Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Issue Messiah of the Perpetually Ignorant

The so-called Problem of Evil---the greatest intellectual labor-saving device to date among lifelong ignoramuses---may be the most obviously fallacious argument in human history.

It's so important to consoling shallowness that it's become a global monomania in the God debate that fixates deadbeats on all sides of the God question.

As Schopenhauer said about pantheism: you don't add anything to the world by calling it God. And you don't add anything to dislike by calling it evil.

To recognize anything to be evil or negative in any sense beyond human dislike or loathing already requires a problem-free ultimate and perfect goodness to contrast itself to and therefore give it meaning and recognizability as evil instead of being merely disliked, however extreme, exceptionless, and absolute that dislike might be on its own. This is how the problem of evil steals its meaning.

Evil can be recognized as evil only in the light of a contrasting already-existing problem-free good.

Without some concept of perfect goodness, you don't get to add the histrionic "evil" label to "everyone dislikes it" and get out of that anything more than "everyone dislikes it".

So the whole problem of evil is definitionally dependent.

It's something you do when you need evil so much that you're willing to steal its criterion of meaning from the concept of ultimate perfect goodness to even know that it's evil in the first place.

This is why the problem of evil is a childishly stupid objection.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Mind-Like Inference Engine Discovered Running In All Minds

It can't be called a mere system of control statements forever.

Analysis of the issue of whether there is some kind of infinite, ultimate being that is a person or sentient object has not really progressed in its radically basic core issues concerning the nature, status, authority, and justification of the system of standards for that analysis itself, as well as all other self-referring universal statements, except among a few thomistic scholars.

Any being, entity, or object using these control statements as a single, universal, unquestionable integrated cognitive system, is necessarily an ultimate mind or person.

No being can be recognized as a person in the first place, without using that system of statements to dictate the mind's behavior in that process of analysis itself. Recognition means to re-cognize.

Even quantum theorizing already assumes logical authority over the quantum domain.

Once again, as always, self-reference and criteria win the day.

Ah, the pleasures of logically God-level standards of analysis.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Using Abstract Objects to Deny Their Reality

Until Now by Ralph Hertle

Abstract Objects Are Merely Useful Fictions, This I Know.
For The Abstract Objects Tell Me So!

Whenever someone argues that abstract objects don't really exist, remember that they are USING abstract objects as their intellectual and logical authority to adjudicate the reality of those same objects!

I wonder how abstract objects got that kind of supervisory authority to arbitrate their own existence, when they don't even really exist themselves!

If you clearly understand this post, its an easy analogy to understanding why rationalist-objectivist atheism is necessarily theistic about reason and logic, as we all are in reasoning about universals---including the universals that make up general reason and logic themselves.

The boot-strapping problem of abstract objects being used to ontologically self-adjudicate still remains, and I haven't seen anything yet that even mentions it---much less actually deals with it.

Abstract objects and universals are necessarily real, the sine qua nons of all possible knowledge of contingent reals. If they are necessary for adjudicating ontological status, they themselves must have an even higher supervisory ontological status, which means they are *necessarily* more real than any other objects we ordinarily take as real. There's simply no way around this without ending up in the old self-referential cul-de-sac.

Objector: I'm not sold on the necessity of abstract objects since I think that necessarily existing entities existing independently of God impugn the doctrines if divine aseity and creation ex nihilo. However, I'll throw in with the Thomists and say it's clear that universals located in the divine intellect are necessary and exist necessarily.

Response: They are all necessarily components of the divine mind, and their absolute inescapable necessity is what guarantees this. Knowledge of divine aseity itself necessarily depends logically on them.

If you examine closely what you mean by universals, abstract objects, irreducibly basic categories, and so on---that examination itself would not be possible without those same categories already operating in advance at the highest cognitive levels.

As Boyle proved, Thomistic metaphysics is necessarily self-referential metaphysics at its logical base. Russell's prohibition of self-referencing statements is an instance of what it prohibits, and so on. It's all about self-reference and ultimate universal criteria and standards of analysis, which are already there logically prior to any actual analysis of anything including reasoning about current preferences.

That system is already in place and we're always trying to approximate it in some sense and degree, even regardless of prior misses of goals.

The bottom line is that if you give reasons for God, those reasons are already assumed to have an ultimate God-level authority in order to adjudicate the knowledge and claims about the possible reality of God.

Why does faith have to be reasonable or smart or even plausible? Why does it still try to be rational about what it declares itself to be exempt from? Why must there be any intellectual defense at all? If reason is not God-level already, why must theistic or Christian belief have reason and logic's seal of approval in the first place in the slightest? The entire discussion is a submission to reason's authority, whether one is a believer or an atheist.

In fact, the whole issue about the relationship between faith and reason is itself just one big cognitive worship-fest dedicated to reason.

Artwork: Until Now by Ralph Hertle. Available at:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Criterial Argument for the Existence of God V 5

Certain assumptions are logically basic criteria of all thought. They are the standards of analysis for any possible mind.

Therefore, these background standards of analysis are necessary for recognizing and knowing that certain objects of our experience are minds or persons.

But only a mind or person using those standards can recognize and know whether any object is a mind or person, and to use these standards for this purpose is to imbue them with mind- and person-determining powers.

Therefore, the ultimate standards of thought are necessarily used to determine whether or not an object is a mind or person.

And relations between these assumptions and the objects in question (minds and persons) are themselves objects that can be predicated only by a mind.

Therefore the ultimate criteria of thought are indistinguishable from an ultimate truth-determining mind or person, since they do nothing of themselves but only authorize and supervise the evaluation of truth claims due to their necessarily-assumed authority and guidance.

Therefore, these criterial assumptions are necessary for recognizing and knowing that certain objects of our experience are minds or persons.

Any argued denial of the necessary universality and logical authority of this system of assumptions logically depends on those same assumptions for its own truth, meaningfulness, significance, goodness or value, and so on.

Therefore, this system of assumptions necessarily adjudicates all truth claims about everything including itself, as well as their denials.

Therefore, this system of assumptions is omniscient as the truth-evaluating instrument of all knowledge, ultimately authoritative as the final court of appeal, sovereign as the universally decisive inferential factor, omnipresent in it’s physically universal applicability, and transcendent in being perfectly functional at any level of supervisory authority over all issues concerning all domains of predication.

Furthermore, these assumptions are the specifying standards for defining everything including minds or persons and God.

Consequently, this system of necessary and logically basic assumptions are as ultimate and mind-like or person-like as any personal ultimate God is conceivable of being.

Treating this aggregate mind-structured object as a reality-wide guide in all thinking about everything is therefore unavoidably necessary, even in reasoned denials that this object has that status as an ultimate universal ruling system factor.

To proceed in thinking at all, we must approximate whatever reason is always indicating as the perfection standard of thought.

Moreover, there is no controversy about the ultimate authority of what this standard or specification reveals to me, even if I don't live up to it, or perfectly actualize the rational ideal in some way.

Those actions are what they are only when judged by that same rational ideal.

Any contemplation of these ultimate assumptions of mind such as reason, formal logic, the rule-set of an ordered context of reality, a hierarchy of values, and the obligation to proceed according to a system of rules---all methodological primitives---results in an endless stream of new knowledge when applied to our ongoing experience of the world.

Consequently, these ultimate decisive rules and ideals of thought actually communicate knowledge and even wisdom by merely contemplating them and their relationship to our belief systems and our world of objects.

The fact that we must reference these principles implies an equally ultimate purpose.

And an ultimate purpose, necessarily depends on a hierarchical set of equally ultimate values.

This system of assumptions is a unified instrument and object of cognition, which necessarily obligates, defines, and influences the mind as the ultimate operating system for thinking about anything.

Consequently, all thinking already necessarily both assumes and references an unchanging and enduring God-level personal mind object made up of prescriptive criterial evaluative principles of thought taken together as a system for the possibility of thinking, that adjudicates everything including mind and personhood themselves, and makes possible inquiry into anything and everything that can be thought.

Therefore, in all defining senses, this comprehensive mind object is indistinguishable from an ultimate personal mind or God.

The rationally necessary is necessarily the existentially real.

Any argument denying this is self-contradictory in trying to rationally necessitate its own truth about the existentially real in spite of what that argument asserts.

And if two objects are indistinguishable from each other with respect to all of their properties, then they are identical.

Therefore, this comprehensive mind object---this necessarily operating rational ideal system of thought---is itself an ultimate personal mind or God.

[NOTE: The only problem I see with this argument is in what constitutes a person. The ultimate nature, authority, and role of reason is indisputable.]

Friday, March 14, 2014

System, Grace, and Entropy

Brand Blanshard
There is no will strong enough to stay focused on anything completely, without it having some importance. And when the purpose is important, and we are completely focused on it, and what we are aware of both directs and constantly aims at that purpose against hindrances---our work is effortless.

--Heavily redacted from Brand Blanshard, 1939, The Nature of Thought, Volume 1, pages 208-209.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When Theistic Pigs Will No Longer Fly

If it weren't for the criterial argument, which I generalized from it's moral corollary, the moral criteria argument, which in turn is derived from Kai Nielsen's Independent Moral Criterion Argument, I would not even consider belief in God.

I would instead simply believe in some kind of quantum naturalistically transcendent reality in the logically prior system of general reason, formal logic and a necessary hierarchy of values in view of motives, goals, and the necessary value assumptions of thought.

So I have Kai Nielsen, the greatest atheist philosopher to date, to thank for issuing the challenge that forces a clarification of the case for personhood in an ultimate being, even though it never challenged the fact of this personhood in the criterial argument, only its exact anthropomorphic nature. And even deeper, it's a case of self-referential inconsistencies galore. The criterial argument bypasses all except the personhood issue. The concept of personhood must be developed and it's fascinating, but it's not in itself a problem for the existence of God. Personhood is already assumed in any discussion of it, as well as the criteria for any such discussion. So that's a clue to how I work out the concept of person, and just another reason why the justification of self-referential refutation is so important. Metaphysics must be based on self-reference considerations, if for no other reason than the fact that those considerations are where any discussion of it will wind up eventually, regardless of starting point.

After several years of being stuck, tonight I finally figured out what will crush Nielsen's argument for the incoherence of the concept of God. I mean, he begs some questions, but it's still a great and powerful argument and causes conniption fits in most all believers, who will gladly commit T. S. Eliot's Greatest Treason if it will mean not having to read anything or have to come to grips with opposing arguments.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Persuadability Fatigue

Social Physics by Alex Pentland
I do suspect that both the Kalam and Aquinas's 2nd Way arguments are successful. But they are not widely persuasive, and both are bogged down bigtime in various issues, both empirical and theoretic. While both have major infinite series issues and the issue of crossing over from cause to person, Kalam is heavily involved in questions about nothingness, beginningness, quantum theory,  multiverses, time itself, and so on, while Aquinas's 2nd Way only has the problem of simultaneity in causation, but a foundational metaphysical problem in assuming but not proving that any tendency of any object is directed by intelligence. If they can prove that, I think Thomistic metaphysics is successful and has tremendous implications for philosophy of science and even science itself. But for both arguments, the infinite series and personhood issues by themselves are major obstacles to both satisfactory certainty of the truth of God's existence on the part of believers, and culture-wide persuasive efficacy.

The criteria argument is the only thing that could possibly counter the current and increasing skepticism toward belief in God. The world is already suffering persuadability fatigue from the standard arguments, evangelicalism, and the parroting of bad arguments by all kinds of apologists who stay insulated from sophisticated atheistic arguments that are persuading the leaders of the coming generation. And the good arguments are so hazy and complicated in their cross-examinations for the vast majority of people, even the most educated, that only a more direct systemic philosophy-of-logic approach could possibly stop or reverse the trend. But no one is holding their breath any more.