<<<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.>>>
"Point taken. I was assuming due to
your handle that you would have a knowledge of certainty."
From my point of view, I do. But since I know that
you do not share my point of view, I would not assume that the defintion which
I assume is the same as the one which you might assume. That is why I asked:
"However, you are correct in that it is
hazardous to not have clear definitions before we proceed. Again, due to
the fact that I don't really have time to author an entire book just for this
reply, I was using some short-cuts in assuming that we would agree on the
meaning of 'certainty'."
In matters of philosophy, nothing is as fatal as
the approximate. Am I perfect in this regard? No, I do not pretend to be. But
I do hold myself to the highest standards I can possibly achieve given my
knowledge and ability (and no, lordbyron, I am not a genius, at least, I don't
think I am; then again, I've never been tested so far as I know).
"Certainty, for the purposes of this e-mail,
is defined as the knowledge that something must be undeniably
Do you think, assuming this definition, that I am
wrong or misguided when I say that I am certain that existence exists?
"By undeniable, I mean that the only possible
way to deny it would be to reject all reason whatsoever."
Ah, there's a term: reason. What is your
definition of this term? You do agree that it is key to your other
definitions, since rejection of reason is here given as a measure of your
<<<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.>>>
"Why must I identify the source of my
I ask because I want to know the source of your
definitions. I want to know the source of your definitions because I want to
know how consistent you are with your own beliefs. Do you take your
definitions from sources which you think are divinely inspired, or from
sources which are authored by men? I just want to know. Are you unwilling
to tell us?
"What bearing does that have to the
Overall, we might not know until we know what your
sources are and the argument in question has reached its fullness. Many
Christians have told me that knowledge is only possible because of their god.
This suggests to me that their god is the ultimate source of
knowledge. If their god is the ultimate source of knowledge, and they claim
that the Bible is the word of god, then how did their god define the terms in
question? Or did he? You want to prove that a god exists (or you want to prove
that no one has proper justification for rejecting your god-belief). If that's
so, then your arguments, since they are offered in defense of a belief in a
being which is supposedly perfect and omniscient, had better be pretty good
and extremely well informed, otherwise your position will seem entirely
"You are trying to skirt the issue by
Where have you established this? Even you yourself
agreed above that I am right in asking for clarification of the terms in
question. Now you seem to think that I am "skirting"? Why?
"Sources of definitions are not important to
Well, if you are ashamed of the sources which you
consult in order to provide the definitions which you assume, I can understand
why you would think this.
"--you can challenge my definition and we can
discuss why I have stated my given definition, or you can show why my
conclusions derrived from my definition are invalid, but it does not matter
what the source of the definition is."
It matters to me. Are you taking it from a source
which was supposedly divinely inspired according to your view? Or, are you
taking them from a source which may be contaminated with what Paul condemned
as "men's wisdom"? These are important points. I want to see how
consistent you are with your own stated presuppositions, assuming your primary
sources are truly adequate. And if they are not adequate, it is important that
this fact come out in debate as a by-product of debate.
"(That is mere ad hominum argumentation,
because the source doesn't determine the truth value of the statement.)"
I never intimated that the source determines the
truth value or validity of the definitions which you assume. I simply asked
you to identify the source(s) as you provide your definitions. It seems that
if your god-belief is so true, and that you have divine omniscience on your
side, this should not be such a big problem. Furthermore, I am not asking this
in order to attack you personally, so there is no ad hominem here.
<<<"We cannot trust our
<<<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
"'We' referred to everyone on earth.
But you are correct--there is no reason for me to assume that anyone else even
exists at this point in the argument."
Watch how Peter attempts to disguise his stolen
"Therefore, let me change the statement to 'I
cannot trust my senses'."
Here Peter ammends his prior statement "We
cannot trust our senses" to "I cannot trust my senses."
"Let me clarify the original area now:
"----(revision of paragraphs 2, 3, &
"I cannot trust my senses. I have
assumed wrong in the past."
How did you determine that you were wrong, Peter?
"I have seen things (via dreams)"
Where did you get the concept 'dream'? From what
referents did you form this concept? In contrast to what does the concept
'dream' have its meaning?
"that weren't actually real,"
Where did you get the concept 'real'? Is this
concept contrasted against the concept 'dream'? Or, are they one and the same?
By what means do you distinguish the two, if you cannot trust your senses?
"and I have heard things that misled me (such
as being in a crowded room and thinking someone called my name when no one
How did you determine that you were misled? Please
address this question.
"Senses are merely electrical impulses
interpreted by the brain, in naturalistic terms (just read a biology and a
psychology book written by a secular author), and as such, simple indigestion
could upset the balance and cause invalid data to be interpreted incorrectly
by my brain."
How do you know this is true? Which biology book
do you have in mind? Which secular author do you have in mind? By what means
were you able to read it? If you used your eyes to read it, then you must have
been trusting your senses, since your eyes are a means of sensory perception.
How do you know you read the book in question accurately?
"I know the effects of fatigue on my
thinking; lack of sleep and poor diet cause a slowness in mental processes,
and induce more errors. These things I have experienced."
This tells us that you have little confidence in
your mind. I think you will find little disagreement on this point among the
readers of the Theism vs. Atheism Web.
"I have dreamed."
How do you know this?
"I know how vivid my own imagination
Do you know how you know this?
"When awakened from a dream, sometimes
it takes a moment before I am able to tell the dream from the real
And what are the means by which you make the
distinction between the two?
"Indeed, sometimes outside data is
incorporated into a dream, such as when a phone rings and I "dream"
that a phone is ringing--in this instance, even if I dream that I answer the
phone I have not actually done so, thus proving to myself that dreams are
delusions and not real."
So, in other words, you have difficulty
distinguishing between your dreams and reality, right? That tells us quite a
"My senses have betrayed me in the
Right, you said this earlier. Perhaps now
you're still in a dream, and the notion of 'reality' is simply a figment of
your dreaming, and has no objective reference at all. Indeed, concepts are
nothing more than an expression of the attempt to make sense of the chaos you
experience on a constant basis. If you do not trust your own means of
awareness, how can you know that's not the case?
"There is no reason to think they will
not do so again in the future, nor is there any reason to trust they are not
doing so now."
Indeed. Since you've already determined
(somehow, nohow?) that the senses are inaccurate (or, invalid?), then it seems
it would not be possible for you to distinguish between those times when you
can achieve certainty and those times when you cannot.
"I do not have an outside view of the
Without a means of awareness, which you say
you cannot trust, then the concept 'universe' must be solipsistic
for you. After all, you have no means by which to distinguish between your own
imagination (which you admit above is "vivid") and this myth of
"reality", whatever that is.
"--I can only view what I see through
But you've already renounced these. So,
apparently, you can't view anything, or whatever it is you view, you must
discount, since you've already determined (how, it is not clear) that your
senses are not accurate. (It should be apparent to careful readers at this
point that the concept 'accurate' is a stolen concept in Peter's hands from
"and if they are deluded then it is impossible
for me to ever know it."
Here's another stolen concept: 'deluded'.
Peter does not inform us where he gets this term, or how he supposedly
validates the context in which he uses it.
"Like the allegory of Plato's cave, if
I only have one viewpoint (the shadows on a wall) then it is certainly quite
probable that were I to actually see the truth of reality, I could not
Like all philosophers who are caught digging
Plato's cave, Peter here shows himself to be stealing the concept 'shadow' in
order to enlarge his case. After that, he steals additional concepts, e.g.,
'truth', 'reality', 'comprehend', etc.
All stolen concepts, since he denies the
means of his awareness.
<<<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?>>>
"Excuse me, but this was an answer to
one of your previous questions (when you asked me to assert my positive
position on the matter)."
Hey, he's finally getting to one of my
questions! Look at that! But notice he's still caught up in his stolen
"And what questions about this very
matter did you ask me in an earlier post?"
Didn't you read them? Oh, that's right, you
cannot trust your senses. I guess it won't help if I dig them up for you
again, since you will probably not get over your distrust of your senses in
"And what relevance do those questions
have to what I am putting forth right now."
If you do not know what those questions
were, then I would not expect you to know the relevance to what you are
putting forth now. But, if you could trust your senses, you could see quite a
bit now! Suffice it to say, those questions were posed in response to your own
statements, statements much like what you've put forth in this present post to
which I am responding, so their relevance is certainly applicable. I think you
didn't respond to them (and to many other questions) since you had no
philosophical defense for your views.
"Is it, or is it not true that I have
been decieved by false data?"
You're asking me? If so, I would say that
you've been deceived, indeed. But the notion of "false data" has not
been established as the cause of your deception. Indeed, I think you've been
deceived by your own stolen concepts, frozen abstractions, package-deals, non
sequiturs, and other forms of cognitive error, not to mention your failure to
distinguish between your desires, fantasies, vivid imagination and reality.
Indeed, if you reject reason, which obviously you do, then how could you
determine whether the data which you've accepted is true or false in the first
"Indeed, if you are real (which I
believe you are) then have you or have you not experienced false data?"
I do not know what you mean by "false
data." Are you referring to your arguments here?
"If you are honest with yourself, you
must admit that you have"
Seems you are able to answer for me. How do
you know so much about others and their experiences?
"--or else you are the only person who
has never been tricked by an illusion of the eye or misunderstood a
I am willing to entertain this possibility.
Indeed, nothing you've stated above enables us to rule this possibility out.
"You are truely unique."
Do you mind if I take this comment as a