Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Play the "Prove I Exist" game
This is a little game I paly now and then on CARM when atheists get too cocky with their "we have the facts" mentality.
First I'm going to say this and you need to read the whole thing to see what i mean: God is not adding a fact to the universe. Belief in is God is not just a belief in one more entity but is a belief in an aspect of being, that of necessary eternal being.
let's settle the BS about "proof is only for mathematics." But if that's the case then atheists have to stop saying "there's no proof for your God" because God is not mathematics. You also miss the point of that expression becuase it means you can't expect any scientific data to be proof of anything. So then say "There's not scientific data that proves God" and expect that o be a big deal is a total contradiction to this concept that proof is only in mathematics.
When non mathematicians use that expression "proof" they really mean a very tight collation. Scientists will speak of "proof" which not math and call it proof and they mean more than just correlation. They also mean a mechanism. But epistemologically speaking even the inclusion of a mechanism is part of the correlation becasue nature doesn't come with labels telling us what the causes are. The analysis that decides what is a mechanism for a cause is also a correlative result.
So the upshot is we have two choices, we can either use the term "proof" in a less strict since, an "informal" sense of really strong warrants, or we can admit that its' silly to want proof of God since God is not a mathematical construct.
For those who chose the former, you are not out of the woods yet. I have often made a point that we take many things for granted which are not provable by science, not even in the informal sense of the term. For example basic epistemic judgments about other minds have to be made by a judgment or leap of faith, they cannot be settled by scientific data becuase any scientific data could be part of the illusion.
That means 2 things:
(1) It's false to say that we can't believe something without proof because we believe things without proof all the time, and in fact we could not live a coherent rational like without making assertions of these things which cannot be proved.
(2) This means there has to be a method for making such judgments that does not involve math or scientific data and that is only available to us Logically. Descartes tried to supply that method with the cogito (I think, therefore I am?)
That method is found generally in various forms of philosophy especially existential and phenomenological but also deductive reasoning.
Because God is not merely adding a fact to the universe but really consists of coming to an understanding of some facet of being, the theist and the atheist live in different worlds. We have totally different ways of understanding the nature of truth the nature of proof the importance of logic and the basic epistemological set up.
What that means is it is absurd to make claims such as "there's no proof for God" because it's meaningless to expect proof for something that is not a matter of contingency but underpins the whole nature of existence; it also means that the demand for scientific data is absurd. Scientific data is only avaible where one has contingencies and where one can make observations. We can't make first hand observations about the basic nature of reality, and that's what the idea of God is, it's a concept about reality.
To believe in God is to believe in one's own contingency. That's why Tillich says if you know being has depth you can't be an atheist. That means if you realize there's more to being than just contingent things, and you realize you are contingent and there must be some necessity that these contingencies are pinned upon, then you can't be an atheist because that is a priori the definition of God.
The good little soldiers did their ideological duty and spouted a bunch of canned answers but did not answer the argument:
You claim atheism is based upon facts, and there not facts that stick up for belief in God. You also claimed the only form of knowledge is empirical scientific data, which of cousre the atheist ideology thinks that atheism has in abundance.
the upshot is the atheist ideological propagandist dictum that one cannot believe without proof.
I said two things:
(1) alleged factual basis of atheism is totally selective, it includes only facts that seem to bolster the ideology but ignore those facts that speak against it.
(2) You believe things all the time that cannot be demonstrated in empirical scientific data. You take for granted the necessity of epistemic judgment and you make such judgments all the time.
These are not "facts" that can be demonstrated objectively but you assume them as fact all the time and never consider the flimsy nature of proof concerning them.
A. The existence of your own mind
B. the existence of a world external to your own mind
C. The existence of other minds not dependent upon your imagination.
I have a huge list but this will do for now. No evidence at all of any kind has been presented yet to demonstrate the factual nature of these beliefs.
you are believing you exist in a real world with real other minds based upon 0 empirical scientific data capable of proving these assertions. To accept them as "facts" you must assume them as judgments.
upshot: demonstration of the necessity to use philosophy and logic in discursive reasoning to understand the reality of the world rather htan proving it by empirical scientific means.