Monday, March 02, 2009

Aseem's Assumptions

A university student with whom I've recently become acquainted over the course of 2 ID events at the local university and who is a friend of the infamous and highly daunting blogger ERV, has posted a few comments, culminating in this one. I respond:


Hey Aseem,

Good to see you and talk to you and Scott Friday.

Rho - 'Ha ha! Caught you there! See? Assumptions! Evolution refuted!!!!'

Yes, an assumption masquerading as an evidence at a crucial point in your argument. *I'm* the one arguing that everyone has assumptions, remember? You assume what you have to prove in this case.


Who was the one asking question after question, Rho?

I think we both were. One of us produced answers consistent with his worldview and the other acted like a Christian sometimes and sometimes provided assumptions when he was asked for evidence.


Logic and mathematics are concepts created by man to ease life up a bit

That won't fly unless you're seriously proposing that before there were any human minds (since you nix the idea of a supernatural mind) to think these thoughts, there was both a universe and not a universe at the same time in the same way. Evolution was both occurring and not occurring at the same time in the same way. There was simultaneously one planet that would eventually be called Earth, no planet, and 15,067 planets in the same place and in the same way.
Or perhaps you think I could make my own logic (since I'm a human) and it would be just as valid. Only my "logic" could conceivably not incorporate the law of non-contradiction, so my logic would both be and not be at the same time.
No, clearly laws of logic are not human convention. Try again.


It is a tool.

That man has DISCOVERED, not invented. You have to account for it, on naturalism. Christianity can acct for it just fine.


I show you the natural world and you ask me to prove it is exclusively natural. I cannot.

Correct. You ASSUME it is only natural, but you can't produce evidence to that effect. that's what we talked about this past Friday night. Point is, evidence cannot be the king, cannot take the highest place as decider of our epistemology.


because I see no evidence of there being any supernatural element, I conclude it safe to assume a natural world till somebody provides evidence to prove otherwise.

And we just got thru dispensing with evidence as the king, the firm foundation. It is no foundation at all.
Thus, it's on you to provide a framework worldview whereby you can acct for the big questions nearly as well as Christianity can, and then we can talk. Describe how it is that order emerged unguided from chaos. Describe how it is that non-moral matter became moral beings. How non-rational rocks turned into rational thinking beings. How the mind of a snail is qualitatively distinguishable from that of a man's. How, if we're bags of molecules in motion, we're any different than a table, which is also molecules in motion.


You are the one making the positive assertion of there being a conscious,living, metaphysical element to the world

And you're making your own positive assertions. You have just as much onus as anyone else. There is no neutral, default position.


Till you do that, naturalism is the default position.

What is your argument for that? Provide some evidence for naturalism! (You can't, as we've already discussed.)


of course, the God of the Bible created it all.
Again, evidence, please.

The communication of an infallible, omniscient, timeless, truthful being is the most potent evidence there could possibly be. Why should I trust your interpretation of the facts to which you come w/o benefit of a time machine when I could just ask the one who was there?


do not use circular logic.

Everyone uses circular logic when it comes to axiomatic statements like these.
I deny that mine is viciously circular; that is, it is self-justifying. God is a sufficient starting point that accounts for all these big questions. What is the start for naturalism?
Besides, your little graphic gets it wrong.
The Bible is infallible b/c it is the Word of the infallible God. We know that b/c God has told us so, but it starts with God, not the Bible.
Of course, we can compare this with the naturalist view of the world: Truth exists b/c I told you so b/c if it didn't our existence would be meaningless, but it's not meaningless b/c I told you so.
Pardon me if I put alot more weight on the omnipotent God than your word.


You are not an IDer; you are a creationist.

Correct, I am a YoungEarth Creationist.


you are honest enough to not disguise creationism in a cheap tuxedo and try to sell it as ID.

Such a pitiful ad hominem! ID, judged on its own merits, does just fine. To see how, I commend my challenge to you. I'd love to see your response.


Just how is yours any 'truer' than the rest?

Well, let's see. Mine accounts for reality, logic, value, morality, existence...Yours can't prove you're not a brain in a vat. That's a tough call!


Years of observed, tested, consistent, scientific, peer reviewed and published data is utterly full of horsecrap.

Correct. Why so surprised? Many more (and smarter) people have been believing Christianity for far longer, and you don't hesitate to call it horsecrap.


Scientists work on the premise that observed laws of nature remain consistent over time, which is an observation itself.

It has been an observation for about 100 years, but even that is flawed, since you can't be in all places at all times, even on Earth. You assume it b/c it's useful as a working hypothesis, and bully for you. You have no idea whether said processes were even close to how they are now even as much as 150 years ago, since you don't have a time machine. You know even less that they won't change in one second. You can assume it, that's fine, but call it what it is.


Literally everything you use today, from the clothes we wear, to the field of medicine, everything is a result of working with that assumption.

Which is an assumption much more reasonably held if one is a Christian, b/c God has promised to hold the world together in very similar natural processes until the end.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Logic and mathematics are concepts created by man to ease life up a bit

That won't fly unless you're seriously proposing that before there were any human minds (since you nix the idea of a supernatural mind) to think these thoughts, there was both a universe and not a universe at the same time in the same way. Evolution was both occurring and not occurring at the same time in the same way. There was simultaneously one planet that would eventually be called Earth, no planet, and 15,067 planets in the same place and in the same way.
Or perhaps you think I could make my own logic (since I'm a human) and it would be just as valid. Only my "logic" could conceivably not incorporate the law of non-contradiction, so my logic would both be and not be at the same time.
No, clearly laws of logic are not human convention. Try again.


Seriously Rho, you have no basic understanding of logic.

The conept of logic does not define physical space, neither does mathematics, they are tools used to explore discover and explain, they do not cause reality.

Had humans never evolved, or back when the Dino's were walking the earth without us, evolution was occurring, the earth existed in the universe we now know. the fact that a being without math or logic didn't exist does not negate the reality of the universe, it just limits those life forms ability to discrbe,explore , and understand it.

Rhology said...

And if there were no laws of logic or of mathematics at that time, how could you say that?

Anonymous said...

Again reaility is not created by logic or mathimatics, it is explored, discovered and understood though logic.

you know the whole if a tree falls in the forest and no is is there to witness does it make a sound arguement. No matter your answer, the reality is the tree still fell.

the universe is still here regardless of an inteligence developed enough to use logic to discribe it.

Anonymous said...

And if there were no laws of logic or of mathematics at that time, how could you say that?

The "laws" are our descriptions of observed relationships in the physical world. Aseem is not saying that the relationships themselves did not exist; he's saying that the descriptions of those relationships did not exist, because there was nobody there to describe them.

Did the colour red exist before the eyes existed to see it? No, although the physical properties of materials that would cause us to see the colour red were the same.

Did the laws of thought exist before there were minds to think them? No, although the physical properties of materials that would cause us to identify those laws were the same.

Rhology said...

The "laws" are our descriptions of observed relationships in the physical world.

Not exactly. They're not like general physical laws, b/c those would have to be modified if observed data changed. If there were an observed change to the law of non-contradiction, then there would also NOT be an observed change to that law at the same time and in the same way.
Screw your head on straighter and deal with the issues.

Anonymous said...

If there were an observed change to the law of non-contradiction, then there would also NOT be an observed change to that law at the same time and in the same way.

You're still not grasping the difference between the thing and the description of the thing, and therefore what you're saying does not follow from my argument. If that cow over there was both black and white at the same time, that would not fit with our description; but we could adjust our description to fit the circumstance. Do you not understand this argument?

Anonymous said...

They're not like general physical laws, b/c those would have to be modified if observed data changed.

Also - you appear to be arguing that if we saw the cow being both black and white (observed data), we wouldn't have to modify the law of noncontradiction. You might want to re-think that position.

Rhology said...

And you're not grasping the meaning of what I am saying. These laws are in place regardless of whether any mind exists to think them, just like entropy was the case before any scientist figured them out. It was not the case that there was simultaneously a universe and not a universe in the same way in the same place.

Unless you think that they DO require a mind, but you're not positing a theistic God, are you?

And I've been careful to say "at the same time in the same way," etc. If you think a cow having black and white splotches, you're either being intentionally contentious or not reading carefully.

Rhology said...

Oops, meant

"If you think a cow having black and white splotches *overturns what I've been saying*, you're either being intentionally contentious or not reading carefully."

NAL said...

Rho:
That won't fly unless you're seriously proposing that before there were any human minds (since you nix the idea of a supernatural mind) to think these thoughts, there was both a universe and not a universe at the same time in the same way.

This assumes that the laws of logic are proscriptive. I contend that the laws of logic are descriptive. Objective reality exits with or without description. Just as the laws of physics are descriptive. The planets didn't go flying off because Newton hadn't discovered gravity.

Rhology said...

NAL,

That makes no difference either way.

Anonymous said...

The concepts of laws are simply ways of understanding what we observe.
Logic and mathematics are tools for understanding they do not create reality.


you seem incapable of distinguishing between these concepts.

The ruler does not define what is measured, it simply imposes units. what was measured was there and was that size regardless of the use of the ruler.

Logic is a human creation used to help develop an understanding, by having structure though rules and laws. This creates a framework that allows for exploration and discussion of ideas.

But only if everyone agrees to abide by these rules and laws..

Math only works because people accept that 2+2= 4, redefine that equation, and you no longer are capable of sharing in the discussion..

and you do have a nack for redefining things to meet your creteria, rather then using the definition everyone else is using.

NAL said...

Rho:
These laws are in place regardless of whether any mind exists to think them, just like entropy was the case before any scientist figured them out.

Objective reality exits whether any mind exists. The laws of logic are descriptive of objective reality. You can invent your own laws of logic and others are free to test your description of objective reality. Through a process of elimination, the best description rises to the surface.

Seth said...

Objective reality exits whether any mind exists.

What?? "Objective" is an antithetical term that only has meaning when contrasted with "subjective".

Anonymous said...

These laws are in place regardless of whether any mind exists to think them, just like entropy was the case before any scientist figured them out.

No. The relationships described by the laws are in place regardless of whether any mind exists to think them. The laws only exist where there is somebody to describe the relationships. Do you still not understand the difference? Go back and re-read my paragraph about the colour red, it might help.

If you think a cow having black and white splotches, you're either being intentionally contentious or not reading carefully.

You are the one who is not reading carefully, since that's visibly not what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

p.s. I also think you need to read some more philosophy, since you are far more certain about the security of the laws of thought than contemporary philosophers. For some reason you seem to think that Aristotle is the last word in logic.

NAL said...

Objective

b: ... having reality independent of the mind (objective reality)

NAL said...

On Atheism and Immorality

Imagine hearing somebody starting an argument with the claim, If there is no God then there is no such thing as trees (because God made the trees and no trees would exist unless there was a God to make them). From here, that individual goes on to argue that as a result of the atheist denial of where trees come from, atheists are at constant risk of running into trees as they drive. From this, he concludes that no atheist should be allowed to drive

Watch out for that tree.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Not exactly. They're not like general physical laws, b/c those would have to be modified if observed data changed. If there were an observed change to the law of non-contradiction, then there would also NOT be an observed change to that law at the same time and in the same way.
Screw your head on straighter and deal with the issues.


So what you're saying is that the law of non-contradiction is an axiom that is self-justifying and self-evident because any attempt to refute it requires the assumption of its truth?

Yet presuppositionalists also say that atheists can't account for logical laws - out of interest, if the first paragraph is true, what stops the atheist simply holding it as one of their presuppositions/axioms/basic beliefs/whatever you prefer to call them that doesn't need any further explanation in the way theists do with God?

Rhology said...

Dr Funk,

Yes, I'd agree. Denial of the law of identity and of non-contradic is self-refuting.

Nothing would prevent an atheist from holding it as a presupposition/axiom. Thing is, you have to presuppose a whole heckuvalot more than just that to account for all of reality.
And the funny thing, once you start adding up these collective presupps, they end up looking an awful lot like the Christian worldview, and the Xtian worldview is older. To the outsider, it just looks like you're stealing.

Also, this post sheds some light.

Anonymous said...

And the funny thing, once you start adding up these collective presupps, they end up looking an awful lot like the Christian worldview, and the Xtian worldview is older. To the outsider, it just looks like you're stealing.

Hands up who thinks it's hilarious that Rhology doesn't realise that his "Xtian worldview" is built on a scaffold of Greek philosophy?