This essay will be dealing with the concepts of rationality and knowledge, and the abuse of these terms by presuppositionalist apologists.
I will first make statements of my own personal beliefs that will be clarified and defended in subsequent expanded arguments.
I have no absolute knowledge of anything outside my subjective perceptions, nor does anyone else. (This will be true of every statement in this essay. But read the next point carefully.)
Having no absolute knowledge does not equate to an inability to assess the likelihood of various propositions since I have access to my perception of regularity.
Making statements about things for which I have a high degree of belief does not require that I have absolute knowledge in those statements since the default conventional definition of truth does not imply absolute knowledge.
A rational position does not necessarily equate to an objectively true position.
I am rational in my high degree of belief that an objective world exists based on the high degree of regularity I perceive.
Clinging to the intense heat of her whispers, her breasts to my chest in a familiar nest where waft the colored vapors of subjectivity.
I pity the lonely dark shadow moving past my frosted window.
Cycling through the intense cold of drizzle in a night long dark and road unknown, birthing puzzles of rigor for gray games of objectivity.
I pity the figures lying still inside yet another passing window.
Thirty minutes ago, CNN Breaking News released the following headline.
A now-retracted UK study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an “elaborate fraud,” a medical journal reports.
It’s hard to think of an issue that is not more emotional than autism. It involves children and parental responsibility. Love, guilt, shame, anger, and fear all played a role in a few parents and doctors taking 2 co-occurring events–the appearance of autism and vaccination–and running the notion past science before science had time to react. The the return to truth has now been much more painful than necessary due to the emotions of so many who hold to this myth. [http://whatstheharm.net/autismdenial.html] Continue reading →
This post is an elaboration of #4 from a list of things I’ve learned late in life. When I was young, I believed to a great degree that truth would feel “truthful”. The underlying assumption I failed to recognize is the assumption that my mind was well-equipped without training to intuit truth accurately. I was certain god existed, because the concept was constantly being confirmed by this illegitimate intuition I had that god must exist, and the subsequent emotion of confidence in the mechanism of that intuition. Why would the concept of a personal god come to my mind if it were not real, and why would it feel so correct? I completely neglected to assess the reliability of my mind to assess claims. I simply assumed it was, by default, calibrated to process claims as they arrived.
Christianity has long been guilty of claiming invention and ownership of everything considered virtuous in society. Here are just a few examples.
Morality: After centuries of divinely-sanctioned genocide, rape and slavery, Christians tell us that these things are now immoral while thumping the very Bible containing conflicting examples. I actually had one Christian tell me that the Golden Rule had no moral force until Jesus uttered it.
The Institution of Marriage: Most of the best known “godly” characters of the Holy Bible were polygamous without any complaints from Jehovah, yet Christians have now emphatically stated that God had always intended monogamy to be the only proper sexual union.
Science: While both Catholics and Protestants for centuries asserted on conclusive hermeneutic “evidence” the Earth to be the center of the universe, Christians now claim that the Bible has always served as a foundation for science. Imagine trying to get research funded during the age when the Pope, Luther or Calvin reigned.
Medicine: During the time the Bible was the core of European society, those who dared to suggest that plagues were anything other than the direct hand of God were considered heretical. Now Christians are claiming that modern medicine was a Christian innovation. If only faith-healers were banned from hospitals…
Could Christians get any more arrogant? Yes they could.
They could suggest that logic belongs to Christianity. Here is a quote from one Christian.
Remember, you said that you are a materialist. Logic is immaterial. You can’t account for it, nor is it logical for you to assume that it works. Nor is it logical for you to try and use logic in order to demonstrate the validity of logic.
The difference between us is that you don’t have any basis upon which to first assume the value of logic and science (which require an orderly universe to work). I do because my world view starts with an absolute God creating an orderly universe. You must borrow the presupposition of order in order to put any trust in logic and the scientific method. If you didn’t assume order you would have no way of knowing whether logic and science were reliable.
It is as if he believes that logic had to have a divine stamp-of-approval before it could be of any service to us. And because so much of this Christian’s ideology is based on unsubstantiated assumptions, he over-projects and decides that my confidence in logic is also a product of blind assumption. It is not.
We acquire logic because it works. What works need not be logical or require the assumption of cosmic order; it just needs to work. As infants we, through induction, discover heuristics of inquiry that produce results. These results include explanatory and predictive power that children then use to avoid danger, plan, accomplish goals, and expand their web of knowledge. Children do not need a divinity to walk up and tell then to use logic and that they need to assume order. Logic works. Our expectations of further order and successes of logic are warranted through inductive assessment. Our confidence in logic is not prior to its testing. It is subsequent to inductively assessing its efficacy. And logic quickly becomes an integral tool in the life the every healthy human child. It needs no divine sponsor. It works. That is what it is used for, and that is enough. Should logic ever begin to fail, so would also my confidence in logic. My confidence is based on the inductive assessment of the efficacy of logic to produce explanatory and predictive power. My degree of confidence in logic is only warranted to the degree that logic works. Logic works impressively well. Therefore, my confidence in logic, while not absolute, is quite high.
Last night I had a discussion with a friend on the possibility of reaching objective truth without it being tainted with subjective emotions. This afternoon, I sparred with another friend on whether an objective assessment of reality is possible. And just an hour ago I received a comment from a gentleman named Dave on this same topic in a response to my post Reasons For My Deconversion.
I responded to Dave’s comment and decided to post both of our comments in this separate post. Continue reading →
A life without emotions would not be much of a life. Just ask any computer.
You: “So, what’s it like being you?“
Computer: “Your question is meaningless. Don’t you have some numbers for me to crunch?”
Computers seem to live lives devoid of joy or sorrow or anger or affection. They just compute.
Humans, on the other hand, don’t compute well. In most domains of human activity, humans do not well calculate risks accurately. This is especially true for gambling, drinking, romancing, and eating, all which have an army of emotional gnomes pulling us towards the warmth of excess. This is also true for believing.
Most often, the force behind choosing an ideology is not what it should be; the truth value of the ideology. It is usually instead a team of selfish pestering emotions that are all, like pestering gnomes, attempting to maximize personal contentment by pushing and pulling you towards the fluffiest and warmest fiction
There are pushing gnomes and pulling gnomes. The gnomes that push are as follows. Continue reading →