that which is preeminent. The concept of metaphysical preeminence ties into the concept of timeless and universal truth. At the time Jesus was physically on earth, Pontius Pilate mockingly derided the concept of truth with a rhetorical question for Jesus, "What is truth?" According to theism, Jesus did not have to answer this question for Pilate with words because Jesus as God incarnate standing before him embodied the essence of metaphysical primacy and timeless truth, that is, God's existence.

The reason I am pointing out these basic definitions is because a certain atheist blogger, Dawson Bethrick, seems to be hell bent on linking theism with a “primacy of consciousness” in his attempt to philosophically prove that God does not exist, as noted in a previous argument he prepared, linked here. In contrast to Pilate's mocking and skeptical tone, Bethrick has assumed an over-confident tone that corresponds with multiple logical fallacies, as noted in my first rebuttal, linked here, and as defined in logical outlines presented in this present post.

In a rather puzzling manner, Dawson’s rebuttal to my first rebuttal of his argument exhibits a continual focus on God’s creation of the temporal, physical world as his basis for claiming that theism “assumes” a metaphysical “primacy of consciousness,” as Dawson all the while downplays the metaphysical relevance of God’s eternal, unchanging existence and nature problematic for his argument. Instead of addressing Dawson’s recent rhetorical questions regarding temporal creation, I will zero in on relevant problems for Dawson. I’ll offer a challenge to Dawson and his supporters to find fault with two logical outlines and hopefully this will help to diagnose and pinpoint the exact locations of Dawson's commitments to false and/or unsupported preconceptions.

A Logical Problem of Primacy in Bethrick’s Argument Against God’s Existence

1.       According to basic definitions, metaphysical primacy relates to fundamental aspects of being and the nature of the universe that supervene over all others.

2.       According to what theism assumes, there is nothing more fundamental and primary in power than God’s eternal existence, to the extent that even an act of God’s own conscious volition could not logically nullify it.

3.       If metaphysical primacy relates to fundamental and primary supervening powers in the universe, and there is nothing more universally fundamental, powerful and preeminent than God’s existence according to theism, such that not even a conscious act of God’s own will could nullify God’s existence, then theism does not and cannot assume the primacy of consciousness metaphysics in a universal and timeless sense, the most important aspects of a metaphysical consideration.

Many atheists will propose either implicit or explicit illogical propositions in an attempt to disprove God’s existence. An example is the following: If God is omnipotent then He should be able to create a rock so big that he couldn’t lift it. The fallacy implicit this statement is the presupposition that God is bound by materialist conceptions and limitations. God is not bound by such abstract limitations; rather, our abstract definitions are necessarily determined by God’s actual existence.

Dawson has implied a similar illogical proposition in his argument: if the primacy of consciousness is supposedly assumed as preeminent for theists over the primacy of existence, then, theoretically, God should be able to consciously terminate His existence and/or willfully transform his being in and out of existence. Like the rock example, objectivist presuppositions bring up logical conflicts associated with trying to fit a round peg, God, into a square hole, human conceptions of metaphysics. The fact is that God’s actual existence holds metaphysical primacy, not our theist metaphysical definitions of God, and certainly not Dawson’s atheist metaphysical presuppositions about theism.

The Problem of Truth in Dawson’s Primacy Argument

According to his rebuttal, Dawson does not seem to want to admit that his definition of truth in the  "first step" of his argument is unique to his beliefs and does in fact define God out of existence from the onset, thus committing the fallacy of begging the question. Dawson states in his rebuttal, “We should also note that possession of at least a general conception of truth is logically prior to truth evaluations of specific claims," as noted at this link. Unfortunately for Dawson, his actual definition of truth employed in his argument (Step 1, Premise 1) is not a general concept or definition of truth, but is quite specific to his objectivist beliefs. If this is not so, could someone please post a quote and/or a link to other philosophers, other than Ayn Rand objectivists, who define truth with regard to primacy of existence versus a primacy of consciousness metaphysics. That would offer some badly needed support for Bethrick’s argument and rebuttal.

A Logical Problem of Truth in Bethrick’s Primacy Argument Against God’s Existence

1.       If the theist God exists, it would be logically possible for God to be able to impart certain valid and important truths to humans directly from God’s consciousness to human consciousness through divine revelation, as described as a fundamental condition in theist texts.

2.       Bethrick’s definition of truth, as assumed in his “metaphysical” argument against God, offers that only truth values obtained separate from consciousness represent valid metaphysical truth.

3.       Therefore, by definition, in his argument Bethrick has set forth a definition of truth that precludes the possibility of fundamental theist truth conceptions and therefore precludes the possibility of God’s existence.

Dawson has offered that a general acknowledgement of truth must be assumed if any philosophical discussion is to take place. I agree. However, the specific definition of truth set forth in Dawon’s first step and first premise is in no way general, but highly specific to Ayn Rand objectivists. If this is not so, I emphasize that there is a need for someone to provide some links to non-Ayne Rand philosophers who do in fact stand by this specific metaphysical primacy definition of truth. You have your homework.I would add, however, that even if such philosophers could be located, it would not remove the problems inherent in Dawon's truth definition. The fallacy of the unsupported assertion remains and the the fallacy of begging the question remains, as the definition of truth defines God out of existence, so to speak.

A brief survey of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy subject of "Truth" outlines a variety of competing definitions of truth, as noted at this link. The coherence theory of truth offers that “a belief is true only if it is a part of a coherent system of beliefs.”  Pragmatism offers that, “Truth is the end of inquiry. Truth is satisfactory to believe.” There is a “correspondence theory of truth without facts” that offers just what it implies. There are also pluralist theories of truth outlined.  When Dawson asserted in his opening premise that his Rand-objectivist version of truth is unequivocally a valid definition of truth, he committed the fallacy of the unsupported assertion. And, by virtue of the fact that his definition of truth ipso-facto has precluded the possible truth of God’s divine and personal revelation, as noted in a prior definition presented in this post, Dawson has committed the fallacy of begging the question in his argument against God’s existence.

Physicists such as Alexander Vilenkin have mathematically determined that both time and the physical universe had a beginning, as referenced at this link. The deeper question of metaphysical primacy relates to what existed "prior to" time and the temporal, physical universe and what may have caused the universe to exist as we know it. For those not opposed to the idea, the primacy of God’s existence is evidenced in the cohesive and harmonious power, logic and wisdom evidenced in the world around us every day. The fact that atheists sense a need to resort to unscrupulous logical fallacies in an attempt to try and prove that God does not exist speaks volumes. If anyone disagrees with any of the premises and arguments I’ve offered in this second rebuttal to Bethrick’s primacy argument, please point out specifically which premise or premises you disagree with and why. Try to stay focused on relevant on-topic points. I also welcome any challenges to my argument, The Organizing Principal of the Universe: Hierarchy and the Central Truth. I do not employ automatic comment screening or moderation, but I will not dialogue with people who abuse the privilege of posting and resort to abusive comments.

Note: Bethrick uses an invalid definition of primacy of consciousness in order to attempt to disprove Theism. As of January 15, 2014, Bethrick has not acknowledged that his definition of the primacy of consciousness is invalid. Therefore, I posted this issue in the form of a logical argument for him to address in the comments of a latter blog post:

1. Objectivist Bethrick claims that theism supports a primacy of consciousness metaphysics (PCM) that violates primacy of existence metaphysics (PEM).

2. This claim is based on the fact that theism describes a supernatural God who created the material universe through an act of volition.

3. According to Bethrick, his definition of PCM excludes two aspects that undermine his claim.

4. First, Bethrick claims that the fact that a supernatural and eternal God cannot logically nullify his own existence or recreate Himself is excluded from his definition of PCM.

5. Second, Bethrick claims that the fact that theists cannot generally create objects through an act of volition is excluded from his definition of PCM.

6. Objectivist Bethrick has created a highly specialized definition of a universal concept that denies the universality of that concept and arbitrarily excludes aspects that refute his claims.

7. Any highly specialized definition of a universal concept of reality that denies the universality of that concept and arbitrarily excludes aspects for subjective reasons is an invalid and false definition of that concept.

8. Therefore, Bethrick’s definition of primacy of consciousness is invalid and false.


http://templestream.blogspot.com/2014/01/three-refutations-of-objectivism.html?showComment=1389811784850#c1000267446974905386

Bethrick's rebuttal, to which the above post is addressed, is located at his blog, linked here, as copied verbatim and pasted with blue letters:

The Vindication of My Argument Against Theism from Rick Warden's Ill-fated Maneuvers

Rick Warden has attempted another refutation of my argument. He already tried once and failed (see here). Then, after seeing that his attempted refutation of my argument failed, Warden requested “a summary of the specific premises and logical syntax of the argument,” which can only serve as an admission that when he attempted his initial refutation, he did so without knowing what my argument’s premises are. I recommend that Warden adopt the policy of “look before you leap.” It might save him some skinned knees.

Or maybe it won’t. You see, I honored Warden’s request by posting a new blog entry in which I lay out my case in the form of three arguments, all with neat and tidy premises arranged in valid form. And now Warden has attempted to refute this in a new blog post of his own.

I’m afraid neither
correcting Warden’s previous mistakes nor laying out the premises and conclusion of my argument has been helpful for him, for he continues to repeat the same mistakes that have already been identified and corrected. Seriously, it’s as though he is missing some very basic integrating skills.

Even though I laid out my premises and their logical relationships explicitly, Warden does not directly interact with my premises, save for one (and even then in a most futile manner). The upshot is that at no point can Warden show that any of my premises are false. Thus he attempts to find some informal fallacies that my argument allegedly commits. Unfortunately, this effort also fails, as I will show below. But just to be clear: Not one of my arguments’ premises has been refuted or disproven by anything Warden has written in his latest blog.

In
that blog, Warden wrote:
Dawson’s premise, Step 2-P2-1 is not in keeping with all the relevant characteristics of the God described in scripture.
Really? How? Here’s P2-1:
P2-1: If theism affirms the existence of a being which can create existence by an act of will, alter the nature of objects which are distinct from itself by an act of will, and/or cause such objects to act by an act of will, then theism assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics.
How is this “not in keeping with all the *relevant* characteristics of the God described in scripture”? (emphasis added) Warden’s god is supposed to be a conscious being, is it not? This is what is relevant to my argument since my argument has to do with the nature of the relationship believers claim their god has with objects distinct from itself (such as the universe, and everything in it, that it is said to have created by an act of will).

So how is that not relevant to my argument? Or, does Warden think that his god is not conscious to begin with? The “scripture” he mentions is presumably the Christian bible, including the Old and New Testaments. All indicators that I can find are that this god is supposed to be a conscious being.

Warden wrote:
Theism affirms the existence of a being known as ‘God’ who is eternal who can neither logically nullify Himself out of existence nor create Himself ex nihilo.
Fine, but irrelevant. Where precisely is any point in my argument “not in keeping” with the relevant matter at hand as described in “scripture”? Where, for example, is my argument “not in keeping” with the claim that the Christian god is *eternal*? Where is my argument “not in keeping” with the view that the Christian god “can neither logically nullify Himself out of existence nor create Himself ex nihilo”? Warden made these mistakes before about my argument, and I corrected them. Unfortunately, in spite of my correction and the fact that my argument nowhere affirms or requires a non-eternal god, a god which can “logically nullify Himself out of existence,” or a god which can “create Himself ex nihilo,” Warden continues to push the same bewilderingly boneheaded mistakes. It’s as though he has read something other than what I have written, but has mistaken it for what I have written. And he says I’m straw-manning?

Warden wrote:
If God exists eternally and cannot create or destroy Himself, then in what possible manner does theism affirm a metaphysical primacy of consciousness? It does not, unless we avoid discussing ultimate reality here for theism, God’s eternal nature.
This statement is sufficient to indicate that Warden still does NOT understand the issue of metaphysical primacy. Try to get it this time: the primacy of consciousness does not mean “consciousness creates itself” or “consciousness is not eternal.” Both the view that consciousness creates itself and the view that consciousness does not create itself are compatible with the primacy of consciousness. The same with an eternal and a non-eternal consciousness. Warden is doing precisely what he has accused me of doing: overlooking relevant factors key to the intended meaning of the argument’s premises.

Here are few questions for Warden or any other theist to consider:
1. On your view, did your god create the universe by an act of will?  
2. On your view, can your god create *ANYTHING* by an act of will?  
3. On your view, when your god creates something – whether it is a pebble or Mt. Everest – does your god *determine* what identity that something will have by an act of will?  
4. On your view, can your god revise the nature of something it has created (e.g., turn water into wine) by an act of will?
A yes to any of these questions concedes the truth of Step 2 of my overall case.

Consider the words of Greg Bahnsen (Pushing the Antithesis, pp. 153-154):
…the very idea of God’s speaking reality into existence itself requires rationality.
Naturally we can assume that Bahnsen is using ‘speaking’ here metaphorically. Speaking as it is commonly understood requires a biological body, a mouth, a larynx, lungs, etc. Since the Christian god is said to be “immaterial” and “non-physical,” it surely does not have any of these. What Bahnsen essentially means is willing “reality into existence.”

See, Bahnsen is faithful to the Christian “scripture,” which describes its god creating the universe into existence by an act of will, assigning individual natures to the things in that universe by an act of will, altering or revising their natures by an act of will (e.g., turning water into wine), even having an object act in violation of its normal nature by an act of will (e.g., Peter walking on unfrozen water, raising a dead corpse back to life, etc.). These are all instances of consciousness holding metaphysical primacy over its objects. The assumption that the consciousness created itself is not necessary to any of this.

As one theist once put it to me, “God can do anything we can do in a cartoon” – e.g., red grass, 200-foot high grasshoppers, talking flowers, zapping from one place to another, etc. Thus we have what I call
the cartoon universe premise of theism. Consider Van Til’s statement:
God controls whatsoever comes to pass. (The Defense of the Faith, p. 160).
How is this view compatible with the primacy of existence? How is this view NOT an expression of the primacy of consciousness?

Warden wrote:
Theist scriptures explicitly describe the primacy of the spiritual over the material,
Is “the spiritual” conscious? If “the spiritual” is conscious, then we have the primacy of consciousness – only the theist is trying to conceal it. But why? If it’s true, why conceal it with such transparent tactics? Or, would Warden say that “the spiritual” lacks consciousness? That would be a surprising turn of events – but it would only do his position harm, not mine.

Warden wrote:
…but not the conscious over the existent.
I just listed several examples above, and gave some quotes by leading apologists affirming just this. Again, I can only presume at this point either that Warden still simply does not understand what the issue of metaphysical primacy has to do with, or that he is deliberately misunderstanding it. Either way, his points are ineffective against my case.

Warden wrote:
Because God is the basis of prime reality in scripture, any relevant description of what theism ‘assumes’ metaphysically must be taken into account. Dawson fails miserably in this regard.
How did I fail here? Warden’s god is supposed to be conscious, correct? Since the issue of metaphysical primacy has to do with the relationship between consciousness and its objects, then I have isolated the factors relevant to my argument successfully. No other factors affirmed about the Christian god’s nature affirmed by “scripture” are going to contradict other factors it affirms about its god, will they? If that were the case, Christianity’s “scripture” would be self-contradictory. So either way, Warden has no point here.

Warden wrote:
Defining the characteristics of the object of an argument (God in this case) according to one’s own biased terms and not according to all the characteristics which happen to be quite relevant and challenging to the argument is tantamount to creating a straw man argument.
But of course, my argument does not do this. Look at P2-1 again:
P2-1: If theism affirms the existence of a being which can create existence by an act of will, alter the nature of objects which are distinct from itself by an act of will, and/or cause such objects to act by an act of will, then theism assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics.
Now here are some fundamental points to settle the matter:
a) Does theism affirm the existence of a being which can create existence by an act of will? Yes, it does. For example, Christian theism affirms the existence of a god, which is characterized as a conscious being, and which is said to have created the entire universe by an act of will.  
b) Does theism affirm the existence of a being which can alter the nature of objects which are distinct from itself by an act of will? Sure, Christian theism does. For example, Jesus (which is “god become flesh”) turns water into wine in John chapter 2. Elsewhere in “scripture” Jesus is said to have brought a dead man back to life. One minute he’s dead, the next he’s alive. Jesus does this by an act of will, not by concocting some chemical solution and injecting it into the cadaver’s veins.  
c) Does theism affirm the existence of a being which can cause objects distinct from itself to act in desired ways by an act of will? Sure, Christian theism does. It holds that “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til). It holds that its god has a “plan” for human history, and that everything that happens in our lives has been “predetermined” (a conscious action) since before the creation of the universe (which was also by an act of consciousness).
So P2-1 is unassailably true and entirely relevant to my argument.

Warden wrote:
To ‘create existence by an act of will’ is to create ex-nihilo, from nothing. The Bible implies that God created temporal matter ex nihilo.
Exactly! Give the man a cigar! That’s the primacy of consciousness RIGHT THERE. Boom – right in front of his face. He even affirms it himself.

Warden wrote:
However, the Bible never implies that God can destroy and then create Himself in the same manner.
Which is fine and dandy. And nowhere does any premise at any point in my overall case require this.

Warden wrote:
I know of no theist who believes that God can possibly create his own existence by an act of the will.
That’s fine. But also irrelevant since my argument does not even require this, not even implicitly!

Warden wrote:
If the context of Dawson’s argument against God is supposed to pertain to all that exists, as a metaphysical and philosophical argument about the nature of reality should, then Dawson’s straw man argument is insufficient.
My argument nowhere stipulates that its premises relevant to this point must “pertain to all that exists.” If the Christian god is said to have created an apple and nothing else by an act of will, that alone is sufficient for the charge that it assumes the primacy of consciousness.

Warden wrote:
Step 2-P2-1 is false and his argument obviously fails to disprove God’s existence.
Step 2-P2-1 has been vindicated beyond all challenge. It is undeniably true, it is “in keeping with” what “scripture” affirms about its god, and it is entirely relevant to my overall case.


Next Warden wanted to find my argument guilty of “A False Dilemma Fallacy”

In this section, Warden embarrasses himself by citing (of all people) Dan Marvin in his attempts to tackle the issue of metaphysical primacy. If ever there were a competition among internet apologists for the Clown Prince of Defending the Imaginary Award, Marvin would have a good shot at winning. But I have to say, Warden is giving him a run for his money!

Warden wrote:
The objectivist primacy dichotomy is incoherent on a very basic level.
How so? Consciousness is consciousness *of some object*. When you are aware, you are aware *of something*. So there are two players involved here: (1) the conscious subject, and (2) any object(s) the conscious subject is conscious of. So there’s a relationship between the two when the subject is conscious of something. The issue of metaphysical primacy has to do with this relationship: which – the subject of consciousness or its objects – holds metaphysical primacy over the other? Do the objects of consciousness conform to or obey the dictates of consciousness? If I look at the apple sitting on my table and wish that it transform itself into a pile of hundred-dollar bills, will the object conform to my wishing? The primacy of consciousness says yes; the primacy of existence recognizes the fact that consciousness has no such power.

But as in theism, we can imagine a consciousness which *does* have such power. What faithful Christian would deny his god’s ability to turn an apple into a hundred million dollars just by willing that it be so? Would Rick Warden deny his god this ability? According to Christianity, its god created the apple in the first place and can alter it at any time, just by wishing.

Warden wrote:
Existence is a prime requisite of any conscious being that would allow for the said being to be conscious in the first place and to create from consciousness.
In other words, consciousness presupposes existence, not the other way around. This means (among other things) that existence is NOT a “creation” of consciousness. The task of consciousness is not to “create” its objects, to assign them their natures, or to alter them at will, but to perceive and identify them. Thus Objectivism is clearly right in beginning with the axiom of existence: Existence exists. It is also right in affirming the primacy of existence - e.g., the objects of consciousness do not depend on the activity of consciousness either for their existence, for their identity, for their actions, etc. Quite simply, existence exists independent of consciousness. This is the fundamental truth underwriting such obvious truisms as “wishing doesn’t make it so,” “just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not true,” or “even if you don’t believe it, it’s still true.” All of these imply and are coherent with only the primacy of existence metaphysics.

By contrast, theism rests on the view that a consciousness does hold metaphysical primacy over its objects. Its god creates objects out of nothing by an act of consciousness (an act of will); it assigns identities to the objects it creates by an act of consciousness; it can revise their identities by an act of consciousness; it can make objects perform actions which are not consistent with their normal identities by an act of will, etc. Thus theism assumes the primacy of consciousness: the objects of consciousness depend on and conform to the conscious activity of a conscious subject.

The contrast here is unmistakable. But leave it to Rick Warden to continue getting it wrong virtually every chance he gets.

Warden wrote:
If the conscious being did not exist or have the ability to come into existence without help from another existing entity, then it would obviously neither have consciousness nor the ability to hold so-called metaphysical primacy.
Needless to say, this is irrelevant to my argument. But we can say that regardless of how a particular consciousness may have come into existence, consciousness does not hold metaphysical primacy over its objects to begin with. Every example of conscious organisms that we find in nature are examples of consciousnesses modeling the primacy of existence.

Of course, as I mentioned above, we can imagine conscious beings which can zap things into existence by an act of will and assign them their identities according to its wishes. But this would be imaginary. A case in point:
the Christian god.

Warden wrote:
The objectivist primacy argument incorporates a subjective and relativistic approach which focuses on limited conditions that imply support, all the while ignoring conditions that are problematic.
This is simply an unargued assertion. Warden cannot produce any sound argument to support this characterization. But consider: what possibly could “subjective” mean? Would this denote a view which affirms the primacy of the subject in the subject-object relationship? If so, how can the charge that my argument “incorporates a subjective… approach” be at all defensible when my argument is explicitly based on the primacy of the object in the subject-object relationship?

'Relativistic' typically means the view that truth can vary from individual to individual, as for example based on his preferences, his likes, his feelings, etc. But clearly such a view would reduce to the primacy of consciousness: it would be granting metaphysical primacy to the activity of consciousness over the facts of reality. But Objectivism does not take this approach. On the contrary, Objectivism is explicitly objectivistic! How can affirming the absolute primacy of existence be “relativistic”? Indeed, any objections against either subjectivism or relativism would have to take the primacy of existence for granted (even if the objector didn’t realize that he was doing so).

Now, between Objectivism and theism, which view grants metaphysical primacy to the subject in the subject-object relationship? Certainly not Objectivism; Objectivism holds explicitly that existence exists independent of consciousness. Meanwhile, Christian apologist Greg Bahnsen tells us outright that “the very idea of God speaking reality into existence itself requires rationality” (Pushing the Antithesis, pp. 153-154), which could only imply that, on Bahnsen’s Christian worldview, rationality requires the primacy of consciousness – i.e., the primacy of the subject in the subject-object relationship, i.e., subjectivism. The Christian god likes things a certain way, so everything conforms accordingly according to its “counsel” – i.e., subjective determination.

Warden wrote:
Dan [Marvin] made another good point. If there is indeed a general “primacy of consciousness” then all of us humans could wish things into existence. But we cannot. So, the more precise definition they seem to be aiming for is the primacy of God’s consciousness. But perhaps this is a little too close for comfort to the true state of affairs, which is the metaphysical primacy of God.
If Warden prefers “the metaphysical primacy of God,” the only question we need to ask, is: Is this god conscious? If yes, then we have the primacy of consciousness metaphysics. If not, then we have a god that has no mind.

Warden insists that human beings cannot “wish things into existence.” Just by saying that this is the case, he is borrowing the primacy of existence. He is not saying that this is the way things are because he wishes it to be the case. He is not saying “Human beings cannot wish things into existence because that’s how I want it to be!” On the contrary, he is making an affirmation about reality based on how reality is independent of conscious activity.

Now in regard to Marvin’s “good point,” naturally most theists do not hold that human beings have the kind of power that they imagine their god has. This of course does not mean that they do not incorporate the primacy of consciousness into their own psychology; after all, they do have prayer, and folks like Mike Licona are candid enough to come out and say about Jesus’ resurrection: “I want it to be true!” Indeed, some theists today still champion the ontological argument. And of course there’s presuppositionalism.

But the obvious answer to Marvin, from the Christian perspective itself, is that human beings cannot wish things into existence because the Christian god wished that they did not have this ability! Why do human beings have two arms? Because the Christian god, in its wise counsel, wanted it that way. Why do human beings have ears and noses? Because the Christian god wanted it that way. Why don’t human beings have wings? Because the Christian god wanted it that way. Why don’t human beings have the ability to wish things into existence? Because the Christian god wanted it that way.

So, as is so typical with apologists these days, Marvin missed the point of his own worldview! Indeed, how does either Warden or Marvin know that there is no human being out there some place with the power to wish things into existence? They don’t. On their worldview’s premises, it must be accepted as a real possibility, given the omnipotent super-consciousness their worldview has them imagine, that somewhere there is a guy or girl – perhaps many – walking around with the power to wish things into existence. In a theistic universe, who would decide this – Rick Warden and Dan Marvin, or the Christian god?

So another of Warden’s objections fails.

Next Warden accuses me of “The Fallacy of the Unsupported Assertion”

Warden wrote:
Any metaphysical argument regarding the nature of reality must begin with well-supported or self-evident claims.
My argument is more than sufficiently supported by the self-evident recognition that existence exists. Anyone who is familiar with the basics of Objectivism should know this. (Warden himself should know this since he has attempted several times, each time without success, to disprove Objectivism. He must be getting exhausted by now.)

Also, my argument assumes that truth does not conform to wishing, as I make clear early on in
my blog entry. Warden cites Dan Marvin confirming this very fact. Fact do not conform to our wishing any more than the objects that inform them. This is self-evident.

Warden wrote:
In the opening premise of Dawson’s argument against God’s existence, the definition of truth presupposes that truth is derived solely from observing the material world. This definition implies and presupposes an atheist explanation of truth.
In other words, it is not an understanding of truth that Warden is willing to accept. After having just pointed out that human beings cannot wish things into existence, Warden now resists this fact’s implications for the concept of truth. Accordingly, on Warden’s view, perhaps we cannot wish things into existence, but apparently on his view this does not imply that truth obtains independently of wishing. But earlier we saw how Warden tacitly borrowed the primacy of existence just in affirming the fact that human beings cannot wish things into existence. He cannot make this affirmation on Christianity’s premises, for given its all-powerful creator-god, how can Warden know whether or not it has created human beings with this ability? So Warden borrows from Objectivism, but then when he sees that the implications of what he has borrowed from Objectivism have damning consequences for his theism, he wants to put it down right away.

By saying “this definition implies and presupposes an atheist explanation of truth,” Warden is conceding that the view that truth obtains independently of people’s wishing is atheistic and therefore incompatible with theism. I agree. But this does not imply any commitment of fallacy on the part of my argument, for my argument is entirely consistent with this truth. Warden gives away the farm without even realizing it. Talk about epic face-palming!

Warden wrote:
If God exists, then, according to Christianity, God’s eternal and unchanging nature is the fountainhead of all that we experience and is the basis of all truth.
In other words, if the Christian god exists, then the primacy of consciousness holds, and human beings cannot discover what is true about reality – “truth” has to be delivered to them by means of revelations. Reason, logic, science, experimentation, discovery, it’s all out – they would be utterly worthless if the Christian god existed. It does whatever it pleases (Ps. 115:3), and it can be pleased by virtually anything – even the destruction of humanity.

Of course, along with Warden we can fantasize alternatives to reality all we like. But in the end, we would only be retreating into our imaginations. This, however, does not give Warden any pause: as a Christian, he is so accustomed to confusing the imaginary for what is real that he is oblivious of the philosophical ramifications in terms of epistemology and the nature of knowledge and truth. Indeed, he does not even seem to know when he’s contradicted himself. Observe:

Warden wrote:
Breakthrough discoveries in quantum physics have led scientists to make statements that support this understanding of truth.
Recall that the understanding of truth that Warden wants to deny is the “atheistic explanation of truth” which is aptly characterized by the truism “wishing doesn’t make it so.” This view, Warden says, is “atheistic” and is contrasted with the view that truth is essentially whatever his god wants it to be (since his god’s consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over reality, which is what my argument has been saying all along!).

Yet earlier his objection to my premise that the Christian god models the primacy of consciousness was that it commits a straw-man – i.e., that I am mischaracterizing his theistic views. Now he wants to say there are “breakthrough discoveries in quantity physics” which “have led scientists to make statements that support” his theistic “understanding of truth” – i.e., a conception of truth that holds it hostage to the primacy of consciousness.

Well, which is it? Am I straw-manning theism when I point out its assumption of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics, or is the primacy of consciousness somehow being vindicated when some scientists make statements that are interpreted to support the theistic understanding of truth (which is premised on the Christian god’s wishes and desires) as opposed to the “atheistic explanation of truth” which is characterized by the fact that wishing doesn’t make it so? Warden can’t have it both ways.

And another question: Why do Christians all of a sudden hang on some scientist’s pronouncements as if it expediently sealed a point in favor of theism, but deny the pronouncements thousands upon thousands of scientists in the case of the theory of evolution?

Warden wrote:
Materialists basically tend to assume that truth, logic and information are derived from the material world.
“…the material world…” as opposed to what? As opposed to something we can only imagine?

Good grief! How off can we be supposing that truth has something to do with the world we live in! I filled my cup with coffee two minutes ago, but it’s not true that I even have a coffee cup! Truth has nothing to do with this “material world.”

(In case Warden didn’t grasp it, I was being sarcastic here.)

Now I’m not being sarcastic: Warden would do well not to confuse Objectivism with materialism. But we’ve already seen plenty of evidence that he prefers not to do well for himself.

Warden wrote:
However, some physicists are now claiming the opposite is implied by material universe. It is not so much that information is derived from the physical world, but that physical world is derived from information. In the MIT Technology Review in an article entitled, The Foundation of Reality: Information or Quantum Mechanics?, the following quote was among the concluding statements: "All this work stems from the growing realization that it is not the laws of physics that determine how information behaves in our Universe, but the other way round." This link outlines peer reviewed articles and scientific discoveries regarding the nature of metaphysical reality in harmony with theist conceptions.
Without knowing the specifics involved, the definitions applied, the data observed, the manner in which conclusions were drawn, etc., there’s nothing anyone really needs to say here other than: What’s the point? Earlier Warden objected to my alignment of theism with the primacy of consciousness, saying that I have erected a straw man. Now he seems to be arguing for the primacy of consciousness. He’s going in reverse and thinks it’s forwards.

I will say, however, that university departments, as a result of a number of factors – e.g., philosophical bankruptcy, government funding, the erosion of reason from our culture, etc. – have been infected for decades with a lot of intellectual filth. It started in the humanities departments, but it has spread to the sciences as well. Physics was among its first victims, so we should not be surprised to find a lot of “junk science” spewing from the Ivy League. But Warden is free to lap it up all he likes.

Warden wrote:
The biblical understanding of truth includes moral truth claims. The fact is, the present leading philosophical debater in the world, William Lane Craig, holds a consistent record for winning logical debates and a foundational argument of Craig's regards the nature of objective moral truth based on defending the existence of God.
What relevance does this have to do with my argument? Who cares about “winning debates”? Is that all that concerns Warden – coming in first in some Special Olympics event? Craig’s record is well known to most of my readers, and he’s a great example of the kind of charlatan that twerking for Jesus will mercilessly turn a person into. If Craig is Warden’s hero, he can have him. While he’s cuddling at Craig’s feet, perhaps Warden can show how Christians can explain their way out of Craig’s endorsement of genocide.


Warden also charges my argument with “The Fallacy of Begging the Question”

Warden wrote:
Because Dawson’s first premise offers an unsubstantiated definition of truth that is neither universally agreed upon nor philosophically self-evident in support of his argument, he is guilty of the unsupported claim fallacy.
For one thing, universal agreement is not a test of truth. That’s because truth rests on facts which obtain independent of consciousness. But Warden doesn’t hold to this conception of truth. He wants a consensus – a social subjective compromise among those who’ve been deemed appropriately representative of the whole.

The test of my conception of truth is very simple. Just answer the following question:
Does wishing make it so?
A “no” concedes my conception of truth. A “yes” affirms a subjective conception of truth and concedes objectivity to one’s adversaries.

I’ll go with a firm ‘no, wishing does not make it so,’ and I’m happy to stick with it.

If Warden does not recognize the relevance of this conception of truth to my argument after carefully reading what I have written on the topic, it’s out of my hands.

Warden wrote:
This ties into another fallacy, begging the question. Dawson's explanation of truth in the first premise presupposes that atheism is true, the very conclusion he wishes to prove.
Warden has confused philosophical consistency with fallacy. Isn’t that charmingly ironic?

No, there’s no begging the question going on in my argument. My argument is showing how my atheism is entirely consistent with the objective conception of truth.

Warden wrote:
According to theism, truth ultimately corresponds with the ultimate reality of God's existence and the moral and personal aspects of this truth are quite relevant, as noted previously in this post with regard to winning moral arguments presented by William Lane Craig.
Craig does not win “moral arguments.” He may win “debates,” but his arguments are ultimately grounded in mysticism and thus cannot be true. Truth according to theism is what “corresponds” with “God’s good pleasure,” per Ps. 115:3 et al. Whatever the Christian god says is true, is “true” by virtue of it affirming it as such. On the Christian view, wishing does make it so. This is precisely why Warden objects to the view of truth that I have affirmed in my argument. Warden thinks truth ultimately hinges on wishing and desires. He does this in his own life as well: he wishes that the god he imagines were real, so he insists that his god-beliefs are true. The primacy of consciousness infects the entirety of the believer’s psychology, though he cannot adhere to it consistently as we have seen (such as when Warden borrows the primacy of existence every time he affirms anything as true).

On the Christian view, there really is no such thing as morality to begin with. As Van Til points out, “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (The Defense of the Faith, p. 160), and this god itself does not face any fundamental alternative (e.g., life vs. death for man); it therefore has no objective basis for valuing anything and thus no objective basis for one choice as opposed to another. It is free to do as it pleases (Ps. 115:3). And this is what Christians say is the basis of morality? Not at all. Even the things they condemn as immoral are things that happen according to “God’s will.” Is the Christian god in control of human history, or not? Christians routinely affirm that it is. Thus when Christians object to abortion, for instance, they’re really objecting to their god’s decision to include it as part of its overall “plan” for human history. If everything that happens is all part of “God’s plan,” then abortion is part of “God’s plan.” Christians misdirect their ire when they condemn human beings for carrying out what their god has already predetermined them to do. If the Christian believer is truly morally outraged by something that takes place in “God’s creation” which he imagines his god controlling from beginning to end, he needs to take it up with his god, not with human beings who are essentially puppets performing according to an inviolable script that was written billions of years before they were born. Thus when Christians get angry at other human beings for doing things that are presumably “against God’s will,” they put on display before us all the cognitive dissonance that is inherent in trying to practice Christianity.

Warden wrote:
It’s not clear how and why Rand objectivists have come up with their false dilemma primacy dichotomy.
If something is not clear to Warden, then on what basis can he dismiss it as “false”? He clearly has not shown that the issue of metaphysical primacy is false; to do this he would have to show that there is no subject-object relationship. And yet, in order to do this, he would have to be a subject participating in relationship to certain objects. Indeed, just by saying it’s “false,” Warden is illicitly making use of the primacy of existence – that is, unless he’s saying it’s false because he wants it to be false, in which case we need only say: wishing doesn’t make it so. So Warden commits the fallacy of the stolen concept. With his concern for fallacies allegedly inhabiting my argument, why doesn’t his own commission of fallacies concern him? As Jesus is said to have stated in Mt. 7:3: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” The hypocrisy of the theist knows no bounds.

Warden wrote:
It seems to be a desperate grasp for any narrative that could possibly be remotely utilized in an attempt to disprove God’s existence.
What exactly is Warden characterizing as “desperate”? So it is “desperate” to (a) cite the objective nature of truth (i.e., that truth rests on facts which obtain independently of wishes, wants, likes and dislikes, preferences, desires, emotions, fantasies, imagination, etc.), (b) point out that theism violates this nature (since it assumes the primacy of consciousness metaphysics – i.e., the view that truth conforms to wishes, wants, likes and dislikes, preferences, desires, emotions, fantasies, imagination, etc.), and (c) concludes therefore that theism cannot be true? How is any of this “desperate”? Warden does not explain. In fact, given his repeated failures to find sustainable faults in my argument, his own self-contradictory methodology, and his reliance on the fallacy of the stolen concept, I suspect that he’s deliberately using emotionally laden language to make his case look bigger than it really. (Don’t get me wrong – his failure is huge!)

Warden wrote:
It may be somehow based on the atheist preconception that conscious life on earth evolved from immaterial matter.
I challenge Warden to find any point in my argument that appeals to the theory evolution for its support. Not that it matters, but he won’t find it. Broadly speaking, my argument does not rest on any facts that would require specialized scientific knowledge to understand. Rather, it rests on facts that any ordinary person can grasp (and does so implicitly). It is quite accessible in this regard. It’s not rocket science: theism is a subjective worldview.

Warden wrote:
But we are not shown how this might possibly tie in logically to this argument. There is neither a reference to the theory of abiogenesis nor is there is there an acknowledgement that the theory is scientifically unproven and philosophically open. Darwin's quintessential 6th edition of The Origin of Species. actually presents a theist explanation of the origin of life, as outlined at this link.
No, my argument does not make references to abiogenesis or to Darwin or to parakeets or newts and salamanders. Why does Warden bring this stuff up? It has nothing to do with my argument. We saw above that he cannot deal with it on its own terms.


Lastly, Warden wanted to charge me with something he calls “Atheist Presuppositionalism”

Warden wrote:
I have to point out the irony that Dawson’s blog is entitled, “Incinerating Presuppositionalism” when it is quite obvious that Dawson’s favored “objectivist” argument is fraught with subjective atheist presuppositions.
Such as?

Indeed, what does Warden mean by “subjective”? What possible objection could he, given his commitments to theistic mysticism, have against something that is subjective? Warden does not explain. He uses the word for its connotative effect rather than its denotative value. But it doesn’t work since he cannot make it stick.

Warden wrote:
It seems as though Dawson sincerely believes his argument proves that God does not exist. This is strong evidence that spiritual blindness is a very real and present condition.
I have presented a three-step argument in syllogistic form, per Warden’s request. The arguments I have presented are formally valid. Warden has failed to find any premise in any of my arguments false. He has insisted that I have erected a straw-man, only to go and affirm his worldview’s commitment to the primacy of consciousness (as he has done before). Now that he has failed to bring any sustainable objection against my argument, he wants to say there’s something wrong with me “spiritually” – as though I were metaphysically defective. But if that were the case, it would not do to scold me for this, for according to Warden’s Christian worldview, I am what the Christian god has chosen me to be. I’m just a puppet in a cartoon universe according to Christianity. So if Warden doesn’t like the state of affairs present in reality, he is wrong to get his gaggles up at me. According to his worldview, I’m simply doing what I’ve been predestined since before human history to do.

Warden wrote:
In contrast to a philosophical argument fraught with unsupported presuppositions and logical fallacies, the created world provides observable evidence that the universe is embedded with a certain precise, detailed and hierarchical logical structure that defies explanation from a secular atheist point of view.
This could only be the case so long as we begin with the primacy of consciousness (as evidenced by our need to imagine what Warden describes here), which is self-refuting.

So there you have it. Again Warden shows that he cannot wrestle with the argument from metaphysical primacy and prevail on behalf of his theism. He continues to misinterpret my argument (whether intentionally or as a result of sheer witlessness) to mean that the Christian god created itself. My argument nowhere affirms this or requires this. Warden’s efforts to find faults with my arguments have again proven unsuccessful. My premises are clearly laid out. They are presented in valid logical form. Since Warden has not successfully shown that any of the premises in my arguments are untrue, his efforts to refute my case is another grand flop on his record. But none of this is unexpected. Theists, operating on the primacy of consciousness, are bent by sheer will to have their god-belief, and eat it, too. They do not have facts to support their view, which is why they cannot accept the view that truth is based on facts which obtain independently of consciousness. It is here where Warden has a profound struggle – a deep, psychological struggle that grips him as a result of finding himself lost in the labyrinth of Christian mysticism. He’s been trapped in a nightmarish world similar to a funhouse of mirrors with no apparent exit. And since he cannot find his way out of the labyrinth, what is past is prologue: we cannot expect to find him growing in rational understanding, since he has already sacrificed rationality along with everything else he’s sacrificed for the god he enshrines in his
imagination.

by Dawson Bethrick
Warden’s “Addenda” regarding the Nature of Truth

Note: The following is an elaboration on some comments which I recently posted here.
*     *     *
Since I posted a vindication of my three-step case against theism in defense against Rick Warden’s ill-fated attempts to refute it, he has added a post-script to his attempted refutation regarding the nature of truth that my argument applies.

In this “Addenda” as he titles this section, Warden helps to make clear the stark contrast between the theistic view of truth and the view of truth which my case against theism incorporates. Warden mistakenly assumes that, since the conception of the nature of truth which my case incorporates has anti-theistic implications, my case therefore begs the question. On the contrary, what Warden fails to grasp is the fact that my case constitutes an application of the objective theory of truth to a particular area of inquiry, demonstrating those implications in that particular area of inquiry explicitly. Thus my case constitutes an application of a general truth to a specific matter. In classical logic this is known as deduction - the drawing of specific conclusions from at least one general premise.

The case against theism which I presented in
my blog consists of three distinct syllogisms, the last of which drawing the conclusion “Therefore theism is incompatible with the primacy of existence metaphysics and consequently cannot be true.” At no point in any of the three syllogisms does the affirmation “theism is not true” figure as a premise. On the contrary, my conclusion is drawn as an implication from the premises which are stated in the three syllogisms respectively. Therefore, I emphatically deny the charge of begging the question given the standard deductive model which my case follows.
That my argument does not in fact beg the question can be confirmed by recognizing the general approach which my case takes. Contrary to Warden’s assumptions, my case identifies the necessary metaphysical precondition of the objective nature of truth, namely the primacy of existence, and proceeds to demonstrate theism’s inherent incompatibility with that precondition. Quite simply, my case highlights the fact that, if theism is incompatible with the necessary metaphysical precondition of the objective nature of truth, then theism cannot be true. Thus the disproof of theism is accomplished by demonstrating theism’s incompatibility with the objective nature of truth: if theism contradicts the necessary precondition of the objective nature of truth, then consequently we must conclude that theism cannot be true. Thus, there is no instance of begging the question, circular logic or petition principii at any point in my case; indeed no fallacy is committed therein at all.

Notice also that to charge my argument with the fallacy of begging the question, Warden must tacitly make use of the objective conception of truth while simultaneously denying it. Essentially Warden’s objection is that the conception of truth which my case assumes is questionable, and given its anti-theistic implications, its use in my argument renders my case fallacious. Above we see clearly that this is mistaken. Indeed, given the fundamental nature of truth and its necessity to knowledge, one cannot call into question the objective theory of truth without at least implicitly making use of that very theory in doing so. To say that “X is the case” (as when Warden says “Bethrick’s argument begs the question”), one implies that he is not affirming what he says is the case on the basis of what he wishes, feels emotionally, prefers, likes or dislikes, wants, imagines or even dreams. Rather, he is implying that “X is the case” independent of anyone’s wishes, feelings, preferences, likes or dislikes, wants, imaginings, or dreams. He certainly is not implying that his affirmation that “X is the case” can be trumped by someone else coming along and saying “I disagree because I don’t want X to be the case” or “I don’t believe you because I prefer that X is not the case.” In essence, he is affirming what he states (at least presumably) on the basis of facts which he thinks obtain independent of anyone's conscious activity. In this way the speaker makes use of the primacy of existence metaphysics, whether he realizes it or not.

Thus to the extent that Warden affirms that my case begs the question independently of anyone’s likes, wishes, feelings, preferences, imaginings, dreams, etc., he himself tacitly makes use of the very conception of truth which my argument incorporates and which he wants to call into question. Consequently, Warden’s charge of begging the question not only misses fundamental points about the nature of truth and the general structure of my case, it also commits the fallacy of the stolen concept.

We should also note that possession of at least a general conception of truth is logically prior to truth evaluations of specific claims. When the theist exclaims “theism is true,” we cannot make sense of this claim unless we already have some working idea of what it means for a claim to be true. Otherwise, the theist might as well be saying “theism is kbalgobut.” What does this mean? So even the theist needs us to have some understanding of what truth is prior to entertaining his claims, whatever those claims may be. Given this priority of the concept of truth over specific claims to being truthful, then, it is only logically proper to clarify what is meant by “truth” when evaluating the theist claim that his theism is true. By pointing out the fact that truth rests on the primacy of existence metaphysics in its initial step, then, my case cannot be faulted for begging any questions. One may challenge whether or not that conception of truth is itself true, but the ability to do this would not constitute a justification of the charge that my case is guilty of begging the question.

So Warden’s charge that my case is guilty of begging the question fails in multiple ways.

But another very important fact should not be missed. And that is: by characterizing the objective nature of truth, which my case incorporates in generating its conclusion against theism, as “atheistic” in nature, Warden concedes that the theistic view of truth cannot be objective. Consequently, on the Christian view, given its renunciation of objectivity, truth cannot be absolute. In the main body of
his blog, Warden makes it clear that the view “that truth is derived solely from observing the material world” necessarily “implies and presupposes an atheist explanation of truth” (at which point he added a note instructing readers to “see addenda for more elaboration on this point”). In the introductory statements of my case I make it clear that the general conception of truth on which it rests is characterized by the view that "wishing doesn't make it so." Warden says the conception of truth which my case incorporates is "atheistic" in nature, which can only mean that on the Christian view, wishing does make it so. Other statements of Warden’s, such as several which we will examine below, make this concession crystal clear.

Generally speaking, there are essentially two distinct approaches one can take with regard to the source of truth and knowledge: one can look outward at reality in order to discover and identify facts which obtain independently of anyone’s conscious activity (such as wishing, preferences, likes and dislikes, emotions, imagination, dreaming, etc.); or one can look inward, consulting the contents of one’s own consciousness as if this were the source of truth and knowledge, thereby ignoring or discounting the evidence of the senses and therefore the facts of reality which obtain independently of conscious activity. The former model of looking outward is the objective approach to truth (since it bases truth on the nature of facts, i.e., the objects of consciousness, which are acknowledged to exist independently of anyone’s conscious activity); the latter model of looking inward is the subjective approach to truth (since it envisions truth conforming to the subject of consciousness as opposed to the objects it perceives).

In terms of metaphysical primacy, the primacy of existence, which is the explicit recognition that existence exists independent of conscious activity, is the metaphysical precondition of the objective conception of truth since it alone holds that truth is based on facts which exist and are what they are independent of consciousness. The primacy of consciousness, which essentially holds that existence, reality, the objects of consciousness, the facts informing reality, etc., depend on and conform to the content or dictates of consciousness, is assumed by the subjective view of truth.

Thus by characterizing the objective conception of truth as expressly “atheistic” in nature, Warden concedes that theism is essentially left with only one alternative, the subjective conception of nature. All the foregoing is brought out in Warden’s “Addenda” to
his blog. Consider what he writes there.

Warden writes:

1. Dawson's definition of truth is unsubstantiated in his argument.
The purpose of my case was not to substantiate the definition of truth that it assumes. Thus Warden is attempting to fault my case with something it does not seek to accomplish in the first place.

Warden writes:
The most basic understanding of truth holds that truth corresponds with reality.
Right, and the objective understanding of reality is that reality exists and is what it is independent of conscious activity – of anyone’s conscious activity.

Contrast this with the Christian view of truth, which imagines truth as correspondence to the content of a supernatural (i.e., imaginary) mind. Here’s Greg Bahnsen on the matter(Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, p. 163):
The believer understands that truth fundamentally is whatever conforms to the mind of God.
This view of truth is not at all equivalent to correspondence to facts which obtain independently of conscious activity. On the Christian view, there’s no such thing as facts which obtain independently of conscious activity. Anything we would call a “fact” is merely a creation of the Christian god’s whims and therefore subject to revision according to the Christian god’s “good counsel.” The contents of a pot could be water one moment, and wine the next. On the Christian view, then, we cannot reasonably expect stability among facts, which means: there is no basis for assuming the uniformity of nature. Van Til tells us:
Christians interpret every fact in the light of the same story. For them the nature of every fact in this world is determined by the place it occupies in the story. The story they cannot get from any other source than supernatural revelation. (The Defense of the Faith, pp. 213-214)
Thus on this view, “knowledge” of facts cannot be obtained by an individual by looking outward at the world and observing them. On the contrary, one must first look to a “story” which he can only get by means of “supernatural revelation” – i.e., by looking inward. Since “every fact in this world is determined by the place it occupies in the story,” and this story holds that facts are created by a supernatural consciousness’s act of will, whatever a particular fact happens to be at any moment may simply be in flux, given the needs of the story. The contents of the pot are water one moment until the next, when the supernatural consciousness magically transforms them into wine. Anyone who had previously checked the pot to confirm that it was water would later be proven mistaken if he still maintained that it contained water. On the storybook view of facts which Van Til affirms on behalf of Christianity, facts conform to the contents of a supernatural being’s whims. Elsewhere he writes:
God may at any time take one fact and set it into a new relation to created law. That is, there is no inherent reason in the facts or laws themselves why this should not be done. It is this sort of conception of the relation of facts and laws, of the temporal one and many, embedded as it is in the idea of God in which we profess to believe, that we need in order to make room for miracles. And miracles are at the heart of the Christian position. (The Defense of the Faith, p. 27)
In other words, facts themselves are not objective - i.e., they conform to a supernatural being’s conscious intentions, and given this dependence of facts on the contents of consciousness, they can be altered at will – “there is no inherent reason in the facts or laws themselves why this should not be done.” The supernatural being’s consciousness itself, then, is not constrained by any facts, for they are creations of that being’s conscious activity in the first place. As Christian apologist puts it, “any fact, that is a fact, is a fact because God made it that way” (quoted in The Portable Presuppositionalist, p. 215, Jamin Hubner, ed.). So the Christian god itself cannot be constrained in any way by facts.

Therefore, since on the Christian view nothing exists independently of the Christian god’s creative acts, nothing outside the Christian god’s mind could constrain its creative choices and actions. Whim rules the day. Creating man with two arms would be just as arbitrary as creating him with 45 arms. Nothing in “reality” independent of the Christian god would constrain it to create something one way as opposed to another, since on the Christian view there is no such thing as reality independent of the Christian god in the first place. It’s all subjective whim. It is because Warden has chosen to champion a view which reduces facts to subjective fiat, that he objects to the objective conception of truth which my case incorporates.

And contrary to Warden’s implication that I have provided no support for the objective conception of truth, I have indeed presented a defense of this view in my blog
Answering Dustin Segers’ Presuppositionalism, Part I: Intro and the Nature of Truth. Had Warden bothered to do some homework, he could have spared himself the growing embarrassment he heaps on himself. My answers are already right there in white on black.

Warden writes:
Dawson has assumed a more narrow definition of truth pertaining only to “reality based on facts which obtain independently of conscious activity.”
Of course, this makes Warden bristle. He wants truth to be dependent on conscious intentions. He prefers truth to be something one discovers by looking inward at the contents of one’s own mind, as opposed to looking outward at the facts of reality. No, I’m not making this up. Observe:

Warden writes:
According to Dawson, a dream which accurately foretells the future could not be considered a source of truth, even though dreams are obviously considered real phenomena and, though difficult to verify after the fact, predictive dreams have been recorded throughout history.
No one is denying that people have dreams. But dreams are not a source of knowledge of reality. Specifically, they are not a means of discovering the facts of reality (since, as the objective view points out, facts exist and are what they are independent of conscious activity); nor are dreams a means of identifying and integrating those facts (we need concepts for this – something we cannot learn about by reading the Christian bible). If one wants to learn what food he has in his refrigerator, how to operate heavy machinery, or the best way he should manage his business, the objective approach is to look outward at reality in order discover and identify those facts which pertain to the matter at hand.

But Warden prefers the looking inward model, consulting the contents of one’s own mind as a means of acquiring “knowledge,” whether it’s dreams, wishing, imagination, fantasies, etc. He objects to my argument because my argument does not adopt his model of truth by looking inward. In essence, he objects to my argument because it is objective.

Warden makes reference to people throughout history claiming that their dreams were a means of predicting or knowing the future. But how could one objectively verify this? Acceptance of Warden’s Christian worldview is contingent on accepting personal testimony on its own say so, as if simply saying “X is the case” were sufficient to make it so. This is essentially what “supernatural revelation” amounts to, since it involves taking the contents of the Christian bible as true on its mere say so, not because there are facts we discover in the world which independently corroborate what we read there. There are no facts which we discover in the world, for example, which independently corroborate the claim that Jesus was born of a virgin or was resurrected after being crucified to death. We are expected to accept these claims as true on the assumption that the reports given in the New Testament are reliable testimony and that we should therefore accept them as true on exclusively this basis. It’s all part of Christianity’s storybook worldview.

The looking inward model is vital to holding this storybook worldview. With this worldview firmly in mind, Van Til asserts:
The Christian finds that his conscience agrees to the truth of the story. (The Defense of the Faith, p. 214)
How does the Christian find this? He finds this by looking inward.

Van Til also writes:
He holds that those who deny the truth of the story have an axe to grind. (Ibid.)
How does the Christian learn this? He learns this by looking inward.

Van Til continues:
The Christian finds, further, that logic agrees with the story. (Ibid.)
How does the Christian find this? He finds this by looking inward.

I could go on, but these citations should make it sufficiently clear that the storybook worldview of Christianity rests squarely on the looking inward model of truth.

Warden writes:
Furthermore, Dawson's definition of truth precludes the possibility of divine revelation.
If “divine revelation” is supposed to signify transmission of “knowledge” from a being which we can only imagine, then “divine revelation” rests on the subjective model of truth – i.e., acquired by looking inward. It is by definition not objective. So yes, the view of truth that I affirm precludes any view reducing truth and knowledge to subjective notions.

As I have pointed out before, anyone can – along with Rick Warden, Greg Bahnsen, Cornelius Van Til, James White, Sye Ten Bruggencate, etc. - imagine a supernatural being which possesses a magical consciousness that can zap things into existence by wishing and alter their identities at will. Similarly, one can, along with these individuals, imagine that this supernatural being has “divinely revealed” whatever it is he wants to be true. If one wants it to be the case that circumcision is an outward sign of devotion to this supernatural being, one can imagine that this “knowledge” was delivered to him by means of “supernatural revelation.”

Consider the following passage from I Corinthians chapter 7:
I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. (vss. 8-12)
Here the apostle Paul distinguishes between the commandments he himself issues and those he says are issued by “the Lord.” But to have awareness of either of these – the commandments which Paul issues on his own behalf and those which “the Lord” commands via revelation – Paul must look inward (for nothing in the observable world tells us what he affirms and says “the Lord” affirms here). The source of both sets of commands is thus subjective in nature. The question at this point becomes: How does Paul distinguish between his own commandments and those he attributes to “the Lord”? How does Paul know that he’s made this distinction properly? There is no guide on how to do this given anywhere in “scripture.” The believer is expected to “just know,” just as when he looks inward and consults the contents of his consciousness, he is supposed to just “find that his conscience agrees to the truth of the story” as Van Til affirms above.

Warden writes:
Dawson has not offered any reason or proof of why any divine revelation of truth would not be possible, he simply presupposes this.
Above I give reasons for supposing that “divine revelation” rests on the subjective model of truth since it would require the believer to look inward to have “knowledge” of it. So this is a fundamental strike against it already – it directly violates the norms of objective knowledge.

Also, the notion of “divine revelation” assumes the existence of the god supposedly distributing revelatory deliverances. But if there is no god, then logically there can be no such thing as “divine revelation.” Thus it seems that Warden has blanked out on the fact that he’s commenting on a blog in which a case against theism has been made; if that case is successful, then that would serve as sufficient proof that the very basis of “divine revelation” is non-existent.

Furthermore, I have presented a proof for the non-existence of the Christian god that is very easy to understand. That proof can be found
here. Thus if this proof is successful, then indeed I have offered more than sufficient “reason or proof of why any divine revelation of truth would not be possible.” Since I have presented these and numerous other blog entries critiquing reason and discussing rational epistemology, what Warden says here is simply not true: I am not “simply presupposing” that “divine revelation of truth would not be possible.”

But so what if I were? What objection could Warden really have against this? Christians are always telling me that they “presuppose” their worldview. So why can’t I “presuppose” mine? Warden offers no reason why one should fault me if in fact I did what he accuses me of doing (even though I didn’t).

Now of course the Christian is still going to insist that “divine revelation” be accepted as a legitimate possibility. But what Warden fails to recognize is that he is the one with the burden of proof here. Warden does not even attempt to vindicate the notion of “divine revelation.” He does not even give a good explanation of what it is supposed to be. Does Warden want us to believe that he’s hearing voices in his head? If so, how would he know that the voices he thinks he’s hearing are “divine” in nature? Warden gives no indication here whatsoever.

Or, perhaps “divine revelation” is really nothing more than a mystical euphemism for believing what one reads in some text or set of texts arbitrarily designated as “divinely authored.” This would be significantly less impressive, but also somewhat less cause for worrying about Warden’s sanity. But if reading some set of texts and blindly believing what they say is what Warden has in mind here, how would this qualify as “divine revelation”?

Thomas Paine, who believed that “divine revelation” was actually possible, made an important point in his book The Age of Reason. He writes (pp. 51-52):
But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it.  
It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication — after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.
So on this view, unless Warden has received a transmission of “knowledge” directly from his god, he has no business claiming “divine revelation.” On the view Paine offers here, calling the Christian bible itself “revelation” is at best mistaken, at worst a deliberate deception.

In regard to any attempt to take seriously the notion of “divine revelation,” numerous questions mind. For example:
- How does “divine revelation” work?  
- What steps would one take to ensure that he has received a “divine revelation”?  
- What steps would he take to ensure that he has understood it correctly?  
- What steps would he take to ensure that he has not confused his own mental content (whether it’s his own wishing, preferences, imaginings, dreams, subjective visions, etc.) for what he calls “divine revelation”?  
- How would he ensure that he has not been supernaturally deceived?
These and likely numerous other questions would likely never receive very informative answers from believers. After all, what is modeled in the Christian bible can be taken as indicative of how little explanation one should expect from the Christian worldview. When, for example, in Genesis 22 Abraham is said to have received a commandment from the Christian god instructing him to prepare his only son as a burnt sacrifice, no explanation is provided as to how Abraham knew that he had received an instruction from his god. It’s just assumed – something Warden complains about when he thinks that’s what I’ve done.

Christian apologist John Frame wrestles with this question in his paper
Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction Part 1 of 2: Introduction and Creation. There he writes:
I admit that it is difficult to construe the psychology of such faith. How is it that people come to believe a Word from God which contradicts all their other normal means of knowledge? How did Abraham come to know that the voice calling him to sacrifice his son (Gen. 22:1-18; cf. Heb. 11:17-19; James 2:21-24) was the voice of God? What the voice told him to do was contrary to fatherly instincts, normal ethical considerations, and even, apparently, contrary to other Words of God (Gen. 9:6). But he obeyed the voice and was blessed. Closer to our own experience: how is it that people come to believe in Jesus even though they have not, like Thomas, seen Jesus’ signs and wonders (John 20:29)?  
I cannot explain the psychology here to the satisfaction of very many. In this case as in others (for we walk by faith, not by sight!) we may have to accept the fact even without an explanation of the fact. Somehow, God manages to get his Word across to us, despite the logical and psychological barriers. Without explaining how it works, Scripture describes in various ways a “supernatural factor” in divine-human communication. (a) It speaks of the power of the Word. The Word created all things (Gen. 1:3, etc.; Ps. 33:3-6; John 1:3) and directs the course of nature and history (Pss. 46:6; 148:5-8). What God says will surely come to pass (Isa. 55:11; Gen. 18:14; Deut. 18:21ff.). The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16; cf. Isa. 6:9-10; Luke 7:7ff.; Heb. 4:12). (b) Scripture also speaks of the personal power of the Holy Spirit operating with the Word (John 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:4,12ff.; 2 Cor. 3:15-18; 1 Thess. 1:5). Mysterious though the process may be, somehow God illumines the human mind to discern the divine source of the Word. We know without knowing how we know.
Frame’s comments are essentially no better than throwing up one’s hands and saying “I donno!” Perhaps Warden could do better here since he clearly wants to take the notion of “divine revelation” seriously.

Warden writes:
Dawson presupposes a narrow atheist explanation of truth in an argument against God and has not justified this definition.
The purpose of my three-step case was not to produce an analysis of the objective conception of truth. Warden did not ask for this. He asked for “a summary of the specific premises and logical syntax of the argument” which I employ against theism, which is what I presented. In his latest blog entry, he acknowledges that I did in fact meet this request. Indeed, I could have included much more material in my blog entry, but then Warden would probably have complained that I overtaxed his easily-stretched attention span.

Above I give a link to a blog entry which I published back in April 2012 where I present a more detailed discussion of the nature of truth. Where does the bible do similarly on behalf of its own view? Blank out. Where does Warden vindicate his subjective view of truth? Blank out. Why does Warden continually borrow from the objective understanding of truth when he contests the very basis of it? Blank out.

Also above I quoted Greg Bahnsen who states that “truth fundamentally is whatever conforms to the mind of God.” And yet John 14:6 tells us that Jesus the person is “the truth.” In my experience, when asked what truth is, many believers have told me that “truth is Jesus” or some such nonsense. According to the storybook, Jesus was a physical person walking around “in the flesh.” But are we to suppose that truth is really a physical thing? Believers seem ready to say just about anything in order to be able to say that they’ve provided an answer to some fundamental question, even if what they say in such cases is simply ridiculous.

Warden writes:
This results in two fallacies: the unsupported claim and begging the question.
In the case of the “unsupported claim” claim, Warden’s charge of fallacy is itself unsupported: he nowhere supports his claim that I have not supported my view of truth. Indeed I have. See the link I posted above.

In the case of his charge of “begging the question,” Warden begs the question himself by assuming the subjective analysis of truth (the looking inward model) in raising this objection to my view of truth. And yet, at the same time, he borrows the primacy of existence from my worldview by charging me with fallacy in the first place: he’s not telling his readers that my argument commits a fallacy because he learned this in a dream, or wants this to be the case, or simply imagines this, or “hopes” it’s the case. No, on the contrary, he’s saying that this is the case about my argument because that’s the way it (allegedly) is independent of his wishing, likes, dislikes, preferences, hopes, imaginations, dreams, fantasies, emotions, etc. So for his charge even to carry the weight he wants his readers to think it has, he must adopt the very view he’s condemning. Thus he commits the fallacy of the stolen concept.

Meanwhile, as I demonstrated above, my argument is not “begging the question.” It certainly is not simply restating one of its premises in its conclusion (as can be seen by an examination of the syllogisms that I have laid out). Rather, my argument models an application of a general truth (e.g., truth is objective in nature) to a specific area of inquiry. That’s called deduction. Warden, in spite of all his empty lip service to “logic,” should make some effort to better acquaint himself with formal argumentation. But before he can do this properly, he needs to abandon the subjective model of truth which he wants to defend while secretly pilfering from worldviews he openly condemns.

I’m glad these aren’t my problems!

by Dawson Bethrick


The image of Christ and Pontius Pilate is a non-copyright image.

Tags: atheist presuppositionalism, Ayn Rand objectivism, theories of truth, nature of truth, universal truth, metaphysical truth, logical fallacies,

12 comments:

  1. Rick can god make is snow green flakes and erase from my memory that it ever snowed white flakes and if he can how would we ever prove he had or hadn't or would or wouldn't?

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    1. Hi Justin,

      1. Can god make is snow green flakes?

      Yes.

      2. Can God intervene such that you are alive and your memory is lost?

      Yes.

      3. Is it possible that humans could somehow prove that God had caused these two events to happen?

      It may be possible theoretically, but very difficult after the fact, which is the situation with most miracles.

      It seems that you are implying, Justin, that anything that cannot be proven empirically upon demand cannot be true. That does not seem to be a very strong metaphysical position, and not far from what Dawson seems to believe.

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  2. Justin asked: "Can god make is snow green flakes?"

    Rick responded: "Yes."

    How would your god do this, Rick? If it did do this, would its conscious activity be involved somehow?

    Regards,
    Dawson

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    1. Rick thank you for answering. As to what I am implying... well no, that's not quit right. What I am implying is that in such a cartoon universe in what since can we say anything is what it is. If god can dictate reality's identity at whim then what does the law of identity even mean and what are the consequences for claims to fact. If god exists I literally cant be sure of anything from one moment to the next.

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    2. Dawson and Justin,

      While I in general do not mind answering questions about snow flakes, I believe that the main issues of concern in Dawson's argument could be addressed in a much more efficient manner if either of you would make an attempt to find fault with any of the premises of the two syllogisms I offered in the above article as a challenge.

      Should I expect an attempt on either of your parts to address this challenge? Is it possible that you find no fault in any of the premises and simply do not wish to acknowledge that the two conclusions are true? Some feedback on poignant points would be helpful. Dawson is the one who initiated his "proof" against God. He seems to be very reluctant to defend the argument against the specific objections I have been raising,

      How about this: you answer my challenge as noted in the above article, and then I'll discuss your snow flakes. Does that sound fair?

      Delete
  3. Rick,

    The issue is not snowflakes, and I’m confident you recognize this. The issue is the relationship between consciousness and its objects, whether they are snowflakes, entire planets, human lives, etc. Justin’s question about snowflakes was merely for purposes of drawing an example.

    I posed a very simple, direct question above when you affirmed that your god can alter things in reality (such as making snowflakes green, which you affirmed your god can do). Why don’t you answer it? You say your god can alter reality – changing snowflakes from white to green, for example (the bible has a different one: changing water into wine in John chap. 2 – I’m sure you’re familiar with it). So is your god’s consciousness involved in altering reality when it alters reality, or does it do this in a mindless manner? Your reluctance to address even a simple, direct answer like this makes you appear completely evasive, which is striking if you have any confidence in your worldview being true. Remember: your actions speak louder than your printed text. Your failure to address direct questions pretty much says it all, Rick.

    You say that “in general” you “do not mind answering questions about snow flakes.” But clearly you do mind answering questions about you worldview’s metaphysical take on the relationship between consciousness and its objects. For over and over and over again you ignore precisely this issue, which is the central issue in my argument. Again and again your “refutations” consist of re-affirming that your god is eternal, that it did not create itself, that it cannot “nullify” its existence, and the like. None of this has anything to do with my argument. Thus they are completely ineffectual as objections against any premise in my argument.

    Again: the issue at hand is the relationship between consciousness and any objects distinct from that consciousness - such as Justin’s example of your god causing snowflakes to be green – or, such as the water in the water pots being turned into wine.

    As for what you have posted above, I have already responded to it here:

    Spinning Out of Orbit: Rick Warden Lost in the Outer Limits

    In my new entry, I address each premise in your two syllogisms. They’re full of holes, so that was not difficult. I also list some basic questions for your worldview to address, but it’s clear that you’re a very poor defender of Christianity, so I do not expect you to rise to the challenge of addressing them in any clear manner that is not evasive in nature.

    [continued…]

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  4. Rick, in your comment you wrote: “Dawson is the one who initiated his ‘proof’ against God. He seems to be very reluctant to defend the argument against the specific objections I have been raising,”

    It would be utterly flabbergasting if you actually believed what you say here. It would only indicate just how out of touch with reality you are even when it comes to matters outside your immediate religious beliefs (such as when it comes to identifying observable actions of human beings right here on earth). I know you have posted my blogs in toto in your blog entries, and I’m glad you do this – your readers should see a stark contrast between your extremely poor attempts to feign a “refutation” and the devastating points I have raised against theism. Since you can’t deal with them, maybe you should find some readers of your site who can do better than merely evade as you have done so far.

    By the way, I never did see any attempt by you to “refute” the following argument that I posted on my blog over two years ago:

    Premise 1: That which is imaginary is not real.
    Premise: 2: If something is not real, it does not actually exist.
    Premise 3: If the god of Christianity is imaginary, then it is not real and therefore does not actually exist.
    Premise 4: The god of Christianity is imaginary.
    Conclusion: Therefore, the god of Christianity is not real and therefore does not actually exist.


    Since you have not addressed this argument, perhaps you have nothing you can bring against it? Or, to paraphrase your own words: “Is it possible that you find no fault in any of the premises and simply do not wish to acknowledge that my conclusion is true?”

    Several Christians who have attempted to “refute” this argument sought to deny the initial premise – i.e., “that which is imaginary is not real.” I think this speaks very loudly, don’t you agree?

    When I contemplate your god, Rick, I know that I am imagining. I’m certainly not perceiving, and I know that what I have when I contemplate your god is something I must assemble volitionally in my imagination just to have an idea of what you mean by “God” when you speak of it. I can imagine this “God” creating the universe; I can imagine this “God” instructing Abraham to sacrifice his son; I can imagine this “God” becoming flesh and masquerading as a human being here on earth. I can imagine everything that Christianity teaches. The problem is, Rick: I’m imagining. Now, perhaps you think there’s no problem here. But you want to call your god real. I already know that what I imagine is fundamentally distinct from reality. Nothing you say can prove otherwise. But perhaps on your view, there is no such distinction. Again – it all goes back to the same fundamental issue: the relationship between consciousness and its objects – the very issue you keep avoiding in your “refutations.”

    So I think you’re done, Rick. You’ve proven that you cannot fail to evade when you pretend to be addressing arguments against your god-belief. Your god-belief is so fragile that it cannot withstand direct attacks. That’s why you avoid addressing direct questions such as the one I asked above and the many that I ask over on my blog.

    Regards,
    Dawson

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    1. Hi Dawson,

      I will reply to your comments in the form of a new post hopefully soon. Very busy.

      Delete
  5. Hi Rick,

    Yes, I understand busy. I’ve had a really busy week too. So I definitely sympathize.

    But in fact, Rick, it would be most helpful if you could just address the questions that are already on the table waiting for you to address them. You know what they are. Attempting to refute my argument is futile. Your previous attempts have shown this. To refute my argument, you would essentially have to deny either that (a) truth is objective in nature or (b) theism assumes the primacy of consciousness. To date you’ve attempted variants of both, so far as I can tell, but at the same time you have affirmed positions which contradict your attempted refutations.

    For example, when you challenge the objective theory of truth, you affirm your statements as if they were objectively true. But this is self-contradictory. It is an example of making use of the very thing you’re trying to refute.

    Also, when you deny that theism assumes the primacy of consciousness, you elsewhere make statements like “In essence, Lanza proposes that consciousness holds supremacy over the material world. This, of course, is in keeping with the biblical account of Genesis in which the material world was created by the consciousness and will of God,” which is an explicit endorsement of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics. Either you do not recognize this, or perhaps you’re hoping no one noticed the contradiction between this statement and your denial of the second step in my overall case.

    So you have a fundamental choice: (i) adopt the objective conception of truth, or (ii) take some subjective path in an attempt to evade it.

    Know that, if you affirm anything as a truth, I can simply ask:

    Is that true because you or anyone else *wishes* that it is true? Or, is it true regardless of what anyone wishes?M

    The former (e.g., “It’s true because someone wishes that it is true”) would assume the primacy of consciousness and therefore represent the approach to “truth” implied by a denial of my case’s first step. But that’s obviously subjectivism.

    The latter takes the objective approach and thus coheres with (and therefore confirms) my case’s first step – i.e., that truth is objective.

    You need to make your position on whether truth is subjective or objective explicitly true. If you affirm that truth is objective, you endorse my case’s first step; if you deny my case’s first step, you essentially affirm that truth hinges on conscious activity – such as wishing, emotion, likes and/or dislikes, preferences, imagination, dreams, etc. Thus anyone (including me) can simply deny what you affirm on the basis of counter-wishing. How far will that get any of us?

    So you need to make your position on the nature of truth crystal clear.

    So far you’ve tried to play both sides of a contradiction. You need to choose one or the other and be willing to stick with the results. That’s what a commitment to truth is all about.

    [continued…]

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  6. Remember, Rick, the key issue is the relationship between consciousness and its objects.

    If your god is supposed to be conscious, then the question is: What is the relationship between your god’s consciousness and any objects distinct from itself that it is aware of? Do the objects of your god’s consciousness exist independent of your god’s conscious activity? Are they what they are independent of your god’s conscious intensions? Or, do they conform to what your god thinks, wills, commands, desires, wishes, etc.?

    When you say that your god can make snow green, by what means can it do this? Would it do this by means of conscious activity? Or, would it be some *mindless* activity on the part of your god by which it would accomplish this outcome?

    Did your god create the earth? If so, was it by means of some type of conscious activity? Or, was it a mindless action?

    You tell me. Which is it?

    Regards,
    Dawson

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    1. Dawson,

      >When you say that your god can make snow green, by what means can it do this?

      - It is, of course, logically possible for God to produce green snow. It is logical that the physical law of aerodynamics supervenes over the physical law of gravity. It is logical that a supernatural God could supervene over the material qualities that cause color and change them. However, it is not logically possible for a metaphysical primacy of consciousness to supervene over the metaphysical primacy of God's eternal existence. That is a logically incoherent proposition and no matter how many times you may wish to claim that theism adheres to such a concept, and no matter how many twisted definitions you wish to come up with, you logically incoherent propositions will not be validated at this blog. Sorry.

      Delete
  7. Rick,

    I asked: “When you say that your god can make snow green, by what means can it do this?”

    You wrote: “It is, of course, logically possible for God to produce green snow.”

    This does not answer my question.

    You wrote: “It is logical that the physical law of aerodynamics supervenes over the physical law of gravity.”

    This does not answer my question.

    You wrote: “It is logical that a supernatural God could supervene over the material qualities that cause color and change them.”

    This does not answer my question either. You do not even explain how this is “logical.”

    What does it mean to say that “a supernatural God could supervene over the material qualities that cause color and change them”? What exactly does this mean? And, again:

    By what means would “a supernatural God” do this?

    We are speaking about the Christian god. Would this god “supervene over the material qualities that cause color and change them” by means of some type of *conscious* activity? Or, would it be by means of some *mindless* manner?

    Your reluctance to address my question is entirely telling, Rick.

    You wrote: “However, it is not logically possible for a metaphysical primacy of consciousness to supervene over the metaphysical primacy of God's eternal existence.”

    The term “primacy of consciousness” does not denote an entity, Rick. It denotes a *relationship* between consciousness and its objects. I have explained this over and over. It’s not difficult to understand. Your statement here is itself incoherent. Does your god’s conscious intensions hold metaphysical primacy over the color of snow or any other “material” thing? Yes or no? Why not answer this question?

    When we read that Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana in John chapter 2, did Jesus do this by some *conscious* action? Or was it a mindless action of some sort? How does Jesus turn water into wine, Rick? By means of consciousness? Yes or no?

    You wrote: “That is a logically incoherent proposition and no matter how many times you may wish to claim that theism adheres to such a concept, and no matter how many twisted definitions you wish to come up with, you logically incoherent propositions will not be validated at this blog.”

    I see, so over on your blog, wishing suddenly doesn’t make it so? You mean, the primacy of existence is true then? So any view which assumes the primacy of consciousness is “logically incoherent”?

    What happened to your own statement where you wrote:

    <<“In essence, Lanza proposes that consciousness holds supremacy over the material world. This, of course, is in keeping with the biblical account of Genesis in which the material world was created by the consciousness and will of God”>>

    ??????

    Rick, the world is watching you dance around, but you can’t get over the bar.

    Regards,
    Dawson

    ReplyDelete

You are welcome to post comments but, please, no uncivilized blog abuse. I reserve the right to ignore any comments that are abusive, off-topic, or patently false. I don't have time to waste feeding the trolls.