Debate Interlude: An argument against God


objective-reality

Ydemoc:

The Argument from Objective Reality

1) Existence exists. (We perceive existence directly, via our senses.)
2) To exist is to be something specific. {from 1)}
3) To be something specific is to have identity. {A is A; from 2)}

4) The identity of an entity is not distinct from that entity; an entity and its identity are one and the same. {from 3)}
5) Consciousness is consciousness of an object (i.e., of existence).
5a) Therefore, consciousness presupposes existence. {from 5)}
5b) Corollary: Existence does not depend on consciousness. {from 1)}
6) The task of consciousness is not to create existence, but to identify it. {from 5)}

7) Theism posits consciousness prior to and/or as causally responsible for the
fact of existence (e.g., ‘God’). {theistic claims}
8) Theism is in contradiction with fundamental facts of reality. {from 6)}

C: Therefore, theism is invalid.

Premises 1) though 3) are implicit in all perception, but made explicit in objective philosophy through axiomatic concepts. These truths are inescapable and presumed in all cognition.

Premises 4) through 6) logically follow from the Objectivist axioms.

Premises 7) and 8) are only necessary once the notion of a universe-creating, reality-ruling consciousness is posited by the mystic.

One does not ‘presuppose’ anything about the ‘Christian triune God’ – either that God exists or that God does not exist – when he recognizes the fact that existence exists, even when that recognition is completely implicit. To argue otherwise is to commit the fallacy of the stolen concept (for such an assertion would fail to recognize objective conceptual priority and the hierarchical nature of knowledge).”

From Anton Thorn’s: Considering Mr. Smallwood’s Apologetic
http://www.oocities.org/athens/sparta/1019/Morgue/Smallwood.htm

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9 thoughts on “Debate Interlude: An argument against God

  1. Your Argument from Objective Reality requires that God, the First Consciousness, be finite.

    Since God is infinite your argument fails logically because it is based on a false premise.

  2. I don’t support the argument outlined above, but I don’t see how adding the property of infinity to a conscious being renders the argument invalid. Could you explain?

    1. God’s existence is not equivalent to the existence of created things.

      1. Created things are finite. God is infinite.
      2. Created things are subject to time. God is eternal.
      3. Created things, by definition are made. God is not made, therefore he is uncreated.
      4. God is the First Cause therefore he existed before all created things existed.
      5. Since God existed before all other created things, his consciousness is not subject to the limits possessed by created things.
      6. Therefore the God’s existence and consciousness is different from the existence and consciousness of created things.

      Your proof assumes that God’s existence and consciousness are the same as that of any other existing or conscious thing.

      Clearly they are not. You are comparing apples and oranges which is the fatal logical flaw in your argument.

  3. Again, I’m not the one asserting the argument. Ydemoc is. It’s part of the debate. I’m actually against it.

    However, what do you mean by “God is infinite?” Do you mean that God dwells in an infinite set of events that encompasses all of time? How can God be a First Cause if there really was no “before.” There is nothing causally prior to the existence of time and space. Does it make sense to say that God is located “outside” the universe as some sort of efficient cause, as one of the links in the chain of cause and effect? That would seem to require a “before” to exist in order to bring about the effect. And how is God’s consciousness different from ours to the effect that he is immune from the argument? Does he have consciousness to a greater degree or is it of a different kind?

    1. The universe is finite because it had a beginning. All things in the universe are finite because they are subject to time and the laws which govern time and space.

      God is infinite because he is not subject to time or the laws which govern time and space. This is so because God caused time and space and is therefore not subject to their limitations.

      The artist is not subject to his art. The artist is the creator of his art. Similarly God is not subject to his creation. God is Creator.

  4. The whole problem with Rand’s Objectivism is evident in its first proposition. The fact that reality exists because we perceive it is not logically sound, as is proved by nearly every major philosopher since Aristotle. And since every other proposition is built upon this first one, the entire philosophy is completely unfounded.

  5. Hello Logan,

    You wrote: “The fact that reality exists because we perceive it is not logically sound, as is proved by nearly every major philosopher since Aristotle.”

    You are correct to identify this as “not logically sound.” But since Objectivism does not and never has affirmed what you wrote, you are barking up the wrong tree.

    Existence exists, whether anyone perceives it, grasps it, believes in it, has faith in it, whines about it, laughs about it, derides it, etc. — or not.

    “Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

    If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.

    Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two—existence and consciousness—are axioms you cannot escape, these two are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.

    To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of nonexistence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was—no matter what his errors—the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification. ”

    Galt’s Speech, http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/existence.html

    Ydemoc

    1. Then what proof do you have that objective reality exists? Galt’s speech and the first proposition on this post, which I was refuting, both cite the perception of reality as the sole proof that it exists. What proof do you have that it exists independent of perception?

  6. Hi Dan,

    What you’ve done with the comments looks really great, by the way. I’ve been really busy with other things, but (and as I’ve stated many times before), I hope to respond at some point.

    Anyway, nice job!

    Ydemoc

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