Friday, 13 July 2007
Abstract Entities and Atheism
(Immaterial realities, numbers, thoughts, ideas, memories, logic, feelings, love, etc., all of the abstract confrontations of the world of mind. Do they exist?, What are they really?, Do they prove that God exists? What are they in an atheist’s worldview? Is this some kind of fatal flaw for atheism?)
Intro: My purpose here is to provide three levels of atheists with the correct answer to a very common objection to atheism. I would love to dive deep into my understanding of Allverse logic alone and how that explains everything at my level, however it is an understatement to say that it would be useful only to me. Thus I’m going to try to take my aspiring readers on a little journey through three states of argument, each the correct answer in its own right, all three compatible with one another, but only differing in level of sophistication and completeness. You may call them novice, intermediate, and advanced or you can delineate them by the personal level, the scientific level, and philosophical level. Hopefully any atheist at any level will be able to find what they are looking for and perhaps peek ahead to the bigger picture and get there when they are ready.
Theolosopher (see note 1): Atheism must be false because non-physical things exist.
Atheist: Non-physical things exist?
Theolosopher: Duh, didn’t you get the memo? Thoughts, logic, numbers, feelings, and the like are all magic things that don’t belong in a purely physical universe. But my God is like these things...they are both non-physical, spiritual realities...and thus we would not expect them to exist if atheism were true.
Atheist: You’re kidding, right? Am I being Punk’d?
Theolosopher: No. This is very serious AND VERY REAL! I need to save you from eternal torment and thus you must listen to me. [or if the theolosopher is a Calvinist they are here to inform you that you have not been predestined to salvation because your standards of evidence are too reasonable.]
Atheist: How kind of you. Does this have something to do with your worldview being empirically challenged?
Theolosopher: This is so much better than evidence! In fact, this is the evidence!
Atheist: Calling something magic that you don’t understand makes up for your worldview being allergic to evidence?
Theolosopher: This is very sophisticated! Lots of top notch theistic philosophers that I read write about this! Now…try to picture the number one in your mind. Where did that come from? How can it be there?
Atheist: Right…right. I get it. Thoughts are red. God is red. The universe is blue and therefore thoughts go with the color god and not a blue naturalistic universe. “Very” sophisticated.
Theolosopher: Ha ha! Very funny! Yes, that’s how it is.
It seems theists propose they have identified these abstract realities as belonging innately to the category of mind in simple fashion of “just knowing” as they would identify anything “innocently.” Sort of a categorical fideism…an innate feeling of credibility concerning the nature of something special to them. In a sense, this is just another way of trying to win the “mind/body” debate over what the mind really is. Are mental states really just physical states? Or are they something else? Is there anything that is truly nonphysical and yet still can be accurately said to exist? We are dealing with the key players (non-physical realities) that occupy the mental landscape and thus this is another iteration of that debate. And the theist worldview provides the great big magic mind in the sky that makes sense of these abstract realities in a categorical sense…if in fact their identification of the subject matter is accurate.
Outside of theolosophy, this is the so called the “problem of universals.” However, universals are really just incidence…inevitable combinations of physicality based on the uniformity of natural law (which is really just one iteration of the Allverse and happens to be what it is). The repetition of these forms I would call near perfect coincidences with only an apparent unifying feature of mental association and whatever incidentally you can always do to a particular form whenever it arises. Taking it the other way around (known oxymoronically as platonic “realism”) as though there is a real prototype behind every concept and incidence of shape drags us back to the bizarre realm of Platonic forms…as though the physical world is accessing a literal cosmic depot of prototypes. Where is this place? How do you get there? When you get there, would we not have to conclude yet again that the stock lying about in this platonic warehouse points to yet another infinite warehouse of arbitrary combinations of form?
When we build something from legos are we really practicing magical incantations that inevitably checks out an item from the celestial library? What the hell does this even mean? This tail is wagging a big dog…however what if we are the dog? Or rather part of it? In that case the Platonic realm is real…but we are in it (in fact, we are it), right now. Forms don’t point to something else…they “point” to themselves and in the context of the Allverse (see section three of this post), every variation of every ideal form exists somewhere in the infinite set of all possible things (though not truly in essence). Perhaps we could call this Allrealism? I depart from even nominalism in that even the labels or names given to a variety of things and every ideal mental idea comes in their own though infinitesimally minute varieties as well. No two thoughts are exactly alike as they must differ in some subatomic way at the very least.
Thus it becomes clear that inaddition to the problem of universals, we have to hit up the mind/body problem, the free will vs. determinism debate, and settle all the biggest ontological questions in but one discussion. Hopefully by the end of the post we'll have ended up successfully refuting any and all ill-defined meta-scam propositions (like the proverbial fly that refuses to land) in this arena...whatever form they might take. I've already been accused of misrepresenting the Christian position...even though I was accurately representing a different version. Oopsie.
Beginner level (personal experience):
The novice is someone who is new to the debate. Perhaps they recently fell out of love with their god and have run up against a few persistent believers who wish to change their mind. Whatever the entry level context, a theolosopher has done you the unfortunate disservice of dropping a huge issue on your plate with only a few words. I hope this answer is simple and effective enough for you to at least appreciate what’s going on and hold your ground coherently. The more you learn about science and the landscape of evidence, you can move from this level up to the next. Take a peek at the next section, but don’t start dropping those bombs if you don’t really know what you are doing. In the meantime while you grow and mature in your worldview, I would recommend saying something like this:
Atheist: Perhaps you have misidentified what non-physical things really are. I’m sure you can’t tell me the first thing about what they are in the theistic version other than they have to do with god. Likewise I haven’t a clue about all the technical details about how it all works in a purely physical sense. Honestly I’ve never thought mental things were at all “magic” or "spiritual" or literally "immaterial" and what you are asserting isn’t even found in the Bible and thus amounts to your own speculation and wishful thinking. Taking one side in an ancient debate uncritically really doesn't prove anything.
A computer, I’m sure you would agree, is all about numbers and yet the 1’s and 0’s are really based on “on” and “off.” If that is so, where are the numbers? And by the time it is done we have remarkable programs that can do spectacular things and are a venerable “nonphysical reality unto themselves” and I have no idea how it gets there, but I’m pretty sure a soul isn’t involved. Thus your argument is hardly the deal-breaker you want it to be with atheism. It is just a case of mistaken identity and an argument from incredulity. At the very least, I couldn’t tell one from the other since God could have made us completely from matter, minus the supposed soul, if he wanted to.
Bottom line: Who can tell the difference between the magically begotten spiritual players of mind from the physical exploits of an overly sophisticated biological, self aware, computing machine with a tendency towards emotional solipsism? Agnosticism either way does not make someone a theist and thus this isn’t the deal breaker with atheism that your average theolosopher needs it to be. If the identification of these “immaterial realities” is suspect…and it certainly is…we’ve been lost to the “dark side.”
Intermediate level (science):
Someone like Richard Dawkins, Steven Novella, or Michael Shermer would fit into this category. This requires going from agnosticism on the issue into research and data on the mind and knowing what to do with it and how the probabilities point to matter over mind. If you are not at all familiar with the neuroscience, or modern psychology, or evolutionary biology, or skeptical inquiry in general, you should probably avoid backing yourself into these dead ends of your ignorance. You’ll make my team look bad.
Establishing an objective context for the claim is most like the next important step in atheist understanding of reality. This is a lot of ground to cover:
-There is not sufficient evidence to corroborate the important metaphysical claims of any religion (unless you call atheism a religion, in which case we expect tax breaks and the words on the dollar to say, “In God We Do and Don’t Trust,” and we expect to be trusted more since everyone knows religious people are more trustworthy, etc). We should live in a world where every investigation into the topic comes to theistic conclusions independently…not where the identity of morality, logic, love, mind, numbers and abstract entities in general overturn all the other identifiable states of evidence.
A. A great many things that once were thought the work of spirits, demons, and gods have been shown not to be. One might expect a soul being responsible for our minds may be next in line.
B. Legend, exaggeration, cases of mistaken identity, pious fraud, charlatans, quacks, credulity, and the like have been exposed as real players on the table of such magical claims and probably account for all the cases we can’t directly disprove. I mention this because these options are an intersecting part of the venn diagram of what atheists and theists accept as being part of the real world (aka common ground uniform experience). The claim that abstract realities exist is likely a matter of mistaken identity even if we don’t have a complete understanding of all reality or how the physical brain works yet.
C. Our understanding of the natural world continues to grow as a result of the scientific method. As a result such supernatural explanations like the “god hypothesis” have been especially red shifted for 200 years. There is no methodology other than science that has been shown to give reliable accurate results. We do not use tea leaf readings, the zodiac, psychics, mystics, prayer, or the Bible to find something out about the world. We do experiments, and neurologists aren’t all tossing up their hands as though there is simply no more work to be done understanding the mind in natural terms.
D. It would be easy to prove that the soul existed if we could but confirm such things like transcendental meditation and yet such a thing or anything like it (out of body experiences and near death experiences) has not been successfully corroborated, but does have a better explanation as mere mental phenomena. If the opposite was evident any other proposed "nonphysical entity" would be therefore more probable.
-The origin of claims like a loving god created us and looks over us, has a purpose for us, that there is life after death, that love and morality mean something beyond our physical world, etc have obvious roots in wishful thinking, and common sense shows that such emotional extrapolations are unreliable. We don’t always get everything we might think we want.
-The best way to see what mind is is when it isn’t working. There are dozens of examples of dysfunctional minds due to brain damage, mental illness, and genetic defects that reliably affect different aspects of the mind in consistent ways. It is much like pulling a piece out of a mother board on your computer and watching that function cease. I recommend the podcasts: Psych 1 - Fall 2006: General Psychology, Biological Bases of Mind and Behavior I-III, with John Kihlstrom for several good examples.
A. A key example of the mind’s dependence on the physical brain is dementia which shows that the signal has not been scrambled from the nether world but instead it is scrambling consciousness itself for loved ones to watch in horror as their elderly parents aren’t physically dead, aren’t even brain dead, but haven’t been a person for quite some time…even though all those misaligned mental pieces of personhood are still there in play and slowly degrading. I recommend the podcast: Skeptics Guide to the Universe #91 -April 18th, 2007…the interview with Susan Blackmore.
B. Another prime example is split-brain disorder where the main connection between the two hemispheres has literally been surgically severed to avoid epileptic seizures. Patients are known to diverge in opinions and Ramachandran in the Beyond Belief seminar gives an interesting presentation of the implications of these apparently two new persons. The separation is never truly complete though as long as there is some connectivity between the two hemispheres.
C. The brain doesn’t seem to have anything to do if the mind and everything in it is really part of some non-physical reality. In fact some creationists claim we don’t need the brain and that patients supposedly missing the majority of their brain have a higher IQ! However I don’t know any of these meta-scammers that have gone out and gotten lobotomies to improve their arguments. Perhaps they shouldn’t have believed the myth that we only use 10% to begin with.
The point of this is apart from the subjective labels we give our personal experience of ourselves, with a greater view of what the landscape of data has to offer, nothing seems to infer any immaterial reality, a soul, or any kind of mind that is not directly dependent on the arrangement of matter. We could have been steadily confirming the opposite as though we were in some kind of fantasy novel with wizards and the like…but that’s not the case.
-Arguments about mind and free will make little sense as they propose effects without causes. If something has no cause, why does it happen? Free will has to be predicated on determinism. Your feelings are not determined by you, your tastes are not determined by you, your preferences are not determined by you, and your ability to sort and prioritize all the variables in your mind is not determined by you. But all these things come together and you are basically the sophisticated part that sorts out and connects your feelings and preferences to the external and other internal inputs. Why do we blame people then? Can we not impact other people’s actions by acting? Blame has positive consequences just as does any other normative concept of social interaction we have including justice and the like. Magic walls of determinism do not rise up to prevent our ultimately deterministic interaction with others.
-If a soul has no reducible parts why does it do what it does and not something else? How can it be unique? How can you tell one from the other? How can it reliably output behavior that is relatively predictable? How can we even in our ignorance predict the behavior of uncaused phenomena? Why do we not live in a world filled with free will "tourettes?" Reductionism answers these questions very simply, because what we do see is predictable behaviors based off of reliable deterministic systems.
-If mind is something other than physical reality or is independent of it, how can it interact with the physical world? If they have no mutual nature to connect them, why are they connected? Does God use magic glue? Perhaps a bar of soap like when Peter Pan has become disconnected from his shadow? Materialism makes more sense because there is no difference is essence of reality. Mental states are complicated physical states.
Bottom Line: Atheism triumphs in each of these line items with an argument to the better explanation. Considering all the evidence it is improbable that abstract realities have been properly identified by theolosophers and it is very probable that eventually (apart from the already mentioned philosophical considerations) we will have a full understanding of how the mind works in terms of the physical world and that there will be no need for a stop at any otherworldly depot to complete the picture.
Advanced level (philosophy):
You can hold your ground at the previous two levels but theolosophers will still pride themselves on the extent of their worldview despite any appeal to intellectual honesty. Instead of concluding they have gone too far with current knowledge, they conclude that atheism is an inadequate philosophical explanation because for most intermediate atheists, their worldview has to stop at the unknown. Meta-scammers are immune from sound epistemic administration. Most intermediate atheists will say they don’t know where the universe or the multiverse came from, but that it probably isn’t from any god...and I agree with them. However I do think it is possible to out do theolosophers in the philosophical realm and complete our basic conceptual picture of the greater nature of reality. Can we philosophically go beyond the physical world we know of with any degree of accuracy? The theists have tried to do this for eons. I’m not necessarily against it, but I am against doing it incorrectly. Of course we have to answer some basic questions first before we can explain how “abstract entities” tie into the greater nature of existence.
1. Why is there something rather than nothing? Obviously this is the biggest ontological question there is.
2. And, why is our universe the way it is? Why isn’t it a different way?
3. If God made everything, what made God? Or we could ask why is God the way he is and not some other way? Or even, if God doesn’t need a maker, then how do you know the physical world needs a maker?
4. How do you know the physical world is contingent and transitory…or as theists seem to think, a second class ontological citizen? Does merely not having a beginning really get God off of the hook for needing an explanation of the arbitrary way he is?
I have the correct answers to all of these questions.
The first is an invalid question. This conclusion came to me when I realized questions require there be a context by which to ask the question. There has to be more than one variable to work with to establish some kind of relationship. For instance, if you ask where something is located on the map…but there is only one location, you can’t say it is five miles from what does not exist. In a similar way when you put everything that exists into your first variable and you ask a question about it…there literally can’t be an answer. All questions require a context that simply does not exist by definition of the question being asked. This rubs us the wrong way because we are emotionally attached to context. Our minds live and breath context. We are context-o-philes. We don’t know what its like to be contextless and that is exactly what existence is. Thus we should not be surprised when this doesn’t make sense to us. Even calling something a “necessary being” makes no sense because how can something be necessary if there are no external needs to fulfill? Bottom line: There can't be a reason for existence.
As for question 2, there are definitely atheists who assert that this universe may be all there is. I disagree. And there are people that think universe by definition means, “all there is” and I disagree there, too. I agree with theists that our universe is very particular. It seems like it could just as easily be some other way and it isn’t. They call this design. I call this particularity which is design compatible terminology, but not necessarily so. Currently physicists seem to think that the “laws” of physics imply other universes. Various multiverse theories are floating around out there and perhaps even one day we will be able to bore holes through space/time itself and get into another universe. This of course would suggest that we may be one of many other possible universes with our own set of random physical laws. There could be an infinite number of variations for all we know and thus “design” is really an illusion created by our ignorance. However theists seem to have no trouble moving the goal posts back a step and saying, “Okay, what created this infinite multiverse?” And I agree. Even the multiverse is fairly particular. It demands context as well. We'll get to that in a second.
Question 3: So theists will say, what created animals? Evolution! What created the first life form? A chance molecule! What made that possible? The laws of physics! What made the laws of physics? It’s a product of the multiverse! What makes multiverses? As the physicist in Lee Strobel’s “A Case for a Creator” said, “A multiverse factory,” which still demands yet another explanation. And we’ve learned nothing on this journey. I have no doubt that when we finally arrive on that proto-molecule that started life, YECs will say, “That doesn’t prove that God didn’t do it.” However, if God is that multiverse factory, then where’s the God factory? If God doesn’t need a factory, why does the multiverse need a factory? If we have to appeal to super laws of nature, and if theolosophers are so certain that God embodies all sorts of laws...hello...this cries out for another law maker. A God, the grandfather. I think the multiverse does need a factory or an even greater context to justify its arbitrary state of being. Something having a beginning or not is ultimately superficial and irrelevant. Any arbitrary state of ontology (such as a disembodied supermind) needs that greater context. This means that God cannot be the ontologically supreme state of being as orthodox Christian theism requires him to be. Thus God cannot be this factory, or if he is, he still needs a factory as well. For some reason theists believe an infinite regress is impossible because you can’t traverse it and arrive at where you are. But as we will see from my answer to question four, there is no you going anywhere and no need for a "save the infinite regress walk-a-thon." Not to mention, if infinity is logically impossible…what does that do to an infinite god?
Question 4: There cannot be such a thing as an “unmoved mover” for that is a logical contradiction. How can an unmoved object move something? Last time I checked, I always move when I move something else. And in fact movement itself violates the law of non-contradiction. How can something be one way and another? How can you be a baby, an adult, and a dead person? Ah, we have time to sort that out, don’t we? Movement isn’t contradictory because 3 dimensional objects exist in another dimension as well called time which allows for the illusion of change. The correct implication is that nothing ultimately moves when you use a more correct reference frame. The year 1969 isn’t getting any less groovy. For it to no longer exist would require a violation of the law of non-contradiction again. How can it be…and not be? Unless you posit another dimension of change…say a fifth dimension…but no matter what you do, if you search back in 5D “time” you will find the year 1969 just as it was. In fact any time traveling scenario can only produce more alternate timelines, but never touch the original. Existence is immutable. Anything that exists must be so. Even when we apparently create a video game world, the four dimensions it occupies are permanent “additions” to immutable existence. The year 1969 will always be what it was as an eternally frozen moment.
And this is so even if God exists. If our timeline could be represented as a yard stick (with each of our years etched onto its length) floating around in God’s mind, it would have always been there. If God is outside of time, there is by definition no way for the yardstick to be in any way different. God cannot say, “I’m done with that,” and make it cease to be any more than he can make a rock so big that he can’t pick it up. Of course this completely does away with any argument that we are fundamentally different than God is in terms of the characteristics that supposedly set him apart from us. We are an immutable, eternal, 4th dimensional object that is uncreated and it is logically impossible for it to be any other way. That yard stick could never have started to exist even in context of a god outside of time and thus cannot said to have been “created” as that is temporal terminology. These are all the things that God is said to have over us and the reason he does not need a creator and thus we are on equal ontological ground.
Where does that leave us?
The end result of this thinking leaves us with a definition of reality that I call the Allverse. Our quadrant of what we call space time is an iteration of the infinite set of all possible things that couldn’t not exist. It is infinitely imparticular while allowing for infinite local particularity. The likelihood of this greater reality resembling a functional interpersonal mind capable of forgiving our sins is about as likely as it resembling an immaterial herd of pink elephants. Why does the Allverse exist you ask? It doesn’t…or rather, the statement doesn’t apply. Even the term “exist” is a context dependent term and there is no context for the Allverse by definition. It is not an arbitrary ontological proposition because of its infinite imparticularity…there is no coherent way to describe or define it overall. It simply cannot be defined, whereas a divine supermind would have to fit certain definitional parameters and have some kind of coherent mental order even of the "immaterial variety" in order to serve the purposes Christian theism needs him to serve.
Disclaimer: For those of you that have bothered to read this level inappropriate material and have found yourselves either scoffing or wrestling with emotional nihilism, remember, we apparently exist in context and therefore can have local meaning even though when these things are carefully scrutinized as I’ve done here, they are ultimately illusionary. When speaking of the Allverse such terms don’t apply for the reasons given and not for some satanic conspiracy to remove you from the love of a god. If you don’t understand, and are going to hurt yourself before you do understand, stop thinking about it and read my post on “The Meaning of Life,” instead. Impersonal, technical definitions of the way reality is do not invalidate morality or personhood or keep you from getting the things you want in life. If you think it does (even in theory), you didn’t understand anything I said. In technical terms, whatever part of you is indignant or disatisfied with such illusionary terms is as illusionary as that which is being dismissed. Thus, all such "logical" criticisms cancel out and you are left on the level of a personal choice of what you want to do with this unavoidable information about the way you really are. The big secret is to merely not take the impersonal personally.
What does all this mean for the so called “non-physical realities” that theolosophers would like to think they have correctly identified?
Take logic for example. Logic is a concept…a label we give to a hierarchy of successful thinking patterns. Apparently we even have to be able to feel what it means for something to be true or false in order for logic to have an orientation. Thus feeling and thought are interdependent. I don’t expect to go out and meet logic anywhere. I’m not going to find it under a rock or behind a bush (or in heaven) and I’m not going to find it by dissecting my brain any more than I expect to find this word document by taking a sledgehammer to my computer. Sitting in the midst of a computer pile I could whine and complain like a theist that I can’t find my word document anywhere in this physical pile of parts even with a microscope. So where is it? Is it an immaterial reality? Is it hiding in computer heaven? Does that question really apply? Have computer programs been summoned from a literal nether world of abstract ideas? “Oh MSPaint! Hearken to us as we cast our magic spells into computer language!”
What do we mean by logic? It “exists” as part of the interrelated contextual relationship of our brains. The brain is the physical constitution that begets our realm of mind. Our mind is the holistic process of consciousness and thus is ultimately a reducible system of complex contingency (just like our computers are ultimately haranessing the power of 1's and 0's from the ground up) that has been cultivated incidentally by the process of evolution based on the local “rules” of how our quadrant of the Allverse happens to be.
Many things that have to do with mind exist only for the mind itself. Logic has no meaning if there is no mind that needs to use it. It is as though there are hand holds on a cliff that did not mean to be there, but incidentally can be used to climb the rock wall. And these “hand holds” on reality have been mapped out by evolution to serve its purposes. Logic simply isn't something personal when a mind does not exist to be ingratiated into it any more than the hand holds on the cliff are there specifically to aid climbers.
The best example I can think to illustrate what I mean here and how this can be in terms of a physical...yet rather abstract application...is the key making process. If you’ve ever had a key made you can see they take the existing key and stick it in a machine along side a “blank” key. The original key’s particular shape represents the particularity of our place in the Allverse…how the Allverse happens to “manifest” itself (though the Allverse proper understood technically doesn’t change). Every other “key” that could possibly be also exists elsewhere (to complete the entire set of reality). Incidentally the “key” (or pattern) of our universe happens to allow for a process of evolution. Evolution according to our analogy would be the process (much like the jig that connects the two keys) by which the particularity of how our universe "unfolds" through space and time is translated or etched step by step, layer by layer of sophistication into physical matter (which would be the “blank” key) in terms of a reciprocating bio-mechanical system.
This happened in rudimentary ways at first (in regards to animal brains) but then as the brain found itself in confrontation not only with the external world but also with itself an even more complicated setup took hold. As a species we became self-aware, because it was profitable for the system to deal with the reality of itself as a key player in the equation. As we became more and more aware of ourselves and each other the conception of “I” and “you” and “we” developed psychologically and various behavioral patterns and stabilizing factors (like morality) found their way into the mix to give us the full spectrum we enjoy today. All of the things about us are oriented and contingent on living in a fourth dimensional world and the kinds of relationships that are to be found there. Logic in terms of evolution is what it means to operate successfully on that playing field. It is abstractly “stenciled” if you will in the particularity our physical constitution in complex interrelated ways. Evolution “traced” the contingencies of the external world to beget a mental system dependent on what we identify in our experience conceptually as “logic.”
I see logic as a concept generated by a mirrored contingency of how our fourth dimensional world works. It is a part of the full spectrum of possible logic, much like we only see a part of the spectrum of light. It is not something in and of itself...it is more like a reaction to the structure of the world that has been systematically frozen in the nature of our minds. What would logic be for a mind in a 5th dimensional world? A sixth dimensional world? The rest of the full spectrum of logic would not contradict what we know (I don’t expect 2+2 not to equal four)…it would complement and broaden what we know. And given there may very well be infinite dimension there may be no such thing as “completing” what we know.
We are “in love” with logic and experience and all the things that make us what we are and therefore identifying them exactly is probably one of the most difficult things we can do because our emotional attachment clouds our perception...which in fact happens to mean that emotion is doing its job. Evolution assigned emotion to be an ultimately arbitrary system of “specialness” to things that profit the selfish gene. So if you simply can’t accept that you are just made of matter, that means evolution is working, lol (or has been working rather). Evolutures that felt compelled to treat themselves and each other on equal terms with rocks and dirt were weeded out a long time ago. Thus we take logic for granted, it seems very special, we couldn’t imagine it being any other way, and it seems to have a life of its own.
All things considered, there is nothing contradictory about logic and atheism “existing” in the same reality. The evolved formalization of what would eventually become logic would have to be objective in general in order to beget success, so to would our moral drive in general have to yield objective results. Obviously monkeys who thought, "If I find a banana tree, then I will acquire a banana," were able to feed themselves more often than the monkeys who thought, "If I find a rock, I will acquire a banana." It is a good thing that understanding this idea is not a current prerequisite for eating or else some theolosophers would be starving right now. Instead they serve as evidence that evolution can only do so much.
Bottom line: What I’ve given here is a conceptual explanation that is consistent with what the scientific community calls the “fact of evolution.” I haven’t really invented anything…I’ve just elaborated on what logic means in that context and connected it to my Allverse theory. Theism tries to connect “nonphysical realities” to their ultimate explanation and that’s what I’ve done instead and my explanation is superior in every regard. Logic, for instance, is just an abstract mentally compatible template for navigating successfully in a four dimensional world. Calling it magic, and displacing it one step into God’s essence doesn’t really answer any questions and fosters all sorts of nonsensical conclusions and inhibits our understanding true philosophy and the real world.
It is unfortunate that such a simple assertion like, “Nonphysical entities exist therefore atheism is false” brings with it tons of issues to bear to fully understand what the deal is. That is why I broke this up into three levels so that atheists out there don’t have their hands full digesting everything under the sun to get back to a theist on one simple point. But just remind yourselves that theolosophers seem to have no idea what they are really getting at either. No doubt they’ve managed some success stumping your average atheist who isn’t a sophisticated enough philosopher to hand them back their testicles in a flaming doggie bag. So I hope this little journey helped someone out on some level and leads the way to a complete worldview for atheists everywhere.
Note 1: A “theolosopher” is a theistic philosopher whose job is to make philosophy match up with their theistic religion. Their thinking normally makes very little sense in and of itself, and is best understood in terms of “A to B” (from them to God) with little or no justification apart from that. They basically churn out an arbitrary philosophical “patch” that is solipsistic in nature and contributes very little to intelligent discussion but does allow them to keep meta-scamming (see note 2). If what they say seems crazy…that’s because you are sane. I cannot grant them the title of mere philosopher as a result. These people will vehemently reject all epistemic accountability, all checks and balances on the truth and coherence of their worldview, they will reject the need for sufficient evidence of their extraordinary claims, they will claim their feelings on the matter (aka fideism) are virtually inerrant (which is idolatry, if you ask me), they will attempt to disown any criticism of the morality of their worldview wholesale, and any and all appeals to common sense and rationality until you’ve already bought their scam. Their methods of defense can be literally applied to any pet proposition “successfully.” One wonders how they are so confident they are dealing with the truth with all these “special needs.” But I digress.
Note 2: Meta-scamming is what a meta-scammer does…how they live their life…how they connect their emotional continuum to their patented non-truths to reap the benefits. It is a person that embraces what can only be identified as a metaphysical scam. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with money, but instead they are squandering their emotional wealth in this life (which is more precious) on an emotionally compelling metaphysical fiction of someone else’s creation. Generally this is referred to as religion however my term is begotten of my personal technical philosophy which is confrontationalism (see note 3). A metaphysical scam is defined in terms of personal confrontation with a questionable belief system; however folks like Richard Dawkins use the phrase “viral memes” which can be understood from an impersonal anthropological context. A person detects the red flags of a metaphysical scam and an anthropologist identifies and tracks a viral meme’s development and mutation through culture over time. Both terms have their place in atheist jargon.
Note 3: Confrontationalism, for our present purposes, can be roughly substituted for “metaphysical naturalism,” “atheism,” and “secular humanism.” Metaphysical naturalism is the belief that existence is predominantly impersonal and that so far our physical universe is all we know of. The so called noetic realm of ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and souls is the companion delusion to our evolved human psychology. Atheism can be considered the belief that there probably aren’t any gods. Secular humanism is love of humanity for its own sake, divorced from superstition and based on facts. Confrontationalism is not these things, but it comes to those conclusions simply because these things represent the best explanation for how all the confrontations in the world actually relate. It could come to the conclusion that god exists if in fact that were the case. It does not discriminate against it up front. Confrontationalism’s basic tool set includes predominantly empiricism, evidentialism, scientism, and dispassionate rationalism (without the isms), because those prove to be the most reliable methods of acquiring accurate truth about the world. Confrontationalism begins with the most reducible coherent statement possible which is, “I confront.” That much starts the grading curve at most certain and things go out and downhill eventually from there.
Contrary to what the theistic cynics like Mr. Jargon would like to believe (who are always looking for an excuse to be depraved outside of theism), confrontationalism is no more solipsism (see note 4) any more than NASA is advocating geocentrism when they launch rockets into space, treating the earth as a stationary object for the sake of simplicity of their equations. It is a matter of mere incidence and practicality of where your starting position happens to be. This criticism of course coming from someone that has an invisible friend in the sky and who thinks his arbitrary feelings (via fideism) are dictating the existence of this ontologically Supreme Being despite all evidence to the contrary and his ability to be objective about bad arguments for his side.
Note 4: Solipsism (in my book) isn’t so much about only being able to prove you exist but more about pathologically coming to self-serving existential and philosophical conclusions instead of letting the cards fall where they may and making arguments to the better explanation independent of what you would prefer to be true.