3 months ago
Which side makes a better case?
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  • 3 months ago

    Nice debate @rstanton34 I'm sure you will have some folks side with you if they come check it out. I doubt we really persuaded anyone but it was a good match.

    And yes, you have to chase me round and round, that I think is because I don't have serious inconsistencies or flaws, unless you think any view that doesn't claim metaphysical certainty is inherently flawed. I don't of course. :)

    • 3 months ago

      I thought of something afterwards, let me lay it out here. I took pains not to attack Christian views explicitly during the debate (though a shot or two came through). But, this thought requires me to compare and contrast.

      BTW: I am using "you" rhetorically here, don't know if you are a presup or not.

      One possible Christian view: Presuppositionalism
      Presupposition: The bible is the word of God and 100% truth.
      Conclusion: God makes logic and reason possible (same for causality etc)

      Sig's Naturalist view: Signess
      Presupposition: Logic and reason are self evident (same for causality etc)
      Conclusion: The world appears to be ordered and not contain supernatural powers at work.

      I agree with your conclusion, but not with your presupposition.

      You agree that my presupposition is true, but disagree with my conclusion. You complain that I can't support my presupposition (which kind of goes against the idea of what a presupposition is).

      I think that since we both agree that logic is true, it shouldn't matter why we think it is true.

      I would also state that my presupposition is one nearly everyone on planet earth agrees with. That they find it self-evident in our lives. As where your presupposition is in wide dispute and is not inherently sefl evident. There are many many competing claims.

      I think that makes my presupposition a superior foundation to start a conversation as it has near-universal acceptance. Yours is less so because it has wide contention and disagreement.

      Trying to make me argue to justify proof of my presupposition (which again defies the very meaning of the term) is intilectually dishonest since there is already near complete agreement on its self-evident truth.

      I also pointed out in the debate, that we have very little alternative than to accept logic, causality, reason, and experience as foundations. We do however have many ready alternatives to the Christian bible as a foundation of knowledge.

      Indeed I'd further say, that to read the bible, you need to have reason, logic, perception and so on.

      You were trying to chase me in circles. And that is because your world view is a circle, and it is that quality that you find most satisfying about it. The conclusion leads to the presupposition and the presupposition leads to the conclusion. (I disagree a bit on that but this is how you find it so "solid")

      Mine is linear. It starts with a presupposition that has no external justification and then builds on that. It doesn't circle back at any point and use conclusions to justify the premise. You demand it should, but I think that is actually a mistake of reasoning. Demanding circular reasoning.... well, its rather illogical.

      • 3 months ago

        @sigfried "I think that since we both agree that logic is true, it shouldn't matter why we think it is true."

        I'm not attacking *why* you think it's true, I'm attacking naturalism's misuse of this presupposition. Naturalism does not allow for itself to be falsified by anything while simultaneously claiming to make no objective truth claims because we only know naturalism via humans who the naturalists acknowledge imperfectly interact with the world. The naturalist *only* acknowledges that which is physical, which implies that no matter what happens, a hardline naturalist will say "this is of X physical cause, or of Y physical cause which we have not yet found". This is where you diverge from naturalists.

        I can't attack naturalism with you, because you say "I would drop naturalism in light of some arbitrarily decided upon improbable event." This is fine, but this is *not* naturalism (also makes me wonder how you deal with the teleological argument, now that I think about it), because the naturalist *only* acknowledges that which is physical, creating a framework by which there can be nothing considered to ever even be metaphysical, thus creating an unfalsifiable worldview which at the same time purports to know nothing certainly.

        There are a number of problems with the uncertainty claim that someone who holds true to naturalism can be attacked on down the line, but again you are not tied to the idea and say 'I could be wrong.'

        Now as for your misuse of the presupposition, it's slightly different. You have the same unfalsifiable issue I presume, but we didn't really get to go that far.

        You say "I am not certain of anything, including this claim." Which would be fine, but you can't point me to a single way by which you would acknowledge something to be true with certainty, leading me to believe you are lying about this because you know it is totally incoherent if you say "I am not certain about anything."

        Here is where I'd challenge you to think up some scenario in which you would accept something as 100% true. For example, do you accept that it is 100% true without a shadow of a doubt that you are currently thinking? This is generally the line of argumentation that is gone down when someone claims inherent uncertainty.

        Once the person drops inherent uncertainty, which is logically contradictory as we've shown above, the realm of argumentation is blown way open. There are tons of other issues that the (actual) naturalist has, but so many need to be talked on their own and have entire sections of epistemology dedicated to them that we can't deal with here for obvious reasons.

        You simply say "I like naturalism because it works for me", which yeah the title is worded that *your* naturalist worldview is fine in that you can drop it whenever you want, but it doesn't allow anyone to attack actual naturalism because you just say "Yeah it's maybe wrong there." while at the same time claiming some things can be known certainly, while again at the same time not being able to think of a single way to know something certainly.

      • 3 months ago


        I have to say, I think its odd that being willing to entertain you could possibly be wrong is considered a "cheat" of sorts in any sort of debate or discussion. To me, that's just keeping an open mind. And having at least a smidgen of intellectual humility. (Humility is not my strong suit.)

        I'd like to think the fact that this makes my position difficult to attack is an awfully good reason for adhering to it! After all a position you could easily falsify would not be a very strong one to hold. :)

        Confidence is good, certainty is not so good. But you can show that what I have confidence in is wrong, you just have to demonstrate it in some pragmatic fashion rather than a philosophical one.

        I think the turn on "there can't ever be anything metaphysical" is that I only claim there isn't any good support for anything metaphysical, not that it can't exist. Its saying "I don't see any cats in this box and I doubt there ever will be" not "There can never be cats in boxes."

        Something 100% true... I think its very hard to come up with something like that. There are things I am confident enough to bet my life on. For a pragmatist, that's about as good as it gets. There are things that are unfalsifiable by others. Say, what I am feeling. I know what that is, i don't see how anyone else could know. But... perhaps I'm utterly insane and don't realize it, then I'd be wrong. I don't think that is true, I'd give it only the tiniest of probabilities, but I have to acknowledge it is theoretically possible. But the doubt is so small, it hardly matters for pragmatic purposes.

        I don't see where you show that uncertainty is self-contradictory. I can tell you that, again, in theory, were I omnipotent, I might have 100% certainty. By definition, I'd pretty well have to have that unless the universe were fundamentally random and unpredictable. But even then, I'd at least be certain of that fact that I knew. But... none of us are omnipotent so there will always be information we don't have. That doesn't make it fundamentally unknowable, only practically unknowable. So I can imagine perfect knowledge, but I can't realistically obtain it for myself.

        I'd like to say my version of naturalism is simply better than that of others, which is why it's so hard to attack effectively. It is consistent internally, it is hard to disprove, and very rational and very practical. Its weakness is it doesn't offer any guarantees. Then again, it doesn't make promises it can't keep either.

        I have to address "misuse of the presupposition" because I think I use the term exactly correctly. Here are the dictionary.com and Wikipedia definitions.

        - a thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action

        - an implicit assumption about the world or background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse.

        When I posit that logic, reason, observation, and causality are presuppositions, I mean exactly the above. They are not supported by my arguments, they are the base of my arguments. Demanding I support them is what is a misuse of presupposition. Especially when you already agree they are true.

      • 2 months ago

        @sigfried A very long reply to a simple claim.

        "I believe nothing is certain." is a self refuting claim. You try to avoid this by saying "I don't believe anything is certain."

        This is disingenuous because I ask, within your worldview, how could I ever convince you that any one thing was absolutely certain? The answer is that within your world view, it's not *possible* for something to be certain.

        This is why your worldview is self refuting.

      • 2 months ago

        @rstanton34 Not at all. It is only self refuting if you claim that every belief, by definition, has to be 100% confident.

        Why would you need to convince me something is 100% certain? All we need is to be certain enough to make informed decisions.

        It is not at all disingenuous, it only fails to satisfy your unreasonable demands.