Patrickatheism

If God exists, atheism is false. Thus atheism is dependent upon the truth of whether or not God exists.

Imagine a world in which it is true that God exists and it is also the case that atheism is true.

This is the world of Patrickatheism.

762 thoughts on “Patrickatheism

  1. fifthmonarchyman: please elaborate

    peace

    It should be obvious but I know you can’t do any better.
    You just conceded the circularity in your argument, and in the process, you somehow denied your own reason and attributed it to your imaginary god.

    It’s sort of telling that to try and save your failed argument you feel you need to renounce your own reason, and you’ll willfully do that but still fail to save it

  2. FMM,

    Yes I’m familiar with the problem of other minds. But here’s the thing….

    If God really did fashion one particular species ‘in his image’ then doesn’t it seem odd there’s no way to reliably demonstrate this?

    If there’s no way of telling who might possess a mind; if there’s no discernible difference between those who are ‘made in the image of God‘ and those who aren’t – then what relevance does it have?

    God made a point of making humans in his image – but it turns out it makes no difference to anyone or anything.

  3. dazz: You just conceded the circularity in your argument, and in the process, you somehow denied your own reason and attributed it to your imaginary god.

    In the end all arguments are circular.

    There are virtuous circles, they look like this
    X is X
    or
    X is not (not X).

    There is nothing wrong with arguments like that. In fact they are the only arguments who’s validity is immediately evident.

    peace

  4. Woodbine: If God really did fashion one particular species ‘in his image’ then doesn’t it seem odd there’s no way to reliably demonstrate this?

    There is a way to reliably demonstrate this

    wait for it

    revelation.

    Just because there is no empirical test to tell if something has a mind it does not follow that we can’t tell if something has a mind.

    We know that someone has a mind or not when that information is revealed to us.

    I’m sure you have had that experience when dealing with chatbots

    Peace

  5. fifthmonarchyman: In the end all arguments are circular.

    There are virtuous circles, they look like this
    X is X
    or
    X is not (not X).

    There is nothing wrong with arguments like that. In fact they are the only arguments who’s validity is immediately evident.

    peace

    Quoted for stupidity

    It’s a great thing that you’ve finally come to terms with the circularity of your world view after so much resistance, FFM.

    Now maybe some day you’ll also realize that those things are useless and that your entire life is a lie.

  6. dazz: It’s a great thing that you’ve finally come to terms with the circularity of your world view after so much resistance, FFM.

    Ive never resisted any such thing.

    My circle begins and ends with God. The only thing capable of supporting rational thought.

    On the other hand your circle begins and ends with an error prone fallible finite you alone in the dark universe of your mind.

    That is not a position I would want to be in

    peace

  7. Woodbine: Assertion is not ‘reliable demonstration’.

    revelation is not assertion it is—– revelation.

    If I reveal to you that I will be logging off soon this morning it is not merely an assertion. It is me imparting information to you whether it is a reliable demonstration depends on whether it’s true

    peace

  8. newton: Maybe Judaism doesn’t see the need for a middle man.

    Judaism has Moses and the prophets, and a lot of Rabbi’s offering their opinions.

  9. Woodbine: Are there any tests you can perform to distinguish between those animals with a mind and those without?

    We’re waiting to hear how it is that Patrick knows, infallibly or otherwise, that his wife is not an alien. I look forward to the tests he devises.

  10. fifthmonarchyman:

    Because of your nature as a fallible human being there is no way that even an omnipotent god could reveal something to you such that you can be sure that it falls into the category you call “knowledge”.

    let’s try this again

    No, let’s stick with the bit of progress we’ve made. It seems to make you uncomfortable, so that’s a good sign.

    The issue is this claim that you have made repeatedly:

    I claim that God can reveal something in such a way so that a person can know it . Do you deny this? If so why?

    Here’s my response to that:

    I deny it because you are an admittedly fallible human being with no way of distinguishing between actual revelation and belief that you have had an actual revelation.

    If I understand you correctly, you claim that the only source of knowledge is revelation from your god. Combined with your recognition that you are fallible, that means your views can be categorized in two ways:

    1) Actual revelations from your god

    2) Beliefs that you mistakenly think are revelations from your god

    For some reason you want to idiosyncratically call the first “knowledge”. Let’s leave that aside for the moment.

    The problem is that you have no way of distinguishing between the two. Because you limit yourself solely to revelation, you have no mechanism for determining which beliefs you hold are actually revelations from your god and which you have mistaken for revelation.

    Because of your nature as a fallible human being there is no way that even an omnipotent god could reveal something to you such that you can be sure that it falls into the category you call “knowledge”. Unless you have another mechanism for determining the probability that a particular belief is an actual revelation, you have no non-circular basis to claim that it is. “I believe my revelation is real because of revelation.” is not a compelling argument.

    Now, let’s apply that to the specific case you mention:

    Suppose God wanted to reveal to you that 2+2=4 are you actually claiming that there is no possible way he could ever do that?

    If we apply your assumptions that the only source of knowledge is revelation from your god then no, it cannot do that reliably for the reasons I just repeated.

    We can know the truth of that statement based on application of mathematical rules, without any need for gods. If all we have is revelation, though, there is no way to verify it because of the inherent circularity of your epistemology.

  11. fifthmonarchyman:

    Are you explicitly claiming that your god makes you infallible with respect to one or more of its revelations?

    not at all,

    where did you get such a goofy idea

    Reading what you write. It’s a risk one takes here.

    Infallibility is not necessary for knowledge. Neither is certainty. That should be obvious.

    Knowledge is simply justified true belief.

    And that’s where your revelations fail. There is no way to justify any of your purported revelations except by . . . more revelation. It is logically possible, by your own admission, that every single thing you think is a real revelation from your god is actually a mistaken belief. You have no other way of justifying your beliefs, so they do not constitute knowledge.

  12. Patrick: A little role play now and then can spice things up.

    LoL. But do you think aliens would be good at role playing or bad at role playing?

    Can you use role playing as a means to distinguish between and alien and a non-alien? You can role play, therefore you are not an alien?

    Remember, the demand you put to fifth was that there must be some way to distinguish. If my analogy doesn’t hold I’d like to know why not.

  13. fifthmonarchyman: suppose I said “you need cherry pie to have cherry pie”.

    Is there something logically wrong or incoherent about that sentence?

    It’s syntactically correct and semantically meaningful, but it’s a tautology. It’s trivially true.

    The circularity in your position is a bit harder to discern, but it appears to be this. Either:

    1. One must already have received a revelation from God in order to determine whether or not one has received a revelation from God.

    or

    2. Revelations are self-authenticating — to have a revelation at all is to know that the revelation is a true revelation.

    I do not find the very idea of “self-authenticating” episodes to be coherent, for the reason that Sellars developed in the Myth of the Given. And it is only if one is first in the grip of the Myth of the Mind Apart (as Jay Rosenberg calls it) that one would need anything to be Given at all, whether the rationalist Given (clear and distinct idea, the light of reason) or the empiricist Given (sensations, impressions).

  14. Mung:

    A little role play now and then can spice things up.

    LoL. But do you think aliens would be good at role playing or bad at role playing?

    Can you use role playing as a means to distinguish between and alien and a non-alien? You can role play, therefore you are not an alien?

    Remember, the demand you put to fifth was that there must be some way to distinguish. If my analogy doesn’t hold I’d like to know why not.

    My debate with fithmonarchyman is about his knowledge-exclusiely-through-revelation claims. Those have to stand or fall on their own. While I have my personal views on epistemology, they are not currently under discussion.

  15. Kantian Naturalist: Revelations are self-authenticating

    Bingo.

    The ‘self-authenticating’ nature of the Bible is a big part of the presuppositional apologetic (and other strains, too). I own an unnecessarily long tome by Greg Bahnsen explicating Cornelius van Til’s work and inside there’s a section about self-authentication. I would have copied it down but it’s not in the index and a brief flick through was fruitless.

    Needless to say it’s every bit as self-serving as it sounds. It’s also incredibly easy to debunk.

  16. So Patrick’s claim boils down to this:

    Fallible beings can never justify their beliefs because they are fallible. Therefore knowledge is impossible.

    But he could be wrong. And he can’t justify that claim, so he cant’ claim to know it.

    Perhaps it is actually skeptical disbelief that is incoherent. Or maybe the incoherence only arises when you try to have the best of both worlds.

  17. Neil Rickert: If logic did not exist, we would invent it.

    If logic did not exist there would be no reason to invent it. If truth did not exist there would be no reason to invent it. Atheism is anti-reason.

  18. Mung: Judaism has Moses and the prophets, and a lot of Rabbi’s offering their opinions.

    Right, it seems one can unite the world and God without Jesus.

  19. fifthmonarchyman: On the other hand your circle begins and ends with an error prone fallible finite you alone in the dark universe of your mind.

    That would follow only if one started with the Myth of the Mind Apart as the starting-point for epistemology (as Descartes did, among others). But that starting-point is optional and there are very good reasons for not starting there.

    Mung: If logic did not exist there would be no reason to invent it. If truth did not exist there would be no reason to invent it. Atheism is anti-reason.

    I do not understand this claim that “logic exists”. Likewise for “truth exists” or that “reason exists.”

    If the sense of those assertions is simply that to remind us of some primitive convictions as (non-exhaustive list):

    (1) Some of our utterances are claims;
    (2) Some of our claims are true;
    (3) All of our claims are subject to norms of semantic and epistemic appraisal;
    (4) Norms of semantic and epistemic appraisal involve reasoning;
    (5) Among the norms of epistemic appraisal are the principles of formal logic;
    (6) A claim is justified or warranted if it conforms to the norms of epistemic appraisal, and not otherwise.

    then of course I have no objection. I would happily consider acceptance of (1)-(6) as part of the very minimum characterization of what it is to be a rational being at all.

    But it seems to me that the point of insisting that “logic exists,” “reason exists,” “truth exists”, is to insist on Something More than (1)-(6). And I do not know what this ‘Something More’ is supposed to be.

    At the same time, I quite agree that norms of epistemic appraisal cannot be the result of agreement, convention, or invention. The reason for this is one would already need to be committed to some family of semantic and epistemic norms in order for any agreement, convention, or invention to be a reasonable one to adopt.

    (I believe Quine makes this point, though I’m borrowing this version from Brandom’s use of David Lewis as to why practices cannot be the result of convention.)

  20. newton: Right, it seems one can unite the world and God without Jesus.

    Judaism, like Christianity and Islam, is a religion of revelation: God acts in the world (at a specific moment in space and time) to reveal His intentions, purposes, and expectations. In Christianity, the revelation is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ — that is, the revelation is a person. In Judaism and Islam, the revelation is a text — Torah for the Jews and the Qu’ran for Muslims.

    The role of Moses was — according to Torah — to produce a physical copy of the divinely authored text by writing it down. The role of Muhammad is more complicated because there are two further mediations: the archangel Gabriel recited the Qu’ran to Muhammad, and then Muhammad recited it to his scribe. (That’s why it’s called the Qu’ran, which is Arabic for ‘Recitation’.)

    Judaism and Islam solve the problem of how to bridge the immanent and the transcendent by invoking a text that is revealed to a community, which is then subject to various and contesting interpretations, whereas Christianity solves the problem of how to bridge the immanent and the transcendent by invoking a person whose sayings and doings are then subjected to various and contesting interpretations.

  21. Patrick: My debate with fithmonarchyman is about his knowledge-exclusiely-through-revelation claims. Those have to stand or fall on their own. While I have my personal views on epistemology, they are not currently under discussion.

    So you attempt to counter my contention that knowledge is possible through revelation by arguing that knowledge is impossible all together.

    And you think this is a valid argument because your epistemology is not under discussion right now.

    The only appropriate response to this sort of “destroy the village in order to save it” tactic is to ask “how do you know?”

    peace

  22. newton: Right, it seems one can unite the world and God without Jesus.

    I would argue that the Jewish prophets are foreshadows of the incarnation and the Quran is a counterfeit of the incarnation.

    neither would be possible with out the incarnation.

    Kantian Naturalist: Christianity solves the problem of how to bridge the immanent and the transcendent by invoking a person whose sayings and doings are then subjected to various and contesting interpretations.

    This is half correct

    Christianity bridges the gap with Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit to insure his sayings and doings are not subjected to various and contesting interpretations.

    peace

  23. Kantian Naturalist: That would follow only if one started with the Myth of the Mind Apart as the starting-point for epistemology (as Descartes did, among others). But that starting-point is optional and there are very good reasons for not starting there.

    I would love to explore this with you.

    Please don’t be offended by this question. It is necessary to establish a grounds for the discussion.

    How do you know that starting-point is optional and there are very good reasons for not starting there?

    This is very important please don’t brush it off. Think about your answer

    peace

  24. Kantian Naturalist: I do not understand this claim that “logic exists”. Likewise for “truth exists” or that “reason exists.”

    ask yourself this

    Is it true that I do not understand this claim that “truth exists”.

    that might help you to get it.

    peace

  25. Kantian Naturalist: I do not understand this claim that “logic exists”. Likewise for “truth exists” or that “reason exists.”

    Try to explain why you do not understand this claim that “logic [and reason] exist”.

    Without using logic and reason.

    That might help you to get it

    peace

  26. Woodbine: The ‘self-authenticating’ nature of the Bible is a big part of the presuppositional apologetic (and other strains, too).

    Scripture is indeed ‘self-authenticating’ but only for the regenerate. When the unregenerate encounter scripture it does not have that authentication. It’s like reading other peoples mail.

    When it comes to general revelation I can only say that God can reveal stuff in such a way so that you can know it.

    How he does that is really up to him and depends on the situation and his goals.

    peace

  27. fifthmonarchyman: ask yourself this

    Is it true that I do not understand this claim that “truth exists” or that “reason exists.”

    that might help you to get it.

    peace

    Again: I certainly have no problems with the idea that claims are true (or false). I am happy with the idea that we can ascribe truth and falsity to assertions.

    But when you say “truth exists” I worry that you want to say much more than just reminding us that some assertions are true and others are false. And I do not know what this ‘much more’ is.

    For one thing, it is not entirely clear to me whether we need a theory of truth that is not just a deflationary theory, according to which the predicate phrase “is true” is just a re-authorization of the claim to which it is attached. An example:

    Jose: “There’s no way that Trump can win in the US election.”
    Enrique: “That’s true.”

    What Enrique has done, in saying “that’s true,” is just endorse the assertion being made by Jose. “It’s true that Trump can’t win the election” means the same as “Trump can’t win the election” — only endorsed or re-authorized.

    On a deflationary theory of truth, “it is true that I don’t understand what ‘truth exists’ means” says the same thing as “I don’t understand what ‘truth exists’ means”.

    If you want to say that truth is not a semantic notion, or that truth is Something More than just re-authorizing or endorsing an assertion, then I want to know what that Something More is.

    Likewise with “logic exists” or “reason exists”.

    It’s been claimed here that once one admits that reason, logic, and/or truth exist (and of course these are different concepts, though related), one has already implicitly admitted that God exists.

    This makes no sense to me.

    Hewing as closely as possible to the classical theistic conception of God, God may be defined as the necessary being (not contingent), absolutely transcendent (not immanent), absolutely powerful, knowing, and good, and by Whose power and love all of creation (the totality of contingent beings) is upheld in existence from moment to moment.

    Now, on my understanding of “truth exists,” we are saying only that some assertions are true. To say that “reason exists” is to say that we are rational beings subject to epistemic and semantic constraints on what we may assert and do. And to say that “logic exists” is to say that among our semantic constraints are inferential relations between assertions which can be expressed as principles of logic.

    In the absence of some account of what the Something More is and why we need it, the claim that

    the existence of reason/logic/truth is (or entails) the existence of God

    turns out to be the claim that

    the set of epistemic and semantic constraints on the assertions and actions of rational beings is (or entails) the necessary and absolutely transcendent being.

    and I do not understand what that means or why someone should think it is true. (I suspect it is gibberish.)

  28. Kantian Naturalist: But when you say “truth exists” I worry that you want to say much more than just reminding us that some assertions are true and others are false. And I do not know what this ‘much more’ is.

    It’s my practice to employ the “don’t worry, be happy” principle whenever possible.

    Why not examine what it is about my statement that truth exists that makes you worried and uneasy.

    Is it possible that you are afraid that at some point Truth might make some demands of you?

    peace

  29. Kantian Naturalist: It’s been claimed here that once one admits that reason, logic, and/or truth exist (and of course these are different concepts, though related), one has already implicitly admitted that God exists.

    This makes no sense to me.

    God is truth and logic and reason so admitting that truth and logic and reason exist is admitting explicitly that God exists.

    Regardless of whether or not it makes sense to you

    peace

  30. fifthmonarchyman: Is it possible that you are afraid that at some point Truth might make some demands of you?

    No.

    Other people can make demands of me. Truth is (as I understand it) a property of sentences. Properties of sentences are not persons. They belong to different logical categories. Truth can no more make a demand of me than the number 7 can order a pizza.

    If you want to offer an account of truth as Something More than a property of sentences — more specifically, as a predicate-phrase for indicating re-authorization or endorsement — then please feel free to do so.

    In the absence of such an account, I reserve my skepticism that “truth exists” means anything at all.

  31. fifthmonarchyman: God is truth and logic and reason

    It’s so pathetic that you think your lame question begging amounts to some sophisticated world view. Theism has hit rock bottom with you

  32. fifthmonarchyman: God is truth and logic and reason so admitting that truth and logic and reason exist is admitting explicitly that God exists.

    But, as I indicated already, it’s just gibberish to say that “God is truth and logic and reason”.

    I’m willing to define God as the necessary being (not contingent), absolutely transcendent (not immanent), absolutely powerful, knowing, and good, and by Whose power and love all of creation (the totality of contingent beings) is upheld in existence from moment to moment.

    Let’s leave that aside, for what we are discussing now is not God, but rather the nature of logic, reason, and truth.

    You want to say that these are all equivalent to God, and I do not think so.

    The reason why I do not think so is that I understand logic, reason, and truth in terms of the semantic and epistemic constraints of our assertions and actions.

    To say that p is true is just to say that anyone is entitled to assert p. To say that p is a reasonable thing to say (or to do) is to say anyone who in a situation relevantly similar to that of the person considering the assertion or action would assert or do p. To say that there is a logical relationship between p and q is to say that if one is committed to p, then one is permitted to assert q.

    In short: the concepts of truth, reason, and logic are used to make explicit certain features of our cognitive activity, as beings who both represent the world and are part of it.

    You seem to want to ascribe some other status to these concepts. I do not know what that status is or why it should be ascribed.

    You simply have not provided any account of truth, reason, and logic. Until you do, there is no reason for me to believe that a correct understanding of these concepts has anything at all to do with God.

    So then: leaving God aside, what is your account of truth, reason, and logic?

  33. Kantian Naturalist: Judaism, like Christianity and Islam, is a religion of revelation: God acts in the world (at a specific moment in space and time) to reveal His intentions, purposes, and expectations.

    Are you reading this Patrick?

    In Christianity, the revelation is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ — that is, the revelation is a person. In Judaism and Islam, the revelation is a text — Torah for the Jews and the Qu’ran for Muslims.

    Some guy once wrote:

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  34. Kantian Naturalist: Truth is (as I understand it) a property of sentences.

    No humans no truth? Do cells perform error correction only when we say they do, or do they have their own sentences? Even so, there must be some standard according to which sentences are true or not true, do you agree?

    Could you briefly explain what you mean when you propose that truth is a property of sentences and perhaps give an example and an analogy to help me understand?

    What are some other properties of sentences?

    Which philosopher first proposed this idea of truth as a property of sentences?

    No demands, just asking. Thank you.

    The reason why I do not think so is that I understand logic, reason, and truth in terms of the semantic and epistemic constraints of our assertions and actions.

    Perhaps man is made in the image of God. 😉

    Aren’t you buying into that whole line when you ascribe such things to mankind and not the other animals? We’ll make an Aristotelian out of you yet, heh.

    You simply have not provided any account of truth, reason, and logic.

    Apart from whether this is true or not, it’s a great point for discussion. Maybe I’ll start an OP!

    Thanks KN. I don’t have to run to UD at the end of the day, I can just run to this thread and talk to you. 😉

  35. Kantian Naturalist: You want to say that these are all equivalent to God, and I do not think so.

    That pretty much sums it up. You don’t want to call {truth,reason,logic} God for some reason. That does not in anyway surprise me.

    In fact that is just what how God told me you would be.

    quote:

    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    (Rom 1:21)

    end quote:

    There really is no reason for me to expect you want to ascribe divinity to God.

    On the contrary I expect you to resist that immensely.

    However not wanting to call God God is not the same thing as denying that God exists.

    peace

  36. FMM if YOU want to call truth, logic and reason and whatever all else “God.” (Truth, logic and reason aren’t even identical with each other, but this is what YOU want, so never mind.) Then I believe in what you are calling–in that post– “God.” But you think “God” has a ton of characteristics that truth, logic and reason not only don’t have, but couldn’t have in any possible world. So there are other problems with your view besides whether anybody but you here believes in ‘God.’ Big ones.

    Your view is actually inconsistent with all three of truth, logic and reason.

  37. walto: Then I believe in what you are calling–in that post– “God.”

    I know you do. That is all I’ve been saying

    walto: But you think “God” has a ton of characteristics that truth, logic and reason not only don’t have, but couldn’t have in any possible world.

    Here is where we disagree. However it does not surprise me that this is your position. I have additional revelation that you don’t have.

    I am curious to hear your argument about the logical limits you see for God.

    peace

  38. fifthmonarchyman,

    Nothing special. Like everything else, it would have to be consistent, not incoherent. What you’re talking about is a big mess of total incoherency. Even the three (truth, logic, and reason) can’t be identical with each other on my conceptions of THEM. And you’ve got a bunch of other crap you want to sew in there too.

    It’s a matzo-ball and marshmallow soup, with radio waves and the history of tiddly-winks on the side.

    Oh, and Prof. X, Thor and Tinkerbell: they’re all in there too.

  39. Mung:
    So Patrick’s claim boils down to this:

    Fallible beings can never justify their beliefs because they are fallible. Therefore knowledge is impossible.

    Do try to pay attention, dear. My argument is that fallible beings cannot justify their beliefs in fifthmonarchyman’s epistemology. He provides no means other than revelation for determining truth, so it’s revelation all the way down.

    Other epistemologies do not suffer from that flaw.

  40. Mung: If truth did not exist there would be no reason to invent it.

    What exactly do you mean by truth existing? I’ve asked fifthmonarchyman several times but he is strangely coy.

  41. fifthmonarchyman:

    My debate with fithmonarchyman is about his knowledge-exclusiely-through-revelation claims. Those have to stand or fall on their own. While I have my personal views on epistemology, they are not currently under discussion.

    So you attempt to counter my contention that knowledge is possible through revelation by arguing that knowledge is impossible all together.

    No, I counter it by pointing out that knowledge (justified true belief) is not possible when you claim revelation as the only source.

    And you think this is a valid argument because your epistemology is not under discussion right now.

    The only appropriate response to this sort of “destroy the village in order to save it” tactic is to ask “how do you know?”

    I know because it’s clear that your knowledge-exlusively-through-revelation epistemology cannot provide justification for any of it’s claims. It’s completely self-referential.

  42. fifthmonarchyman:
    When it comes to general revelation I can only say that God can reveal stuff in such a way so that you can know it.

    That does appear to be one of the only things you can say. You certainly can’t support that claim with a logical argument.

  43. fifthmonarchyman: That pretty much sums it up. You don’t want to call {truth,reason,logic} God for some reason.

    That’s not all you mean when you use the word “god”, though. You have repeatedly stated that you mean the Christian god. Using a word one way and dragging additional baggage along implicitly is a form of equivocation. It is both logically fallacious and disingenuous.

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