I wrote:
<<<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.>>>
 
Peter wrote:
"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: for clarification.
 
Peter wrote:
"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).
 
Peter wrote:
"Certainty, for the purposes of this e-mail, is defined as the knowledge that something must be undeniably true."
 
Do you think, assuming this definition, that I am wrong or misguided when I say that I am certain that existence exists?
 
Peter wrote:
"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 points, right?
 
I wrote:
<<<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.>>>
 
Peter asked:
"Why must I identify the source of my defintion?"
 
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? 
 
Peter asked:
"What bearing does that have to the argument?"
 
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 dubious.
 
Peter wrote
"You are trying to skirt the issue by obfuscating it."
 
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?
 
Peter wrote:
"Sources of definitions are not important to a debate"
 
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.
 
Peter wrote:
"--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.
 
Peter wrote:
"(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.
 
Peter wrote:
<<<"We cannot trust our senses." >>>
 
I asked:
<<<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?>>>
 
Peter responded:
"'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 concept:
 
Peter wrote:
"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."
 
Peter wrote:
"Let me clarify the original area now:
 
"----(revision of paragraphs 2, 3, & 4)----
"I cannot trust my senses.  I have assumed wrong in the past."
 
How did you determine that you were wrong, Peter?
 
Peter wrote:
"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?
 
Pete wrote:
"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?
 
Peter wrote:
"and I have heard things that misled me (such as being in a crowded room and thinking someone called my name when no one actually had)."
 
How did you determine that you were misled? Please address this question.
 
Peter wrote:
"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?
 
Peter wrote:
"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.
 
Peter wrote:
"I have dreamed."
 
How do you know this?
 
Peter wrote:
"I know how vivid my own imagination is."
 
Do you know how you know this?
 
Peter wrote:
"When awakened from a dream, sometimes it takes a moment before I am able to tell the dream from the real world."
 
And what are the means by which you make the distinction between the two?
 
Peter wrote:
"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 bit, Peter.
 
Peter wrote:
"My senses have betrayed me in the past."
 
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?
 
Peter wrote:
"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.
 
Peter wrote:
"I do not have an outside view of the universe"
 
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.
 
Peter wrote:
"--I can only view what I see through my senses,"
 
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 here on.)
 
Peter wrote:
"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.
 
Peter wrote:
"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 comprehend it."
 
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.
 
I wrote:
<<<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 responded:
"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 concepts.
 
Peter wrote:
"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 the meantime.
 
Peter wrote:
"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.
 
Peter wrote:
"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 place?
 
Peter wrote:
"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?
 
Peter wrote:
"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?
 
Peter wrote:
"--or else you are the only person who has never been tricked by an illusion of the eye or misunderstood a sound."
 
I am willing to entertain this possibility. Indeed, nothing you've stated above enables us to rule this possibility out.
 
Peter wrote:
"You are truely unique."
 
Do you mind if I take this comment as a compliment?
 
CertainVerdict