Does Plantinga Adequately Respond to Fales Tu Quoquo Objection?

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Does Plantinga Adequately Respond to Fales Tu Quoquo Objection?

Toward the end of Evan Fale’s article “Darwin’s Doubt, Calvin’s Calvary,”# Fales attempts to turn the tables on Plantinga. Fales claims that there is no good reason to suppose that P(R/T) is high (where T is Christian theism). According to Fales, there is almost no evidence supporting Plantinga’s claim that God has created us with reliable cognitive faculties (Let us call this claim G).

Fales first argues that many sources must be discounted. The Bible must be discounted because of the many inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies#. Moreover, any appeal to the similarity thesis will not suffice. The similarity thesis claims that we are made in the image of God. This is generally understood to mean that our minds are made in the image of God. However, to what degree are our minds made in the image of God? Presumably the resemblance cannot be to great, for God’s mind is infinite, while ours is finite.

Arguably the strongest point Fales makes, is his claim that God has not made us very good knowers. Fales supports this using the probabilistic argument from evil. What is important is not that God allows evil, but rather that we are unable to understand why he allows such evils. From this argument, Fales argues that it is perfectly conceivable that God could make our cognitive faculties unreliable for some greater good. Fales argues that since we do not grasp God’s divine plan very well, we are not warranted in making claims about what he would or would not do (Fales, 55-56). Since we do not seem to understand God’s divine plan, as illustrated using the probabilistic argument from evil, Fales concludes that P(R/T) is at a minimum inscrutable.

Plantinga’s Response

In formulating a response, Plantinga succeeds, to a degree, in defending one aspect of his view. However, he fails in the other aspect. Plantinga begins by accurately stating the two questions Fales asks: (a) Does the reflective Christian theist get a defeater for R? (b) Does the reflective Christian theist also get a defeater for his belief in theism? (Plantinga, 265-67). Plantinga obviously answers no to both (a) and (b). However, he only defends his answer for (b). For the sake of this paper, it will be granted that his defense of (b) succeeds. However, it will be argued that unless the theist can cogently argue for (a) he/she will be in serious epistemological trouble.

The Failure Of The Cartesian Claim That God Is Not a Deceiver

As stated earlier, Plantinga does not respond to Fales’ claim that P(R/T) is either low or inscrutable. In this section, I will defend Fales’ claim that the theist has no justification for holding that P(R/T) is high. In order to show this, I will demonstrate that the conjunction of Christian dogma with the definition of God does not secure one in believing that his mind is reliable.

The Christian God, as well as most other monotheistic conceptions of God, is defined as follows: God is defined as a being whom is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good. Moreover, as part of Christian dogma, God is a being whom fashioned us in his own image and likeness. Given these two facts, which will be granted to the theist, can the theist informally derive the conclusion that his mind is reliable? To see why not, we must first see that the definition of God does not secure this. To do this, I will describe several cases where the best thing to do is to deceive them.

Imagine you have a terminally ill child. Moreover, suppose that this child is extremely afraid of dying. In order to make this child’s last moments as happy as possible, it would seem that the best thing to do would be to deceive them; in order to make their last moments more comfortable, one would need to convince the child that they were not dying. In addition, it seems that not only would lying to a child be the most loving thing to do, but from a normative standpoint (discounting Deontology), the moral thing to do. Hence, it would appear that if one is to be considered good in the above example, one must deceive the child.

Given the above example, it is perfectly within the realm of possibility that God could cause us to have mass delusions for some greater purpose. Furthermore, it seems perfectly conceivable that the most moral thing for God to do would be to cause deception, as illustrated in the above example. Thus, contrary to Descartes, it is perfectly consistent within Christian theism for God to be a deceiver.

A similar conclusion was drawn by Richard Carrier in his article “An End to Pascal’s Wager: Only Nontheists Go to Heaven.”# In his paper, Carrier argues, as the title suggests, that only non-theists will go to heaven. The whole point of Carrier’s paper, is to provide a coherent picture of why God would want to massively deceive us. Moreover, Carrier argues that given Christian theism, it is not only possible that God is massively deceiving us, but that it is probable that God is massively deceiving us.

Richard Carrier argues that this world, just as theists claim, is a test of sorts (if God exists). Carrier argues that any sufficiently reflective person will conclude from the world around him, that either God does not exist, or that God is evil. Richard Carrier then argues that this world is a test to see if we have the moral fortitude to be intellectually honest and conclude that God does not exist. Carrier states:

The only way to truly test human beings is to see if we will become nontheists after serious and sincere inquiry into these matters: to see if we have the courage and fortitude to choose morality over faith or loyalty, and be good without fear or hope of divine reward. No other test will ensure a result of the genuinely good being self-selected into a predictable belief-state that can be observed in secret by god (Carrier, 2002).

Carrier’s account of why God allows various evils is interesting, even it is fallacious in some way. Carrier concludes that if God exists, and if God is all-loving, then the only way to ensure that heaven is populated by intellectually honest and moral individuals is to create a world where it seemed that he did not exist. From this, a sufficiently reflective person will become an atheist. Richard Carrier, echoing Evan Fales, provides a very plausible explanation of why and all-loving God would want to deceive us. The question that Plantinga and his cohorts must answer is this: In virtue of what, can we suppose that God has chosen to not deceive us, as opposed to his deceiving us for some greater purpose? Until a response is formulated, Plantinga and Descartes claim must be viewed with dubiety.

Possible Objections

One objection one might lodge against my defense is as follows. I have failed to back up the claim that God wants us, as Carrier claims, to become atheists in order to test us. I completely agree. I personally do not fully agree with Carrier’s conclusion that it is likely that God is testing our moral fortitude. However, this is not the point. The main point was that there is no reason to suppose that God’s intentions are non-deceptive as opposed to deceptive. Moreover, this was also Fales main point. Carrier’s paper, like Fales tu quoquo objection, is properly viewed a skeptical objection to the claim that God is not a deceiver; not, that God is in fact a deceiver.

One might also suggest that Carrier’s claim that any sufficiently reflective person ought to conclude that God is either evil or nonexistent is not well supported. I completely concur. However, it must be granted that this is one conclusion one could come to one upon reflecting on God’s existence; I would argue, this is a very plausible conclusion. I am willing to grant that a sufficiently reflective person could still retain his/her belief in theism and not necessarily be considered irrational. However, I find it hard to imagine how one could retain his/her belief in theism (but that is merely my own familiar of imagination).

Conclusion

Plantinga said that the truth takes a backseat when it comes to naturalistic evolution. Behavior, not truth, is what is important to evolution. Plantinga, like Descartes, thinks that Christian theism assures him that his mind is reliable: “…human beings have been made in the image of God. This means, among other things, that God created us with the capacity for achieving knowledge…” (Plantinga, 2). Plantinga may be right. However, Plantinga does not know that this is the case. Therefore, the P(R/T) is at least inscrutable. Since P(R/T) is inscrutable, Christian theists have an undercutting defeater for R. Ergo, if Plantinga is correct, the theist and the naturalist are both in the same epistemological boat.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Work Cited

Carrier, Richard. “An End To Pascal’s Wager: Only Nontheists Go to Heaven.” From, http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/heaven.html

Fales, Evan. “Darwin’s Doubt, Calvin’s Calvary.” James Beilby (ed.). Naturalism Defeated?

Plantinga, Alvin. “Reply to Beilby‘s Cohorts.” James Beilby (ed.). Naturalism Defeated?

Plantinga, Alvin. “Introduction.” James Beilby (ed.). Naturalism Defeated?

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Very nice. I am currently

Very nice. Love your points on Carrier. 

 I am currently writing up an old argument given by Anthony Flew (sacrilege!) in response to JP Moreland and Craig (can't figure out which is the bigger hack) Nice to see you posting.

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todangst wrote: I am

todangst wrote:
I am currently writing up an old argument given by Anthony Flew (sacrilege!)

And to think he became a theist of sorts.  Even worse, he became a theist due to the shitty intellegent design arguments, such as Behe's Irreducible Complexity nonsense.  It really is sad to see such a sharp mind go to shit with age.

todangst wrote:
JP Moreland and Craig (can't figure out which is the bigger hack)

It's hard to tell, since both of them each a big bowl of intellectual dishonesty for breakfast and wash it down with a tall glass of pseudo-intellectualism.  Everything that is wrong with Philosophy is codified in men like these.

 

todangst wrote:
Nice to see you posting.

Thanks.  Can you see any flaws in my paper?  I need to anticipate possible objections. 

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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

todangst wrote:
I am currently writing up an old argument given by Anthony Flew (sacrilege!)

And to think he became a theist of sorts. Even worse, he became a theist due to the shitty intellegent design arguments, such as Behe's Irreducible Complexity nonsense. It really is sad to see such a sharp mind go to shit with age.

I do hope it's not that. I think he actualy only moved to deism, but it's puzzling considering that he was quite good at ripping apart the design argument. In fact, it's Flew from who I get the argument "design implies contrivance, contrivance contradicts omnipotence."

todangst wrote:
JP Moreland and Craig (can't figure out which is the bigger hack)

Quote:

It's hard to tell, since both of them each a big bowl of intellectual dishonesty for breakfast and wash it down with a tall glass of pseudo-intellectualism. Everything that is wrong with Philosophy is codified in men like these.

Aren't you stunned with how bad their arguments are? Moreland actually ended the debate I am reading by making an appeal to his "Jesus" experiences... Flew felt that that was a 'grossly immature behavior' let alone an irrational argument.

The more I look at Craig, Van Till, Moreland, Plantinga (mr. "properly basic belief" who can't even figure out what an axiom actually is) the more embarrassed I become for them.

About the only one I could read without literally breaking out in laughter was Dallas Willard... but only because he didn't just dodge every difficult question (his answers were just as bad as the rest).

At the same time, some of the atheistst they debate with arent' all that impressive either! Flew was actually quite good, Kai Nelson is so-so (Makes great points, but has a real problem fleshing them out) and while Keith Parsons ripped all the theists to shreds, he actually accepted that a theist could be within his epistemic rights to be a theist (!).... so I guess we shouldn't expect him as a guest on the show anytime soon...

todangst wrote:
Nice to see you posting.

Quote:

Thanks. Can you see any flaws in my paper? I need to anticipate possible objections.

I didn't see any flaw... in fact, my only problem is that I think you are too kind to Plantinga, in that you accept a few things (just for the sake of argument) that I wouldn't give on at all... but you come to the same conclusions I'd come to, so the fact that you travel a different road to the same location isn't really all that important...

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I just updated my original

I just updated my original posts with changes and revisions.  I will respond to you, todangst, in a moment.

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todangst wrote: I do hope

todangst wrote:

I do hope it's not that. I think he actualy only moved to deism, but it's puzzling considering that he was quite good at ripping apart the design argument. In fact, it's Flew from who I get the argument "design implies contrivance, contrivance contradicts omnipotence."

 

It is that.

 

"Integrated complexity argument."

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todangst wrote: I do hope

todangst wrote:
I do hope it's not that. I think he actualy only moved to deism, but it's puzzling considering that he was quite good at ripping apart the design argument. In fact, it's Flew from who I get the argument "design implies contrivance, contrivance contradicts omnipotence."

Yes, but his move to Deism was because of the intellegent design nonsense...at least if Richard Dawkin's account is correct.

 

todangst wrote:
Aren't you stunned with how bad their arguments are?

not really.  They will use any means necessary to "save souls."  If that means employing shitty arguments, so be it.

 

todangst wrote:
I didn't see any flaw... in fact, my only problem is that I think you are too kind to Plantinga, in that you accept a few things (just for the sake of argument) that I wouldn't give on at all

I can't be to hard on Plantinga.  Here is why.  My professor studied under Plantinga during the time Plantinga was writing his response to the articles in "Naturalism Defeated?"  If you look in the footnotes, you will see among the people Plantinga thanks, my professor, Omar Mirza.  I don't want to get a bad grade because I was perveived as being "to uncharitible" to my professors mentor.

 

Oh yeah, in the realm of Epistemology, are you familiar with the notion of a defeater?  And, the distinction between a rebuting defeater and an undercutting defeater

 

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Mordagar wrote: todangst

Mordagar wrote:
todangst wrote:

I do hope it's not that. I think he actualy only moved to deism, but it's puzzling considering that he was quite good at ripping apart the design argument. In fact, it's Flew from who I get the argument "design implies contrivance, contrivance contradicts omnipotence."

 

It is that.

 

"Integrated complexity argument."

 So very sad.  Sad, considering there is absolutly no merit to Behe's line of reasoning.  It is biologically without merit.

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Chaoslord2004 wrote:

Chaoslord2004 wrote:
According to Fales, there is almost no evidence supporting Plantinga’s claim that God has created us with reliable cognitive faculties (Let us call this claim G).

As someone who holds to non cognitivism, I dont' see how Plantinga's argument can even get off the ground until he gives us an ontology for 'god'.


Quote:

 Fales first argues that many sources must be discounted. The Bible must be discounted because of the many inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies. Moreover, any appeal to the similarity thesis will not suffice. 

The 'bible' as evidence is a nonsensical claim, seeing as the more parsimonious explanation for its existence is that it is a man-made artifact.

The 'similarity hypothesis' is simply a claim that comes from the bible. So it suffers the same flaw - the claim has no actual provenance that supports 'god' as its origin.

So the similary hypothesis suffers from the following problems:

1) The claim has no provenance - we cannot prove it originates from a god 

2) non cognitivism - how can we draw a 'similarity' between a known entity and an incoherent term? 

3)  The aforementioned finite/infinity problem 

4) Interpretive dilemma: how can we say that 'in our image'  really means "thinks the same", particularly when 'adam and eve" were made 'in his image" and yet, were made completely innocent of something as basic as knowledge of good and evil, and even forbidden this knowledge. If we could be made 'in his image' and yet utterly innocent of something as basic as morality (something that elsewhere, the christian claims is inescapably, objectively true!) then I cannot see how anyone can hold 'in our image' to mean "thinks alike"

Fatal flaws abound. 

 

Quote:

Arguably the strongest point Fales makes, is his claim that God has not made us very good knowers. Fales supports this using the probabilistic argument from evil. What is important is not that God allows evil, but rather that we are unable to understand why he allows such evils.

This is an excellent point that the theist himself cannot deny. Oddly enough, I mirror it in the point I made above.

Quote:
 

Fales concludes that P(R/T) is at a minimum inscrutable. Plantinga’s Response In formulating a response, Plantinga succeeds, to a degree, in defending one aspect of his view. However, he fails in the other aspect. Plantinga begins by accurately stating the two questions Fales asks: (a) Does the reflective Christian theist get a defeater for R? (b) Does the reflective Christian theist also get a defeater for his belief in theism? (Plantinga, 265-67). Plantinga obviously answers no to both (a) and (b). However, he only defends his answer for (b).

Surprised he even did that much. These theists love to assert without support.

Quote:
 

   To do this, I will describe several cases where the best thing to do is to deceive them. Imagine you have a terminally ill child. Moreover, suppose that this child is extremely afraid of dying. In order to make this child’s last moments as happy as possible, it would seem that the best thing to do would be to deceive them; in order to make their last moments more comfortable, one would need to convince the child that they were not dying. In addition, it seems that not only would lying to a child be the most loving thing to do, but from a normative standpoint (discounting Deontology), the moral thing to do. Hence, it would appear that if one is to be considered good in the above example, one must deceive the child. Given the above example, it is perfectly within the realm of possibility that God could cause us to have mass delusions for some greater purpose. Furthermore, it seems perfectly conceivable that the most moral thing for God to do would be to cause deception, as illustrated in the above example.

Interesting way to go.  Yes, deception and goodness can go hand in hand.

Quote:
 

Thus, contrary to Descartes, it is perfectly consistent within Christian theism for God to be a deceiver.

I again bring up the 'Garden of Eden" wherein god purposely forbids knowledge of good and evil, presumably for their own protection/benefit.  

Quote:
 

 A similar conclusion was drawn by Richard Carrier in his article “An End to Pascal’s Wager: Only Nontheists Go to Heaven.”# 

Another interesting point.

Quote:
 

Possible Objections One objection one might lodge against my defense is as follows. I have failed to back up the claim that God wants us, as Carrier claims, to become atheists in order to test us. I completely agree. I personally do not fully agree with Carrier’s conclusion that it is likely that God is testing our moral fortitude. However, this is not the point. The main point was that there is no reason to suppose that God’s intentions are non-deceptive as opposed to deceptive.

One must simply beg the question that 'god is good, and that that 'good' means 'not a deciever"

Quote:
 

I am willing to grant that a sufficiently reflective person could still retain his/her belief in theism and not necessarily be considered irrational.

This is where we part ways... It's not that I think that theists are irrational, its that I think that theism is irrational.

So it's not a matter of who is rational and who isn't: the set of purely rational people is {} - the empty set.  It's that in order to be a theist, and at the same time, be of at least average IQ and informed on at least the basics of modern science, logic, etc., you must be irrational somewhere.

 

Quote:

However, I find it hard to imagine how one could retain his/her belief in theism (but that is merely my own familiar of imagination).

Yes.

Quote:
 

Conclusion Plantinga said that the truth takes a backseat when it comes to naturalistic evolution. Behavior, not truth, is what is important to evolution.

Survival, not just behavior, is important. And survival is hampered by some false beliefs, and not others. So, in fact, Plantinga, as usual, oversimplies - the reality is that truth is intertwined with some succesful behaviors.

I think Nietzsche pegged it right: "Man has no love for the truth, only an interest in avoiding harm"

But in some cases, avoiding harm requires that one hold to a claim that is 'true' 

Quote:
 

Plantinga, like Descartes, thinks that Christian theism assures him that his mind is reliable: “…human beings have been made in the image of God. This means, among other things, that God created us with the capacity for achieving knowledge…” (Plantinga, 2).

Circular logic, based on a term, that upon the slighest examination, is actually incoherent. 

Plantinga's statement can only read "I don't know why we have the capacity for achieving knowledge"

 

Quote:
 

Plantinga may be right. However, Plantinga does not know that this is the case. Therefore, the P(R/T) is at least inscrutable. Since P(R/T) is inscrutable, Christian theists have an undercutting defeater for R. Ergo, if Plantinga is correct, the theist and the naturalist are both in the same epistemological boat.


Nice. 

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Chaoslord2004 wrote:   Oh

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

 

Oh yeah, in the realm of Epistemology, are you familiar with the notion of a defeater? And, the distinction between a rebuting defeater and an undercutting defeater?

 

I've read the term before, but always just assumed that I knew what it meant.... please speak on it more.

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todangst wrote: The

todangst wrote:

The 'bible' as evidence is a nonsensical claim, seeing as the more parsimonious explanation for its existence is that it is a man-made artifact.

The 'similarity hypothesis' is simply a claim that comes from the bible. So it suffers the same flaw - the claim has no actual provenance that supports 'god' as its origin.

So the similary hypothesis suffers from the following problems:

1) The claim has no provenance - we cannot prove it originates from a god 

2) non cognitivism - how can we draw a 'similarity' between a known entity and an incoherent term? 

3)  The aforementioned finite/infinity problem 

4) Interpretive dilemma: how can we say that 'in our image'  really means "thinks the same", particularly when 'adam and eve" were made 'in his image" and yet, were made completely innocent of something as basic as knowledge of good and evil, and even forbidden this knowledge. If we could be made 'in his image' and yet utterly innocent of something as basic as morality (something that elsewhere, the christian claims is inescapably, objectively true!) then I cannot see how anyone can hold 'in our image' to mean "thinks alike"

Fatal flaws abound.

The whole point was that Plantinga claimed that GIVEN Christian theism, he is ensured that his mind is reliable.  Plantinga is not claiming that God exists...in this example, only that within the realm of Christian theism, the theist knows his mind is reliable.  My point, as well as Evan Fales point, was simply to deny this.  There is no theological basis for this position.  We did that by rejecting various sources.  If the Bible were not contradictory, and it said "I, the lord thy God, has made man's mind reliable," then Fales and I would have to throw up our hands.  For, given Christian theism...Plantinga would be right.  Whether Christian theism was true, is another matter.

 

todangst wrote:
This is an excellent point that the theist himself cannot deny. Oddly enough, I mirror it in the point I made above.

Plantinga has a sort of Thomas Redian response that has to do with non-propositional evidence for rejecting the argument from evil.  I reject this, but not the validity of non-propositional evidence for a belief.  If you want to read an excellent exposition on Non-propositional evidence for a belief, read Michael Bergmann's article "Common Sense Naturalism" in the volume Naturalism Defeated?  It is definatly a good book.  I would recommend it for anyone interested in Philosophy of Religion (im not so much) or someone interested in Epistemology (I very much am interested in Epistemology).  Anyway, it the article, Bergmann outlines his Reidian account of non-propositional evidence.  It is a good account of what it is.  However, Bergmann's article, fails to refute Plantinga.  Bergmann interprets Plantinga's defeated as a rebutting defeater, when it is ment to be an undercutting defeater (I will explain later).  So what is some non-propositional evidence?  Here is an example:

I draw a straw from 10 straws.  9 of them are 6 inches long and 1 is 3 inches long.  Suppose I draw the 3 inch long one.  I know it was improbable that I would draw the 3 inch long straw, however, my experience that I drew the 3 inch straw overrides my propositional evidence that it was improbable that I would draw the 3 inch straw.  Hence, the moral is:  Should I stop believing I drew a 3 inch long straw because it was improbable?  No, for I have the experience of drawing the 3 inch long straw.

 

todangst wrote:
Survival, not just behavior, is important. And survival is hampered by some false beliefs, and not others. So, in fact, Plantinga, as usual, oversimplies - the reality is that truth is intertwined with some succesful behaviors.

Well, Plantinga's reasoning is more complex than what I outlined.  I am not saying it doesn't fail, but at first it SEEMS like he is correct.

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todangst

todangst wrote:
Chaoslord2004 wrote:

 

Oh yeah, in the realm of Epistemology, are you familiar with the notion of a defeater? And, the distinction between a rebuting defeater and an undercutting defeater?

I've read the term before, but always just assumed that I knew what it meant.... please speak on it more.

In general, a defeater is defined as follows:

D is a defeater for belief B if and only if, it is impossible to accept both B and D and still be rational.  Or, another way of saying it, accepting D gives you a cogent reason for rejecting B.  

Here is the distinction:

D is a rebutting defeater B, if in accepting D you have good reason to give up B and accept ~B.

D is an undercutting defeater for B, in in accepting D the source of your belief is called into question.

Examples of each:

Suppose I came I believe these two propositions:

(i) The experiences I am having are real

(ii) I am being deceived by an evil demon

in accepting (ii) I have a good reason to give up my belief in (i).  In fact, to be rational, I must give up (i) if I accept (ii).  Hence, I have good reason to believe ~(i).

Now, an undercutting defeater is more complex.  Suppose that I once again believe these two things:

(i) I have a high proponderance of true beliefs

(ii) the source of my beliefs is from evil scientists who do not care about the truthfulness of my beliefs.

Now, I don't have good evidence for believing ~(i) based upon my acceptance of (ii).  However, the source of my beliefs has been called into question.  I no longer know that my beliefs are the result of mostly reliable processes.

Make sense?

Alot of the articles in the Naturalism Defeated? book miss the mark, for they think Plantinga claims the naturalist has a rebutting defeater, when in reality Plantinga claims the naturalist has an undercutting defeater for R. 

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todangst wrote: Circular

todangst wrote:
Circular logic, based on a term, that upon the slighest examination, is actually incoherent.

To be fair, all epistemologies are circular.  Worse yet, they are necessarily circular.  For it all comes down to one must know ones mind is reliable.  Since one cannot step outside of ones self, one must rely upon ones evidence to tell one that ones mind is reliable.  Hence, to prove my mind is reliable...I must use evidence from my mind, to tell me my mind is reliable.

One of the many reasons I am a epistemological skeptic.  One can be justified in many things, but can never claim to KNOW anything...but thats battle for another day. 

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Hmmm...If their

Hmmm...
If their justification is supposed to be truth then they are necessarily circular. However, if they were to be justified in terms of their function, i.e. pragmatism.
I know the word 'pragmatism' is usually used to denote a philosophical position that declares truth to be less important than practical value, but you could say that the 'pragmatists' and 'veracists' are merely having a disagreement over the pragmatic values of truth?

That all philosophy is rooted in it's function.
Has anyone read Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance?
I've only read it once and didn't fully understand it but it put forward a theory that the root of all knowledge and philosophy and pretty much everything was in 'quality'.
E.g. that truth is better than untruth is a matter of 'quality'...

I don't understand the theory well enough to argue for it but I definately recommend the book as worth reading! Smile


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Chaoslord2004 wrote:The

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

The whole point was that Plantinga claimed that GIVEN Christian theism, he is ensured that his mind is reliable.

This is what I hate about philosophy and philosophers: they continually give away the house.

You can't simply 'give' Plantinga any of this, for any reason, not even for the reason of 'hypothetical discussion' because the masses cannot grasp any of this. For all they know, Plantinga has 'proven' that god is real (seeing as this is necessary for the argument "god ensures my mind is reliable).

Given that pigs can fly, it makes sense to carry an umbrella around a pig pen. To the common man, this means: buy an umbrella.

 

Quote:
So what is some non-propositional evidence? Here is an example:

I draw a straw from 10 straws. 9 of them are 6 inches long and 1 is 3 inches long. Suppose I draw the 3 inch long one. I know it was improbable that I would draw the 3 inch long straw, however, my experience that I drew the 3 inch straw overrides my propositional evidence that it was improbable that I would draw the 3 inch straw. Hence, the moral is: Should I stop believing I drew a 3 inch long straw because it was improbable? No, for I have the experience of drawing the 3 inch long straw.

Sounds like the difference between probability and bare facts... as 'unlikely' as some might argue our universe to be, it is a bare fact of existence.

todangst wrote:
Survival, not just behavior, is important. And survival is hampered by some false beliefs, and not others. So, in fact, Plantinga, as usual, oversimplies - the reality is that truth is intertwined with some succesful behaviors.

Quote:

Well, Plantinga's reasoning is more complex than what I outlined. I am not saying it doesn't fail, but at first it SEEMS like he is correct.

Only if you start out by accepting flying pigs! Once you do that, anythings seems possible.

And that's the bigger problem here. And this is my NUMBER 1 problem with all atheist debaters: they give away, far, far far more at the outset, than any theist could ever win through debate, by giving away things for 'the sake of argument". The theist wins by merely showing up. By default. The average person sees a 'fair fight' and concludes that theism is on an even grounds with atheism.

That's all that matters here... the theist gets to see people arguing over naturalism as if it's on shakey grounds, and supernaturalism as a viable alternative.

It all reminds me of briar rabbit....  Non cognitivism ought to be the first and only grounds for debate.  

 

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Chaoslord2004 wrote:

todangst wrote:
Circular logic, based on a term, that upon the slighest examination, is actually incoherent.

To be fair, all epistemologies are circular.

But the real problem I identify here is that the term 'god' is incoherent, rendering any 'god did it' claim to actually read: "I don't know what did it."

Unless a theist can describe, explain and even predict 'god', god claims are empty. And, as long as god is an ontologically bankrupt reference, the term is incoherent.

Quote:

Worse yet, they are necessarily circular. For it all comes down to one must know ones mind is reliable. Since one cannot step outside of ones self, one must rely upon ones evidence to tell one that ones mind is reliable. Hence, to prove my mind is reliable...I must use evidence from my mind, to tell me my mind is reliable.

I don't see this as a vicious circle, however. There is more than just a mind refering to itself. As per above:

Quote:

If their justification is supposed to be truth then they are necessarily circular. However, if they were to be justified in terms of their function, i.e. pragmatism.

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Chaoslord2004 wrote: In

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

In general, a defeater is defined as follows:

D is a defeater for belief B if and only if, it is impossible to accept both B and D and still be rational. Or, another way of saying it, accepting D gives you a cogent reason for rejecting B.

Here is the distinction:

D is a rebutting defeater B, if in accepting D you have good reason to give up B and accept ~B.

D is an undercutting defeater for B, in in accepting D the source of your belief is called into question.

Examples of each:

Suppose I came I believe these two propositions:

(i) The experiences I am having are real

(ii) I am being deceived by an evil demon

in accepting (ii) I have a good reason to give up my belief in (i). In fact, to be rational, I must give up (i) if I accept (ii). Hence, I have good reason to believe ~(i).

Now, an undercutting defeater is more complex. Suppose that I once again believe these two things:

(i) I have a high proponderance of true beliefs

(ii) the source of my beliefs is from evil scientists who do not care about the truthfulness of my beliefs.

Now, I don't have good evidence for believing ~(i) based upon my acceptance of (ii). However, the source of my beliefs has been called into question. I no longer know that my beliefs are the result of mostly reliable processes.

Make sense?

Alot of the articles in the Naturalism Defeated? book miss the mark, for they think Plantinga claims the naturalist has a rebutting defeater, when in reality Plantinga claims the naturalist has an undercutting defeater for R.

Thanks for this distinction, will have to put it on my logic page.

I don't follow the last paragraph, are you talking about Plantinga's description of Naturalistic refutations for 'theistic epistemology' (oxymoron) 

Oh, and does Plantinga ever explain why there is a nature in the first place? What possible point would there be in a supernatural entity creating a limited realm, when the entire 'eschatology' of 'theism' is for all of 'existence' to dwell in a 'supernatural realm'?

 

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todangst wrote: This is

todangst wrote:
This is what I hate about philosophy and philosophers: they continually give away the house.

huh?  Your desputing conditional probability?  This is all Plantinga is using when he declares that P(R/T) is high.  Nothing is being granted to him.

todangst wrote:

You can't simply 'give' Plantinga any of this, for any reason, not even for the reason of 'hypothetical discussion' because the masses cannot grasp any of this. For all they know, Plantinga has 'proven' that god is real (seeing as this is necessary for the argument "god ensures my mind is reliable).

Given that pigs can fly, it makes sense to carry an umbrella around a pig pen. To the common man, this means: buy an umbrella.

Do you really think the common man can understand Plantinga's argument?  This is purely a Philosophical argument, designed for Philosophers.  Period.  Plantinga even admits that the argument is only designed to give the REFLECTIVE naturalist a defeater for R. 

Let's be honest, how much of Philosophy is for the common man?

 

todangst wrote:

And that's the bigger problem here. And this is my NUMBER 1 problem with all atheist debaters: they give away, far, far far more at the outset, than any theist could ever win through debate, by giving away things for 'the sake of argument".

Alot of things that are "given away" is nothing more than showing how the assumption fails.  Hence, we assume things about God to preform a reductio.

 

todangst wrote:
That's all that matters here... the theist gets to see people arguing over naturalism as if it's on shakey grounds, and supernaturalism as a viable alternative.

I agree.  I tend to think that the Philosophy of Religion is analogous to the Philosophy of Santa Claus.  I really don't see how the existence of God is any more plausible than the existence of Santa Claus.  Did I miss something?  When did the existence of God move down the latter of absurdity?

Arguing for the existence of God is like arguing for the existence of Santa Claus:  You look like an asshole.  Philosophy of Religion should not even exist.  Philosophers should admit the obvious:  God doesn't exist. 

 

 

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todangst wrote: I don't see

todangst wrote:
I don't see this as a vicious circle, however. There is more than just a mind refering to itself.

Ok, how can you check to see if your mind is reliable without relying on your mind?  Or, should I say, how can you check that your mind is reliable, when you must assume it is reliable in the first place?

 

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todangst wrote: I don't

todangst wrote:
I don't follow the last paragraph, are you talking about Plantinga's description of Naturalistic refutations for 'theistic epistemology' (oxymoron)

What I am saying is that many of the articles attack Plantinga's argument by refuting (I think successfully) that the naturalist doesn't have a rebutting defeater for R.  They succeed.  However, this was not what Plantinga claimed.  Plantinga's argument attacks the source of ones belief in R.  Hence, Plantinga claims the naturalist has an undercutting defeater for R.

 

todangst wrote:
Oh, and does Plantinga ever explain why there is a nature in the first place? What possible point would there be in a supernatural entity creating a limited realm, when the entire 'eschatology' of 'theism' is for all of 'existence' to dwell in a 'supernatural realm'?

This goes beyond the scope of his argument.  However, I am sure he has a response to it.  And I am almost positive it is a shitty response. 

"In the high school halls, in the shopping malls, conform or be cast out" ~ Rush, from Subdivisions


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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

todangst wrote:
This is what I hate about philosophy and philosophers: they continually give away the house.

huh? Your desputing conditional probability?

Of course not. You can't build a conditional probability on an incoherent term. That's my point.

I realize, of course, that accepting a claim for the sake of debate does not require holding to its truth, however, you'd be stunned to find out just how many theists cannot grasp this point... many of them even use the argument "you accepted my use of the term, ergo you hold it to be true" so all they can come away with is this "this is all debatable'... if it is debatable, then clearly the terms of the debate are coherent.

And accepting that terms like 'supernaturalism' is coherent (which is necessary if you accept theism as coherent) is basically giving away the house.....

Quote:

This is all Plantinga is using when he declares that P(R/T) is high. Nothing is being granted to him.

Everything is being granted to him, because without a free pass from his opponents, he can't even get his claim off the ground, as his terms are ontologically bankrupt.

His sole response in the past has been to whine like a bitch that naturalists rule out supernaturalism a priori, when in reality, this is moot, whether true or false... his responsibility is to provide an ontology for 'supernaturalism' or concede that it is impossible.

This point should be repeated ad naseum, and the debate should die there.

Quote:

Do you really think the common man can understand Plantinga's argument?

Again, that's my point. My point is that they can't grasp any of this, ergo all they can come away with is that there IS a debate and that 'both sides have a point', when in reality, the theist can't even get his argument off the ground, and yet, this is lost on everyone save for the elite.

Quote:

This is purely a Philosophical argument, designed for Philosophers.

This is precisely why it's a problem: it's for the benefit of philosophers... so the common man can only come away with one outcome: there IS a debate... Instead, it should be continually pointed out by every participant that this claim is nonsense because it relies on ontologically bankrupt terms.

 

 

 

todangst wrote:
That's all that matters here... the theist gets to see people arguing over naturalism as if it's on shakey grounds, and supernaturalism as a viable alternative.

Quote:

I agree.

I am glad you do, because this is the SOLE outcome for the overwhelming majority of humans.

Only a small group grasp the real picture.

So, you tell me: what's the point of an exercise if the majority of people it influences will be influenced in a false manner?

Quote:

I tend to think that the Philosophy of Religion is analogous to the Philosophy of Santa Claus. I really don't see how the existence of God is any more plausible than the existence of Santa Claus. Did I miss something? When did the existence of God move down the latter of absurdity?

From the very beginning. I think you'd agree that Santa claus claims, no matter how improbable, are not logically impossible. Just physically impossible.

God claims are incoherent.

Now, it's possible that santa's secondary attributes are contradictory, leading to incoherence as well, but at least santa has the benefit of being a natural entity.

Quote:

Arguing for the existence of God is like arguing for the existence of Santa Claus: You look like an asshole. Philosophy of Religion should not even exist. Philosophers should admit the obvious: God doesn't exist.

Agreed.

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Chaoslord2004 wrote:

todangst wrote:
I don't see this as a vicious circle, however. There is more than just a mind refering to itself.

Ok, how can you check to see if your mind is reliable without relying on your mind?

I don't deny this anywhere, my actual point is that it doesn't lead to a vicious circle....

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I think I see your point. 

I think I see your point.  I can't really argue with anything you'v said, since I have been a proponent of noncognitivism for the last few years.

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todangst

todangst wrote:
Chaoslord2004 wrote:

todangst wrote:
I don't see this as a vicious circle, however. There is more than just a mind refering to itself.

Ok, how can you check to see if your mind is reliable without relying on your mind?

I don't deny this anywhere, my actual point is that it doesn't lead to a vicious circle....

I remain unconvinced that it isn't vicious.  Imagine a parellel case.  Imagine the police asking an alledged criminal if he is a criminal and basing their entire decision to investigate on this.  Guilty or not, the criminal will say he is innocent.

More importantly, if my mind is reliable, upon introspection I will conclude that it is, in fact, reliable.  Sadly, I will conclude the same thing if it is unreliable.  Nothing can prove that my mind is unreliable. 

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It would be vicious if our

It would be vicious if our justification for accepting the theory depended on knowledge. However, I think that it can be justified pragmatically using basics that would require the most absolute scepticism, perhaps a scepticism so global that it denies too much to be worth considering, or maybe so much that it becomes incoherent.


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Strafio wrote: It would be

Strafio wrote:
It would be vicious if our justification for accepting the theory depended on knowledge.

But it does.  It depends upon us knowing that our minds are reliable.  We can only know this circularly.

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Here is an interesting

Here is an interesting thought discussed in class today:

 In James Van Cleve's article "Can Atheists Know Anything" he brings up an interesting point.  How can viewing the probability thesis as a defeater be justified?  It seems as thought Plantinga holds the following principle in order to justify his defeater thesis:

 Suppose one holds beliefs A and B.  If P(A/B) is inscrutible, then B is a defeater for A.  

However, this is outright stupid.  For example, consider this case:  what is the probability that birds fly, given that people drive cars?  Well, who the hell knows.  Surly, this probability is inscrutible.  Thus, given the above principle, we ought to reject the fact that birds fly.  This is absurd.   Ok, suppose Plantinga holds to this principle:

 Suppose one holds beliefs A and B.  If P(A/B) is inscrutible, and A derives its warrant from B, B is a defeater for A.

Once again, this suffers from similar counter examples.  The question is, how can the defeater thesis be justifed?  

Plantinga says, through analogies...but the analogies are kinda stupid. 

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Chaoslord2004

Chaoslord2004 wrote:

Strafio wrote:
It would be vicious if our justification for accepting the theory depended on knowledge.

But it does. It depends upon us knowing that our minds are reliable. We can only know this circularly.


I think that our minds being reliable is a transcendental necessity.
Ofcourse, it depends on which function you are questioning the reliability of. If you are questioning the reliability of our mind to use logic and reason then all philosophy goes out the window and the suggestion of the scepticism itself is incoherent.

Perhaps there's a form of reliability that allows for a coherent scepticism? i.e. allows our reason to be reliable but something else necessary for knowledge be unreliable. Although I can't think of one off the top of my head...