“Proof” that God exists?

Sinner Ministries claims to have proof that God exists. Why don’t we look it over?

On the first page, we see that this is going to be a “multiple choice” dealie of the kind that Christians like (the most noted being, of course, Kick Cameron and Ray Comfort’s “Way of the Master” site). There are four choices presented:

1. Absolute truth exists.

2. Absolute truth does not exist.

3. I don’t know if absolute truth exists.

4. I don’t care if absolute truth exists.

They even graciously define absolute truth for us:

Absolute Truth – True for all people at all times, universally true.

Obviously, point 2 is a trap… if you claim that absolute truths absolutely do not exist, then you’re contradicting yourself. That’s an old one, but still sneaky. But I find it more interesting that they are called “Sinner Ministries.” Sin is disobedience of God, or more exactly what we believe God orders us to do, hence the rub: people all throughout history have had differing beliefs about what God orders them to do. From century to century, those things change, bible verses get emphasized and then are forgotten later on, and so on.

So how can Christianity lay any claim to “absolute truth”? The Bible is a very relativist text, and if you push any Christian or theologian long enough, they will admit that they don’t follow most of the rules in the Bible because “they were meant for those people at that specific time.” So much for absolute truth!

Since absolute truths, according to their definition, do exist, let’s choose point 1 and continue. They say:

You have likely heard that it is impossible to prove that God exists. You have heard wrong. Not only can the existence of God be proven, denying the proof undermines rational thought. It is true that God does not need anyone, let alone this website, to prove His existence. The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for denying it. No one needs proof that God exists, I simply offer these 8 steps to the logical proof of God’s existence in addition to what you already know (and may be suppressing).

Below that, we get a long diatribe on how they are not at all like televangelists (we swear we’re not!) and how it is true that we are sinners and that God exists (oh, so now we’re going to assume the conclusion, are we?). But all right, let’s look at these 8 steps.

The next page asks us if we believe that the laws of logic exist. Obviously the answer is yes: the laws of logic exist and are meaningful statements about reality. Likewise, it asks the same thing about the laws of mathematics, the laws of science (at this point a “presuppositionalist alert!” rings out in my mind: I think anyone who knows presup rhetoric knows where this is going), and absolute moral laws.

It is after this page that Sinner Ministries unveils their argument, by asking us whether all these laws are material or immaterial. The good ol’ “matter sucks and my make-believe substance is great” presuppositionalist argument raises its ugly head yet again. Presuppositionalists have this obsession about matter and how inferior it is to their make-believe “supermatter” (the unnamed substance of the “immaterial” world they believe in). They complain incessantly about how “mere matter” cannot explain the complexity and subtlety of human life or thought, without a single original scientific reasoning behind it, merely by fiat and proposing that their “supermatter” can explain everything so easily (because it is made up, of course).

Here is the argument we are now faced with:

If you believe that laws of logic, mathematics, science, or morality are material, please show me where in nature these laws are. Can you touch them, see them, smell them, hear them, or taste them? Rather than have you produce a material, physical law I will narrow down the field for you… just show me the number ‘3’ somewhere in nature. Not ‘three things,’ not a written representation of the number 3 but the real physical, material number 3.

It is my hope and prayer that you come to see the futility of trying find an abstract entity in nature, and return to seek the truth, otherwise your road to this site’s proof that God exists ends here.

How original. Obviously this is the kind of question that self-professed materialists like me have never encountered before, right? They really got me there, right?

Not really. Take a good look at the tedious sleight of hand they just attempted. First, they ask if the “laws of logic, mathematics, science and absolute morality are material,” and then they ask us “Can you touch them, see them, smell them, hear them, or taste them?”

But the fact that something is material does not mean that we can touch them, see them, smell them or taste them. Can you see an electron? Can you see the concept of love? And yet they obviously exist. We know they exist because we have inferred their existence from other facts (in the case of electrons) or because we can sense them in our own minds (in the case of love).

Their demand that we “show” them the number ‘3’ is merely a rhetorical device: in fact, it was already included in their question of whether we could “see [the laws of mathematics].” There is no reason for them to ask again in this manner, except to belittle the position of whoever is reading the page.

We know from concept-formation that a concept, like the number 3, is formed by the interaction between our brain and the things around us. We observe the fact that things come in discrete units: we call this unit “one.” We also notice that many things are in groups of units, and that we can also put units together through physical manipulation. The concept of “three” is an abstraction of one unit, one unit and another unit put together. What we abstract is what the units are: whether they are chairs, coins, people or toys, the young child comes to the conclusion that they have something in common (what we call cardinality) and learns that this is represented by the word “three” or the symbol “3.”

So there is no “3” apart from our understanding of “three things,” and to ask to show “3” apart from “three things” is like saying “I want you to show me a ball, but don’t bring me any round things!” Granted, it’s more than “three things”: it does not exist without a human mind to understand and abstract it into the concept “three.” The concept itself, like any other concept, exists only in human minds, where we can easily sense its existence.

Another problem of presuppositionalism is its assumption that concepts cannot be material because we cannot see them or touch them. This is of course false, as we do perceive them in our own minds. Of course they believe a priori that minds are immaterial, and therefore do not acknowledge mind-entities as material, which is a rather silly thing to assume when talking to a materialist. The mind is perceived as well as any other existent, and as such is just as material.

But of course such a discussion would be beyond the purview of Sinner Ministries.  They pray that you will realize how futile it is to look for abstractions in nature. But nature is full of abstractions, to the brim, ready for human minds to grasp them! It would be absurd to claim otherwise. But here lies another grave problem for them: surely even the concept of “God” must first be grasped from nature? How would one gain any understanding of God and his “supernaturality” if the knowledge was not available to us natural beings in some way? Their argument is therefore self-refuting. If there are no abstractions in nature, then we cannot acquire the concept of “God.” If there are abstractions in nature, then there is no problem with acquiring them in a natural manner.

The Bible verse at the bottom of every page on their site is: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). Let’s hope for the sake of their intelligence that they accept our gentle “correction”!

41 thoughts on ““Proof” that God exists?

  1. kentmcmanigal January 3, 2008 at 00:50

    I would be willing to bet that they will not accept any “correction” that leads to an obvious fact that they don’t like!

  2. roma38 January 3, 2008 at 08:29

    “The mind is perceived as well as any other existent, and as such is just as material”

    You are changing the meanings of words. You may percieve something called ‘love’ between two people, so is love material?

    I see the structure of this whole argument…does God exist/not, is the absolute true/false to be doomed to failure and riddeled with assumptions and blind spots.

    Cause and Effect (two words and a concept) which means we the human observers percieve that something causes something else, but is it true and exactly the way we percieve or do we assume and simplify?

    If what we know is based on cause and effect, then God must be caused because we have no conception of something uncaused. Does another existence different from the one we know based on time and space exist? Such questions are useless and never reach the truth.

  3. Matt January 3, 2008 at 12:30

    I love this progression of logic from presuppers: from “show me the number 3 in nature”, arguing that you can’t and therefor it’s immaterial, to “therefore immaterial things exist” … ok, so far I can kind of understand that, if you are arguing that abstract concepts are immaterial in the sense that they don’t have an actual concrete physical representation in the real world (I’d argue that even that’s not true, since an abstract thought is still a synapse in the brain, but we’ll ignore that for now). Here’s where their logic takes a left turn leap of faith: if immaterial things exist (i.e. abstract thoughts), then God could exist.

    Here’s the problem: these immaterial things you claim exist still exist within the framework of a material entity, our brains… so there is no logical reason to assume that God would exist externally to a material entity, is there?

    Even if, as dualists claim, thoughts are immaterial, there is still the “God of the Gaps” problem, which simply falls back to faith… and even if you can somehow claim that abstractions are immaterial rather than material, that doesn’t speak anything to any kind of external immaterial reality whatsoever… so what is it, are you falling back on faith, or claiming that God is an abstract immaterial in our head?

    Matt C.

  4. Francois Tremblay January 3, 2008 at 14:47

    “You may percieve something called ‘love’ between two people, so is love material?”

    Yes. That’s all that “material” means. Because we don’t know the fundamental nature of matter, the only way we can define substance is by how we perceive it. If I can perceive something, then it is causally related to me, it is part of the same causal system as me. We call this “material.” God is not supposed to be part of the same causal system as me, that’s why it’s called “immaterial” or “supernatural.”

  5. Francois Tremblay January 3, 2008 at 14:49

    “Here’s where their logic takes a left turn leap of faith: if immaterial things exist (i.e. abstract thoughts), then God could exist.”

    I think their general train of thought is: everything must come from somewhere, immaterial things can’t come from material things, therefore God must have made them. As you said, even if you agree that mind-entities are immaterial (which I think is silly), this completely ignores the dualist position that the mind-entities are products of the brain.

  6. theconverted January 4, 2008 at 13:56

    Come on Francois, you know its “Turtles all the way down”…

    ;)

    Well done.

  7. Francois Tremblay January 4, 2008 at 13:59

    Heresy. Everyone knows it’s elephants.

  8. alleee January 5, 2008 at 20:56

    As I always say, just because you see no value in material humanity, does not mean it isn’t valuable. That’s the problem of the immaterialist. Of course, they DO value the material, as much as anyone else. They simply deny for sake of argument.

  9. proofthatgodexists January 8, 2008 at 21:42

    Could the sun have been both the sun and not the sun at the same time and in the same way, before human minds were around to create the abstract concept of the law of non-contradiction? If humans created this conception how can it be universal, and invariant? And hey, if you are claiming that abstractions are too small to see, perhaps you could at least tell me where they are?

    Cheers,

    Sye

  10. Francois Tremblay January 8, 2008 at 21:57

    “Could the sun have been both the sun and not the sun at the same time and in the same way, before human minds were around to create the abstract concept of the law of non-contradiction?”

    No. Our discovery of the law was predicated on it already existing to be discovered, just like the concept of “three” is based on observations of units and how they can be manipulated.

    “And hey, if you are claiming that abstractions are too small to see, perhaps you could at least tell me where they are?”

    I never claimed any such thing. You didn’t read my entry very well. Read the part again on how we gain the concept of “three.”

  11. roma38 January 14, 2008 at 10:08

    “Yes. That’s all that “material” means”

    material means ‘matter’…. things outside of us which we presumme are solid and visible…it does not mean things we may or may not perceive such as emotions or feelings.

    “If I can perceive something, then it is causally related to me, it is part of the same causal system as me. We call this “material.” God is not supposed to be part of the same causal system as me, that’s why it’s called “immaterial” or “supernatural.””

    This makes no sense to me. If you can perceive something then you are perceiving a causal link between one or two events you may be wrong however, and you are selective (filtering) sense data both intetionally and un-intetionally. All you can be sure of is that you exist and have perceptions all else has to be placed under doubt and skepticism.

  12. Francois Tremblay January 14, 2008 at 15:52

    If you’re so nihilistic, then why are you even here? Why are you talking to people you don’t know exist? You must be mentally insane.

  13. Sean November 4, 2008 at 15:34

    This argument is moot, anyways, because the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one, true supernatural being; once you have been touched by His noodely appendage you will understand.

  14. Tommy September 14, 2009 at 17:48

    I had to stop at absolute moral laws. The website asked if there were such a thing as ABSOLUTE moral laws. I don’t believe there are since through out history those laws have changed, owning slaves for example. If something changes like that it is no longer absolute. And if you disagree the website asks you if child molestation is fun. Are you kidding me?

  15. Cameron November 9, 2009 at 16:28

    Francois,

    No. Our discovery of the law was predicated on it already existing to be discovered, just like the concept of “three” is based on observations of units and how they can be manipulated.

    Concepts can’t solely be based on observation, because there are concepts we have which refer to non-physical things too. I.e. the concept of irrational number, abstract, negative number, infinity, etc are all non-physical concepts.

    Tommy,

    If morals aren’t absolute then all is permisable and atheists have no reason to do anything “moral” (because it fails to be a standard we ought to uphold), and are inconsistently and arbitrarily outraged at injustice.

    Slavery cannot be both moral and immoral in every way. When we say “in every way” that’s the major clarification. It means in every way that intention and context can be accounted, NOT just the physical action of slavery. But some societies would say slavery is unfair, and equate that to being immoral, when it may or not be immoral. Again, we would need to look at the context in which it was carried out and consult an absolute standard.

  16. Francois Tremblay November 9, 2009 at 16:48

    Cameron: I don’t let Christians post on this blog, but your comment was polite and respectful so I let it slide. Also I agree with you regarding moral absolutes (of course, I think Christians are deluded in thinking that they have a basis for any moral absolutes, but that’s another issue).

    “Concepts can’t solely be based on observation, because there are concepts we have which refer to non-physical things too. I.e. the concept of irrational number, abstract, negative number, infinity, etc are all non-physical concepts.”

    You seem to be confused between “based on observation” and “non-physical.” Because you evaluate something as “non-physical” (I don’t believe in such things, but once again that’s another issue) does not mean that it cannot be conceptualized on the basis of observation. It’s pretty obvious that the concepts you list are extrapolations from the concept of units and mathematical operations on them.

  17. Cameron November 9, 2009 at 21:29

    I said “we have which refer to non-physical things too. I.e. the concept of irrational number, abstract, negative number, infinity, etc are all non-physical concepts.”

    Here is what I meant to say: “we have which refer to non-physical things too. I.e. the concept of irrational number, abstract, negative number, infinity, etc which all refer to non-physical things.”

    This is a good attempt on the surface, but becomes a dead end.

    If concepts can only be based on what we observe with our 5 senses in the physical realm, then this assumes that one without senses can’t know anything, and not even ask “who am I” in their mind, and also gives us no bases to account for concepts which have no correlation to anything physical.

  18. Cameron November 9, 2009 at 22:26

    Francois,

    Thanks for letting my post slide. Hopefully we can discuss this more.

    As a Christian, I would say there is a bases for moral absolutes because there is an eternal, personal, all-good standard (theoretically to say the least). Even if God is not real, I believe one would need to accept this criterion to be consistent in saying there is a way humans ought to think, act, and intend because it must be in conformance to a standard which meets this criterion.

    As for the laws of logic, I meant to say: “Concepts can’t solely be based on observation, because there are concepts we have which refer to non-physical things too. I.e. the concept of irrational number, abstract, negative number, infinity, etc which are not based on anything we can observe within the physical.”

    In other words, for example, we can’t base the concept of “concept” from the physical because it hasn’t been detected with the 5 senses, yet we use it to have this discussion.

    So the argument that concepts derive from what we observe doesn’t entirely work.

  19. Cameron November 9, 2009 at 23:40

    One other thing, you said ” It’s pretty obvious that the concepts you list are extrapolations from the concept of units and mathematical operations on them.”

    If it were true that concepts were only based on what we observe, then there would be no extrapolations! An extrapolation would be going beyond what is physically observed, thus we’d still have no bases to have concepts for infinity, negative 24, irrational numbers, etc.

  20. Francois Tremblay November 10, 2009 at 04:03

    What you’re saying is that we can only have first-level concepts. For instance, that we can have the concepts of “table,” “chair” and “armoire,” but not of “furniture.” But this is a silly argument. You’re basically saying that the human mind has no capacity to combine units in order to make a new unit that is not first-level. And yet this is demonstrably false, since we do. “Furniture” is an abstract concept which is the mental combination of a whole set of concepts.

    Or to make an example closer to your objection: assume that we know the concept “table” but have only seen tables with four legs. And yet one can imagine a table with six legs, eight legs, nine legs, ten legs, or even a hundred legs. If I use this to extrapolate and create the concept of a “centitable” (a table with a hundred legs), is that mental operation somehow impossible? Of course not. I just did it. There is nothing that prevents me from recombining what I have observed in a multitude of different ways. We call this faculty the imagination. It is in fact necessary for human cognition.

  21. Cameron November 10, 2009 at 13:27

    By basing concepts off of physical observation, yes it’s true concepts would only be limited to what is represented in the physical. By saying this I’m only pointing out the problems with YOUR argument. I personally don’t limit concepts to the physical realm, because concepts are absolute and can’t be based on finite matter or finite minds alone. Further, there’s nothing in finite matter which determines we ought to not contradict in order to think rationally.

    I’m just stating one problem so far, namely, we use concepts which physical manifestations can’t account for. This would be like taking pictures of things and only being able to derive concepts from what you see in a picture. The concept of “concept” for example wont ever be distinguishable within the picture.

    Your examples of “chair”, “table”, and even “furniture” are really just classifications, which are just groupings of other basic concepts such as height, color, depth, texture, thereness, etc. I have no problem saying that we can classify things. This isn’t the argument. Concepts are first needed to have classifications however, thus we need to first account for them.

    An example of the impossibility to base concepts solely on physical observation would be the concept of “infinite”. You can’t observe an infinite amount of units, thus would have no bases to account for the concept of “infinite”. Also, like I already said, you can’t extrapolate on a single unit unto forever to try and get the concept of infinite, because then you’d be refuting yourself because then the concept would no longer be based solely on what we observe.

  22. Francois Tremblay November 10, 2009 at 16:00

    “Further, there’s nothing in finite matter which determines we ought to not contradict in order to think rationally. ”

    Yes there is. It’s called logic.

    “Your examples of “chair”, “table”, and even “furniture” are really just classifications, which are just groupings of other basic concepts such as height, color, depth, texture, thereness, etc.”

    What? Height is not a first-level concept. Neither is color, depth or texture. “Chair” is a first-level concept because that’s what I actually observe. Concepts of height and a depth requires a higher level of abstraction (indeed, it requires us to abstract away the nature of the object such as being a chair, table, etc).

    “You can’t observe an infinite amount of units, thus would have no bases to account for the concept of “infinite”. ”

    Once again you are assuming that the human brain cannot manipulate existing concepts and recombine them. But this is patently false. You yourself do it all the time. Or do you have no imagination?

    “Also, like I already said, you can’t extrapolate on a single unit unto forever to try and get the concept of infinite, because then you’d be refuting yourself because then the concept would no longer be based solely on what we observe.”

    That doesn’t make any sense. If we already have the concept of a unit, and we can combine them to form any number, how is it impossible to extrapolate the concept of infinity? If we can keep adding numbers, we can imagine a point at which we can no longer to do. This is expressed mathematically as the sum of all natural numbers, the sum of all rational numbers, etc.

    Of course infinity doesn’t actually exist. It’s a make-believe. But so are a lot of things. God, for instance, is make-believe, and it’s also an infinity. If we weren’t able to make-believe infinity, we couldn’t have made up God.

  23. Cameron November 11, 2009 at 02:21

    Logic (the classical 3 laws of logic) are in nature? So again, what is it within star dust, or atoms, or the physical realm which tells us we ought to not contradict in order to think rationally?

    I get to use my imagination when it comes to concepts. I’m not the one saying concepts are solely based on what is observable.

    But since you also say concepts can be based on your mind, then you’d be conceding the argument that they are only based on the observable because then you’re also saying they’re based on what the mind is able to conjure.

    But all this begs the question. How do you get the concept of “forever” in your mind, let alone conjoin it to the concept of “unit”? I never said infinity is an actual thing, but it is an actual concept and somewhere you are getting the concept of “forever”, “never-ending”, or “infinity” (whatever synonym you want), and it’s not from anything observable, because that concept can’t be observed.

    Further, I could throw out concepts apart from “infinity” that aren’t observable, such as “concept”, “agree”, “belief”, etc all which are concepts that aren’t observable within physical matter. Or if they are I’d like to know where the concept of “agree” was last detected with any of the 5 senses.

    “Chair” is not a first level concept. Your brain quickly observes it’s size, shape, function, etc to give you the English convention, or classification of “chair”.

  24. Francois Tremblay November 11, 2009 at 04:05

    “Logic (the classical 3 laws of logic) are in nature? So again, what is it within star dust, or atoms, or the physical realm which tells us we ought to not contradict in order to think rationally?”

    The fact of unitary existence.

    “I get to use my imagination when it comes to concepts. I’m not the one saying concepts are solely based on what is observable. ”

    You seem to think there is a contradiction here. Why?

    “But since you also say concepts can be based on your mind, then you’d be conceding the argument that they are only based on the observable because then you’re also saying they’re based on what the mind is able to conjure.”

    Yes…? The mind can conjure quite a lot. (once again, I refer you to religion as a good example)

    “But all this begs the question. How do you get the concept of “forever” in your mind, let alone conjoin it to the concept of “unit”? I never said infinity is an actual thing, but it is an actual concept and somewhere you are getting the concept of “forever”, “never-ending”, or “infinity” (whatever synonym you want), and it’s not from anything observable, because that concept can’t be observed.”

    I already explained that to you. The (nonsensical) concept of infinity comes from positing a state where all units are added together and no more can be added. All you need to form the concept are “unit,” “addition,” “total” and negation (which is a basic logical operation).

    “Further, I could throw out concepts apart from “infinity” that aren’t observable, such as “concept”, “agree”, “belief”, etc all which are concepts that aren’t observable within physical matter. Or if they are I’d like to know where the concept of “agree” was last detected with any of the 5 senses.”

    You have never perceived an agreement between you and someone else? You must be very contrarian.

    ““Chair” is not a first level concept. Your brain quickly observes it’s size, shape, function, etc to give you the English convention, or classification of “chair”.”

    We’re not talking about neurology here. The issue of what the brain is doing is irrelevant. When I say first-level concept, I mean first-level concept to you, not to your brain processes.

  25. Cameron November 11, 2009 at 21:32

    The fact of unitary existence.

    I agree with unitary existence because I believe in an eternal standard. So in your worldview what in finite nature makes something unitary?

    I already explained that to you. The (nonsensical) concept of infinity comes from positing a state where all units are added together and no more can be added.

    So concepts aren’t solely based on what is observable because here you’re saying the concept of infinity comes from conceiving of the added notion that “no more can be added.” The notion, or concept of “no more can be added” is synonymous with “infinity”, thus is a concept which needs to be accounted for other then the observable.

    You said “Yes…?” to my statement above so I assume you’re agreeing with me on this.

    You can’t perceive an “agreement” with your 5 senses. Otherwise, tell me which 5 sense you used to perceive of “agreement”. Further, agreements are based on beliefs and beliefs also cannot be detected with the 5 senses. All the more reason why absolute concepts cannot be based on observation alone.

    I choose to say that “chair” is more of a classification for clarity sake because a chair can easily be a category of things. It’s also easy to say something is a chair and not a chair because it can have different uses. When I speak of concepts I find it helpful to look at concepts that are more obviously absolute.

  26. Cameron November 12, 2009 at 02:44

    Sorry, I didn’t read your reply close enough. I meant to say:

    “Infinity doesn’t mean “no more can be added” but the very opposite of this! It means “there is no end”. So concepts aren’t solely based on what is observable because the concept of infinity comes from conceiving of the added notion that “there is no end.” The notion, or concept of “there is no end” is synonymous with “unto forever”, thus is a concept which needs to be accounted for other then the observable because you can’t observe “forever”. Also I would say that “total” and “addition” is not observable in nature either. It is only conceived of in the mind. All you would observe in star dust, or matter, would be things moving around, period.”

  27. Francois Tremblay November 12, 2009 at 03:56

    “I agree with unitary existence because I believe in an eternal standard.”

    What’s that? Your infinite (i.e. nonsensical) god?

    “So in your worldview what in finite nature makes something unitary?”

    The fact of existence is not reducible.

    “So concepts aren’t solely based on what is observable because here you’re saying the concept of infinity comes from conceiving of the added notion that “no more can be added.””

    How is it an “added notion”? Like I said before, it’s based on addition (which is also observable) and the basic logical concept of negation.

    “You can’t perceive an “agreement” with your 5 senses. Otherwise, tell me which 5 sense you used to perceive of “agreement”.”

    Sight and hearing.

    “Further, agreements are based on beliefs and beliefs also cannot be detected with the 5 senses.”

    Wrong. I can detect mine just fine.

  28. Cameron November 13, 2009 at 03:15

    I presuppose an eternal standard and happen to also refer to that as God, yes. You don’t have to call it God, however. Do you presuppose an eternal standard?

    The fact of existence is not reducible.

    I’m not saying it has to be reducible. What in finite existence makes something unitary? What in nature say something “ought” to be the case and never change?

    How is the concept of “addition” observable in nature? What elements of the periodic table give us the concept of “addition”? And infinity doesn’t say we stop counting, but count forever, thus the concept of “forever” is being added somehow in the mind apart from the observable.

    Sight and hearing.

    So according to your logic, Helen Keller couldn’t perceive of the concept of “agreement”. And you can’t see or hear an abstract concept in and of itself. It can be understood, however.

    Wrong. I can detect mine just fine.

    Yes, because you have a mind which uses the laws of logic, but that’s begging the question. Does your belief exist in the physical realm? If so mail it to me.

  29. Cameron November 13, 2009 at 03:20

    Does your belief exist in the physical realm? If so mail it to me.

    I meant to say “how did you detect your belief so that you know it exists in the physical realm?”

  30. Francois Tremblay November 13, 2009 at 03:27

    “I’m not saying it has to be reducible. What in finite existence makes something unitary?”

    First you say it doesn’t matter if it’s reducible, then you ask me to reduce it. You’re being merely silly, I think.

    “How is the concept of “addition” observable in nature?”

    Once you have the concept of unit and some numbers, addition is merely the realization that things exist in groups (for example, sheep in a pasture), and to abstract the kind of thing that it is. What remains is addition.

    “And infinity doesn’t say we stop counting, but count forever”

    The technical definition of infinity is that to which nothing can be added.

    “So according to your logic, Helen Keller couldn’t perceive of the concept of “agreement”.”

    Actually, she was able to perceive language once she was taught language through the sense of touch. So eventually she was able to perceive agreements.

    “And you can’t see or hear an abstract concept in and of itself.”

    Of course, we see or hear instanciations of concepts, but I can sense the concept itself in my own mind.

    “Yes, because you have a mind which uses the laws of logic, but that’s begging the question. Does your belief exist in the physical realm? If so mail it to me.”

    As you know very well that all entities in the mind are bound to the brain structure that the mind resides in, you know that your question is once again silliness. You don’t seem to be taking this discussion very seriously. And if you don’t, why should I?

  31. Cameron November 15, 2009 at 01:51

    You’re being merely silly, I think.

    No, you originally made the assertion that logic is in nature, and you haven’t said anything beyond that. I’m asking what in finite mindless “nature” gives us laws which ought to be the case, such as the law of non-contradiction? You must have the law before the function of thinking. You don’t have the function of thinking, and then the law. It’s not that we just don’t contradict, but that we ought to not contradict in order to think.

    The technical definition of infinity is that to which nothing can be added.

    Well this is because you can always add to a finite number, but not to infinity. Moreover, the only reason you can’t add to infinity is because it continues unto forever. It’s not somehow an inconprehensible large finite number. It goes onto forever. That’s also part of the definition. I’m not making this up, I looked up the defintion. It’s pretty simple. So again, how are you getting this concept of “forever”? It’s not observable.

    Further, what’s making the concept of “infinite” or “forever” absolute in your worldview? You can’t say your detection of it, or what you observe is doing so, because you can’t observe it.

    As far as you detecting the concept of “unit”, “agreement”, and “belief”, (or Helen Keller doing so) you’re not detecting the abstract absolute universal concept itself, but just something which the concept REFERS to. You’re just begging the question when you appeal to your 5 senses. If the absolute concept didn’t first exist, then you’re mind couldn’t use it.

    As you know very well that all entities in the mind are bound to the brain structure that the mind resides in

    This only means that abstract concepts CORRELATE to the physical, not that they derive from or are ultimately accounted for by the physical. I agree you need a mind to think, but since the laws of logic are prescriptive you need something other than a finite mind to account for a prescriptive law.

  32. Francois Tremblay November 15, 2009 at 04:09

    “No, you originally made the assertion that logic is in nature, and you haven’t said anything beyond that.”

    Sure I did. You didn’t like the answer and tried to trap me in a loaded question. That’s not my problem.

    “So again, how are you getting this concept of “forever”? It’s not observable.”

    Infinity of time.

    “Further, what’s making the concept of “infinite” or “forever” absolute in your worldview?”

    Who said they were “absolute”? Absurdities are not absolutes.

    “As far as you detecting the concept of “unit”, “agreement”, and “belief”, (or Helen Keller doing so) you’re not detecting the abstract absolute universal concept itself, but just something which the concept REFERS to. You’re just begging the question when you appeal to your 5 senses. If the absolute concept didn’t first exist, then you’re mind couldn’t use it.”

    You are making absolutely no sense. The human mind first observes actual objects, then integreates them into concepts, not vice-versa. If all concepts were hardwired, all languages would start with the same concepts, which is not true.

    “This only means that abstract concepts CORRELATE to the physical, not that they derive from or are ultimately accounted for by the physical.”

    What are you talking about? We’re talking about how they physically exist in the brain, not their justification or derivation. Do try to follow the conversation.

    “I agree you need a mind to think, but since the laws of logic are prescriptive you need something other than a finite mind to account for a prescriptive law.”

    Where is the logic in what you’re saying? I don’t see the reasoning here. Are you even thinking or just regurgitating?

    What other than a finite mind accounts for prescriptive laws in other primates? Does your make-believe god give them souls too?

  33. Francois Tremblay November 15, 2009 at 04:12

    This conversation is more and more turning into silliness on your part. I already did you a big favour, because I have a policy of not debating people on my comments thread, and I am starting to remember why that is a wise policy. Just conclude what it is you wanted to say and let’s wrap this up.

  34. Cameron November 17, 2009 at 04:13

    Sure I did. You didn’t like the answer and tried to trap me in a loaded question. That’s not my problem.

    Your answer was “the fact of unitary existence”. It’s bad circular reasoning (as opposed to good circular reasoning) when you say “nature is logical because it’s logical”.

    The reason this is bad circular reasoning is because mindless finite matter in motion can’t account for what “ought to be the case”. The laws we have from nature only describe nature, or the law is predicated on the function. It requires something beyond nature to tell it how is “should” behave (the function is predicated on the law), which is what the law of non-contradiction does (really all 3 laws).

    Infinity of time.

    Um, so you’ve observed infinite time? I can’t believe you say I’m being silly with these type of answers.

    Who said they were “absolute”? Absurdities are not absolutes.

    If concepts are not absolute then when you say “absurdities are not absolute” can also and equally mean “absurdities ARE absolute”, which is stupid, thus concepts must be absolute. In fact, all 3 laws of logic state in different ways that they are absolute. And the concept of “absurdity”, for example, is absolute, that’s my point.

    You are making absolutely no sense. The human mind first observes actual objects, then integrates them into concepts, not vice-versa.

    I’ve already proven that not all concepts are derived from the observable, hence you’ve never seen “infinity” or “forever”, yet this concept is in your mind.

    We classify things based on what we observe (like Pontiac GrandAm) based on its function, and what we even theorize, hence irrational numbers such as the square root of 2, but abstract absolute universal meanings (concepts) must first exist in our minds before we can know anything, thus even begin to classify things according to their function.

    I’m saying concepts (or meanings) precede knowledge of anything, including the observable, while you’re saying observation precedes all knowledge. If the latter were really true, then our minds would just be like photographs, but there wouldn’t be any knowledge or logic.

    If all concepts were hardwired, all languages would start with the same concepts, which is not true.

    All languages do have the same concepts, thus why there can be translations of languages. The conventions of language, hence different sounds of the mouth, are different but refer to the same universal concepts.

    What are you talking about? We’re talking about how they physically exist in the brain

    I thought you were saying something else. I agree that our minds exist in our physical brains, but in the sense that they correlate to them. I’m a dualist, not a monist.

    Where is the logic in what you’re saying? I don’t see the reasoning here. Are you even thinking or just regurgitating?

    This goes back to my argument above. The laws of logic are prescriptive. The laws govern how the mind is to think. They are not merely descriptive in that they only describe how the mind thinks. Hence, we “ought” to not contradict in order to think, not that we simply just don’t. Mindless matter doesn’t provide laws which determine how something “ought” to function. I know agnostics who agree.

    What other than a finite mind accounts for prescriptive laws in other primates? Does your make-believe god give them souls too?

    Other primates barely use logic like we do. We use concepts and meanings which aren’t even observable such as “infinity” and “forever”, while non-human animals act according to their instincts and identify threats, food, and their masters. We use language and communication on a far greater scale, hence we can do complicated math, use prepositions, and theorize.

    We also act according to a real moral standard, but that’s a whole other debate. I even welcome you to my blog to the very top post to discuss that one!

    I appreciate you letting me post as much as I have on your blog. I get annoyed when people post on my blog too while the discussion seems to drift endlessly. I’ve let atheists have the last word at times too.

    Anyways, thanks for the discussion. God bless! Oops :)

  35. Francois Tremblay November 17, 2009 at 04:15

    I’ve already answered all of these points. You are repeating the same nonsense over and over. Good riddance.

  36. Paul Baird August 12, 2010 at 06:06

    Hi Francois – everytime I look to see where Sye has been another blog comes up.

    Ok – have a look at my blog at http://patientandpersistant.blogspot.com/2010/08/presuppositional-apologetics-part-1.html which may be of some help in dealing with Sye if he pops up again (or any other Presupp).

  37. KGE September 4, 2010 at 10:00

    Pt. 2 “Trap” and biblical relativism: Indeed?

    1. Define your terms, which rules? There are dispensational rules and moral laws – and the universal law that everyone breaks the law by intention if not deed. The bible discusses and defines these several catagories at the least. Why didn’t you differentiate between these in your discussion. A strong argument might address that issue.

    2. A minister, society, individual, religion, etc.,
    may believe different things about god at different times, but does that address wether or not there is absolute truth? What people think ad different times seems a separate issue – they could be at varience with the facts. Is it possible that what you’re asserting about absolute truth is simply what you believe at this particular time? Beliefs like yours may be a product of the age we inhabit but is that an assurance that they correspond to reality? Is there any guarantee – under your premises – that your beliefs are right? In other words: do you believe what you’re asserting is true, absolutely? : )

    C.S. Lewis discussed this – pointed out that all men everywhere do believe something rather like absolute truth in morals he called it the TAO. That would make a good read if you were looking for evidence of universality in moral sense. I believe that’s in the book Mere Christianity. That book probably addresses most of the other arguments here, and in a respectful manner. “Miracles” another C.S book, covers more of this ground (should anyone want to see a robust argumentation pertaining to these issues.)

    Cheers!

    kge

  38. KGE September 4, 2010 at 10:43

    Do you believe in absolute truth?
    Do you believe that absolutely?

    You see how this works, don’t you?. If you don’t believe in absolute truth, your belief cannot be absolutely true. That leaves open the possibility that absolute truth does exists, and implies, maybe, that it does. It seems this question can only be anwered in the afrimative with any hope of meaningful discourse. Odd.

    In the negative there is a loop -argument seems, by necessity, to be circular and resolvable only to what you may happen to feel at any given moment – with no real difference between feeling sets, except, perhaps, the availablity of brute force as a means of settling differences.

    If the question is answered in the affirmative the possibility of further fruitful discourse arises. Answering the question in the affirmative actually seems the more open minded position. Or, perhaps, both positions are absolutist, but in different directions. On the negative side, it seems, you might end up spending a lot of time showing people how much things don’t matter – as if that mattered. On the affirmative side – you might find yourself striving to find out what really does matter.

    That may be significant as this seems to be an anarchist blog. I’d tend to conclude that anarchist ideas, if implemented, would end in the tyranny of brute force wielded by whomever had the the biggest stick – and I’d tend to that think in that case said force would be wielded absolutley.

    Fun Stuff!

  39. Francois Tremblay September 4, 2010 at 13:34

    “Do you believe in absolute truth?
    Do you believe that absolutely?”

    Yes.

    “You see how this works, don’t you?”

    Yes, I do… that’s why I wrote about it in the entry.

    “I’d tend to conclude that anarchist ideas, if implemented, would end in the tyranny of brute force wielded by whomever had the the biggest stick”

    Sorry, but no… that’s actually what we have right now. Unlike Christians and statists, anarchists don’t believe in “might makes right.”

  40. KGE September 4, 2010 at 20:48

    RE: Sorry, but no…

    To be clear, I’m not saying anarchists would do the “might makes right” bit, but I think some group would assert themselves so were those ideas prevelant, regarless of intentions. Someone would be happy (ravenouly happy) to move in to fill the power vacuum. Perhaps “what we have right now…” then could be taken as an example of that.

    Regarding Christians and “might makes right”…I can’t speak for Christendom, but am certain that the idea that “might makes right” is antithetical to christian ideals in so far as they are revealed in the bible. Were it not so, Jesus would never have allowed Himself to be crucified…

  41. Francois Tremblay September 5, 2010 at 00:54

    “To be clear, I’m not saying anarchists would do the “might makes right” bit, but I think some group would assert themselves so were those ideas prevelant, regarless of intentions. Someone would be happy (ravenouly happy) to move in to fill the power vacuum.”

    What power vacuum? An Anarchist society would offer as little power for people to grasp as possible. This is not a power vacuum scenario of the kind left by a government destroyed by war, for instance.

    “Regarding Christians and “might makes right”…I can’t speak for Christendom, but am certain that the idea that “might makes right” is antithetical to christian ideals in so far as they are revealed in the bible. Were it not so, Jesus would never have allowed Himself to be crucified…”

    What are you talking about? The very concept of sacrifice is a confirmation of man’s inferior status. One does not make sacrifices to one’s equal. So this argument does not at all affect the concept of “might makes right” as abundantly illustrated in the Bible and in Christian thought. You’re seeing this from the perspective of Jesus as a… whatever he was supposed to be (fully human and fully divine, according to Christians, which I dismiss as illogical gibberish). But Jesus is not supposed to have personal intentions: Jesus is God and is fulfilling God’s plan (however you want to interpret that).

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