Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Premises 4-7 TS argumet

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Thesis: Mind is the missing dimension that makes sense out of the TS, and TS plus mind = God



1. Any rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose organizing principles (Ops)
2. OP's summed up in TS
3. Modern Thought rejects TS outright or takes out all aspects of mind.
4. Therefore, Modern thought fails to provide a rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe.
5. minds organize and communicate meaning

6. Therefore universal mind, offers the best understanding of TS

7Concept of God unites TS with universal mind therefore offers best explanation

for a view that is Rational, Coherent, and Meaningful (RCM).





4) Therefore, Modern thought fails to provide a rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe.
How is modern thought incoherent, irrational, and meaningless? It has a lot of coherent and a degree of rationality but it's missing certain key elements in those areas, that works to undermine the meaning of the whole. The major incoherence is the inability to explain hierarchical ordering, the OP's and the TS. There are clearly OP's and they point to some higher framework of rationality and meaning but modern Western thought cuts off the top by removing mind from the equation, thus there are many lose ends and no ultimate meaning.
Modern thought seeks a single principle, an ἀρχή that explains everything, (or at least it explains quantum gravity) but not itself. There's no connection between the rationality of the system and it's existence since it's cut off from mind. The forces of blind chance are the only guide, and that may be all that's required, and yet minds are capable of understanding so much more and of putting the system as a whole into a rational framework but one that ultimately has no rationale.
Moreover, there is no explanation for reality. There's no way modern thought can even pose the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” That kind of question is hard enough to answer anyway but with the kind of metaphysical assumptions modern science makes the question can’t even be asked. That stifles thought along the lines of anything that transcends the closed realm of discourse within a society given to a narrow truth regime. There is no accounting for the law-like regularity we find in the universe. Physical laws have even been demoted from actual laws to mere descriptions. Thus though they describe this law-like regularity we are not allowed to call it a law. Thus the universe is irrational and the real explanation is just a lose end. Whitehead observed the irrationality.

We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoins the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist] i
There is no understanding as to why we are here or why reality is so ordered hierarchically and to ask the question no longer makes sense because modern thought has learned to content itself with lose ends. Organizing is always hierarchical, and in comprehending the hierarchy of epistemic answers there are several principles that can be understood as transcendental. Many of these are good candidates for first principles. Mathematics, reason, logic, any of these might be seen as the basic principle upon which all knowledge is grounded. Secondly, humans have always tried to understand a means of conceptualizing and connecting to the ἀρχή (are-kay—first principle) or the TS. In every culture, age, thought tradition there has been some form of first axiom that grounds all knowledge and life. In reasoning Aristotle recognized an axiom.

In every systematic inquiry (methods) where there are first principles, or causes, or elements, knowledge and science result from acquiring knowledge of these; for we think we know something just in case we acquire knowledge of the primary causes, the primary first principles, all the way to the elements. It is clear, then, that in the science of nature as elsewhere, we should try first to determine questions about the first principles. The naturally proper direction of our road is from things better known and clearer to us, to things that are clearer and better known by nature; for the things known to us are not the same as the things known unconditionally (haplôs). Hence it is necessary for us to progress, following this procedure, from the things that are less clear by nature, but clearer to us, towards things that are clearer and better known by nature. ii

Axioms or first principles, in philosophy are called a priori, they are foundational propositions that cannot be deduced from other propositions. But there appears to be an equivocation in this line of thought. Propositions of reasoning and concepts of God are two different things. There is a connection, however, between propositions of first principle and the God concept, and this is connected to the TSED. First, God is the ultimate first principle. God is the top of the metaphysical hierarchy (that is axiomatic). Thus any proposition of first principle would bear an intimate relation to the God concept (if we understand God as the TSED). That is essentially what is being said when we describe God in terms of metaphysical hierarchy, or in terms of modal function. Secondly God would be the ultimate first principle and all other first principles would derive their their being and function from God.
What is the meaning of the phrase of this above premise: [modern thought] Modern thought fails to provide a rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe? It fails to unite the grounding function of the TS in such a way as to explain a coherent hierarchical ordering in the universe with an understanding of what it means to be. Modern thought explains the behavior of the universe without reference to purpose or goal. Things are not moving toward a desired end, they are just moving. If order results out of chaos it's not the result of any purpose or plan. For that reason there is no assumption of meaning or purpose in being,. Thus no reason to explain what it means to be. As Sartre told us first we are then we decides what it means. We might suspect that the reason for failing to comprehend a purpose has to do with Laplace's lack of needing the God hypothesis (see above fn9). Did he lack the need of God purely as a physical explanation or did he not want the explanation? Was it the moral guidance of which he lacked the need? Or, if we assume this was a straightforward statement about physics, is it our lack of desire for guidance that contents us with the lack of explanation? In either case we go on with modern physics as though we have no need of that hypothesis. If true then why do we still seek the ultimate explanation? Why have we failed to find it? There is a failure because we recognize no higher meaning. Rather we recognize no single higher meaning but we all have various ideas about it. We are not satisfied or we would not keep looking. We are not willing to make some official meaning but the umpires of reality are still seeking a logos. Even when we decide we don't want meaning we don't want truth, meaning finds us anyway and our difference turns into differance and becomes a standard, a first principle. I think Perhaps this is because without overall meaning we seek a standard of guidance in place of meaning. Gudience suggests meaning.
Perhaps the most important aspect of incoherence is that we can't do without a TS. Derrida tried to eliminate the TS and wound up creating one (difference—with an a_a). "The constant danger of deconstuction is that it falls into the same kinds of hierarchies that it tries to expose. Derrida himself is quite aware of this danger--and his response--which is really a rhetorical response...is to multiply the names under which deconstruction traffics..."iii




(5) minds organize and communicate meaning

I think that is self evident. That is what minds do and nothing else does it. I am not concerned here with how it it's done. If one chooses to argue “Dennette's multiple drafts or consciousness is brain chemistry that is not the issue here. It doesn't disprove my argument. In fact since that requires hierarchical ordering it might help my argument.


(6) Therefore universal mind, offers the best understanding of TS


The reason modern thought is missing the unity (the TS, the nature of the universe, and meaning) is because it leaves out mind as the basis of the ἀρχή; minds organize and communicate meaning, thus modern thought is missing the connecting link between the TS and the nature of things (such as hierarchical organizing). Thomas Nagel in his book Mind and Cosmos (the subtitle: of the book says it-- “...the Materialist Noe-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False”) argued that mind is the missing dimension with which modern thought refuses to deal, and this is why they can't solve the so called “hard problem.”iv He did not argue that evolution is wrong but that the reductionist understanding will never unlock the hard problem because they can't admit there's an aspect of the world their methods can't grasp. He says it's not just about brain and mind but that “it invades our understanding of the entire cosmos and its history...a true appreciation of the difficulty of the problem must eventually change our conception of the place of the physical sciences in describing the natural order.”v Now this doesn’t prove that turning to introduce mind into the equation proves the solution, but it gives us reason to think that if leaving mind out of the equation is a major part of the problem, then including it is probably part of the best hope we have of solving it.
Even so the single first principle by itself is missing the dimension of mind. It's the dimension of mind that really enables an explanation uniting all the major areas of human being: the physical nature of the universe, the moral, and the existential or the dimension of our being where higher meaning and sheer existence meet. This is the full elucidation of being por soir. Science is wiling to stick with en soir. And that's acceptable because it's purpose is not to explain purpose of our being. That's a job for theology. Science really does not require the God hypothesis because it's function is not to unify these noetoic aspects of being. Being in itself is fine for scientific explanation. But we need more. Mind is the missing dimension because mind gives purpose. Consciousness seeks understanding, If the top of the metaphysical hierarchy is mind it would explain how meaning and moral precept and/or virtue could be part of the fabric of what is.
The elephant in the room on this premise is the insistence by physicalism and materialist thinkers that mind is merely brain activity. The skeptic will argue how can there be mind without a brain? The brain/mind reductionism has become so all pervasive in atheist circles any discussion of God or mind on the internet will result in that argument. There are major researchers who don't go along with the reductionist view. Raymond Tallis former professior at University of Manchester, denounces what he calls “neurohype,”  “the claims made on behalf of neuroscience in areas outside those in which it has any kind of explanatory power….”vi

The fundamental assumption is that we are our brains and this, I will argue presently, is not true. But this is not the only reason why neuroscience does not tell us what human beings “really” are: it does not even tell us how the brain works, how bits of the brain work, or (even if you accept the dubious assumption that human living could be parcelled up into a number of discrete functions) which bit of the brain is responsible for which function. The rationale for thinking of the kind – “This bit of the brain houses that bit of us...” – is mind-numbingly simplistic.vii
Aside from arguments based upon neuroscience there's an even better reason to discount the reductionists. The nature of the human mind is not the issue here. We are talking about the assumption of mind in understanding the TS. The nature of biological organisms is irrelevant. There is no justification for thinking of god as a big biological organism. God is not analogous to the most powerful being. He's not Zeus he's not superman. He's not really a “He.” “He's” not even analogous to the laws of physics. “He's” the basis upon which the laws of physics cohere. At that level we can consider God as pure mind or mind itself. It's not a mind, it is mind. The source and origin of mind.
The issue here is not the production of mind but the content. The notion of meaning necessitates purpose. Meaning is the communicated purpose involved in an utterance. That requires consciousness, self awareness and rational purpose. These are all qualities of mind. We can't prove mind behind the universe but we can show that there is no coherence between the various Op's if we assume naturalistic ends. Yet we can understand coherent unity between Ops, moral precepts, an existential meaning if we assume mind. If we assume a creating mind is responsible for hierarchical ordering we can see rationale for organizing, moral motions, and a purposive existence for humans all cohering in the unity of creative wisdom and purpose. That would seem to indicate that mind is the best explanation. Thomas Nagel points out that mind is the missing dimension that naturalism has left out.viii Nagel was scathingly criticized as a creationist (he's an atheist) the man himself avowed in the work that he sought to make the naturalistic explanation more complete.ix A theory of everything has to explain mind and reductionism merely explains it away. The point is that without linking purpose to meaning we have a sort of localized meaning, private truth good for each individual not related to the whole.
I came into this world, I understood nothing, I saw many things what they meant they only meant that to me. No one else knows that meaning, no one cares nor do I know what those things mean to others. Soon I will be gone. Those things that meant something to me will soon cease to mean anything to anyone. They and I will be forgotten. That is what we get with a purely naturalistic reading of life. That is truly meaningless in any final or lasting sense. That sort of existence is a brute fact only. Some revel in the brute nature of such facts. But we must ask the question, not out of mere personal feeling but in spite of it: are these brute facts or deep structures? If the latter the things we have seen, the lives we live the deaths we all die are not merely brute facts. They are deep structures because they have meaning. They have a sort of meaning that lives on after us and is more than us. Of course a lot skeptics will say that I merely can't take anonymity. They can't either. If they can why do we leave things for posterity? Why do we care about how we leave the earth for future generations? While it seems that so many reductionists want to be robots and don't care about meaning if it's true they revel in being meaningless why do they blog? Why social media? Why are we concerned with what violence is purported upon others or what bigoted things Presidential candidates utter? Because meaning is more to us than just a private, relative, and through away. If that weren’t true we would not have sought so long for a logos or a TS or a theory of everything.


(7) Concept of God unites TS with universal mind, therefore, offers best explanation for a view that is RCM


God is Derrida's Prime example of TS. Nancy Murphy and James McClendon, speaking in the context of Derriodian thought, state, "Without God, who has been the ultimate Transcendent Signified, there is no central perspective, no objective truth of things, no real thing beyond language." x Creating, ordering, and sustaining the cosmos and grounding meaning and all reality would require a metaphysical ἀρχή (first principal) with God-like attributes (from the glossary: The eternal and necessary foundational aspect of all being which creates all things and chooses to do so is compatible with the definition of "God" found in any many major world religions, including Christianity ).
God and Mind

I am arguing for warranted religious belief, and belief in God in a general sense, not for any particular tradition, I do have Christian belief and I am committed to the Christian tradition and to a relationship with Jesus, but I am bracketing that for now to deal with the ideas in a more general sense. I understand God to be universal mind which is not only part of the basis of Christian mysticism and the orthodox Church but also reflected in such modern thinkers as Paul Tillich,xi John Macquarrie,xii and Hans Urs Von Balthasar.xiii Tillich and others filter it through Heidegger, saying God is being itself. In History of Christian Thought Tillich interprets Dionysius to say God is the ground of everything, the super essential God beyond everything, inclining Platonic ideas and essences, he says Dionysius thought God is God beyond God (Ibid). That ties the Dionysian concept decisively to Tillich's view. xiv
If we want a rational view of the universe we need to plug mind back in to our understanding. There is a problem in that the imposition of a TS may be understood as a contradiction to the Heidegerrian/Tlillichian view that discussed above.






i Alfred North Whitehead. Science and The Modern World, NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76
ii Aristotle, Physics, 184a10–21
iii Con Davis, Roger. Criticism and Culture: The Role of Critique In Modern Literary Theory, Harloow, England:Longman Group United Kingdom; 1 edition (April 13, 1995)
ivDavid Chalmers “Facing up to the Problem of Consciousness,” On line resource University of Arizona, URL:
Chalmer's concept for for summing up the unresolved aspect of consciousness studies, a precise understanding of what conciousness actually is a nd how to understand itat the experioential level, and how it differed from brain function and what causes it,
vThomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos:Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False,. Oxfor: Oxford, London: New York University Press, first edition, 2012,3. (see chapter 1). The reason why a rendition of bran functions is not answer to the hard problem is because the question demands an understanding from the inside out,
vi Raymond Tallis, “Ideas for Godless People” New Haumanist.org.uk (blog—online researche) volume 124 Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2009) URL: http://newhumanist.org.uk/2172/neurotrash  acessed 5/9/12
viiIbid
viiiThomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos:...op cit., 3.
ixIbid.
x Nancy Murphy and James McClendon jr." Distinguishing Modern and Postmodern Theologies." Modern Theology, 5:3 April 1989, 211
xiPaul Tillich, Systematic Theology volume II, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, 10-11.
xiiJohn MacQuarrie Principles of Christian Theology. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1966. 92,97
xiiiHans Urs Von Balthasar “A Resume of my Thought,” in David L. Schindler,Hans Urs Von Balthasar: His Life and Work. San Francisco:Ignatious Press, 1991, 3.

xivPaul Tillich, A History of Christian thought, New York, NY:TouchStonme books. 1967, 92

40 comments:

Kristen said...

This is the argument for God which has always resonated most with me. We humans want more than facts, we want meaning. Personal meaning is fine, but its limited and ultimately fizzles out in the face of the objective universe. We need transcendant meaning. We need the universe to have a purpose. Why should we evolve to need something that doesn't exist, that can never be fulfilled?

This is an emotional way of saying what the T.S. argument says rationally, but it's more than a rational thing. Because it touches on a deeper reality, it is something felt, not just reasoned. There are many things like that, that we know without being able to explain how we know.

7th Stooge said...

Well put, Kristen. We know a whole lot more than we can rationally account for.

To Joe: Whitehead was an atheist?!? What gives?

Joe Hinman said...

This is an emotional way of saying what the T.S. argument says rationally, but it's more than a rational thing. Because it touches on a deeper reality, it is something felt, not just reasoned. There are many things like that, that we know without being able to explain how we know.

9:27 PM

right on Kriste

Joe Hinman said...

To Joe: Whitehead was an atheist?!? What gives?

As a young man on the verge of graduation he got to talk to Cardinal Newman then he declared his catechism,no one knows what Newman said that upset him,he spent years as an atheist developed belief out of his process thought,

im-skeptical said...

This is an emotional way of saying what the T.S. argument says rationally, but it's more than a rational thing. Because it touches on a deeper reality, it is something felt, not just reasoned. There are many things like that, that we know without being able to explain how we know.

- Emotion is at the basis of religious belief. Rational argument has nothing to do with it.

Mike Gerow said...

The problem, I think, skep, is, let's face it, emotion has something to do with everything.

For example.... What's your "desired outcome" from participating in these debates, and if you're not emotionally invested in ithem, why do you bother?

7th Stooge said...

- Emotion is at the basis of religious belief. Rational argument has nothing to do with it.

Why would you think that the two are mutually exclusive?

7th Stooge said...

As Mike said, we are all emotionally invested in our beliefs to some extent. It's way too simplistic to say that there are completely emotional beliefs over here and completely rational beliefs over there with a clear line of demarcation between them.

7th Stooge said...

As a young man on the verge of graduation he got to talk to Cardinal Newman then he declared his catechism,no one knows what Newman said that upset him,he spent years as an atheist developed belief out of his process thought,

Are you sure he didn't develop process thought out of his belief as well?

im-skeptical said...

Mike is agreeing with me (broadly speaking), even if he doesn't think so. It is the divorce from emotionally derived belief that requires dispassionate. logical thinking.

Mike Gerow said...

Well, "dispassionate logical thinking" might only be artifice. Or largely artifice....as humans are very good rationalizers.

im-skeptical said...

It's true that we have difficulty in thinking dispassionately, and it may be impossible for many people. But there are ways to make a difference. Science helps.

Kristen said...

It certainly isn't true that rational argument has NOTHING to do with it. I, like most people, could not believe in something that I had no rational warrant to believe, no matter how much I emotionally wanted to believe in it.

Mike Gerow said...

I find there is a divide across these debates, esp amoung their more sophisticated participants, concerning the need to justify of belief and/or non-belief.

Iow, who has the burden?

Eg, as Kristen is suggesting, Joe always says he attempts only "rational warrant" for belief - i.e. showing belief is not inconsistent with reason. (Not that unbelief is inherently inconherent or that he can give compelling rational arguments forcing all reasonable atheists to convert, he doesn't take on that burden with which atheists sometimes seem to attempt to saddle theistic opponents. )




im-skeptical said...

What I have observed is that belief comes first. Logical arguments follow.

Mike Gerow said...

Or unbelief...?

im-skeptical said...

Disbelief comes from rejecting all those arguments. This is not symmetrical.

Kristen said...

In my own life, I believed as a child, rejected belief and the arguments of belief in my early teens, and returned to belief in my later teens. So what changed? I had some personal experiences in my mid-teens that I could not overlook, that appeared to me to be divine, which I could, I suppose, have simply dismissed, but they were-- well, compelling! And which then became part of my rational warrant to believe.

Mike Gerow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Gerow said...

Which arguments?

And disbelief in what?

im-skeptical said...

Kristen, you speak of experiences that you interpret as divine. That is the kind of thing that I call a-rational.

Many so-called ex-atheists (including most of the Christians I talk with, it seems) never really abandoned their belief. They simply put it in the closet. And then it came back - but not because of any logical argumentation. As you said yourself, you had those experiences. And that's the real reason for your return to belief.

The logical arguments for theistic belief come after one has already accepted belief (most often on an a-rational basis, as I said). Those arguments provide what most people would call their rational basis for belief (but were never their reason for believing in the first place). And it is those same arguments that someone like myself rejects along with theistic belief.

Kristen said...

IM-Skeptical, I agree. Belief-- faith-- is not, ultimately, about logic or argument. That's why, ultimately, we can't persuade anyone to it with logic or argument. I maintain that many of the things that make life most worth living are of this nature. I never used logic or argument to trust in my mother's love, or in my husband's. It was not rationality that made it seem best to me to have children myself. It's not logic, argument or rationality that makes me catch my breath at the thundering of a waterfall, or at the flash of a shooting star.

Joe Hinman said...

I agree with what you say here Kristen. Faith is a complex concept. Part of it is placing confidence in rationally warranted hypothesis, but only part.

Joe Hinman said...

m-skeptical said...
Kristen, you speak of experiences that you interpret as divine. That is the kind of thing that I call a-rational.


You are reading ito her narrative ideological presuppositions that trash it.

Many so-called ex-atheists (including most of the Christians I talk with, it seems) never really abandoned their belief. They simply put it in the closet. And then it came back - but not because of any logical argumentation. As you said yourself, you had those experiences. And that's the real reason for your return to belief.

those are not experiences for which she believes in God, You have not heard her God belief experiences,

The logical arguments for theistic belief come after one has already accepted belief (most often on an a-rational basis, as I said).

you have never answered a oratorical argent with reason. remember when i hold your feet to the fire you always divert from the issue?



Those arguments provide what most people would call their rational basis for belief (but were never their reason for believing in the first place). And it is those same arguments that someone like myself rejects along with theistic belief.

those are not reasons for belief in God they are examples of properly basic bleief,

you do not know the rational basis for belief, you have not made a rational argument against my argunt,

Joe Hinman said...

m-skeptical said...
What I have observed is that belief comes first. Logical arguments follow.

anger at God cums first, rationalization rebellion with pseudo logic comes after

Joe Hinman said...

Skep even if logic was a rationalization fro existentialist based belief, you have to answer the argument anyway. Pointing this out is your excuse for not being able to beat the argument.

Kristen said...

I agree, Joe. Rational warrant is not just rationalization, but even if it were, the warrant would have to be addressed and refuted.

I-M Skeptical, I would say rational warrant is more like this: I spoke earlier of not depending on logic or rationality to understand that my husband loves me. But if some doubt were to come to me, I could use rationality to reassure myself. I do have evidence of my husband's love: the flowers and candy he brought me last week, the way he treats me every day, and so on. Ultimately, these are not proof. It's possible to treat someone lovingly and bring them gifts, as a ruse or with some ulterior motive. Ultimately, you can't rationally prove love.

Rational warrant is a support for belief, but faith is not ultimately founded on it. Does that mean that because my faith in my husband's love isn't based on rationality, it is therefore a delusion? Hardly.

Joe Hinman said...

good points Kisten, faith is complex, read the article on faith in Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology.

what I find interesting is that he doesn't even bother to answer the arguments,he has said nothing about the reasoning. He just attacks the nature of belief itself.

im-skeptical said...

Joe: You are reading ito her narrative ideological presuppositions that trash it.
- I wasn't trashing anything. That is just you reading things into what I say.

those are not experiences for which she believes in God, You have not heard her God belief experiences
- She agreed with me..

you have never answered a oratorical argent with reason. remember when i hold your feet to the fire you always divert from the issue?
- Jesus, Joe. I wasn't trying to refute anything.

those are not reasons for belief in God they are examples of properly basic bleief,
- OK. I think you're getting confused here. Logical arguments, like the cosmological argument, atre not "properly basic belief". It is things like the sensus divinitatis that are regarded as properly basic belief, but that is NOT a logical argument. It is a-rational.

you do not know the rational basis for belief, you have not made a rational argument against my argunt,
- Rational arguments constitute a rational basis for belief. I'm only discussing what is rational versus what is not. And I didn't make any attempt to refute your argument. Frankly, I think it's riddled with fallacies, and I didn't think it was worth my time. But perhaps I will address some of what you say. Just not right now.

anger at God cums first, rationalization rebellion with pseudo logic comes after
- Whatever you say, Joe.

Skep even if logic was a rationalization fro existentialist based belief, you have to answer the argument anyway. Pointing this out is your excuse for not being able to beat the argument.
- Can you point out anything I said that was trying to beat your argument? I don't think you bother to read my comments.

im-skeptical said...

Kristen: Rational warrant is a support for belief, but faith is not ultimately founded on it. Does that mean that because my faith in my husband's love isn't based on rationality, it is therefore a delusion? Hardly.
- I agree with what you are saying. I wasn't arguing against it at all. The problem here is that Joe insists on disputing every single thin I say, and tries to turn it into a battle.

7th Stooge said...

I wouldn't call properly basic beliefs a-rational, any more than the belief in other minds or in a world external to my own mind would be a-rational. Maybe sur-rational or trans-rational. They are what all rational thought depends upon even if they can't be rationally demonstrated themselves by other jusitifed beliefs. They are immediately given and axiomatic in that sense. That doesn't mean our interpretations of those givens are justifiable but the givenness is justifiable, imo.

im-skeptical said...

I don't call all properly basic beliefs a-rational. I call subjective feelings a-rational. And that's what the sensus divinitatus is. Not only is it incapable of being demonstrated, but it is something that rational people strongly disagree about. Therefore, there in no realistic sense in which it can be considered axiomatic.

Mike Gerow said...

OK, skep, I have to find your position here untenable too.....

You're claiming belief is an a-rational choice. (That's quite different than claiming it is irrational, it's outside of rationality instead of opposed to it.) Iow, admitting that belief is consistent with reason, even if outside it. But still, implicitly, you seem to be claiming non-belief - not making such a choice - is MORE RATIONAL! ?

Nope, wouldn't refusing to make the more rational .... Well, "choice" or more accurately a "non-choice" according to your argument .....have to be classified as an irrational move?

(....since it's always irrational to make the "less rational" move?)

7th Stooge said...

But the divinitatus part would be the interpretational part. Schleiermacher's "feeling of utter dependence" ( and the term 'feeling' is a bit of a misnomer or mistranslation) is the sort of thing I'm referring to. Sam Harris has alluded to experiencing something like this. Doesn't mean there's an objective referent "God" with all the cultural trappings that this sense points to, only that the sense is basic and cannot be further justified or demonstrated. Joe's point, I think, is that it's not unwarrantable that this sense is evidence of God under his description, ie not a being in the world but a metaphysical category.

im-skeptical said...

This is definitely getting off track, but I'll try to explain.

Belief can have a rational basis (bases on logical argumentation) or an a-rational basis (based on something other than logic). The same is true of disbelief. I don't claim that all atheists have a logical or rational basis for their disbelief. However, I know that many atheists (not all) have rejected belief for reasons that are rational. That is to say, they don't base it on feelings, but they base it on their finding of contradictions and other logical flaws in the theistic arguments and narratives.

Joe talks about hating God. That would indeed be an a-rational basis for disbelief, but the fact is that no genuine atheist hates God. That would only apply to closet theists - the very same ones who say they are atheists, but end up returning to belief.

Theists, on the other hand, either by their own admission or despite what they claim, com to belief mainly because of various a-rational reasons, not the least of which is the feeling of God's presence. I'm not saying the belief must be a-rational. I'm saying that this is the primary vector - the way people come to be believers in the first place.

Mike Gerow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Gerow said...

Joe's point, I think, is that it's not unwarrantable that this sense is evidence of God under his description, ie not a being in the world but a metaphysical category.

The unity of mystical experience then pointing to an existence of the convergence of "pour-sois" and "en-sois", ithe subjective and the objective...is that how you read Joe?

:-)

7th Stooge said...

That's one way to put it. God as the integration point, as Sartre put it. I think one of Joe's main points is that God is not a being beside other beings, even if infinitely greater. That would be a category mistake, according to Joe. That's how I read him.He's more metaphysically basic than that. Maybe he is "being itself," but that verges for me on ontolatry, but if that idea can be used to leverage us out of "God is a great big guy," then it serves a purpose, I guess.

7th Stooge said...

Skep, One problem I have with what you're saying is that there's no way to know with any degree of certainty what exactly the sequence of people's motives is when forming a belief. Trying to untangle the belief web and make it all neat and linear I would say is impossible. How do you know that atheists who rationally weigh the evidence and find theism wanting haven't already formed a metaphysical worldview in which their criteria would naturally find theism wanting? The way i see it, we are 'always already' committed to some conceptual scheme or other. There's no 'neutral given,' ie a blank starting poiint in whcih we can rationally and disinterestedly weigh evidence.

So why focus on motive anyway, since motive is such a poorly understood thing? As Jonathan Haidt has said, we are all master litigators in rationalizing what we are already inclined to believe. Aren't the arguments and evidence themselves all that should really matter?

Mike Gerow said...

Okay, well, u tried to warn him!

;-)