Response to Butterbattle

Presuppositionalist
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Response to Butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:
- show me evidence for the existence of a spiritual world, basically, any world other than this one.

Challenge, accepted..

EPISTEMIC ARGUMENT FOR THE SUPERNATURAL, WITTGENSTEIN VERSION

Definitions

D1. Nature: observable reality

D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

D3. Knowledge: true, justified belief

D4. Certain: unreasonable to doubt

D5. Natural knowledge: knowledge attained through observable modalities.

D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves.)

Argument (In Four Parts)

Part One

P1. If supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable modality exists. (D6)

P2. If a non-observable modality exists, then a non-observable reality exists.

C1. Therefore, If supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable reality exists. (P1 & P2)

P3. If a non-observable reality exists, then supernature exists. (D2)

C2. Therefore, If supernatural knowledge exists, then supernature exists. (C1 & P3)

Part Two

P4. If X exists, then x is either observable or non-observable.

C3. Therefore, if x exists, then x is either natural or supernatural. (D5, D6, P3)

C4. Therefore, if modality M exists, then M is either natural or supernatural. (C3)

C5. Therefore, if M exists, then if M is not natural, then M is supernatural. (C4)

P5. If k is knowledge, then k comes from an extant modality. (D7)

C6. Therefore, if k is knowledge, then if the modality that k comes from is not natural, then the modality that k comes from is supernatural. (C5 & P5)

Part Three

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

C7. Therefore, If it is reasonable to doubt a proposition, p, then some proposition, q, is known more certainly than p. (P6 & P7)

C8. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then every proposition he doubts implies the existence of another, unique, less doubted proposition. (C7)

P8. If every y implies the existence of another, unique y, then there are either an infinite number of y's or no y's.

C9. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then either he knows an infinite number of propositions or no propositions. (C8 & P8)

P9. Reasonable doubt presupposes knowledge of at least two propositions: a proposition to doubt, and a proposition by reference to which to doubt it.

C10. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then he knows an infinite number of propositions. (C9 & P9)

P10. No one knows an infinite number of propositions.

C11. Therefore, no one reasonably has doubt about every proposition he knows. (C10 & P10)

C12. Therefore, every reasonable person has certain knowledge of at least one proposition. (C11 & D4)

Part Four

P11. The senses and reason are the only natural modalities.

P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

P13. Reasoned conclusions may be wrong.

C13. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities may be wrong. (P11, P12, P13)

P14. That which may be wrong is reasonable to doubt.

P15. That which is reasonable to doubt is not certain.

C14. Therefore, That which may be wrong is not certain. (P14 & P15)

C15. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities is uncertain. (C13 & C14)

C16. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that does not come from a natural modality. (C12 & C15)

C17. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that comes from a supernatural modality. (C6 & C16)

C18. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that comes from a non-observed modality. (D2 & C17)

C18. Therefore, supernatural knowledge exists. (D6 & C18)

C19. Therefore, supernature exists. (C3 & C18)

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Hambydammit
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Quote:D2. Supernature:

Quote:
D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

Define "observable."

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D4. Certain: unreasonable to doubt

Define "reasonable" and by extension, "unreasonable."  What is the measure of reason?

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NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed.

It's good that you see it as obvious.  Too bad you can't understand it.  Information is not observed in any case.  Information is the quantification of observed phenomena.  The words "provide information" are synonymous with "cause observable effects."

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This is a broad generalization that can only cause confusion.  Knowledge, as you have stated, is justified true belief.  That is, it is a sub-class of belief, and belief is nothing more than the state of holding a thing to be real and true.  The "source of belief" can only be the mind.  Therefore, the source of knowledge is also the mind.

If you mean to say the sense organs through which perception occurs, there's no reason to obscure it behind an unrelated word like "modalities."

Reason is far different from your eyes.  Your eyes are sense organs.  Reason is the process by which your brain reaches conclusions.  They should not be lumped in one term.

Because of this conflation of several ideas into one term, P1 and P2 are nonsense, and must be clarified before they are useful premises.  There's no point in going on any further until you fix this problem.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

Kevin R Brown
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Quote:D2. Supernature:

Quote:
D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

If something is non-observable (that is, totally undetectable), it can't be considered part of reality. Period.

The definition is internally inconsistent.

(...Nevermind the fact that even if it weren't, and he just stuck with 'non-observable', we're still left with the problem of, 'If it's undetectable, how could we possibly know of it's existence?')

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940

butterbattle
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Quote:
P1. If supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable modality exists. (D6)

Why?

Quote:
D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves

Our sensory organs are not non-observable. We know they exist because of neuroscience. Your analogy isn't very good. Wait, how do we know supernatural knowledge exists again?

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C7. Therefore, If it is reasonable to doubt a proposition, p, then some proposition, q, is known more certainly than p. (P6 & P7)

C8. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then every proposition he doubts implies the existence of another, unique, less doubted proposition. (C7)

P8. If every y implies the existence of another, unique y, then there are either an infinite number of y's or no y's.

C9. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then either he knows an infinite number of propositions or no propositions. (C8 & P8)

Have you considered the possibility that every specific q can be repeatedly used as the drastically more certain proposition? As such, why must there there be an endless chain instead of a web? Great philosophical mind games, but unrealistic. By intuition alone, it's obvious that the subject cannot know an infinite number of propositions or no propositions.

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C15. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities is uncertain. (C13 & C14)

Am I reading this right? Is this the succinct philosophical version of the "you can't know that you exist" argument? You're talking about an infinitesimally small number, so small, that by all practical standards, it is certain. Either we assume that natural modalities are certain, and thus, the supernatural does not exist, or, otherwise, nothing is certain. Do you not see the irony here? If we conclude that the natural is as uncertain as you claim, then we can you use your own logic to assert that we cannot be sure of the validity of your argument because your premises are logical, thus natural, thus uncertain.

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C16. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that does not come from a natural modality. (C12 & C15)

I am not sure how this follows from C12 and C15.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare

BobSpence
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A few points I would like

A few points I would like clarified:

How do you, in principle, establish that some new thought is derived from information obtained from some supernatural source, as distinct from ideas just popping into consciousness from the normal background ('sub-conscious') brain processes?

'Reason' is not a source of knowledge, so much as the chief way we analyse the raw input of our senses, to form our beliefs, and assign those beliefs an appropriate degree of certainty. 'Modality' is normally used to refer to the different forms of sensory perception, at least in the context of perception.

"the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed" is a confused statement. "Modality" is not something we observe - we don't 'see' our sight, or 'hear' our auditory sense, although we can feel our eyes and our ears, and easily verify that they are the organs through which we perceive light and sound. It would make more sense to say that the 'source' itself is not observed in any way, in the case of "supernatural" information.

I presume Presup is assuming there is some 'sixth sense' which responds to 'non-natural' events.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Presuppositionalist
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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

If something is non-observable (that is, totally undetectable), it can't be considered part of reality. Period.

The definition is internally inconsistent.

Really? Suppose Max steps into some sort of box that is totally impenetrable to all forms of analysis. Once he steps into the box, Max is non-observable. According to you, it follows that Max poofs out of existence once he steps into the box. But that is obviously not true.

Quote:
(...Nevermind the fact that even if it weren't, and he just stuck with 'non-observable', we're still left with the problem of, 'If it's undetectable, how could we possibly know of it's existence?')

See my definition of supernatural knowledge.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Presuppositionalist
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butterbattle wrote:A few

butterbattle wrote:

Quote:
P1. If supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable modality exists. (D6)

Why?

Because supernatural knowledge is attained through non-observable modalities. Ergo, if supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable modality exists.

Quote:
Quote:
D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves

Our sensory organs are not non-observable. We know they exist because of neuroscience. Your analogy isn't very good. Wait, how do we know supernatural knowledge exists again?

I wasn't saying that our sensory organs are in fact non-observable. I was saying that in that particular situation, your eyes would not be observable. So in that situation, your eyes are analogous to the form of knowledge that I am talking about.

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C7. Therefore, If it is reasonable to doubt a proposition, p, then some proposition, q, is known more certainly than p. (P6 & P7)

C8. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then every proposition he doubts implies the existence of another, unique, less doubted proposition. (C7)

P8. If every y implies the existence of another, unique y, then there are either an infinite number of y's or no y's.

C9. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then either he knows an infinite number of propositions or no propositions. (C8 & P8)

Have you considered the possibility that every specific q can be repeatedly used as the drastically more certain proposition?

A specific q could be more certain than several other propositions. However, even in that situation, if there is doubt about the q, then there must be another proposition, more certain than q.

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As such, why must there there be an endless chain instead of a web?

Where did I say "chain"? I didn't say anything about the shape.

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By intuition alone, it's obvious that the subject cannot know an infinite number of propositions or no propositions.

I KNOW. That was my conclusion. Why do you criticize arguments that you have not read?

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C15. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities is uncertain. (C13 & C14)

Am I reading this right? Is this the succinct philosophical version of the "you can't know that you exist" argument? You're talking about an infinitesimally small number, so small, that by all practical standards, it is certain.

You are missing my point. If it is less than certain, then there is some proposition more certain than it. It may be certain "for all intents and purposes," but if it is not certain, then it implies the existence of something more certain.

Quote:
Either we assume that natural modalities are certain, and thus, the supernatural does not exist, or, otherwise, nothing is certain. Do you not see the irony here? If we conclude that the natural is as uncertain as you claim, then we can you use your own logic to assert that we cannot be sure of the validity of your argument because your premises are logical, thus natural, thus uncertain.

The natural modalities are plainly not certain. I am comfortable with some small uncertainty in my argument.

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C16. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that does not come from a natural modality. (C12 & C15)

I am not sure how this follows from C12 and C15.

C12. Therefore, every reasonable person has certain knowledge of at least one proposition.

C15. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities is uncertain.

These imply C16 because if we know something with certainty, and we know that certainties don't come from natural modalities, then we must not have gotten this certainty from a natural modality. (Here's an analogy: My coffee cup has a Starbucks logo. I know that cups with Starbucks logos don't come from McDonald's. Therefore, this cup did not come from McDonald's)

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Presuppositionalist
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BobSpence1 wrote:A few

BobSpence1 wrote:

A few points I would like clarified:

How do you, in principle, establish that some new thought is derived from information obtained from some supernatural source, as distinct from ideas just popping into consciousness from the normal background ('sub-conscious') brain processes?

That is not relevant to my argument, actually. I'm not claiming that any specific thought is derived from a supernatural modality, just that some thought must be.

Quote:
'Reason' is not a source of knowledge, so much as the chief way we analyse the raw input of our senses, to form our beliefs, and assign those beliefs an appropriate degree of certainty. 'Modality' is normally used to refer to the different forms of sensory perception, at least in the context of perception.

Well, but the conclusions that we draw from reasoned analysis are qualitatively different from the premises that go into them. For example, the laws of thermodynamics are rather different from the observations that prove them. In calling reason a modality, I am accounting for this. Further, there are tautologies like those of logic or math that are known without reference to particular sensory observations, and it is appropriate to treat these as a separate class of knowledge. (And therefore reason, their source, as a separate modality.)

Quote:
"the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed" is a confused statement. "Modality" is not something we observe - we don't 'see' our sight, or 'hear' our auditory sense, although we can feel our eyes and our ears, and easily verify that they are the organs through which we perceive light and sound. It would make more sense to say that the 'source' itself is not observed in any way, in the case of "supernatural" information.

"Modality" as I use the term refers to the organ itself.

Quote:
I presume Presup is assuming there is some 'sixth sense' which responds to 'non-natural' events.

I am saying that the supernatural exists. See part four in the OP.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

spike.barnett
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves.)

P2. If a non-observable modality exists, then a non-observable reality exists.

Back the fuck up. Are you claiming that because I can not currently see my eyes because of the lack of mirrors in my house, that my eyes are non-observable? Not observing something does not make it non-observable. I argue that everything that exist is observable and to a certain extent measurable.

 I hadn't read the replies before I posted. It was a what the fuck moment. Anyway, I would like an answer from Presuppositionalist to my argument that all matter/energy is observable.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

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BobSpence
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
BobSpence1 wrote:

A few points I would like clarified:

How do you, in principle, establish that some new thought is derived from information obtained from some supernatural source, as distinct from ideas just popping into consciousness from the normal background ('sub-conscious') brain processes?

That is not relevant to my argument, actually. I'm not claiming that any specific thought is derived from a supernatural modality, just that some thought must be.

Ok, so how do you know that any thoughts derive form a "supernatural modality"? Why 'must' there be any such thoughts? Prove it.

Quote:
Quote:
"the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed" is a confused statement. "Modality" is not something we observe - we don't 'see' our sight, or 'hear' our auditory sense, although we can feel our eyes and our ears, and easily verify that they are the organs through which we perceive light and sound. It would make more sense to say that the 'source' itself is not observed in any way, in the case of "supernatural" information.

"Modality" as I use the term refers to the organ itself.

But whether we can observe our sense organ or not is totally irrelevant to establishing the credibility of the ultimate supposed supernatural source of the information we are allegedly perceiving. We do not base our acceptance of the validity of visual information on whether we can see our eyes or not, that surely cannot be your argument...

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I presume Presup is assuming there is some 'sixth sense' which responds to 'non-natural' events.

I am saying that the supernatural exists. See part four in the OP.

But you have not established a logical case for it, let alone an empirical one.

C16 in part four does not follow. 'Reason' is not a supernatural 'modality'.

We are still back to my basic initial point - how do you distinguish a valid supernatural perception from an over-active imagination. How do you prove there are any such perceptions of supernatural entities, let alone that you are actually getting information from them? It seems to me that whatever the imperfections of our normal senses, any purported 'supernatural' senses don't even get to first base in justifying any confidence in what we imagine may be a 'genuine' such experience.

Even if your logic did not have yawning gaps, logic is insufficient to prove anything about the external world, only that your conclusions are consistent with your premises. You still have to prove that your premises actually do accurately correspond to the real world.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

HisWillness
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It's really not that big

It's really not that big of a deal to have proven that there is knowledge that we do not have, and things we have not discovered. Unfortunately for your argument, you just posited that because knowledge of something supernatural is possible, then the supernatural exists. You forgot to explain why supernatural knowledge would be composed of meaningful propositions.

Your final statements reveal the problem: knowledge begets existence. This is demonstrably not the case.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

RatDog
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How real is my car?

Presuppositionalist your argument for the existence of the supernatural defines the supernatural as "non-observable reality".  You have not defines observable.  For observable do you mean things which can only be directly observed, or do you also count things like the wind which can be observed threw its interaction with other things?  You made a comment about how I can’t see my own eye unless there is a mirror present, does this mean that you only define things as observable if they are currently being observed? I can’t accept your definition until you provide more detail.  With the right definition you could prove anything exists, for instance if I defined supernatural as my ass it would be very easy to prove the existence of the supernatural.

The second problem I have with your definitions is your definition of certainty.  You define certain as that which is unreasonable to doubt.  You have not defined reasonable.  Defining a single word with two words really isn’t that useful. Please go into a little more depth with your definitions.

That said, there are certain parts of your argument I find illogical:

"C7. Therefore, If it is reasonable to doubt a proposition, p, then some proposition, q, is known more certainly than p. (P6 & P7)"

First why did you have to use the variables p and q in the same sentence?  For those of us who are dyslexic this is very frustrating.

Second what you’re basically saying is if I doubt that my car exists I have to have a reason for doubting it’s existence(q) that is more certain(unreasonable to doubt) than my reason for believing in its existence(p).

In other word if q>p it is reasonable to doubt my cars existence.

"P14. That which may be wrong is reasonable to doubt."

So now you’re saying that if my reason for doubting my cars exists(q) has any certainty at all then it’s reasonable to doubt my cars existence.   In other words your saying if q>0 I should doubt my cars existence.

Your statements C7 and P14 contradict one another.  If C7 is true then p<q determines if it is reasonable to doubt something, and everything you say in part four is flawed.  If P14 is true then q>0 determines if it is reasonable to doubt something, and you arguments in part three are flawed(you yourself demonstrate with p12, and p13 that it is possible for someone to cast some doubt on everything they know with only a limited number of  proposition.)  In either case your whole argument is flawed

I can’t help but think that this argument was from the beginning nothing more then a word game trying to define the supernatural in such a way as to make it seem plausible.  One more thing, do you realize that if you argument was true it would mean that it was more reasonable for me to believe in the existence angels then it would be for me to believe the existence of my own car.  That is quite frankly ridicules.

BMcD
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

Why can q not be as certain as, or even less certain than, p? Why must q be more certain than p? We're not talking about determining truth, only determining certainty. If q exists, then it may well be less certain than p, so long as it exceeds a minimum threshold of plausibility itself. If the certainty of q exceeded the certainty of p, then q would not be a reason to doubt p, it would be a reason to discard p, and the possibility of p would then be reason to doubt q.

The more certain of the two would be the premise, and the less certain, the call to question. Human beings don't, after all, frame their understanding of the universe in terms of doubts, but rather in terms of premises, and the exceptions, edge cases, speculations, and uncertainties then form the cause to question those premises. Thus, in any subjective outlook (which all outlooks, being their own point of view, must be), 'Proposition P' will always be more certain than Q, simply because if it were more certain, then Q would be the default position, and P the dissent.

And so your argument fails, entering Part III.

Quote:

P11. The senses and reason are the only natural modalities.

P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

P13. Reasoned conclusions may be wrong.

C13. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities may be wrong. (P11, P12, P13)

Also incorrect. While the understanding of why 'I think, therefore I am' is achieved through reason, this is only a demonstration of why the simpler knowledge of 'I am' is, in fact, axiomatic. Being axiomatic, it simply is, and is not achieved through the senses (though description of the condition of being can be), nor through reason (though understanding the implications of being can be). Thus we have a natural modality (axiom) which is neither sense, nor reason, and which is not subject to doubt.

And that kills your final conclusions.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons." - The Waco Kid

Kevin R Brown
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Quote:Really?

Quote:
Really? Suppose Max steps into some sort of box that is totally impenetrable to all forms of analysis. Once he steps into the box, Max is non-observable. According to you, it follows that Max poofs out of existence once he steps into the box. But that is obviously not true.

Except that your scenario has two huge problems (off the top of my head):

- Max couldn't have detected the alleged box to be able to step into it.

- Max couldn't have stepped into it and 'vanished', because that's a detectable act. If the box makes people disappear into it, that's an observable phenomenon.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940

BobSpence
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There are many statements

There are many statements derived from reason which I can be 100% certain about.

1. Purely deductive statements of logic/math.

2. Statements of the kind that affirm things like "the physical attributes of an object can only be known with limited certainty", and many more with progressively more convoluted references.

3. The certainty of many statement is uncertain. Except for the preceding statement. And the last statement.

Then there are statements that are simply undecidable:

4. The certainty of this statement is 50%.

Once you start making statements about the truth values of other statements which are part of the same argument, or about categories of statements which any of the key statements of your own argument fall into, you are into Godel territory of paradox and self-reference.

Do you see the absurdity of attempting to base an argument on a calculus of 'certainty' as you are trying to do here?

Yes,  many non-deductive statements are inevitably uncertain. We get that. Your attempt to turn this into an argument for God is merely amusing.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

BobSpence
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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
Really? Suppose Max steps into some sort of box that is totally impenetrable to all forms of analysis. Once he steps into the box, Max is non-observable. According to you, it follows that Max poofs out of existence once he steps into the box. But that is obviously not true.

Except that your scenario has two huge problems (off the top of my head):

- Max couldn't have detected the alleged box to be able to step into it.

- Max couldn't have stepped into it and 'vanished', because that's a detectable act. If the box makes people disappear into it, that's an observable phenomenon.

Lemme have a go at this.

The act of entering the box is observable, which would allows us to assert with reasonable confidence that Max existed up to that point.

Once sealed up in an impenetrable box, we can no longer be sure, since there is no way to know what subsequently happened to him. The laws of Physics means that the matter of which he was composed almost certainly still exists, but we can longer know if the person still exists in any meaningful form.

If all we see is the box, then indeed we have no way to know whether there is a person named Max inside it. Or ever was, unless someone can give us proof that he entered it.

This indeed puts any statements about 'Max' into very much the same status as our 'knowledge' of God.

We are not saying that "Max poofs out of existence" once he steps into the box, but that we can no longer know whether he now exists or not, and we would be dependent on some evidence for his prior existence up to the point he stepped into it.

Just like God.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Kevin R Brown
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...And now we're getting

...And now we're getting into Schrodinger's Cat territory once again.

Hambydammit
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Why didn't you address my criticisms?

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

butterbattle
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Alright, I started writing a

Alright, I started writing a much longer response, but, admittedly, I misread your argument (especially the stupid eye analogy) and most of my protests were flawed in some way so I'll return to this one point.

Quote:
P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

P13. Reasoned conclusions may be wrong.

C13. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities may be wrong. (P11, P12, P13)

I take my existence as an axiom, as certain and self-evident. Explain.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare

Presuppositionalist
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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
BobSpence1 wrote:

A few points I would like clarified:

How do you, in principle, establish that some new thought is derived from information obtained from some supernatural source, as distinct from ideas just popping into consciousness from the normal background ('sub-conscious') brain processes?

That is not relevant to my argument, actually. I'm not claiming that any specific thought is derived from a supernatural modality, just that some thought must be.

Ok, so how do you know that any thoughts derive form a "supernatural modality"? Why 'must' there be any such thoughts? Prove it.

It should be pretty clear that I think the above argument is such a proof. Actually, the proof of a supernatural modality concludes in C17. The last few premises contain the final deductions necessary to establish supernature's existence.

Quote:

But whether we can observe our sense organ or not is totally irrelevant to establishing the credibility of the ultimate supposed supernatural source of the information we are allegedly perceiving. We do not base our acceptance of the validity of visual information on whether we can see our eyes or not, that surely cannot be your argument...

Perhaps you should review my definition of supernatural. Also, perhaps a review of the argument would help.

Quote:
But you have not established a logical case for it, let alone an empirical one.

C16 in part four does not follow. 'Reason' is not a supernatural 'modality'.

I never said reason was a supernatural modality. I explicitly said the opposite, actually, listing it as one of the two natural modalities.

The argument for C16

C12. Every reasonable person has certain knowledge of at least one proposition.

C15. All knowledge from natural modalities is uncertain.

C16. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that does not come from a natural modality.

C12 and C15 imply C16 because if we know something with certainty, and we know that certainties don't come from natural modalities, then we must not have gotten this certainty from a natural modality. (Here's an analogy: My coffee cup has a Starbucks logo. I know that cups with Starbucks logos don't come from McDonald's. Therefore, this cup did not come from McDonald's)

Quote:
We are still back to my basic initial point - how do you distinguish a valid supernatural perception from an over-active imagination. How do you prove there are any such perceptions of supernatural entities, let alone that you are actually getting information from them? It seems to me that whatever the imperfections of our normal senses, any purported 'supernatural' senses don't even get to first base in justifying any confidence in what we imagine may be a 'genuine' such experience.

I don't have to be able to do that for this argument to work. I don't have to be able to show that any particular perception is supernatural, that there are perceptions of supernatural entities, or that I am getting information from such supernatural entities.

Of course, if you think that any of those actually do pose a problem for my argument, specify the premise or inference on which they impact.

Quote:
Even if your logic did not have yawning gaps, logic is insufficient to prove anything about the external world, only that your conclusions are consistent with your premises. You still have to prove that your premises actually do accurately correspond to the real world.

I have reviewed the premises, and they all seem pretty clear. I am not dodging you, I simply don't see what is left to establish. If you specify the premises that you have doubts about, I will be able to help you out.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Alright, I started writing a much longer response, but, admittedly, I misread your argument (especially the stupid eye analogy) and most of my protests were flawed in some way so I'll return to this one point.

Reason has delivered false conclusions to you before. That which delivers false conclusions cannot deliver certainties. Therefore, reason cannot deliver certainties.

Quote:
P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

P13. Reasoned conclusions may be wrong.

C13. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities may be wrong. (P11, P12, P13)

I take my existence as an axiom, as certain and self-evident. Explain.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Incognito
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DMT .04 mg, is the cure for

DMT .04 mg, is the cure for Atheism. Try it or read "DMT: THE SPIRIT MOLECULE," by Dr. Strassman.

As for the existence of the supernatural and paranormal, read any standard encyclopedia of the paranormal.

Incognito
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Ah, I see we have a

Ah, I see we have a presuppositionalist. A presuppositional apologist will smoke any atheist. Watch the Greg Bahsen debates.

BobSpence
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:
BobSpence1 wrote:

A few points I would like clarified:

How do you, in principle, establish that some new thought is derived from information obtained from some supernatural source, as distinct from ideas just popping into consciousness from the normal background ('sub-conscious') brain processes?

That is not relevant to my argument, actually. I'm not claiming that any specific thought is derived from a supernatural modality, just that some thought must be.

Ok, so how do you know that any thoughts derive form a "supernatural modality"? Why 'must' there be any such thoughts? Prove it.

It should be pretty clear that I think the above argument is such a proof. Actually, the proof of a supernatural modality concludes in C17. The last few premises contain the final deductions necessary to establish supernature's existence.

Quote:

But whether we can observe our sense organ or not is totally irrelevant to establishing the credibility of the ultimate supposed supernatural source of the information we are allegedly perceiving. We do not base our acceptance of the validity of visual information on whether we can see our eyes or not, that surely cannot be your argument...

Perhaps you should review my definition of supernatural. Also, perhaps a review of the argument would help.

Ok so it is your definition of Supernatural that is flawed. By any reasonable definition, the observability of the sensory apparatus itself is irrelevant - it is the observability of the ultimate source of the information which is relevant. Your insistence on using the term 'modality' allows you to obscure this simple point. The ultimate source of visual data is perceived via our eyes, it is not our eyes themselves.

Quote:

Quote:
But you have not established a logical case for it, let alone an empirical one.

C16 in part four does not follow. 'Reason' is not a supernatural 'modality'.

I never said reason was a supernatural modality. I explicitly said the opposite, actually, listing it as one of the two natural modalities.

Actually I may have lost track of what I originally saw as a problem leading to this statement - I had hit the wrong key around this point and lost some of my post.

Quote:

The argument for C16

C12. Every reasonable person has certain knowledge of at least one proposition.

C15. All knowledge from natural modalities is uncertain.

Whatever my original point was, this is clearly problematic - I covered this in a later post www.rationalresponders.com/forum/16279#comment-212863

So there is many classes of statement we can be certain of from reason, and many statements which inherently have no assignable certainty associated with them, and others which are inherently undecidable.

So your whole attempt to apply some calculus of certainty to this agrgument is fatally flawed, and your immediately following assertions about C16 just don't work.

Quote:

C16. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that does not come from a natural modality.

C12 and C15 imply C16 because if we know something with certainty, and we know that certainties don't come from natural modalities, then we must not have gotten this certainty from a natural modality. (Here's an analogy: My coffee cup has a Starbucks logo. I know that cups with Starbucks logos don't come from McDonald's. Therefore, this cup did not come from McDonald's)

I have already established that C16 is incorrect, and your analogy actually demonstrates an essentially certain statement that is derived from natural reasoning, thereby reinforcing my position. Thank you for pwning yourself...

Quote:

Quote:
We are still back to my basic initial point - how do you distinguish a valid supernatural perception from an over-active imagination. How do you prove there are any such perceptions of supernatural entities, let alone that you are actually getting information from them? It seems to me that whatever the imperfections of our normal senses, any purported 'supernatural' senses don't even get to first base in justifying any confidence in what we imagine may be a 'genuine' such experience.

I don't have to be able to do that for this argument to work. I don't have to be able to show that any particular perception is supernatural, that there are perceptions of supernatural entities, or that I am getting information from such supernatural entities.

Of course, if you think that any of those actually do pose a problem for my argument, specify the premise or inference on which they impact.

OK, i guess you are strictly correct here - I was skipping ahead to point out that even if you coulsd somehow prove that thre could be Supernatural sources of information, there is no way we could discern with logical certainty when some bit of information in our mind actually came from such a source without checking it against external reality, which makes it no different from any other idea or inspiration we may have.

Quote:

Quote:
Even if your logic did not have yawning gaps, logic is insufficient to prove anything about the external world, only that your conclusions are consistent with your premises. You still have to prove that your premises actually do accurately correspond to the real world.

I have reviewed the premises, and they all seem pretty clear. I am not dodging you, I simply don't see what is left to establish. If you specify the premises that you have doubts about, I will be able to help you out.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Hambydammit
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Since my first post is

Since my first post is apparently invisible:

Quote:

D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

Define "observable."

Quote:
D4. Certain: unreasonable to doubt

Define "reasonable" and by extension, "unreasonable."  What is the measure of reason?

Quote:
NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed.

It's good that you see it as obvious.  Too bad you can't understand it.  Information is not observed in any case.  Information is the quantification of observed phenomena.  The words "provide information" are synonymous with "cause observable effects."

Quote:

This is a broad generalization that can only cause confusion.  Knowledge, as you have stated, is justified true belief.  That is, it is a sub-class of belief, and belief is nothing more than the state of holding a thing to be real and true.  The "source of belief" can only be the mind.  Therefore, the source of knowledge is also the mind.

If you mean to say the sense organs through which perception occurs, there's no reason to obscure it behind an unrelated word like "modalities."[EDIT:  I left this intact so as not to appear deceptive, but there is a slight edit.  This should read: "there's no reason to obscure it behind an unfamiliar word like "modalities."  Pardon my haste.]

Reason is far different from your eyes.  Your eyes are sense organs.  Reason is the process by which your brain reaches conclusions.  They should not be lumped in one term.

Because of this conflation of several ideas into one term, P1 and P2 are nonsense, and must be clarified before they are useful premises.  There's no point in going on any further until you fix this problem.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

BobSpence
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Quote:P6. If it is

Quote:

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

No. This is not valid. Anything (p) casting doubt on any of the assumptions in q is reason to doubt q, regardless of the level of confidence in p.

For a proper rigorous analysis of the likelihoods of propositions which depend in turn on other uncertain propositions, see the work of the Reverend Thomas Bayes. This completely supersedes the simplistic assumptions of Wittgenstein, at least in this area.

Quote:

Bayes' theorem relates the conditional and marginal probabilities of events A and B, where B has a non-vanishing probability:

$P(A|B) = \frac{P(B | A)\, P(A)}{P(B)}.$

Each term in Bayes' theorem has a conventional name:

Intuitively, Bayes' theorem in this form describes the way in which one's beliefs about observing 'A' are updated by having observed 'B'.

So your argument is not valid.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Presuppositionalist
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BobSpence1 wrote:Quote:P6.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Quote:

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

No. This is not valid. Anything (p) casting doubt on any of the assumptions in q is reason to doubt q, regardless of the level of confidence in p.

Yes, obviously, if something is "casting doubt" on q, then that thing is "reason to doubt q". This is a tautology. The question is whether q, of certainty c, can be a reason to doubt p, of certainty >c, in the first place.

Quote:
For a proper rigorous analysis of the likelihoods of propositions which depend in turn on other uncertain propositions, see the work of the Reverend Thomas Bayes. This completely supersedes the simplistic assumptions of Wittgenstein, at least in this area.

Quote:

Bayes' theorem relates the conditional and marginal probabilities of events A and B, where B has a non-vanishing probability:

$P(A|B) = \frac{P(B | A)\, P(A)}{P(B)}.$

Each term in Bayes' theorem has a conventional name:

Intuitively, Bayes' theorem in this form describes the way in which one's beliefs about observing 'A' are updated by having observed 'B'.

So your argument is not valid.

Please explicitly detail the relationship of Bayes' equation to the position that I expressed above. All you have actually done here is (a) pasted the equation into your post along with a wordy and frankly opaque explanation, and (b) asserted that it somehow defeats my argument.

Anyway, this equation is not relevant to P6 in any obvious way. It would only be relevant if P6 were talking about the prior probabilities of p and q. However, P6 is not referring to the prior probabilities of p and q, but their posterior probabilities, i.e., our belief about them given our whole context of knowledge. Once all the data is in, if p is doing better than q, obviously we should believe p and doubt q.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Presuppositionalist
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HisWillness wrote: It's

HisWillness wrote:

It's really not that big of a deal to have proven that there is knowledge that we do not have, and things we have not discovered. Unfortunately for your argument, you just posited that because knowledge of something supernatural is possible, then the supernatural exists. You forgot to explain why supernatural knowledge would be composed of meaningful propositions.

This is only a problem for me if I have an obligation to prove that. But it isn't clear why I should have to.

Quote:
Your final statements reveal the problem: knowledge begets existence. This is demonstrably not the case.

YOUR SIDE was arguing that point. I was arguing AGAINST it.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Quote:
Really? Suppose Max steps into some sort of box that is totally impenetrable to all forms of analysis. Once he steps into the box, Max is non-observable. According to you, it follows that Max poofs out of existence once he steps into the box. But that is obviously not true.

Except that your scenario has two huge problems (off the top of my head):

- Max couldn't have detected the alleged box to be able to step into it.

I said the box was impenetrable to all forms of analysis, not that the box itself is undetectable.

Do you remember the movie Mission to Mars? In that movie, the astronauts enter a big stone building shaped like a face. When they enter the building, NASA and the other astronauts lose radio contact with them. And then they can't see inside the building via radar or sonar or thermal scanning or anything. The face-shaped building is impenetrable to all forms of analysis, yet it is itself visible. Max's box is like that.

Quote:
- Max couldn't have stepped into it and 'vanished', because that's a detectable act. If the box makes people disappear into it, that's an observable phenomenon.

I don't quite get this but I have a feeling it is addessed by the above.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Presuppositionalist
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BobSpence1 wrote:Ok so it is

BobSpence1 wrote:

Ok so it is your definition of Supernatural that is flawed. By any reasonable definition, the observability of the sensory apparatus itself is irrelevant - it is the observability of the ultimate source of the information which is relevant. Your insistence on using the term 'modality' allows you to obscure this simple point. The ultimate source of visual data is perceived via our eyes, it is not our eyes themselves.

You say with great authority that "by any reasonable definition, xyz", but you don't explain (a) what the "reasonable" definition of supernatural is, (b) why this definition gets preference over mine or (c) why this definition implies xyz. Explain all of those and I'll address whatever is left to address.

Quote:

Whatever my original point was, this is clearly problematic - I covered this in a later post www.rationalresponders.com/forum/16279#comment-212863

I'll answer that separately from this post.

Quote:
Quote:
(Here's an analogy: My coffee cup has a Starbucks logo. I know that cups with Starbucks logos don't come from McDonald's. Therefore, this cup did not come from McDonald's)

I have already established that C16 is incorrect, and your analogy actually demonstrates an essentially certain statement that is derived from natural reasoning, thereby reinforcing my position. Thank you for pwning yourself...

Actually, I hold that tautologies are not certain. It is an unusual position, but a defensible one. The argument for it, similar to one that I presented in an earlier response, is: Tautologies are produced by reason. Reason has produced falsehoods before. That which has produced falsehoods cannot produce certainties. Therefore, tautologies are uncertain.

Here is an analogy. Imagine that you have a calculator which is wrong once in every ten billion calculations. Once you knew that it was wrong once in every ten billion calculations, you would not be certain of anything it produced thereafter. You might be "certain for all intents and purposes", but not certain certain, not the kind of certain I mean in my argument. And we both know that your reason has a failure rate far worse than one in ten billion calculations.

Bob: "But this means that your argument is not certain!"

I don't have a problem with a tiny bit of uncertainty in my argument. And I was never saying that reason is enormously uncertain anyway. I only require a certainty of less than 100% for my argument to work. And no one, or at least no one on this site, is 100% confident in their conclusions. Isn't that what you're always saying - that everything ought be open to question and criticism? Anyway, let me know if I'm wrong, and you think you are infallible.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Presuppositionalist
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BobSpence1 wrote:There are

BobSpence1 wrote:

There are many statements derived from reason which I can be 100% certain about.

1. Purely deductive statements of logic/math.

2. Statements of the kind that affirm things like "the physical attributes of an object can only be known with limited certainty", and many more with progressively more convoluted references.

3. The certainty of many statement is uncertain. Except for the preceding statement. And the last statement.

Then there are statements that are simply undecidable:

4. The certainty of this statement is 50%.

Once you start making statements about the truth values of other statements which are part of the same argument, or about categories of statements which any of the key statements of your own argument fall into, you are into Godel territory of paradox and self-reference.

Do you see the absurdity of attempting to base an argument on a calculus of 'certainty' as you are trying to do here?

All of these are deliverances of reason. I deny that any of these are certain. See my last post.

Quote:
Yes,  many non-deductive statements are inevitably uncertain. We get that. Your attempt to turn this into an argument for God is merely amusing.

My OP does not contain an argument to the effect that God exists, or that I have contact with supernatural entities, or that any specific piece of knowledge is derived from a supernatural modality, or any of the other things you keep saying that I am trying to prove. Please address the points that I have actually argued for. Thank you.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

Define "observable."

It is such a primitive concept that I can only define it by giving examples. A thing is observed if it is seen, heard, tasted, felt, or smelt.

Quote:
Quote:
D4. Certain: unreasonable to doubt

Define "reasonable" and by extension, "unreasonable."  What is the measure of reason?

According to you, reason is the method by which the brain reaches conclusions.

Quote:
Quote:
NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed.

It's good that you see it as obvious.  Too bad you can't understand it.  Information is not observed in any case.  Information is the quantification of observed phenomena.  The words "provide information" are synonymous with "cause observable effects."

Cast that as an actual argument with a conclusion hostile to my OP, and I will address it. As is, it is not clear why this should be a problem for me.

Quote:

Quote:

This is a broad generalization that can only cause confusion.  Knowledge, as you have stated, is justified true belief.  That is, it is a sub-class of belief, and belief is nothing more than the state of holding a thing to be real and true.  The "source of belief" can only be the mind.  Therefore, the source of knowledge is also the mind.

You are correct in that the mind is the immediate source of all knowledge. It is the last link in the chain, in other words, so all knowledge has to pass through it. However, this does not mean that the mind is the only thing we can call a source of knowledge. I mean, that's like saying your computer is the source of all the information on the Rational Responders website. Your computer is the immediate source of all of that data, but surely the members and architects of the website are also the sources of that data in an important sense.

I would also think that, if you hold the mind to be the only thing we can call a source of information in any sense, you ought to be an idealist. I mean, apparently nothing in the external world is a source of information in any sense, and your senses are not sources of information in any sense. So it must all come ex nihilo from your mind. That is most certainly idealism. If you want to avoid that fate, I suggest you retreat from the above argument, and admit that there are multiple senses in which a thing can be a source of information.

Quote:
If you mean to say the sense organs through which perception occurs, there's no reason to obscure it behind an unrelated word like "modalities."

I don't mean just the sense organs by which perception occurs. I mean the organ which is the source of any sort of information. The tautologies of math or logic, for example, are qualitatively different from the empirical propositions that we take by induction from the senses, and therefore the brain, their source, is properly identified as a modality.

Quote:
Reason is far different from your eyes.  Your eyes are sense organs.  Reason is the process by which your brain reaches conclusions.  They should not be lumped in one term.

Why?

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

BobSpence
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Quote:

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

No. This is not valid. Anything (p) casting doubt on any of the assumptions in q is reason to doubt q, regardless of the level of confidence in p.

Yes, obviously, if something is "casting doubt" on q, then that thing is "reason to doubt q". This is a tautology. The question is whether q, of certainty c, can be a reason to doubt p, of certainty >c, in the first place.

I said if q cast doubts on "any of the assumptions in q", which is a little more specific than saying it casts doubt on q, altho that would be the direct implication, so it is not quite a 'tautology'.

"If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p" is simply an intuitive assumption. Unless you can show the argument behind it.

Quote:

Quote:
For a proper rigorous analysis of the likelihoods of propositions which depend in turn on other uncertain propositions, see the work of the Reverend Thomas Bayes. This completely supersedes the simplistic assumptions of Wittgenstein, at least in this area.

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Bayes' theorem relates the conditional and marginal probabilities of events A and B, where B has a non-vanishing probability:

$P(A|B) = \frac{P(B | A)\, P(A)}{P(B)}.$

Each term in Bayes' theorem has a conventional name:

Intuitively, Bayes' theorem in this form describes the way in which one's beliefs about observing 'A' are updated by having observed 'B'.

So your argument is not valid.

Please explicitly detail the relationship of Bayes' equation to the position that I expressed above. All you have actually done here is (a) pasted the equation into your post along with a wordy and frankly opaque explanation, and (b) asserted that it somehow defeats my argument.

Anyway, this equation is not relevant to P6 in any obvious way. It would only be relevant if P6 were talking about the prior probabilities of p and q. However, P6 is not referring to the prior probabilities of p and q, but their posterior probabilities, i.e., our belief about them given our whole context of knowledge. Once all the data is in, if p is doing better than q, obviously we should believe p and doubt q.

Nor in any obvious way to you, apparently. I expected that. <sigh..>

Bayes Theorem is based on the definition that Pp is the probability that would express one's uncertainty about p, before q is taken into account. That surely is what you mean by the 'certainty' of p. It is only 'prior' to consideration of q, not prior to any knowledge context, Bayes Theorem explicitly assumes that all initial probabilities are based on our own estimates, based on our own current knowledge.

We could have no opinion on the certainty of q outside of our knowledge, that would be meaningless, and is certainly not what is assumed in Bayes Theorem.

IOW, P(p) is the probability we assign to the proposition that p is true, based on our knowledge of p, without taking into account the truth or falsehood of q, ie P(q).

If we then consider q and its implications on the likelihood of q being true, such as if it contradicts, or at least makes less plausible, some assumptions behind p, then Bayes Theorem gives us a way to calculate how q, which itself has a defined value of certainty, P(q), should affect our confidence in p, ie P(p|q).

If you still don't get it, then you better go away and do some homework.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Kevin R Brown
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Quote:I said the box was

Quote:

I said the box was impenetrable to all forms of analysis, not that the box itself is undetectable.

Do you remember the movie Mission to Mars? In that movie, the astronauts enter a big stone building shaped like a face. When they enter the building, NASA and the other astronauts lose radio contact with them. And then they can't see inside the building via radar or sonar or thermal scanning or anything. The face-shaped building is impenetrable to all forms of analysis, yet it is itself visible. Max's box is like that.

Okay - but then this statement remains internally inconsistent. In the box is, in fact, visible, it's susceptible to visual analysis. If the box blocks-out any analysis of what's inside of it, and we can text this by having Max go in and attempting to maintain radio contact with him, that's another way of analyzing the damn box because we then know that it prevents every known type of signal from penetrating it (this is similar to the way we analyzed black holes in the early days).

Do you have a point, anyway, Presup? Are you saying that God is locked away in a box at the center of the universe or somesuch?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940

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His point seems to be the

His point seems to be the same as caposkia's - "God can't be detected so he must exist."

BobSpence
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Another fundamental flaw in

Another fundamental flaw in Presup's argument is that our minds do not use such formal reasoning processes, so we do not actually require any formally certain knowledge to function practically. We only need to start from some working assumptions, and work from there by a mix of more-or-less formally valid reasoning and simpler short-cuts based on associative processes.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Hambydammit
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Quote:It is such a

Quote:
It is such a primitive concept that I can only define it by giving examples. A thing is observed if it is seen, heard, tasted, felt, or smelt.

An example is not a definition.  Try again.  If you can't figure out the words to define it, you aren't prepared to make an argument using the term.

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According to you, reason is the method by which the brain reaches conclusions.

I didn't ask for my definition.  I asked for yours.  You didn't answer the second part of my question.  What is the measure of reason?

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Cast that as an actual argument with a conclusion hostile to my OP, and I will address it. As is, it is not clear why this should be a problem for me.

You've got it backwards.  I have no need to make an argument for I am not making a claim.  You have a problem with your argument.  Once again, "Supernatural" is a problem, and your use of "modalities" is conflated.  Fix the problems, or your argument will remain invalid and therefore useless.

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You are correct in that the mind is the immediate source of all knowledge. It is the last link in the chain, in other words, so all knowledge has to pass through it.

Knowledge cannot exist outside of the mind, so that sentence is nonsense.

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However, this does not mean that the mind is the only thing we can call a source of knowledge. I mean, that's like saying your computer is the source of all the information on the Rational Responders website. Your computer is the immediate source of all of that data, but surely the members and architects of the website are also the sources of that data in an important sense.

You're having a really hard time sticking to one use of a word, and it's confusing you.  Every argument exists within boundaries.  The definitions and limits you specify are the measures by which validity is judged.  I could easily create an argument by which my computer is the source of my knowledge of the RRS website, and it would be valid.  However, that argument would only be useful insofar as it answered a specific question.

Problem #2: You are drawing a false analogy.  The RRS website is a product of brains -- it was created with specific intent by humans, and contains data that humans had knowledge of.  That knowledge was gained the same way all knowledge is gained, and the fact that many brains independently gathered bits of it over time in other places is interesting, but not analogous.  If you wish to say that the external stimuli perceived by the brain are "sources" of knowledge, that's fine, but you're using "source" in a different way, so you must have two definitions.  For example:

Source(1) - the thing which acquires knowledge

Source(2) - the things which are perceived by Source(1) about which knowledge is acquired.

You're not forced to use those examples, of course, but you should be able to see that you are talking about two different things, and cannot use the word interchangably.

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I would also think that, if you hold the mind to be the only thing we can call a source of information in any sense, you ought to be an idealist. I mean, apparently nothing in the external world is a source of information in any sense, and your senses are not sources of information in any sense.

Did you just become a nihilist while I was away?

No, presup, the external world is a source of information in one sense and the senses are a source of information in another sense.  You're free to use either or both definitions of the word, but you may not use them interchangably and still have a valid and coherent argument.

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So it must all come ex nihilo from your mind. That is most certainly idealism. If you want to avoid that fate, I suggest you retreat from the above argument, and admit that there are multiple senses in which a thing can be a source of information.

Oh, stop it!  You're just being ridiculous now.  I shall not retreat from the argument, for I have not made the argument, nor is it implied from anything I've said.  Why don't you just not mention it any more?

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I don't mean just the sense organs by which perception occurs. I mean the organ which is the source of any sort of information.

Is this "Source(3)"?  You need to wrangle these runaway sources.  You've got a real clusterfuck on your hands.

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The tautologies of math or logic, for example, are qualitatively different from the empirical propositions that we take by induction from the senses, and therefore the brain, their source, is properly identified as a modality.

Rein that shit in, dude!  We aren't talking about the definitions of knowledge.  We're talking about the definitions of sources.

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Reason is far different from your eyes.  Your eyes are sense organs.  Reason is the process by which your brain reaches conclusions.  They should not be lumped in one term.

Why?

Because conflating terms is a logical fallacy and renders any argument invalid.

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Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

Gotcha.  It just seemed odd to me that my criticisms precede those of many of the other posters, and it is odd that you would continue to argue points that have not passed muster due to improper definitions, which are the foundation of your argument.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hey Hamby,Why do Christians

Hey Hamby,

Why do Christians claim that atheists use creation ex nihilo  (from whatever source) when that is a foundation of their belief system?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin

Hambydammit
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Wiki

Wiki wrote:
In psychologypsychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts and/or emotions to others. According to (Wade, Tavris, 2000) projection occurs when a person's own unacceptable or threatening feelings are repressed and then attributed to someone else..[1]

An example of such simple behavior would be; blame for failure, making an excuse for your own faults by projecting the cause of said failure onto someone else, hence blaming them and not accepting the reality of the failure. One would argue that you are projecting the threatening feelings.

Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.

Or, maybe they just don't understand the argument.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

nigelTheBold
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

What specifically constitutes "non-observable reality," and how is it distinguishable from simple thoughts and fantasies? For instance, how would you distinguish between the Bible as revelatory truth, or simply as another religious text written by men and based on a mixture of myth, then-current morality, and wishful thinking? Is there some epistemic device which distinguishes between fantasy and non-observable reality?

Perhaps you've clarified this before, but reading through the responses here, I don't see it.

Quote:

D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves.)

I'm imagining this. OK. Got it.

There are other ways of validating our sight, though, even though we can't see our own eyes (or lick our own elbows, except for HisWillness). We can touch things, as well, and so we can touch our eyes to validate that there are some sort of physical thing were our visual sensory organs seem to be.

Even considering that, if we could see things, but not touch them, would we then assume those things are real? Probably not. So we know that our vision is an accurate representation of reality because our other senses give us validation. If we were to see something that our other senses could not validate, we would justifiably begin to doubt reality.

This same must hold true for "non-observable modalities." I'll make a wild speculative leap, and go along with the assertion that these "non-observable modalities" exist. Unless we were able to reconcile the data gathered from these non-observable modalities with the data gathered by our other senses, this data would remain suspect. Further, the data gathered must be measurable, coherent, consistent, and universal. Otherwise, it is completely indistinguishable from complete and utter bullshit.

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P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

Sure, I'll go along with that. After all, you answer it in Part Four, although not in the way you think.

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P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

Here you go. This one assertion is enough to address P6, and avoids the problems of an infinite number of propositions to doubt. This statement can not be wrong, as it merely addresses possibility. It is also sufficient to be a reason to doubt other propositions, without resorting to "knowledge gained through non-observable modalities."

It's already contained in your argument, and is the central linchpin to the final stage of the argument. It completely unravels the rest of your argument.

Finally, there's this:

Quote:

P8. If every y implies the existence of another, unique y, then there are either an infinite number of y's or no y's.

No. You may have two or more 'y's. y(1) implies y(2), and y(2) implies y(1).

I realize you are attempting to establish that if you doubt all of your propositions, there must be a "higher" proposition by which to lend doubt. But, there are many "modalities" of doubt. And so q may lead you to doubt p, but p may lead you to doubt q. You don't have the false dichotomy of 0 or infinity. The logic of Part Three is deeply flawed, and your conclusions are unsound.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

Presuppositionalist
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nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

D2. Supernature: non-observable reality

What specifically constitutes "non-observable reality," and how is it distinguishable from simple thoughts and fantasies? For instance, how would you distinguish between the Bible as revelatory truth, or simply as another religious text written by men and based on a mixture of myth, then-current morality, and wishful thinking? Is there some epistemic device which distinguishes between fantasy and non-observable reality?

Perhaps you've clarified this before, but reading through the responses here, I don't see it.

See my several responses to Bob. I am only claiming that some known propositions must be supernatural, not that I can tell you which.

Quote:
Quote:

D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves.)

I'm imagining this. OK. Got it.

There are other ways of validating our sight, though, even though we can't see our own eyes (or lick our own elbows, except for HisWillness). We can touch things, as well, and so we can touch our eyes to validate that there are some sort of physical thing were our visual sensory organs seem to be.

Even considering that, if we could see things, but not touch them, would we then assume those things are real? Probably not. So we know that our vision is an accurate representation of reality because our other senses give us validation. If we were to see something that our other senses could not validate, we would justifiably begin to doubt reality.

Okay, so I adjust the thought experiement slightly. Pretend there is an invisible force field around your eyes that prevents you from touching them. You would still believe your eyes, no?

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This same must hold true for "non-observable modalities." I'll make a wild speculative leap, and go along with the assertion that these "non-observable modalities" exist. Unless we were able to reconcile the data gathered from these non-observable modalities with the data gathered by our other senses, this data would remain suspect. Further, the data gathered must be measurable, coherent, consistent, and universal. Otherwise, it is completely indistinguishable from complete and utter bullshit.

I don't see any reason to think that this is the litmus test of a modality. In fact, my OP's argument appears to demonstrate precisely the opposite - that we don't even need to know which beliefs follow from this modality to be warranted in believing in its existence as a modality.

Quote:

Quote:

P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

Here you go. This one assertion is enough to address P6, and avoids the problems of an infinite number of propositions to doubt. This statement can not be wrong, as it merely addresses possibility. It is also sufficient to be a reason to doubt other propositions, without resorting to "knowledge gained through non-observable modalities."

You are correct that P12 is a tautology. However, I deny that tautologies are certain. The reasoning behind that position is in one of my responses to Bob. Look for where I start talking about the calculator.

Quote:
It's already contained in your argument, and is the central linchpin to the final stage of the argument.

FYI, every premise and inference is a linchpin. Every single "P" and "C" must be correct for the argument to hold. You will notice that no "backup arguments" appear for any of the premises or conclusions.

Quote:
Finally, there's this:

Quote:

P8. If every y implies the existence of another, unique y, then there are either an infinite number of y's or no y's.

No. You may have two or more 'y's. y(1) implies y(2), and y(2) implies y(1).

No, because y(1) is not unique at that point. It has already shown up once in the series.

Quote:
I realize you are attempting to establish that if you doubt all of your propositions, there must be a "higher" proposition by which to lend doubt. But, there are many "modalities" of doubt. And so q may lead you to doubt p, but p may lead you to doubt q.

How? Produce an example.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.

BobSpence
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P7 is invalid, because

P7 is invalid, because Wittgenstein was wrong, (See my discussions on Bayes' Theorem)

C8 is invalid - it also relies on the Wittgenstein hypothesis, and you have not justified "unique".

C10 is invalid, because it relies in the unjustified assumption of 'uniqueness'.

Therefore C12 is invalid.

By your own words, even within the unique and specially devised set of definitions you start with, that is more than enough to collapses your whole argument.

I see why you label this the "WITTGENSTEIN VERSION", since it hinges on the Wittgenstein hypothesis.

So you will need to justify accepting this hypothesis.

Final comment - even if you can justify this, your argument only supports the existence of the what you define as "Supernature", which is not what is meant by the concept in normal usage:

eg:

(of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature" - New Oxford American Dictionary

2. supernatural adj 1 belonging or relating to or being phenomena that cannot be explained by the laws of nature or physics. - Chambers Dictionary (UK)

Note: nothing to do non-observable anything, its about asserting the reality of stuff which is not explainable or 'beyond' naturalistic explanation.

So you have 'proved' an irrelevant straw-man proposition, based heavily around an extremely questionable hypothesis.

EDIT: Part Three of the OP is better regarded as a "Reductio ad Absurdum" demonstration that P7 is false.

You have not proved that what you categorize as Supernatural knowledge is certain, therefore C17 is not justified.

Tautologies follow from definitions/axioms, therefore it is utterly absurd to say they cannot be certain. If I say symbol A is the symbol that will be used in this discussion to refer to proposition B, then I later say something like "if B then A", that is a tautological statement that is always true.

"1 + 1= 2" is actually a tautology, since it follows directly from the definitions of all the symbols. It is a certain proposition, it would be the height of absurdity to say that we are not justified in regarding it as certain.

It seems your standard fallacy is

1. Group a number of somewhat distinct propositions under some collective term, C, such as 'modalities', or 'natural knowledge' or 'knowledge derived from reason';

2. Show that at least some members A of that group have some attribute, like 'uncertainty';

3. Then, and this is a fallacy of "guilt by association":

3.1. B is a member of group C.

3.2. Some members of C are have property P;

3.3. Therefore B may have property P.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

RatDog
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Problem with P7

Presuppositionalist wrote:

butterbattle wrote:
- show me evidence for the existence of a spiritual world, basically, any world other than this one.

Challenge, accepted..

EPISTEMIC ARGUMENT FOR THE SUPERNATURAL, WITTGENSTEIN VERSION

Definitions
D1. Nature: observable reality
D2. Supernature: non-observable reality
D3. Knowledge: true, justified belief
D4. Certain: unreasonable to doubt
D5. Natural knowledge: knowledge attained through observable modalities.
D6. Supernatural knowledge: knowledge attained through non-observable modalities. (NOTE: To head off a rather obvious objection, the supernatural modality provides information but is not itself observed. By analogy, imagine that there were no mirrors in your house. Your eyes would provide you with information, but you would not be able to observe the sensory organs themselves.)

Argument (In Four Parts)

Part One
P1. If supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable modality exists. (D6)
P2. If a non-observable modality exists, then a non-observable reality exists.
C1. Therefore, If supernatural knowledge exists, then a non-observable reality exists. (P1 & P2)
P3. If a non-observable reality exists, then supernature exists. (D2)
C2. Therefore, If supernatural knowledge exists, then supernature exists. (C1 & P3)

Part Two
P4. If X exists, then x is either observable or non-observable.
C3. Therefore, if x exists, then x is either natural or supernatural. (D5, D6, P3)
C4. Therefore, if modality M exists, then M is either natural or supernatural. (C3)
C5. Therefore, if M exists, then if M is not natural, then M is supernatural. (C4)
P5. If k is knowledge, then k comes from an extant modality. (D7)
C6. Therefore, if k is knowledge, then if the modality that k comes from is not natural, then the modality that k comes from is supernatural. (C5 & P5)

Part Three
P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.
P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."
C7. Therefore, If it is reasonable to doubt a proposition, p, then some proposition, q, is known more certainly than p. (P6 & P7)
C8. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then every proposition he doubts implies the existence of another, unique, less doubted proposition. (C7)
P8. If every y implies the existence of another, unique y, then there are either an infinite number of y's or no y's.
C9. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then either he knows an infinite number of propositions or no propositions. (C8 & P8)
P9. Reasonable doubt presupposes knowledge of at least two propositions: a proposition to doubt, and a proposition by reference to which to doubt it.
C10. Therefore, If someone reasonably doubts every proposition he knows, then he knows an infinite number of propositions. (C9 & P9)
P10. No one knows an infinite number of propositions.
C11. Therefore, no one reasonably has doubt about every proposition he knows. (C10 & P10)
C12. Therefore, every reasonable person has certain knowledge of at least one proposition. (C11 & D4)

Part Four
P11. The senses and reason are the only natural modalities.
P12. Sensory data may be wrong.
P13. Reasoned conclusions may be wrong.
C13. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities may be wrong. (P11, P12, P13)
P14. That which may be wrong is reasonable to doubt.

There is a problem here.  P14 "That which may be wrong is reasonable to doubt.” Is different from what you said in part three.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.
P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."
C7. Therefore, If it is reasonable to doubt a proposition, p, then some proposition, q, is known more certainly than p. (P6 & P7)

P14 says:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P14. That which may be wrong is reasonable to doubt.

To better understand this I will refer to “That which may be wrong” as proposition p and the reason it “may be wrong” as proposition q.

Reworded P14 says: It is reasonable to doubt proposition p, if there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

Compare this to P6 which says.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P6. If it is reasonable to doubt proposition p, then there is some reason, q, to doubt p.

P14 and P6 are almost exactly the same.  The only reason P14 was worded differently was to avoid having to use P7 in the fourth part of the argument.

P7 says:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

In this case I define P as the proposition that knowledge acquired threw sensory data is unreasonable to doubt.

P12 says:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P12. Sensory data may be wrong.

I will define P12 as Q.  Q is a reason for doubting proposition p.

Remember what P7 says:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

P7. If q is a reason to doubt p, then q cannot be less certain than p or as certain as p. Or, as Wittgenstein put it, "doubt occurs within the context of things undoubted."

You have not established that the reason to doubt knowledge from sensory data(q), is more reasonable then the reason not to doubt knowledge from sensory data(p).

P7 is either true or false; you can’t have it both ways. If P7 is true then you must use it in part three and part four.  If P7 is false then you can not use it anywhere.  Until you fix this problem your argument is flawed.

If you don’t think this is a problems consider this.

You said:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

See my several responses to Bob. I am only claiming that some known propositions must be supernatural, not that I can tell you which.

You admit that you can’t tell whether knowledge is gained threw supernatural modalities or from somewhere else (imagination?).

Because of this uncertainty one more proposition must be added.   I will call it P13.5.

P13.5   Because it is uncertain whether knowledge is attained through non-observable modalities all supernatural knowledge may be wrong.

Because of P13.5 C13 must be changed from.

Presuppositionalist wrote:

C13. Therefore, all knowledge from natural modalities may be wrong. (P11, P12, P13)

to

C13 Therefore, all knowledge may be wrong (P11,P12,P13,P13.5)

If you do not add P7 to the fourth part of your argument it fails.  You can not assume something to be true only when you want it to be.  If you are going to use P7 you must use it uniformly.

butterbattle
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

butterbattle wrote:

I take my existence as an axiom, as certain and self-evident. Explain.

Reason has delivered false conclusions to you before. That which delivers false conclusions cannot deliver certainties. Therefore, reason cannot deliver certainties.

Huh?

I stated that my existence is self-evident. To be conscious and non-existent is in the same category as being a married bachelor. This is a certainty.

Quote:
P13. Reasoned conclusions may be wrong.

So, I suppose I'll return to this line. Reasoned conclusions are only uncertain and can be wrong due to flaws in my perception and knowledge. Reason itself is perfect.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare

BobSpence
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Inductive reasoning can lead to false conclusions.

Valid deductive reasoning produces intrinsically true conclusions, by its nature.

But Presup is arguing that:

1. Since inductive (and other modes) of reasoning can lead to false conclusions, then reasoning per se cannot be trusted;

2. Since deductive reasoning is also reasoning, it also cannot be trusted.

This is a clear fallacy.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

HisWillness
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

It's really not that big of a deal to have proven that there is knowledge that we do not have, and things we have not discovered. Unfortunately for your argument, you just posited that because knowledge of something supernatural is possible, then the supernatural exists. You forgot to explain why supernatural knowledge would be composed of meaningful propositions.

This is only a problem for me if I have an obligation to prove that. But it isn't clear why I should have to.

I should have been more clear. If the supernatural, and thus knowledge about it, is not meaningful as far as existence is concerned (e.g. "Santa Claus is coming to town" ) then you have a weak argument for existence. Knowledge of Santa Claus does not change the likelihood of Santa's existence.

Presuppositionalist wrote:
Quote:
Your final statements reveal the problem: knowledge begets existence. This is demonstrably not the case.

YOUR SIDE was arguing that point. I was arguing AGAINST it.

If I've confused the issue, I didn't mean to. But the last two statements in your argument go directly from knowledge to existence:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

C18. Therefore, every reasonable person has knowledge of at least one proposition that comes from a non-observed modality. (D2 & C17)

C18. Therefore, supernatural knowledge exists. (D6 & C18)

C19. Therefore, supernature exists. (C3 & C18)

I've read it over and over, and allowing for the fact that I guess your numbering is a typo, I still can't figure out where the necessity for existence was addressed. You hopped right from people having knowledge to existence. I wouldn't argue that knowledge of supernature exists (e.g. "Santa has flying reindeer" ) but it seems like a big jump to existence from such knowledge.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

nigelTheBold
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I've figured out what is

I've figured out what is wrong with this whole line of reasoning.

It's a case of being internally consistent, and completely wrong.

The problems are with the premises. They hinge on the word "may." For instance, P13. says "Reasoned conclusions may be wrong." This is a true statement, but only because of the words "may," which is completely conditional. As Bob Spence points out, this does not mean that all reasoned conclusions may be wrong; just that some may be wrong, and yet all sensory data and all reasoned conclusions are lumped together, without regard to their certainty.

In any case, you'd have to justify including all sensory data in P12, and all reasoned conclusions in P13. Otherwise, they are unfounded assertions.

Actually, that leads me to an internal inconsistency. If P13 is true, then all conclusions in your proof may be wrong, and you've proven nothing at all. If you claim that P13 is correct and is not wrong, then you violate P13.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

Hambydammit
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Quote:As Bob Spence points

Quote:
As Bob Spence points out, this does not mean that all reasoned conclusions may be wrong; just that some may be wrong

To be precise, the premise should read, "Some reasoned conclusions may be wrong."  The statement "All reasoned conclusions may be wrong" is false, since all valid deductive conclusions from true premises are necessarily true.

I think Presup is getting confused between the method and the data.  Any data (excepting data representing axioms) may be wrong.  However, reason itself cannot be "wrong" if it is valid.  Only the data derived from the conclusion can be wrong, and then only if one of the premises contained bad data.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

nigelTheBold
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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

Quote:
I realize you are attempting to establish that if you doubt all of your propositions, there must be a "higher" proposition by which to lend doubt. But, there are many "modalities" of doubt. And so q may lead you to doubt p, but p may lead you to doubt q.

How? Produce an example.

Let's say we have these two propositions:

p: Presup is an intelligent, serious theist.

q: Presup is not a serious theist, but a Poe.

These two ideas are contradictory, yet equally possible. Each makes me doubt the other. As finite observations stack up on one side or the other, one becomes more certain, while the other less certain. But, for a while at least, both are equally doubtful, and each is measured against each other, and against the sensory data that arrives.

A more concrete example would be:

p: Presup is a male.

q: Presup is a female.

I can judge those two propositions by actions, related to past experience, and attempt to decide between the two. If we were to meet, and I were to see you and speak with you, most likely my sensory data would definitely prove one over the other.

As you see, you don't need an infinite series of doubtful propositions to compare in a chain. Both logic and observation are much more complex than supposed in your propositions, and as such, your propositions are fallacious, leaving your conclusions unsupported.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers

butterbattle
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Hambydammit wrote:I think

Hambydammit wrote:

I think Presup is getting confused between the method and the data.  Any data (excepting data representing axioms) may be wrong.  However, reason itself cannot be "wrong" if it is valid.  Only the data derived from the conclusion can be wrong, and then only if one of the premises contained bad data.

Arrg, yes, that's what I was trying to say. *stamps foot*

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare