Thursday, October 15, 2020

This essay has been taken down

I have problems with foot notes that require extensive repair. I will re post on monday.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Thomas Reid Argument, or from Epistemic Judgment


(1) we trust perceptions that work for us in navigating the world

(2) we juge by criteria RCS

(3) RE fits this criteria

(4 )enables navigation

(5) :. we are warranted to trust RE as indicative

*We assume reality by means of a Jugement

*we make such jugements based upon criteria

*Because RE fits the same criteria we are justfied in making the same assumption; ie that these experinces are idicative of a reality.

The criteria: If our experiences are:


Then we assume our eperience3s reflect reality.

VIII. The Thomas Reid Argument.

A. How do we Know the external world exists?

Philosophers have often expressed skepticism about the external world, the existence of other minds, and even one's own existence. Rene Descartes went so far as to build an elaborate system of rationalism to demonstrate the existence of the external world, beginning with his famous cogito, "I think, therefore, I am." Of course, he didn't really doubt his own existence. The point was to show the method of rationalism at work. Nevertheless, this basic point, that of epistemology (how we know what we know) has always plagued philosophy. It seems no one has ever really given an adequate account. But the important point here is not so much what philosophers have said but what most people do. The way we approach life on a daily basis the assumptions we make about the external world. Skeptics are fond of saying that it is irrational to believe things without proof. I would argue that they, an all of us, believe the most crucial and most basic things without any proof whosoever, and we live based upon those assumptions which are gleaned with no proof of their veracity at all!

B. Consider Thomas Reid's Common Sense Philosophy of Foundatinalism and Fallibalism.

The point of departure here is Reid's discussion of Hume and the problem of justification of the external world. This is discussed in lecture notes of a contemporary philosopher, G.J. Mattey, in his lecture notes.

1) Skepticism about the External World

Thomas Reid, Theory of Knowledge lecture notes.G.J. Mattey
Philosophy, UC Davis

"Consider the question whether we are justified in believing that a physical world exists. As David Hume pointed out, the skepticism generated by philosophical arguments is contrary to our natural inclination to believe that there are physical objects." "[T]he skeptic . . . must assent to the principle concerning the existence of body, tho' he cannot pretend by any arguments of philosophy to maintain its veracity. Nature has not left this to his choice, and has doubtless esteem'd it an affair of too great importance to be trusted to our uncertain reasonings and speculations. We may well ask, What causes induce us to believe in the existence of body?, but 'tis in vain to ask, Whether there be body or not? That is a point, which we must take for granted in all our reasoning." (A Treatise of Human Nature, Book I, Part IV, Section II) "Nonetheless, after considering the causes of our belief in the existence of body and finding them inadequate for the justification of that belief, Hume admitted to be drawn away form his orignal assumption that bodies exist. 'To be ingenuous, I feel myself at present . . . more inclin'd to repose no faith at all in my senses, or rather imagination, than to place in it such an implicit confidence,' because ''tis impossible upon any system to defend either our understanding or senses." His solution to these doubts was "carelessness and in-attention,' which divert the mind from skeptical arguments."

2) Reid's Defense of Commonsense Beliefs.

Mattey again:

"Thomas Reid, who was a later contemporary of Hume's, claimed that our beliefs in the external world are justified.'I shall take it for granted that the evidence of sense, when the proper circumstances concur, is good evidence, and a just ground of belief' (Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Essay IV, Chapter XX). This evidence is different from that of reasoning from premises to a conclusion, however."

"That the evidence of sense is of a different kind, needs little proof. No man seeks a reason for believing what he sees or feels; and, if he did, it would be difficult to find one. But, though he can give no reason for believing his senses, his belief remains as firm as if it were grounded on demonstration. Many eminent philosophers, thinking it unreasonable to believe when the could not shew a reason, have laboured to furnish us with reasons for believing our senses; but their reasons are very insufficient, and will not bear examination. Other philosophers have shewn very clearly the fallacy of these reasons, and have, as they imagine, discovered invincible reasons agains this belief; but they have never been able either to shake it themselves or to convince others. The statesman continues to plod, the soldier to fight, and the merchant to export and ijmport, without being in the least moved by the demonstations that have been offered of the non-existence of those things about which they are so seriously employed. And a man may as soon by reasoning, pull the moon out of her orbit, as destroy the belief of the objects of sense." (Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Essay IV, Chapter XX)

"Here Reid shows himself to have foundationalist tendencies, in the sense that our beliefs about physical objects are not justified by appeal to other beliefs. On the other hand, all he has established at this point is what Hume had already observed, that beliefs about physical objects are very hard to shake off. Hume himself admitted only to lose his faith in the senses when he was deeply immersed in skeptical reflections. But why should Reid think these deeply-held beliefs are based on "good evidence" or "a just ground?" One particularly telling observation is that a philosopher's "knowledge of what really exists, or did exist, comes by another channel [than reason], which is open to those who cannot reason. He is led to it in the dark, and knows not how he came by it" (Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Essay IV, Chapter XX). Philosophers "cannot account for" this knowledge and must humbly accept it s a gift of heaven."

"If there is no philosophical account of justification of beliefs about the physical world, how could Reid claim that they are justified at all? The answer is the way in which they support common sense."

"Such original and natural judgments [based on sense-experience] are, therefore, a part of that furniture which Nature hath given to the human understanding. They are the inspiration of the Almighty, no less than our notions or simple apprehensions. They serve to direct us in the common affairs of life, where our reasoning faculty would leave us in the dark. They are part of our constitution; and all the discoveries of our reason are grounded upon them. They make up what is called the common sense of mankind; and, what is manifestly contrary to any of those first principles, is what we call absurd. (An Inquiry into the Human Mind, Chapter VII, Section 4)"

"One might say that judgments from sense-experience they are justified insofar as they justify other beliefs we have, or perhaps because they are the output of a perceptual system designed by God to convey the truth. (Of course, if the latter is what gives these beliefs their justification, the claim that we are designed in this way needs to be justified as well.)" C. In other words, We accept the existence of the external world as a matter of course merely because we perceive it.

1) Acceptance of Perceptions about the world.

But it is not merely because we percieve it that we accept it. It is because we perceive it in a particular sort of way. Because we perceive it in a regular and consistent way. This has been stated above by Reid. The common man goes on with his lot never giving a second thought to the fact that he can no more prove the veracity of the things around him than he can the existence of God or anything else in philosophy. Yet we accept it, as does the skeptic demanding his data, while we live out our lives making these assumptions all the time.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Answer: PX's Attack on Moral Argument

Pixie runs a site callled "on creationism and why it's nonsense." he attacks my moral argument:>

That;s the old version but I'll answer it any way, The new version is found:,

Px With regards to (1), I agree, but it must be noted that morality is not universal. We feel a sense of outrage when an atrocity is committed, but presumably the perpetrators do not. We can feel moral outrage at how the Romans would watch people being eating by wild animals at the circuses, but these were very popular events 2000 years ago. What people consider good and bad is not set in stone, but is part of their culture.

Answer:(1) I speak of universal pertaining to cultures and civilization not all individuals, (2) People do violate the code they know is right that's why we have guilt feelings.

This brings us to (2), I would say they are cultural or social, rather than genetic; again think about the Roman circuses or consider changing attitudes to slavery. That said, I do not think this greatly impacts his argument.

Answer: fine that does not change my point it just means I have less to answer, As I pointed out we need an answer that preserves the normative nature of moral axioms

Px:These are rules mankind has developed to allow him to work in a community. We find them moral because our culture has conditioned us to, and that works because moral cultures survive better than amoral cultures. By amoral culture I mean one where individuals are free to steal and murder within the community. The basic rights of an individual who belongs to the in-group is preserved across all cultures because that in-group gets to set the rules. The in-group does not want people stealing from them or killing them, so develop rules to protect themselves from that, and morality springs from those rules.

Answer: That does answer my point. My argument says naturalistic answers reduce morality to less than normative if it;s just social contract we can have a social contract that allows us to conduct a holocaust, Whose to say it's wrong?

In (3), Joe points out that genetic (and implicitly social and cultural) explanations fail to offer the basis of a morality - get cannot turn "is" into "ought". But why should we suppose there is such a basis? Maybe there is no moral foundation, and morality is merely what we all agree it is. How else can we explain the changes in morality between cultures?

That Contradicts Premise (1) which you already agreed to, Really that's giving me the argument

Or maybe there is an objective morality that exists in the abstract, just as geometry does. Again, should we suppose there is an "ought"?

Answer: moral axioms are not like mathematics you have to have a theory of what grounds the ought, there is no calculation involved.

With regards to (4), Joe says social contract theory (SCT) "offers only relativism that can be changed or ignored". What he fails to note is that that is what we observe! Morality does change, morality can indeed be ignored.

Answer: morality is taught by cultures and thus it will bear the stamp of a given time or place but it always has a grounding in universal ought or there is no moral basis Tat;s the gist of my argument, its in premise1 and you agreed to it,

When we get to (5), Joe seems to be saying that God (according to Christianity) is good and judging what is right and wrong. It sounds like he sees morality as separate to God. There is an objective morality, and, say slavery is objectively wrong. God, given his situation, is particular able at discerning that fact, and relaying that to mankind.

Answer: Morality is not separate, God is objective God's universal perspective gives morality it;s universal basis,

However, when we look at (6), it looks like Joe's position is the reverse of that. Now God is the "source of grounding", indicating that slavery is wrong because God says it is. It must be noted that Joe does not talk about objective morality, so he is not on the weak ground that Craig is at this point. For Joe, "Universal Moral Law" means laws that come from God, and are universal because God is universal.

Answer: to the comfrey I just got though telling you morality is based upon God they are not separate, it's God's judgment of what is right and wrong,

So how can we relate that to (5)? I guess what Joe means is that God chooses what is right or wrong. Slavery is morally wrong because God has arbitrarily decided slavery will be wrong. However, as per (5), as the creator he is adept at deciding what will be morally wrong, so he made a good choice to make slavery morally. Answer: not arbitrary it's based upon God's character

Good on what basis? Well, one that aligns with our ideas of right and wrong, i.e., what God decided would be good is what God decided would be good! Frankly, the argument make as much sense without (5) in my opinion.

Answer: It's not arbitrary it's based upon God's character which is love.

In summary, the argument comes down to:

People universally understand right and wrong (1)

Therefore there must be some underlying and fundamental morality (2)

God is the best explanation of that (3-6)

Therefore God likely exists

Answer: that is an inadequate understanding of the argument. There is a universal morality but argent is based upon the fact that approaches that don't embody God have basis for grounding of the axioms,

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Miracles, Proof, and Power

The "Counter Apologist'' (aka "the CA") has an argument designed to undermine confidence in the resurrection as proof of the veracity of the faith. Here.This piece by CA is extremely long and it's not divided by pagination or any markings to indicate where quotes are found. I will not deal with the entire argument but only deal with the crucial point.

the CA:

I am countering the resurrection argument in a very specific way, my aim is to debunk the argument as it is used specifically as a means to convert non-Christians into Christians, as well as to counter the idea that Christians remain in their faith due to any supposed strength that is in the historical argument for the resurrection of Jesus...
 "we assume that miracles are evidence for the truth of the philosophical and theological teachings of the miracle worker"

He references  1 Kings 18:

"The idea is that like god sending fire from the sky to burn a wet alter or a person rising from the dead, it would be evidence for the truth of the teachings of the miracle worker."

The CA's point actually centers around Hume'spoint:

"This was Hume’s point - testimony in principle can’t overcome our inductive experience of the world."

Now that is his most crucial statement because it's the crux of his whole point. We never see people raised from the dead so there is no basis for assuming the reports are true because the  experience of the way the world works, He does posit that experience is universal. He actually believes no one has ever seen a  miracle.

My argument is that this is true in almost all cases,[testimony can't overcome experience] with only one exception for young children getting testimony from their parents when they are too young to do anything but accept that testimony from a reliable source and treat it as knowledge. That said, in almost all cases we are right to be skeptical when someone tells us something that wildly violates our background knowledge.

Violating our background knowledge is the point. That outweighs testimony. Meaning, we have to ignore Biblical testimony of the Risen Christ because it contradicts how we know the world works. That's a standard atheist assumption. He goes a little more in:

I want to stress that this conclusion holds even if you are a mere theist, especially a “recently convinced mere theist”. After all, a god can exist but just not interfere in the physical world. Even if a god could resurrect someone, in your inductive experience of the world how many times have you witnessed god raise someone from the dead? It’s a virtual certainty that even if a god exists, it doesn’t do that.

His argument is really Hume's argument, it doesn't happen enough to trust the accounts..He tries to sell it on the premise that no one would accept it if it were not tied to a religious context:
Does my moon lunch scenario become any more plausible if I amend it to say “God transported me to the moon for lunch and then sent me back home to Earth for dinner that same day”?... If I were to try and use a defense in a murder trial that my concealed carry gun levitated out of my holster and fired on my hiking companion in the middle of the woods all to the sound of a demon taunting us, would the jury accept or reject that claim? Would you want the jury to accept that claim?

His founding accusation, "we assume that miracles are evidence for the truth of the philosophical and theological teachings of the miracle worker" yes we do assume so and it is a reasonable assumption. Given that religious histories of many faiths use miracles as part of their testimony. He really offers no reason to reject the premise.

His most basic assumption, that we never see miracles, is just plain wrong, MIracles are seen more often than most people imagine, They don;thave to be resurrections oset up the notion that impossible things happen. Thinking of resurrection, however, I have known four people who either claimed to have been risen or who met others who made that claim. The one example I will defend is that of my father. He was dead for 11 minutes. He was on the operating table.The Doctor thought he was dead. They shocked his heart so bringing him back was something medical science does do. Still he was dead and came back maybe it is not as amazing as we thought?

The doctor himself said it was a miracle. He said "I have never used the term 'mirealceofmypractice eforebuthtiswa a miracle." Certainly there was prayer. I watched the Pope's midnight mass and praed for him, I dreamed God brought him to me and told me he would be well.When I woke up the next morning I expected him to be dead. We had been told he was not expected to live through the night. My brother told me he was alive and the staff in the ICU was amazed. When I went down there the first thing they said to me was "have you heard about the miracle?" The staff was actually spreading the word "God worked a miracle here last night."

The Lady who led me to the Lord had miracles occurring in her life on a regular basis. It's not something that can turn it off but one might think so knowing her. Her name was Judy Romero. She is now with Jesus. Another example of a miracle that I witnessed: this was in the convalescent period after my father came home from the previous miracle. He was having an attack of some kind. We called EMS they had him all hooked up to their equipment and monitoring his vital signs. He was clearly in danger. My mother and brother laid hands on him and prayed; the EMS guys saw the readings change before their eyes. They were all going "what the hell is happening?" One of them was really upset. He was cying and saying "it didn't happen! It did not happen, you didn't see that!" One of them told me "he's an atheist." The EMS guys said there's nothing wrong with my father and they left but there was a hush, they were in awe. The head guy said "I've never seen anything like this." The thing is my brother was not a Christian he was very negative about Christianity. He only laid hands on our Dad with my mother to humar her. He agreed with the account  I have given. He did return to Christianity eventually.

Is there a logical difficulty with extending from the small scale exampes of God's powerimouirlives to trstin theaccountsof resrurrection? Why should there be? If God can create the universe, all universes, can create all there is,  Why can't he raise one guy from the dead? My point here is that resurrection is not beyond the scope of logical extension of the power we see God exert in  our lives.

The CA winds up accusing Christians of worshipping power. The appeal to miracle is actually appeal to the greater power.That argument is a microsom of the fawin the argument as a whole. It tries to impose upon the believer a set of assumptions most believers do not make. I assume God has all power because he created the universe and I think it would take all power to do that.I don't assume he created because I first assume he has all power. I think it's the CA who is obsessed with power.

Right makes might CA assumes that Christians believe might makes right and that is evidenced by the appeal to miracles. I think it's really that right maes might. God is being itself. Because power flows out of being itself God is the basis of power just he is the basis of being. But that being the case, God is the basis of the good because he is love. Thus it is God/s goodness that grounds reality in the creative wisdom of God.Power is but a side effect. [1]The Counter Apologist, "Countering the Resurrection Argument (Full Version)," Counter Apologist Countering Christian apologetics arguments with logic, evidence, and reason.