Saturday, June 9, 2012

Proof That God Exists (Followup) - The impossibility of the Contrary

As a second followup to my analysis of a website presuppositionist argument, I have yet more to say.

Naturalism's Limitations

The core of the presuppositional argument is the claim that naturalism cannot account for logic/rationality/etc. The problem here is tricky.

For the sake of argument, let's say that naturalism indeed cannot account for logic. Let's say that we never find a naturalistic explanation for logic.

Does that mean that logic doesn't have a naturalistic basis? No. It just means we haven't figured it out yet.

That's the leap apologists take that is merely an assumption - that because we haven't figured it out, it's okay to go ahead and conclude it can't have a naturalistic explanation.

They actually have to demonstrate the claim, not just assert it. That's a problem for them, because they have to positively demonstrate a negative claim ("prove a negative"), which isn't possible.

To sum up my discussion about negative evidence, the only way one can prove something by using negative evidence is if there's a process of elimination on an absolutely known list of possibilities. This rarely ever happens in practical reality. In this case, the apologists have asserted a dichotomy between naturalism and their God.

They assert this without any kind of demonstration, and the God-based basis for logic is concluded because of the "impossibility of the contrary", without demonstrating that the contrary is impossible.

At ever single step of this argument, once one digs in, it becomes readily apparent that presuppositoinal arguments are riddled with logical errors and assumptions - which means they all fail.

The website authors spend so much time trying to get you to agree to a series of premises about the absolute nature of different types of laws, and then they suddenly blurt out that God is the answer without any justification, and more than that, inexplicably, the Christian god is the correct answer, with no justification. I don't mean it's an answer that could satisfy the conundrum - they claim it's the only possible answer, without justification.

As far as presuppositoinal arguments goes, this attempt was incredibly amature. It may as well have gone something like this:
  1. Do you agree that the color blue is actually electromagnetic radiation?
  2. Do you agree gravity exists?
  3. Do you agree that protons, electrons and neutrals are made of quarks?
That's about how competently the argument was executed.

False Dichotomy

The argument for #4 is a false dichotomy:
  1. Naturalistic account for logic
  2. God did it
How do they know it's only these two possibilities? How have they demonstrated that? Again, this is the demonstration of negative evidence and the process of elimination - a process that rarely works in practical reality.

How do they know there isn't a trans-universe grid of disembodied minds that establishes rulesets in adjacent universes within the the multiverse? Alternatively, we may actually discover a ruleset matrix underlying the universe that dictates why the laws are they way they are - sort of like our discovery of DNA as the dictator of the construction of an organism. Yes, these sound ludicrous, but you know what, so does "God" as an answer. Both are equally established by evidence (i.e. not much).

They declare that it's impossible for naturalism to account for it, but how do they know that? It's a God of the gaps argument. The construction of their argument is that only these two possibilities exist, so all we have to do is provide another possibility, and the argument automatically collapses. We don't even have to demonstrate it.

That's the weakness of a false dichotomy.

If at first you don't succeed...

During this interview, Tyson is speaking about the receding of the god claims as scientific knowledge grows. Other than being blatant arguments from ignorance, over and over, apologists have been attempting to prove their God by providing negative evidence - claiming their god is real because other things are false or unknown.

They have a long, long history of failure. If one were to compare the effectiveness of a positive approach to investigation and learning, versus negative demonstration, we would find that positive evidence has literally provided the mechanisms for all the technology we have today.

Negative evidence? Negative evidence has thousands upon thousands of years of failure, in terms of accurately determining reality - we call it the God of the Gaps.

Here and now, today, we have a presuppositionalist building a case using negative evidence.

Yes, I'm sure this time it will work... right?

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