Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Deriving Atheism from Philosophy

Posted by Jerry on March 14, 2008

It is a matter of fact that science can never disprove the existence of God. The tools of science–experimentation, observation, and empiricism–are inherently inadequate for the job. At best, empiricists can only reach approximations of certainty–and can claim, like Richard Dawkins does, that they have a very high degree of certainty that god does not exist.

This, however, does not indicate any weakness in the position of atheism as such; rather, it highlights the fact that science is inferior to philosophy and that philosophy is and should be the foundation of all scientific thought. Once reason and objectivity are evicted from their epistemological base in philosophy, a free floating set of rules like that of pragmatism and relativism or a blinded philosophy like that of the skepticism is spawned: neither of these philosophies can agree on what can be known or indeed whether anything at all can be known.

As Ayn Rand said: “Science was born as a result and consequence of philosophy; it cannot survive without a philosophical (particularly epistemological) base. If philosophy perishes, science will be next to go. It is philosophy that defines and establishes the epistemological criteria to guide human knowledge in general and specific sciences in particular.”

It is philosophy that reveals to man the proper methods of thinking and the laws governing sensible, valid, and rational thought. In other words, it is philosophy that identifies the axioms of knowledge and the non-contradictory nature of existence, and then devises the epistemic rules of thinking (logic) that mimic the nature of existence. 

The lack of absolute certainty in the non-existence of god actually indicates the categorical confusion of metaphysics and nature that scientists like Dawkins commit. Atheism is often reinterpreted as being a naturalistic worldview; and although this is not false, it has resulted in the belief that atheism is actually a position reached at the end of a personal scientific and empiric quest. And often, this is indeed how many people become atheists: they start with their studies in evolutionary science, physics, or astronomy; they begin to ask the right questions and push for honest answers; they examine claims of miracles and seek scientific explanations; and eventually, they reach a point where atheism becomes the only plausible and default position to hold. Quite correctly, they see no empiric evidence to believe in the supernatural.

However, such atheists arrive at their conclusion through very weak and fundamentally unsubstantiated grounds. Indeed, such atheists can never deny that the next scientifically inexplicable event may suddenly turn them into theists or agnostics: in fact, some atheists (misguidedly) consider such “open-mindedness” in the face of an inexplicable even to be a sign of honorable intellectual honesty–the mark of a skeptic who is even proudly skeptical of atheism.

In essence, such atheists hold their belief at the mercy of the next concrete event, discovery, alleged sighting, or claim that would dictate whether or not they remain atheists or turn into agnostics.

The only way to rescue this unhinged concept of atheism from total collapse into subjectivism is to extract it from the domain of science and place it back where it belongs–in philosophy.

The position of atheism is a particularly philosophical position, not a scientific one. This is because atheism belongs to a subset of ideological positions, namely, the ideological position pertaining to metaphysics and spiritual belief. Particularly, atheism is the ideological position that holds as fact that there is no god. The only way to ascertain the validity of this assertion is by applying the laws revealed by philosophy, not by the implementation of any empiric, experimental, or observational method of scientific enquiry. In other words, the only permanent path to atheism is one primarily or fundamentally grounded on rational philosophical enquiry, not a scientific one.

Ayn Rand identified that existence exists and that existence is identity. It is on the basis of these fundamental and irrefutable metaphysical axioms that we know–with absolute certainty–that god does not, and indeed cannot, exist.

Existence is identity; that is, to be is to be something. A thing cannot be and not-be at the same time: this is a law that identifies a fact of existence. The supernatural not only means something outside of our Earth or our galaxy, but literally outside of everything in the Universe, including the Universe itself. Therefore, to be supernatural is literally to be outside existence qua existence, since existence is the totality of all that exists. Therefore, for the supernatural to exist, it must not exist. Therefore, the supernatural does not exist.

Likewise, if god is omniscient, then he must know everything; but then he cannot know what it is like to not know something. Therefore, god is an omniscient being who does not know everything. Therefore, god does not exist.

Likewise, if god is omnipotent, then he should be able to do anything; but god cannot kill himself. Therefore, god is an omnipotent being who cannot do everything. Therefore, god does not exist.

Likewise, if god is infinite, then he must transcend space, time, and measurement; but then he cannot have an identity–or be an entity–because to exist is to be an entity (to be is to be something; like the Universe is itself an entity). Therefore, god is an entity who is not an entity. A is non-A. Therefore, god cannot exist.

Likewise, if god is intelligent, then he must be rational, logical, and sensible. In other words, god would also have to obey the laws of rationality and logic; but then, our use of logic and reason above has demonstrated that were such an entity to exist, he would have to be full of contradictions; since logic does not permit contradictions, and contradictions do not exist, god does not exist.

And so on…

It is only at the end of such personal philosophical enquiry in the context of metaphysics–by employing the tools of logic and reason and holding objectivity as the standard of knowledge–that absolute atheism can be arrived at. And this pure atheism is immune to whatever claims or random events that may give someone a sense of wonderment or of being inexplicable. This kind of atheism knows that there is–and can be–no gods.

28 Responses to “Deriving Atheism from Philosophy”

  1. pauljub said

    It was interesting to read your assertions of philosophy.

    My history book tells me that science as we enjoy it today “was born as a result and consequence” of belief in a tangible God. Of course, those were back in the ancient days of superstition, right? Nevertheless, those original and well-respected scientists, who came up with ideas of empirical study, hypothesis, etc, etc, were all believers.

    God cannot know what it is like to not know something by the very definition that he is all-knowing. This does not detract from his “omniscient” status; rather, it confirms it.

    How do you know that God cannot kill himself? What philosophical, scientific, or scriptural evidence is there for that?

    “Entity” is perhaps a concept limited to this universe of “space, time and measurement”, which God has created, and which He transcends. Therefore, the concept is irrelevant regarding Him. In fact, perhaps the concept of “existing” is virtually meaningless regarding Him, because we (who are entrapped in this limited universe) use the word to speak of things that exist within this universe. We are not even capable of seeing beyond; therefore, how can we put it in a word, such as “exist”?

    I missed how your use of logic and reason demonstrated how God would have to be full of contradictions… ?

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Paul

  2. Peter said

    Personally I believe that only the atheist’s position has any redeeming accuracy because it was in place before faith. God did not create Man, on the contrary Man created god in his image so that he would feel less alone, more important and certainly less guilty. When he created god, he put onto him all the qualities and faults that he himself labored under, then turned around and said to his admiring followers, see, we are not so bad because god condones, accepts and propagates our sins and failings.

    Finally, when a believer tells me that I must make that leap of faith, that there “must be a gd” the answer is no, there must never be a god, it makes life too easy.

  3. Roy said

    I agree with Peter. It is the faith factor that ultimately must be accepted if god is to be taken seriously, and once someone understands this, they should turn down the proposition right away. Faith, because in definition is following something blindly, essentially contradicts reason and logic. We do not need a lengthy study to realize why faith is bad. Simple definitions are more then enough until such a time that one wishes to discuss the matter further.

    Now, that god cannot be disproven by science does not make it right. It is what the entire statement “I believe in god” represents that one must see the wrong in. Because it entails faith, one has to turn it down.

    Science will not be able to disprove the existence of god, because god only exists in our imagination and it is a fundamental choice to either give up our plain sight and become voluntarily blind to follow this god character, or turn it down and get on with our lives using our minds.

  4. evanescent said

    Science doesn’t have to disprove the existence of god, no more than science has to disprove the existence of square circles. Square circles are impossible, “god” is impossible – this is a statement of fact, of logic, that precedes science.

  5. Ramana Reddy said

    Great article!

    Once the basic epistemological base of objectivity is evicted, science cannot be objective anymore.

    Logic precedes fact, science precedes philosophy.

  6. […] Is there the “End of Science”? Arquivado como: Religare — Orlando @ 6:15 pm Tags: Atheism, God, New Atheism, religion Axiom: “Existence is identity; that is, to be is to be something. A thing cannot be and not-be at the sam… […]

  7. Ergo said

    Ramana,

    Logic does not precede facts. Actually, I think it’s even incoherent to assert that it does. In Rand’s words, “logic is the art of non-contradictory identification.” It is a method and policy of thinking. Also, with regard to the latter part of your sentence, I think you meant to say that “philosophy precedes science.” Although, I wouldn’t phrase it in such a way, because it may imply some sense of chronology. Philosophy is the foundation of science.

    Evanescent,

    You make an interesting point that has got me thinking. You said, science *doesn’t have to* prove the existence of god. But in my article, I said–and argued–that science *cannot* prove or disprove the existence of god. There’s big difference between our statements. I’m trying to think why your statement may be more valid. It is a fact that science cannot prove or disprove the existence of god–this is accepted by all sensible people, even atheists. But your statement makes an additional claim that simply shrugs off even the task or attempt at proving/disproving god. Can you please clarify why this is so? Isn’t the god-hypothesis something that science can most certainly attempt to investigate (although, as I said, it is always bound to fail)? I’ll appreciate your thoughts.

  8. evanescent said

    Hi Ergo, my statement was really to address what Roy said:

    “Science will not be able to disprove the existence of god”

    What I said I think actually echoes and reinforces what you said. If the god concept itself is a contradiction, a logical impossibility, then a scientific investigation of god is utterly meaningless – it would be like conducting a scientific (empirical) investigation of square circles.

    My claim wasn’t shrugging off the task of attempting to prove/disprove god – on the contrary – my claim recognises that the god concept is disproved by the fact of its anti-conceptual nature, so before we even get the science, “god” is done and dusted. So if one says “science cannot say anything god either way” I guess my response would be “well yes, but science doesn’t say anything about square circles either does it?”

    So I don’t really see much of difference between our statements. I totally agree with your statement and the article. My point was further to yours that science is based on epistemology, and god is dispelled at the first hurdle – so there’s nothing for science to investigate! I hope I’ve explained myself well!

  9. Ergo said

    Ah I see what you’re saying. I actually took your statement to mean: it’s simply not the job of science to prove/disprove god’s existence because such an issue is a metaphysical one not a natural or physical one. In this sense, science doesn’t have to meddle in this issue. Hence, I actually paused to consider whether your phrasing was more accurate and valid than my phrasing in the article.

  10. Ramana said

    Yes, that what i actually meant..”philosophy precedes science.”

    You are right in saying logic doesn’t precedes fact and that its only a “method and policy of thinking” but am still thinking about your other analysis..doesn’t foundation imply chronological precedence over the structure standing on it?
    Or in this sense, doesn’t philosophy precede science?

  11. Ergo said

    doesn’t foundation imply chronological precedence over the structure standing on it?
    Or in this sense, doesn’t philosophy precede science?

    No, Ramana, not necessarily. One can begin an investigation from the concretes and work one’s way down to the fundamentals (foundations) or one can begin at the fundamentals and work one’s way up to the concretes. One can begin with an abstraction and follow through to all the applications or one can observe all the various events and intergrate them into an abstraction. One can solve a mathematical proof by knowing the goal working backwards to discover the method or one can have the method and work towards the final resolution.

    Chronology does not necessarily imply fundamental or foundational precedence.

  12. Branden said

    Ergo,

    In my view, most of your logical attacks upon the existence of god are attacks not upon the existence of god, but upon attributes that are generally assigned to god (omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, intelligent, etc.)

    I believe that a philosophical defense of atheism rests not upon the logical inconsistencies of particular attributes of god (the word god does not denote a particular enough concept to warrant such attacks), but instead should be based upon the inconsistencies of supernaturalism in general. The majority of your attacks upon particular qualities that could be assigned to god are more true when interpreted as attacks on the supernatural.

    Thus, the argument against god would be something as follows:

    There are logical inconsistencies in supernaturalism.
    Either god is A) supernatural, and thus logically inconsistent, and thus doesn’t exist; or B) god is natural (is there a more appropriate word?), and thus follows certain limiting laws of reality, and thus of no significant consequence (which would make “god” be no more than a advanced alien–or human, for that matter).

    -Branden

  13. Ergo said

    Branden, you cannot separate the defining attributes of an entity from the entity itself, which is one of the essential points of the axiom “existence is identity.”

    For instance, you cannot separate all the defining attributes that make a human human and then speak of “human” devoid all of those attributes. Thus, to expose as contradictory the very identity of an entity is–by corollary–to demonstrate the impossibility of the entity existing. Since A is A, a violation of this law of identity necessarily implies a violation of the law of existence, i.e., a contradiction.

    Also, I do address the supernatural.

  14. Branden said

    Ergo,

    Although it is true that “you cannot separate the defining attributes of an entity from the entity itself,” the concept of “god” does not refer to a concrete, specific entity that we can determine the attributes of. Due to this, your argument that “if god has attribute X, then god cannot exist, because attribute X is impossible” is insufficient to justify the claim that god cannot exist, because the concept of “god” does not refer to a specific entity with specific attributes, including attribute X.

    Hence, my proposition that instead of attempting to disprove the existence of god through showing the inconsistencies of potential attributes, we explain that a variety of potential attributes are impossible (the supernatural), and that thus a god with those attributes is impossible.

    I suppose the root of the problem that I am attempting to discuss is the fact that the term “god” is built upon horribly shaky foundations, and is at least a non-concept, if not an anti-concept. Its functionally impossible to debate about a concept if the concept doesn’t refer to anything (and thus isn’t a concept).

  15. Branden said

    My argument against god that I made in my original post, I suppose, is an attempt to argue against something that is an non-concept, or anti-concept. Due to the fact that those specific errors aren’t stable, arguments that rest upon the assumption that they are stable are doomed to fail. Thus, instead of arguing against the non-concept (or anti-concept) directly, I believe it to be beneficial to argue against it with a different method. What the method would be is another question.

    Do you have any thoughts on the issue of arguing against non-concepts and anti-concepts, beyond the pointing out of the fact that they are non-concepts or anti-concepts?

  16. Ergo said

    Although it is true that “you cannot separate the defining attributes of an entity from the entity itself,” the concept of “god” does not refer to a concrete, specific entity that we can determine the attributes of. Its functionally impossible to debate about a concept if the concept doesn’t refer to anything (and thus isn’t a concept)

    But then, Branden, your method would beg the question. If you accept that the concept “god” does not refer to any specific entity or concrete, then you are already assuming that which you have to demonstrate; namely, if your premise is that the “god-concept” refers to no entity, then you have implicitly accepted that no entity by the name of “god” and which has the attributes of denoted by the concept “god” exists. This begs the question does god exist.

    I suspect that you are being confused with what may be called the reverse of Anselm’s ontological proof. In Anselm’s proof, he argues for a logically-consistent concept of god and then concludes that the entity denoted by that concept must exist.

    What I am doing is not merely the reverse of Anselm’s proof, but also taking it a step further and tying it with the axioms of existence and identity. Thus, not only should the God-concept be internally logical, but it should also be non-contradictory with the rest of existence, existents, and the law of identity. Since I demonstrate that the latter is not the case, therefore, the existence of a concrete entity is precluded as well.

  17. Branden said

    I agree with the base of your assumption that “not only should the God-concept be internally logical, but it should also be non-contradictory with the rest of existence, existents, and the law of identity.” I believe that argument would be true with any concept: if a concept isn’t consistent with itself AND the rest of the universe, its “false.” However, on the specific issue of “god,” I believe this line of logic fails because there isn’t a stable definition of “god” that one can tie its attributes to.

    I interpret your original claim as based upon the IF of god having a certain attribute–that is, IF god is omnipotent, he doesn’t exist, because the attribute “omnipotent” would be contradictory with the rest of the universe.

    That statement is true, but isn’t adequate to justify atheism, because of the “if” portion at the beginning of it.

    This gets me back to my original claim about attempting to argue against a “concept” that doesn’t have a stable referent: all your arguments against it are going to be based upon a statement that is dependent upon the referent having a particular attribute. Even if you succeed in demonstrating that the “concept” can’t have that particular attribute, the fact that the concept is unstable means that that particular attribute isn’t necessitated.

    If I was a man of faith, and you claimed that god can’t exist because the attribute of omnipotency would be contradictory with the rest of the existence, I would merely claim that god isn’t omnipotent, and thus isn’t inconsistent with the rest of the universe.

    My post seems rather circular.😦

  18. Ergo said

    This gets me back to my original claim about attempting to argue against a “concept” that doesn’t have a stable referent: all your arguments against it are going to be based upon a statement that is dependent upon the referent having a particular attribute.

    I get what you’re saying, but you’re still wrong. All human discourse occurs with the use of concepts. There is no such thing as discussing an entity as such, without making use of concepts created to refer to that entity. Every word we use–with the exception of proper names and some grammatically necessary words–are concepts that refer to entities.

    According to Objectivist epistemology, concepts are tools of cognition; it is the only intelligible way in which man can condense his knowlegde of the world. In other words, concepts enable a man to think about all the entities and their qualities subsumed under that concept.

    Therefore, the concept god subsumes all the various attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, etc., generally ascribed to the alleged entity, and even those attributes not currently known or ascribed to the entity. Whenever we discuss “god”, we are discussing this open-ended (and unstable, to use your word) concept, not the entity as such.

    Thus, if one can objectively demonstrate a contradiction in the concept–knowing well that a concept omits particulars and retains essentials–then one can demonstrate that the entity referred by the concept cannot exist.

    Now, sure, you can redefine the concept of god to include new essentials, and we can continue with the process, until all such redefinitions are reduced to contradictions or until the newly redefined concept of god becomes so unimpressive that it resembles nothing significantly different than, say, a cow. Then, you just quietly leave the religious person to worship and believe in that cow, as many Hindus do.

  19. Branden said

    I largely agree with the Objectivist theory of concepts and epistemology, although I might differ slightly upon how to apply this theory to the “concept” of god.

    In my understanding, a concept is a mental integration of essential attributes of multiple units, with the specific measurements omitted (or something similar). With attempting to analyze the concept of “god,” you see that the different units would be different versions of god offered by various religions, and people within a religion. Often times, the attributes assigned to “god” are radically different. Thus, when attempting to integrate them into a concept, you get something so broad and all encompassing that it basically becomes meaningless.

    The root of this problem is based upon the fact that god doesn’t have a specific referent in reality upon which to observe attributes from, and assign to him, but instead is mystical and impossible to know through an objective analysis.

    Because of both of these, the concept “god” is an anti-concept or non-concept or invalid concept. Its impossible to argue against (beyond pointing out that it is an anti-concept, etc.) because it is meaningless and doesn’t have specific referents in reality. In attempting to argue against it, you wind up arguing against it only if it has a attribute that you assign to it, like omnipotent, omniscient, or infinite.

    You might claim that those are valid attributes to assign to god because its generally used, although I would claim that a good number of interpretations of the concept “god” lack those attributes. Plus, I question the validity of “general usage” as an argument to determine what attributes an entity has.

    Back to my original point: The best way to thus argue against god is to offer the scenario as “Supernatural beings don’t exist. Either god is A) a supernatural being, and thus doesn’t exist; or B) a natural being, and thus insignificant, like a cow.”

  20. Branden said

    Ha. Speaking of developing concepts, someone just told me that triangles are capitalist, and here was his justification:

    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “lets consider this”
    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “capitalism, as outlined by adam smith, consists of three main parts”
    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “a triangle has three sides and three angles”
    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “each element of capitalism is reliant on the other two”
    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “if one fails, they all fail”
    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “as does a triangle”
    PersonWhoDefinesByNonEssentials: “therefore, triangles are capitalist. rotten immoral bastards…”

  21. chris said

    See what confuses me here is any thinking that physics-math or philosophy or testing can exist with out each other.
    Because who Believe in a “creator-god” try to use the same argument here.

    Do to observers effect, uncertainty principle, and “particle entanglement” of quantum mechanics, which are most relevant at looking at a sub atomic field:
    Some Meta physicians use this math of possibilities to address the entire universe.

    using Quantum physics solely for a field as large as the cosmos make math so unstable it becomes an excuse to let any metaphysics possible and a virtual dismissal of all laws of physics and math.

    So here is a metaphysical argument that missuses science:
    A possibility of a truth exists, than that possibility is the truth.

    I could say:
    If i fully believe in God there for he exists.

    This statement is a truth, to those who cite use “consciousness entanglement” of “quantum physics” for the proof of God.
    A philosophy that really warps physics.

    You Cant challenge this philosophical Argument if you leave behind the physics of relativity and cosmology.

    Watch the movie “Down the Rabbit hole” and decide if we should leave behind the science up to Einstein and real scientific testing
    the math of physics, philosophy, and Actual testing/evaluating all should be part of truth.

  22. […] fiz uma crítica à utilização da frase “o ser não pode não ser” que fundamentou esta prova axiomática da não-existência de Deus, esqueci-me então de dizer que a paternidade da dita frase é de […]

  23. Hi.

    Interesting read.

    I’ve been taught as a scientist and follow the scientific method in all things. But I’m new to the concepts of epistemology and the idea of philosophy begetting science… which I’ve found to make absolute sense. It’s been eye-opening.

    Anyways, I have a problem with your way of thinking at the latter part of your article.

    And my problem is this… you don’t actually know what a/the god is, or what qualities it would have. No one does. Everyone’s been “wagering” for centuries as to what qualities a god would have but there’s no way to know for sure (because of the limitations of human observation).

    So because of this… how do you know that your arguments of contradiction are valid?

    How do you know that a/the god is supposed to be omniscient ?
    How do you know that a/the god should be omnipotent ?
    How do you know that it’s invulnerable or cannot kill itself ?

    It’s like you’re logically trying to measure the height of a box with a ruler, but you cannot see or feel the box that you’re measuring. It just cannot be done… no matter how sound your logic is.

    No matter how accurate your ruler is, you just can’t measure something if you don’t know what to measure.

    (I hope I was able to express my view accurately up there. It’s hard to put into words.)

    I’m a non-believer + non-mystic, and have been for a long time. Choosing that point of view through science much in the way you described at the start of your article. But I completely agree with your view that it’s in-sufficient and your article has been very thought-provoking. Thanks a lot for publishing.

  24. Ergo said

    Hi Shaun.

    You’re right: I don’t actually *know* what a god is. I can only work with what an entity like God *can* be or *ought* to be in order for it to be differentiated from, say, a pink rhinocerous, some superintelligent computer, an alien from another planet, etc. Those who say god is anything/everything/unknowable can be dismissed by default precisely on the grounds of what they believe because they have already violated the law of identity in their utterance.

    However, to move from the premise that one cannot know what god actually is to the conclusion that one cannot apply the rules governing the *entirety* of existence, i.e., the axioms at the base of all knowledge and philosophy, is flawed. The god-concept cannot be ascertained accurately for the very reason that god in fact does not exist and that any concepts used to define the non-existent is inevitably going to be arbitrary. As an example, we all accept that a unicorn is a non-existent white horse-like creature with a horn on its forehead. Well, that’s a pretty detailed description of the creature, but it’s based on arbitrarily chosen attributes (the color white, horn, horse-like feature, etc.). The same applies to the god-concept. It is widely accepted that god is perfectly intelligent, perfectly moral, omniscient, etc., but all of it is totally arbitrary as well.

  25. Shaun said

    The “non-existent” yes. What about the “not-known-to-exist” ?

    For years European researchers didn’t belive that platypii existed. Even the specimen they believed to be fraudulent. That was years ago, but I’m sure today, any moderately aware person wouldn’t contest the animal’s existence.

    So why can’t a unicorn exist ?

    You can’t say there isn’t one for a fact. You can’t call it truth that there isn’t one. You CAN say it’s very, very, ridiculously unlikely that there’s one out there because in the thousands of years that we’ve been on this planet we’re yet to have solid proof of its existence. But still that’s an opinion, or a belief. Not fact. Not truth.

    You BELIEVE that unicorns don’t exist. You don’t KNOW that to be true.

    (I’m sure you’ve heard that all before.)

    But your arguement of arbitrary attributes relies on the FACT that they don’t exist in the first place.

    See, I can’t help but think that even though you’re trying to be objective, you’re letting your subjective fore-gone conclusions sway your rationale toward the result you want.

    At the end of that long, personal, philosophical enquiry, still all you’d have is a belief. Not knowledge.

    Maybe the real question should be… Why is it important to know?

  26. Ergo said

    Shaun,

    I didn’t mean to imply that my points about the arbitrary were the demonstration of the non-existence of an entity. I was simply making a related but seperate point. But I can see that it confused you into thinking that those were the basis of my argument for the non-existence of an entity.

    The core of my argument about an entity’s non-existence is this: check to ascertain whether the law of identity is being violated or not. If it is, then one has certain knowledge that the entity does not and cannot exist. If the law of identity is not violated, then there is a possibility that the entity exists. I offer that unicorns–as I have described it–may exist, only because it does not violate the axiom; however, the concept itself is arbitrary and it is foolish to give too much importance to the arbitrary (albeit logically possible). In this sense, I can conjure up any entity that is possible, conceivable, imaginable (pick any character from the Chronicles of Narnia, for example); but it’s ultimately a pointless endeavor (unless your purpose is fiction-writing, I suppose).

    However, with the case of God–or God-concepts–one can reach certain, objective, absolute knowledge that the entity cannot exist; because it violates fundamental philosophical laws. This is factual knowledge and also true belief. This conclusion is seperate from the issues of limits of our knowledge, scientific measurements, or even arbitrary concepts.

  27. Shaun said

    (Or unless your purpose is theorhetical science.)

    You’re right. It IS a pointless endeavour.

    So then why is it that the existence of a/the god is considered any less arbitrary than that of a unicorn or a creature from a fairey tale?

    Why IS it important to know?

    For the benefit of society along with oneself, one should be moral, helpful and just anyway. Why do so many people think that they need an ethereal super-visor to keep them in check? Or one could choose to benefit oneself alone, through cheating, selfishness and fraud… but they’ve made up divinities who’d reward one for that too!

    People are going to do whatever they want to anyway (and justify it by any means necessary) so why not just get busy living and enjoying life rather than sitting upon a hill-top, pining over yet another arbitrary concept (unless your purpose is blogging, I suppose) ?

    LIVE life and worry about the after-life (and its existence) after you’re dead.

    Anyways, like I said up there, I’m new to all of this so maybe I don’t understand yet why it’s so important. Or maybe I’m right and it’s just… not.

    Thanks a lot for your replies and the article really HAS been interesting.

    Adios,
    Shaun

  28. By the way, sorry if that came out sounding “ranty”. ^

    Didn’t mean it with that tone of voice.

    Shaun

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