Peter wrote:
"In order to know something certainly, we must eliminate all possible alternatives."

What is your working definition of 'certainty', Peter? I don't see any definition for this key term in your new post. If it's there, please point it out to me. If it is not there, please state it, otherwise each reader must assume his own definition, and this is hazardous to rational philosophy.

After you clarify what your working definition of 'certainty' is, please identify the source of this definition, and why you chose that source, and not another. Did you take your definition from the Bible? If not, why not? Ain't it in there??? Are you borrowing from non-biblical sources again?

Peter wrote:
"We cannot trust our senses."

Who is the "we" to whom you are referring here? Is that you and someone else? Please specify. How do you make this determination for others?

Also, why don't you answer some of the questions I asked you about this very matter in an earlier post? Why do you continually evade questions which have been posed to you in response to your posts, and yet proceed to generate new posts (indeed, new threads even!) when you have not addressed numerous old matters? Have you no common courtesy in debates?

Peter wrote:
"We have all been wrong before."

By what means did you discover that you were wrong? Please show your work. Watch those stolen concepts!

Peter wrote:
"People have seen things that weren’t there,"

Which people have? Please be specific. Where are their testimonies? Are you referring to Moses when he claimed to have seen Jehovah? How was it determined that the things they thought they saw were not really there?

Peter wrote:
"heard voices from non-existent people."

Are you referring to Abraham here? He supposedly heard voices.

Peter wrote:
"Senses are merely electrical impulses interpreted by the brain, in naturalistic terms, and as such, simple indigestion could upset the balance and make you feel things that are not there or see things that are mere phantoms of the imagination."

Where are you getting this claim, and how was it established? Why should we accept it? Just because you state it? Do you ever argue for your premises? Did you have the anchovies on your pizza before you wrote this, Peter? Perhaps that's what's driving your arguments into the ground (if you accept the above statement). I simply think it's poor reasoning, but if you want to blame it on your diet, that is your prerogative.

Peter wrote:
"We have all dreamed."

What is dreaming? Dreaming as opposed to what? Where did you get these concepts? By what means do you distinguish dreaming from non-dreaming, Peter? I don't suppose you'll answer these questions. You don't answer questions, you just go merrily along on your wild goose hunt.

Peter wrote:
"The basic part of existence must be unchangeable.  By this, I do not mean that existence in a physical form must be unchangeable, but that whatever the essence of existence is must be unchanging."

I question the validity of the notion "essence of existence" (you have not attempted to validate this dichotomy here; indeed, it was one of Aquinas' major errors). Instead of what you write here, I would suggest: "The fact that existence exists does not change."

Peter wrote:
"At the basic root, we could say that consciousness is self-awareness."

I do not accept this. Self-awareness is a species of consciousness; self-awareness (or self-consciousness; I use the terms interchangeably) is not the primary form of consciousness. To be self-conscious, something must be able to identify itself as conscious or at least be able to distinguish itself from other objects in its perceptual environment. But to identify itself as conscious or distinguish itself from other objects, it must first be conscious of something, i.e., of objects from which it can distinguish itself. In other words, it needs the concept 'identity' which is a corollary to the concept 'existence'. 
 
For instance, an infant, before it is even aware of its own self, is aware of objects surrounding it, such as its crib, a mobile dangling above its head, its parents, etc. Self-awareness is secondary to awareness of objects surrounding oneself. It's only after one can identify himself as a conscious being that it can become conscious of itself. The context of reality cannot be dropped from our philosophical musing, as Peter does so haphazardly here, and then be restored after our musing has satisfied our druthers. Rational philosophy doesn't work that way.

Thus, I would correct Peter's statement to read the following: "At root, consciousness is consciousness of existence." (In other words, consciousness is conscious of objects which exist.) Only thereafter can species of the primary genus 'consciousness' be identified. The concept 'self' is not on a par with the axioms; it is an abstraction which is made possible only after the axioms have been identified or assumed. Otherwise, you risk the hazard of forming package-deals, which will invalidate your reasoning process.

Thus when Peter writes:
"I realize that I exist (cogito ergo sum)"

I would rephrase this according to the following:

I realize that I exist because a) I am conscious of other things, and,  b)because of a), I can distinguish myself from those other things (hence the pronoun 'I' and the concept 'self').

Remember: Axiomatic concepts (of which 'consciousness' is one) are not defined in terms of prior concepts. They are axiomatic because they are conceptually irreducible. Furthermore, they are needed in order to form new concepts higher up the conceptual ladder (e.g., 'self'; "self" as opposed to what?).

Peter wrote:
"However, the question that must be asked is: by what manner do I become aware that I exist?"

By a means of awareness (but you have already said that you cannot trust these means, so you commit yourself to stolen concepts). See comments above.

Peter wrote:
"Awareness must come either from inside existence or outside of existence."

Why is that? Why the dichotomy? What does it mean that "awareness must come from inside existence"? What does it mean that "awareness must come from outside existence"? What do you mean by "come from" here? I'm not saying this is right or wrong, only that it is now interjected without validation. Above you already legislated (through extremely poor reasoning which is self-negating, I might add) that "we cannot trust" the primary means of our awareness (i.e., the senses). Perhaps you are assuming the diaphanous model of consciousness here? If so, then you will not be able to escape your stolen concepts, Peter. See Kelley, David, "The Primacy of Existence" (IOS Lectures, 1986) and "The Evidence of the Senses" (Louisiana State University Press, 1986) where these issues are effectively dealt with, and the stolen concepts assumed in this view are uprooted and corrected.

Peter wrote:
"Therefore, awareness of existence must come from existence itself."

By what means?

Peter wrote:
"As a result, consciousness (self-awareness) must arise from existence."

By what means?

Peter wrote:
"As a result, existence itself causes self-realization"

By what means?

Peter wrote:
"and therefore existence,"

Ah ah ah! Watch those stolen concepts!

Peter wrote:
"in its root form (the part that is immutable, etc.) is consciousness."

D'oh! You're falling into your own traps again here, Peter! Go back to Objectivism 101!

Peter wrote:
"Consciousness does not come from experiencing empirical data, because I have demonstrated that consciousness exists regardless of whether or not the physical world exists."

And to do that, you had to put forward a stolen concept (and a frozen abstraction on top of that!) and assume the diaphanous model of consciousness. Did you see it? Now you're running into a new problem - the fallacy of pure self-reference - e.g., consciousness conscious only of itself, which is a contradiction in terms. I'm afraid the diagnosis doesn't look good here, Peter.

Peter wrote:
"Existence, which may or may not include the physical world (we have not yet said anything about the material world), necessitates consciousness apart from empirical data."

Wow! There's another doosey of a stolen concept! My oh my Peter! You sure don't seem to be able to outgrow this nasty habit!

Peter wrote:
"I can only prove my own consciousness,"

Can you prove you're conscious without being conscious? Can you validate your mind without using it?

Peter wrote:
"But what I do know is that existence causes consciousness."

Again I ask: By what means?

Peter wrote:
"Therefore, to summarize what we have so far, existence is eternal, self-existent, outside the realm of time, immutable, and is consciousness."

So a rock is conscious? Now you're package-dealing again!

Peter wrote:
"Further, since we know that these things are true regardless of whether or not the physical world exists, existence is not dependent upon the physical world for existence."

Not only has Peter not established this, he must accept stolen concepts, frozen abstractions and package-deals in order to pass it off as one of his conclusions. I cannot accept it as it is all invalid.

Peter wrote:
"Something that is not physical is not made of material items, and is therefore immaterial."

Can you define what you mean by 'immaterial' in affirmative terms? If 'immaterial' can only be defined in negative terms (e.g., "immaterial is that which is not material," etc.) then obviously the concept 'material' holds primacy over the concept 'immaterial', since it is only in contrast to that which is material that one can form the concept 'immaterial' to begin with. Otherwise, it's just another stolen concept, and without an affirmative definition, it is contentless as well.

Peter wrote:
"As such, existence is eternal, self-existent, outside the realm of time, immutable, consciousness, and is itself immaterial."

Here Peter's package-deal grows another tentacle.

Peter wrote:
"Something that is eternal, self-existent, outside the realm of time, immutable, conscious, and immaterial can be nothing other than God."

And voila! Thus the road to god-belief is always paved with fallacy.

Clever (though not very), but still completely invalid. But keep trying! We know you want your god to exist!

CertainVerdict