Peter asked:
"How do you know what reality is?"

By a means of knowledge, that's how.

Peter wrote:
"If you are an Objectivist, you will say that it is only through your
empirical senses"

Actually, the senses alone are not sufficient according to the Objectivist
view. It is a conceptual process (i.e., a means of knowledge, as the answer
which I did provide indicates) which integrates what the senses provide. Our
awareness of reality (i.e., consciousness of objects) begins with the senses
(i.e., with perception). To doubt or reject the validity of the senses
essentially amounts to an endorsement of *nonsense*.

Peter wrote:
"--but I maintain that if you state this then you are taking that very
statement by faith alone."

You may maintain this all you like. But you cannot establish this without
committing the fallacy of the stolen concept, as we shall see below.

Peter wrote:
"(Indeed, you cannot prove, using only your empirical senses, that the
method of deciding what is real or not should only come through your
empirical senses"

If the concept 'consciousness' is axiomatic (and it is), then I do not need
such proofs. Again, to attempt such a "proof" one would commit the fallacy
of the stolen concept. It's like saying you can walk without legs. Invalid.

Peter wrote:
"--you have to come to that conclusion apart from empiricism,"

Really? How do you establish this? I see no homework on your part
establishing this accusation. The endorsement of reason is the endorsement
of an integrated view of knowledge. Anything else amounts to an endorsement
of a *disintegrated* view of knowledge. Thus, many have dichotomized the
senses apart from logic and in so doing they slash off what they call
"knowledge" from any reference to reality.

Peter wrote:
"thereby refuting your claim that all reality can be understood

Actually, I did not claim that "all reality can be understood empirically."
Your question above was "How do you know what reality is?"

And my answer was: By a means of knowledge.

You've shown no self-refutation here.

Peter wrote:
"You do not know that your senses are accurate,"

How do you know this? Can you tell us how you establish this without
assuming that your own senses are accurate? If your senses are not accurate,
is this sufficient to determine that someone else's senses are not accurate?
How does the inaccuracy of someone else's senses follow from the
inaccuracies of your senses? And if your senses are not delivering accurate
messages to your brain, and your mind is functioning on the basis of those
inaccuracies (which presumably you are admitting to here), how can you
confidently critique the statements of others, which you can only learn
about by using your senses? You yourself must assume that you're reading
these words accurately in order to interact with them in the way that you
do. But to assume that you are reading my statements accurately, you have to
assume that your senses are reliable. So here we find your stolen concept on
this matter: in order for your own arguments against the validity of the
senses to be valid, they must presume that they are valid to begin with, yet
you've already denied this. As a result, whatever undercutting you want to
pass off onto the minds of others, will only come back to bite you in your
own backside, Peter.

Peter wrote:
"nor do you know that they capture the total essense of what is real."

Again, how do you know this? What is meant by the notion of "the total
essense of what is real"? And why would one need it? I do not need to be
omniscient in order to secure certainty, nor do I need to be infallible to
act on the certainty of which I am capable.

Peter wrote:
"Basically, you are saying that what we know about reality through our
senses is accurate."

Where did I say this? Are you certain that you've read me accurately? If you
cannot trust the accuracy of your senses, then how can you be certain that
you have accurately read what I have written?

Peter wrote:
"That seems to be begging an awful big question, which Plato brought up in
his alegory of the cave."

Perhaps on your concept-stealing premises, this seems to be circular to you.
But indeed, I do not see any need to prove the issues in question. Again,
they are axiomatic, and thus prior to proof. It's like asking: Can you prove
that your mind is valid without using your mind? And, when one recognizes
that he cannot do this, he's accused of begging the question when he uses
his mind. But he hasn't begged the question, because he's not attempted to
establish these things by means of a formal proof. Plato's entire philosophy
is built on stolen concepts. The fundamental instance of it was his
acceptance of the primacy of consciousness view, a fundamental which theism
shares with him. All invalid.

Peter wrote:
"And if you are Objectivist, I know you hate that very allegory because it
is to "subjective" for you"

You say "I know you hate that very allegory." Interesting, you have never
met me, but here you proceed to assume to know what I hate. How did you get
this information? So many presumptions!

Peter wrote:
"--but regardless, you still can't answer the question."

I have no need to answer it, it is answered by the axioms. One must assume
the axioms even to deny them, thus committing himself to yet more stolen
concepts. Invalid.

Peter wrote:
"You are taking your empirical data to be accurate and comprehensive on
faith alone,"

You claimed this above, too. But you have not established it. As I mentioned
above, to establish this, one cannot avoid stolen concepts, which I have
exposed in your statements above.

Peter wrote:
"in which case you have no better footing that what you claim the theist

Here's another tu quoque: "The theist is no worse off than the atheist
because the atheist needs to base his view on faith, too!" This ploy is
invalid because it rests on the fallacy of the stolen concept.

Peter wrote:
"But even if we suppose that all of reality can be determined by our senses"

This is not my supposition. My supposition, which rests on the axioms
(concepts which even Peter must accept in his attempt to question or deny
them), is that reality can be identified by a means of knowledge. This means
of knowledge is not just the senses alone. Again, it is an integrated
process. If Peter had any understanding of Objectivism, he would know this.
I get the impression that Peter is unfamiliar with this philosophy (or that
he would prefer to mischaracterize it).

Peter wrote:
"and that we, as humans, can actually understand all of reality"

"understand ALL of reality"? Who is making this claim?

Peter wrote:
"(a point I am only granting to you now for speculation, not because you
have earned it),"

Speculate all you like. You speculate that I have not earned this, but
indeed, I have not claimed that I "understand ALL of reality." I freely
admit that I am neither omniscient nor infallible. (But I am certain. And
this is probably what you do not like.)

Peter wrote:
"you are still left with a problem."

Not if the axioms are true.

Peter wrote:
"How can we determine what is right or wrong in specific instances?"

By means of reason, that's how.

Peter wrote:
"The common argument is that you do not do anything that hurts another

This is not my argument.

Peter wrote:
"Again, I have provided instances where this happens no matter what you

Indeed, I think your point in that context was valid. But again, it's
irrelevant, because "do not do anything that hurts another person" is not my
position, any more than "do unto him as you would have him do unto you"
would be my position.

Peter cites his earlier quote:
<<<Is it hurting McDonalds when you eat at Burger King? If you chose to
marry Sue instead of Elizabeth, does that not hurt Elizabeth if she also
wished to marry you? Where do we draw the line?>>>

Peter asks:
"But isn't that missing a big point too?"

I think it's missing the crucial elements: Reason and values-based axiology.
Again, not my argument.

Peter wrote:
"Why in the world should I care whether or not another person is hurt by
what I do?"

Indeed, why would you? Do you expect others to answer these questions for

Peter wrote:
"Especially if you are Objectivist (in which case you would also be


Peter wrote:
"then you understand the importance of selfishness in Objectivism."

Yes, I do, in the context of selfishness *guided by reason*.

Peter wrote:
"Without it, nothing else works."

In terms of moral action, I think this is true.

Peter asked:
"So, why should I give a hoot whether something I do harms another person?"

Again, are you expecting others to answer this for you?

Peter asked:
"Why shouldn't it be a dog-eat-dog world,"

You mean like under a form of collectivism (or welfare statism), where the
dog which does not produce legally confiscates the wealth of the dog which
does produce? This is not capitalism.

Peter wrote:
"and why shouldn't it be survival of the fittest?"

Well, the fittest are going to have better chances of surviving, whether you
or I or anyone else likes it or not. That's nature.

Peter asked:
"Why shouldn't I be able to kill anyone who got in my way"

Is this what you want to do, Peter?

Peter asked:
"--heck, why can't I kill someone just for the fact that they were there and
I took pleasure in doing so?"

Do you think you would find pleasure in this, Peter?

(It's always amusing to me how those who pick and prod Objectivism's ethical
philosophy routinely fail to integrate selfishness with reason. I think this
says a lot about the character of such people and their lack of
understanding of Objectivism.)

Peter asked:
"Why should I have to restrain myself for them?"

Good question. If you were an omnipotent, infallible being, you'd have no
restraints, would you? Indeed, this is exactly what you as a Christian

Peter asked:
"If I were a sadist, why should I have to forfeit my joy at hurting another
person, just because that person would not like it?"

Why would you be a sadist? Apparently hurting others gives you joy?

Peter wrote:
"Heck, that's the whole point of sadism--to inflict pain."

Would you find pleasure in this, Peter? Indeed, Psalm 137:9 states, "Happy
is he, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." Sadism
must run rampant in Christian mysticism.

Peter wrote:
"And sadist get a real joy out of that"

I suppose you would know. After all, the Christian god must be a sadist, for
it's quite apparent that it derives pleasure from inflicting pain.

Peter wrote:
"--how dare you deprive them of that joy!"

It seems that Peter wants to be the god he claims he worships.

Peter wrote:
"You can say all you want about "it's objective morals" but you cannot
demonstrate real objective morals,"

How do you know this? You nowhere establish this. Asserting it doesn't make
it true any more than wishing makes it so.

Peter wrote:
"and I maintain that every moral you hold to is subjective and you only hold
it because it makes you "feel" good to do it."

Again, you have not established that my feelings are my guide. Have you not
read anything I've written so far? I have maintained that my reason is my
guide, not my feelings. In my view, there is a fundamental difference.
Perhaps in your view there is no distinction between your feelings and your
reason? If that's the case, no wonder you are so confused. Indeed, Proverbs
1:7 shows that knowledge for the believer is rooted in emotion, which is a
massive stolen concept. This basically gives away the game.

Peter asked:
"And just why should it make you feel good in the first place?"

Why should *what* make me feel good? What relevance do my feelings have to
do with your confusion on philosophical ideas???

Peter asked:
"Have you ever questioned even that?"

I just did, above.

<<<Already the distinctions here provide such a gulf of disagreement that
any answers which I provide in response to PWP's questions would probably be
rejected out of hand, since he insists that reality is the expression of a
consciousness (e.g., "god's divine plan" which Christians claim for their
side) and he rejects reason (because he embraces faith). Quite simply, one
cannot reason with those who have surrendered their reason. (That's why we
take guns into jungles to protect ourselves.)>>>

Peter wrote:
"First, God's existence is not based on consciousness--His consciousness is
based on His existence."

No, the presumption that a god exists is based on your imagination and your
fears. But even here, you miss the point: God is supposed to have created
the universe by an act of *will*. A *will* is a form of consciousness. Thus,
the universe (the sum total of all existence) supposedly finds its source in
a form of consciousness. This is the primacy of consciousness view. You
think reality (the realm of existence) finds its source in someone's wishes.
You can't get any more subjective than this.

Peter wrote:
"It is from Him that objectivism can actually be practiced, because
everything apart from Him is corrupted."

Objectivism cannot proceed from the basis of subjectivism, nor from the
acceptance of stolen concepts. Whatever it is you think you have in mind
here, it is not Objectivism. This is another attempt to hijack a
non-biblical concept and recruit it in the service of mysticism. Indeed, the
Bible nowhere employs the concepts 'objective' or 'Objectivism'. More
borrowings. Invalid.

Peter wrote:
"In other words, I maintain that you cannot understand reality at all until
you understand God."

Maintain it all you like. But maintaining it does not make what you maintain

Peter wrote:
"(And further, since I am a Calvinist, you cannot understand God until He
moves to enlighten you.)"

Well, if on your view you think I am not so enlightened, then you can't
blame me, nor is argument going to be of any use, because this would amount
to you trying to do what you identify here to be God's work. (See how reason
is completely nullified by such premises?) So what's the fuss?

Peter wrote:
"I do not expect you to believe what I say,"

Well, then you shouldn't be disappointed when I don't believe you. Seems
fair enough.

Peter wrote:
"but you should be able to understand the premise I am coming from."

Yep. I sure do. Those premises are: Reality is subjective (it finds its
source in a form of consciousness) and man's reason is impotent. Crystal
clear to me.

Peter wrote:
"Objective truth can only be found once our mind is freed from this wreckage
of flesh,"

See, more hatred for man. Peter, if you want to free yourself from the
"wreckage" of your flesh, by all means, do so. Meanwhile, I intend to live,
and enjoy my life, regardless of who does not approve.

Peter wrote:
"and that means only in Christianity."

And Christianity's symbol, the cross, an instrument of torturous execution,
is a fitting symbol.

Peter wrote:
"I do not care that you disagree. :-)"

I don't care that you don't care.

Peter wrote:
"You haven't proven your objectivism yet. I'll give you a chance to do so

To whom am I supposed to prove it? To those who reject reason? But proof is
impossible to those who reject reason. So why should I even attempt this?
Didn't you read what you quoted from me above? I'll paste it here again so
you can read it once again:

<<<Already the distinctions here provide such a gulf of disagreement that
any answers which I provide in response to PWP's questions would probably be
rejected out of hand, since he insists that reality is the expression of a
consciousness (e.g., "god's divine plan" which Christians claim for their
side) and he rejects reason (because he embraces faith). Quite simply, one
cannot reason with those who have surrendered their reason. (That's why we
take guns into jungles to protect ourselves.)>>>

I wrote:
<<<How can I condemn those who reject morality? That's easy: by reasoned
judgment. That's how.>>>

Peter wrote:
"But your objective reasoned judgment is nothing but hollow words."

To those who dash reason against the rocks (like the Bible hero wants to do
with little children in Psalm 137:9), I would not expect anything more than
this. So, at least Peter is consistent here.

Peter wrote:
"You cannot demonstrate any objectivity in your beliefs."

Again, you have not established this. Indeed, you have not even provided a
definition of 'objective' from the Bible. Frankly, I think you're stuck, or
simply in over your head on these matters.

Peter wrote:
"I have a thought experiment for you. I cannot make you do this, or
anything, but I would like for you to think and look at what you hold to for
your morals and ask yourself why you do so."

I do so because I want to live, and enjoy my life.

Peter wrote:
"Really probe into it (because I am going to question you at every aspect)
and see if you really do have an objective reason for your belief or if,
instead, it is all really subjective."

But Peter, if you reject reason, which clearly you do, then what value can
your assessments be on these matters? You yourself are working from purely
subjectivist premises, which I have pointed out above. You are emotionally
committed to these premises, and unwilling to enlighten yourself otherwise.
You are guided by a confessional investment rooted in primitive mysticism
and the primacy of consciousness. Your standard is the stolen concept, which
short-circuits the mind rather than enables it. So I don't know what
legitimate goal you could possibly have here.

Thanks for your time.