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Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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Larry Allen Brown

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Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - 10:56 AM

Is it true that no person is above the Law in the United States?

No person is above the Law in the United States. That's what we are taught as foundational to American principles. Our country is built upon that foundation.
In logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e. g. the two propositions "A is B" and "A is not B" are mutually exclusive.

So you cannot be A, and be NOT A at the same time in the same context. OK?

Modus Ponens: The mode that affirms. If/then
P1. If it rained, then the streets are wet
P2. the streets are wet,
C: therefore; it rained.

Modus Tollens. The mode that denies. If/then
P1. If it rained, then the streets are wet
P2. the streets are dry
C: therefore; it did not rain

That's the logic.

Modus Ponens: If/then
P1. If the president can’t be indicted, then he is above the law
P2. the president cannot be indicted
C: therefore; he is above the law.

Modus Tollens: If/then
P1. If the president cannot be indicted, then he is above the law
P2. No one is above the law
C: therefore; the president can be indicted

If theory T is true, then we should observe O.
We do not observe O.
Therefore, theory T is false. ( Modus Tollens )

If P, Then Q.
Not Q
Therefore, Not P

Modus Tollens

That’s the logic.

So, apparently one person IS above the law. For AG Barr to suggest that the President cannot be indicted for obstruction of justice or any other crime is to make the claim that the President is above the law as demonstrated through Modus Ponens. Impeachment of the President does not guarantee that justice will be served, because of the tribal nature of our politics. If the president cannot be convicted in the Senate because of party loyalty, regardless of his crimes, then he can't be removed from office, and if he can't be removed from office, he cannot be indicted. Therefore, he is above the law. It simply cannot be applied to him. I don't think that's what the framers of the constitution had in mind. If no person is above the law, as demonstrated in Modus Tollens, then the policy set by the Office of Legal Council in the Department of Justice is standing on a logical contradiction in applying the law.



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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at PositiveHumanism.com.
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at http://www.bobennett.com
Print Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - 11:26 AM
I am sure there are many legal responses to this (outside my domain of expertise) so I will simply address the logic. The problem is with the ambiguity of terms. What does "above the law" mean? If we define "above the law" as "cannot be indicted" then if it is the case that the president cannot be indicted then the president is "above the law."

P1. Someone is "above the law" if they cannot be indicted.
P2. The president of the US cannot be indicted.
C. Therefore, the president of the US is "above the law".

The (logical) debate would be around premise #1. Premise 2 could be debated by lawmakers.
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jim
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Print Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - 11:52 AM
Totally agree with Dr Bo.

I would also add that you accidentally Affirmed the Consequent in your wet pavement example.

Whether a sitting President can be indicted is definitely a legal question rather than a logical one. AG Barr is apparently of the opinion that they cannot. However, AG Barr also argues that you cannot commit obstruction of justice if there is no underlying crime. This is a bizarre assertion and puts him very much in the minority of the legal profession, and calls into question to what extent motivated reasoning and special pleading are driving his public utterances in this case. Certainly Robert Mueller indicated very strongly in his report that the Congressional solution (ie impeachment) was the way to deal with these crimes.

As to whether tribal politics puts Trump above the law? I'm not sure we can say that. Yes, it means he is significantly more likely to be acquitted by the Senate if the House chose to impeach, but then in a regular court attractive people are less likely to be found guilty than unattractive people (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/so-sue-me/201408/do-attractive-people-fare-better-in-the-courtroom). Does that mean unattractive people are 'above the law', or does it just mean the system of justice has some inherent flaws?
Author of Fallacious Trump: The Donald J Trump Guide to Logical Fallacies, and co-host of the Fallacious Trump podcast


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Michael Chase Walker
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Michael Chase Walker

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Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Print Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - 01:49 PM
It should be noted that Mueller states, and I believe Barr agrees that once a president is removed from office they most certainly can be indicted. So this would have to amend to The President is only temporarily above the law. This might also apply to other statutes of limitation as well, such as in many crimes a person may be above the law after a certain amount of time.

Another consideration is that the House could impeach the president entirely on its own and not submit it to the senate. This is known as the Tribe solution.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/beta.washingtonpost.com/opinions/impeach-trump-but-dont-necessarily-try-him-in-the-senate/2019/06/05/22d83672-87bc-11e9-a870-b9c411dc4312_story.html%3FoutputType%3Damp

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Jim Tarsi

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Print Tue, Jul 09, 2019 - 08:52 AM
I see several logical issues here. First argument:
P1. If the president can’t be indicted, then he is above the law
P2. the president cannot be indicted
C: therefore; he is above the law.
P1 is incorrect; others have pointed out, and Mueller stated in his report, that a sitting President can certainly be indicted after he leaves office. Therefore, he cannot be indicted while he is President, but he is not above the law.
This leads nicely into the second predicate. P2 is not strictly true. The president can be indicted; there are no laws forbidding it. All that is preventing it is Department of Justice policy.
So we have two predicates that are not always true. Any conclusion is meaningless.

Second argument:
P1. If the president cannot be indicted, then he is above the law
P2. No one is above the law
C: therefore; the president can be indicted
Even though, according to our legal system, P2 is true, per the previous discussion, P1 is not true. Therefore, the conclusion does not follow.

As other people have stated, the argument boils down to definitions of "cannot be indicted" (while he is President, or ever?), and "above the law." There are things that the president can do by virtue of his position that others cannot legally do. Obstruction of justice is not one of them.


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Print Tue, Jul 30, 2019 - 04:17 PM
Indictment is the purpose of impeachment, and any president can be so indicted. Thus the original question is moot, nugatory.

The DOJ "policy" language, as I understand it, is to prevent every half-baked DA with a rubber stamp embossed "INDICTED" from putting the sitting president under perpetual kangaroo-court trials, though the MSM seems to have no trouble making up their own version - even to medical/psychological diagnosis - when it suits them (and so long as they get the Nielsen Ratings). I think it's exactly in keeping with the framers' intentions, just as the average citizen can't sue the government.

It is a bit amusing to see the disappointed TDS folks, here and elsewhere, trying, despite the (lack of) evidence, to indict or impeach Mr. Trump for the "high crime" of winning the Electoral College and the Presidency, but somehow ignoring the elephantette in the room whose obvious criminal negligence was imaginatively excused by James Comey, as "unintentional", when intention was not dispositive, coming as close as possible to doing the very thing Mueller could never have done properly, by law, "exonerating". Indeed, by his language, he found her guilty and pardoned her.

So I impeach my own first comment. The question is not nugatory, just misapplied. There appears to be at least one person above the law, though Hillary Clinton did not win the election.

I'd thank God, but I don't want to start an argument.


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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 02:12:55 PM
@jim: Thanks for commenting Jim.
Affirming the antecedent of a conditional and concluding its consequent is a validating form of argument, usually called "modus ponens" in propositional logic. I wasn't affirming the consequent. I was affirming the antecedent.
( antecedent) If it's raining,( consequent) then the streets are wet.
The streets are wet.
Therefore, it's raining.

If p then q.
q.
Therefore, p.

Example:
Premiss 1: If God reveals himself in the Bible, he will preserve a record of that revelation.
Premiss 2: God has preserved a record of his revelation.
Conclusion: God has revealed himself in the Bible.

The second premiss affirms the consequent of the first premiss, and the conclusion is the antecedent of the first premiss, which means that the argument commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

"Whether a sitting President can be indicted is definitely a legal question rather than a logical one."
And what is the legal argument based on? It' has to be based on something. Our laws are foundational. The have a basis that the SCOTUS uses all the time called precedent. What is the basis for the ""legal" argument if the argument fails to follow logic?

>"AG Barr is apparently of the opinion that they cannot. However, AG Barr also argues that you cannot commit obstruction of justice if there is no underlying crime. "<
As you might guess, I've read Barr's 19 page opinion that he used as an audition piece to get the gig as AG. The opinion doesn't come from nowhere. His reasoning follows a logic which is in error. To follow his reasoning, one has to agree that one person is above the law. American Democracy says that no person is above the law, so Barr creates a contradiction with American Principles Both can't be in place at the same time. It's one or the other.

His second point: "AG Barr also argues that you cannot commit obstruction of justice if there is no underlying crime." Makes logical sense. If there is no crime then what is it that is being obstructed? He didn't arrive at that view without predicating it on the notion that the President cannot be indicted. In other words:
IF the President cannot commit a crime, Then he cannot be indicted.
He cannot be indicted
therefore he cannot commit a crime. Modus Tollens

It follows logically that if he didn't commit a crime, then he can't be charged with obstruction of justice. But Barr also went on to indicate that if the President decides that he's being unjustly accused, he can ignore the law. Despite evidence to the contrary, all he has to do is say, it's fake news, or a witch hunt and it "should be dismissed". He becomes the judge in his own case. And that also defies the law of non-contradiction. You can't be objective about yourself. Nobody can. Justice requires objectivity. The POTUS view of himself is always subjective as is anybody's view of themselves.

"As to whether tribal politics puts Trump above the law? I'm not sure we can say that."
Really? I think it's obvious and very easy to say. Trump can be impeached in the House, but never be convicted in the Senate because of tribal loyalty to Trump and the party that he is the head of. Despite any amount of evidence, there's no way that he can be removed through a conviction in the Senate. As the President has stated, He could shoot somebody on 5th Ave and not lose a vote. We can see that's true. The Senate won't convict him and therefore Justice can never be served. If he can't be removed then he can't be indicted and face a trial. He's above and beyond the law. And that presents a contradiction in our Democracy that must be rectified.

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Kaiden
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 05:47:48 PM
Hi, Larry Allen Brown!

Your have me confused about what you believe regarding the form of Modus Ponens. Your definition of this particular inference rule is right, yet you incorrectly maintain that your example of Modus Ponens is also right. Here is your example of Modus Ponens:

Modus Ponens: The mode that affirms. If/then
P1. If it rained, then the streets are wet
P2. the streets are wet,
C: therefore; it rained.

jim is right that your example presents an invalid cousin of Modus Ponens. In your example, the affirmed statement in premise 2 is "the streets are wet", which is the consequent of the conditional statement in premise 1. From this, the conclusion is given that "it rained". This is not Modus Ponens. To represent a Modus Ponens argument, the statement affirmed by the second premise should have been "it rained", which is the antecedent of the conditional statement in premise 1, and the conclusion should have been "the streets are wet." I assumed that you would have noticed the accident after it was pointed out by jim, simply readjusted your example, and moved on with the main point of your post. What confuses me is that even though you know the definition of Modus Ponens, you dismiss jim's observation that your example is incorrect. In fact, you present an argument that God has revealed himself in the Bible and you call the argument fallacious, yet it commits the same formal error that you deny is present in your example of Modus Ponens.

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.


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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 09:51:13 PM
@Kaiden: Hi Kaiden,
"In your example, the affirmed statement in premise 2 is "the streets are wet", which is the consequent of the conditional statement in premise 1"

I think you're right. The form should be Modus Ponens
P&gt;Q
P
therefore Q

If p then q. (P) If it rained, then (Q) the streets are wet.
P it rained
Therefore, (Q). the streets are wet.

Modus Ponens is a form of valid inference. An instance of MP inferences involves two premises: One is a conditional statement, i.e. a statement of the form If A, then B; the other is the affirmation of the antecedent of the conditional statement, i.e. A in the conditional statement If A, then B. From these such pairs of premises, MP allows us to infer the consequent of the conditional statement, i.e. B in If A then B. The validity of such inferences is intuitively clear, since B must be true if the statements, If A, then B and A are both true.

Here is an example of an MP inference:
If it's raining, then the streets are wet
It's raining
Therefore, the streets are wet

The first two statements are the premises and the third statement is the conclusion. If the first and second are true, we are forced to accept the third.

Modus Tollens gives us the mode that denies
If it's raining, then the streets are wet
The streets are not wet,
Therefore it's not raining.

P&gt;Q
~Q
Therefore ~P

If P then Q
Not Q
Therefore Not P

"In fact, you present an argument that God has revealed himself in the Bible and you call the argument fallacious, yet it commits the same formal error that you deny is present in your example of Modus Ponens."

The argument you point to is fallacious because it commits the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible. Saying that God has revealed himself in the Bible, begs the question according to who? The only source that makes that claim is the Bible. No theory can use itself to prove itself. Neither can the Bible use itself to prove itself.
The fallacy is Begging the Question, or Circular Argument.

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jim
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 07:45:43 AM
Your bible example literally follows the exact same form as your wet streets example.

Simply put - you said:
P1. If it rained, then the streets are wet
P2. the streets are wet,
C: therefore; it rained.

This does not logically follow. The streets could be wet because of a garden sprinkler; a water main burst; a tidal wave; an overturned milk truck; an overenthusiastic street cleaner; a water balloon fight; people standing in the street dripping due to the local swimming pool having been evacuated because of a bomb scare; or snow.

Affirming the antecedent is:

P1. If it rained, then the streets are wet
P2. It rained,
C: therefore; the streets are wet.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 05:36:11 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

I am glad that you, jim, and I reached an understanding concerning a correct formulation of your example of "Modus Ponens". Now, if you are willing to explain the final portion of your reply to me, I’d like a better understanding of why you think that the argument about Biblical revelation is not a good argument.

Just yesterday afternoon, after laying out the argument about Biblical revelation, you analyzed its form and concluded that, "...the argument commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent." You cite no other fallacy in that post for that argument. It was as if "affirming the consequent" were the only fallacy you believed the argument to be guilty of. I agreed that it affirmed the consequent. I compared the form of your example of "Modus Ponens" to the form of your argument about Biblical revelation. I said that it is the same formal error that both arguments commit; they affirm the consequent.

Last night in your reply to my comparison, however, you stressed that the argument about the Bible is fallacious for begging the question. Are you therefore maintaining that the argument commits both the fallacy of affirming the consequent and the fallacy of begging the question? That would be the coherent way to make sense of your posts, but from my perspective, your reply to me was written as if you disagreed that the comparison I made was correct.

Thank you in advance for your clarification.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 06:02:06 PM
@jim: You are right. No excuses. I confused the Modus Ponens structure.
P&gt;Q If P then Q
p P
therefore Q

"Your bible example literally follows the exact same "
Premiss 1: If God reveals himself in the Bible, he will preserve a record of that revelation.
Premiss 2: God has preserved a record of his revelation.
Conclusion: God has revealed himself in the Bible.

Premiss 1: If God reveals himself in the Bible, he will preserve a record of that revelation.
Premiss 2 God has revealed himself in the Bible.
Conclusion: God has preserved a record of his revelation.

Better? I suppose it's a valid construction, but I don't think it's sound.

But - You're right about that as well. Sorry. It was totally messed up. I stand corrected. Good job by you and Kaiden. MP says that if one thing is true, then another will be. It then states that the first is true. Therefore the other is true as well. "P implies Q; P is asserted to be true, so therefore Q must be true."

P1. If I'm in California, then I'm in America
P2. I'm in America
C: Therefore I'm in California.
OOOPS. Affirming the consequent.

Modus Ponens
P1. If I'm in California, then I'm in American
P2. I'm in California,
C: therefore I'm in America

I think the fallacy I offered is affirming the consequent.
MP: If this, then that. This , therefore that.


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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 06:23:24 PM
@Kaiden:

I had to go back to see the Bible example. I didn't realize that I'd posted that as an example. Don't know what I was thinking. I think my mind was focused on the TV in the other room. Not sure. My general response to questions of the Bible is that the arguments that attempt to prove God's existence, fall apart as circular arguments which are fallacies.

What I should have posted was this"
Premiss 1: If God reveals himself in the Bible, he will preserve a record of that revelation.
Premiss 2 God has revealed himself in the Bible.
Conclusion: God has preserved a record of his revelation.

I believe that's a valid Modus Ponens construction, but I doubt that it's a sound argument. since none of the premises are proven as true. The argument doesn't prove the existence of God or the idea that the Bible proves itself as a source that proves God exists. What proves the Bible? It's the word of God, According to who? The Bible. Circular reasoning. You can't use a theory to prove itself, or the Bible to prove itself either. Just to say that it's in the Bible only matters to those that believe that the Bible is a true factual source.

First, you spotted the error in the Modus Ponens form. That was affirming the consequent. A fallacy. Point taken. What you can see above is a valid Modus Ponens form. However it's not a sound argument since the premises aren't proven as true. Anytime a person attempts to prove the existence of God by using the Bible as a source, commits the fallacy of circular argument or begging the question. I hope this clarifies things. Thanks for pointing all of this out. It serves to promote a better understanding of logic and logical fallacies.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 06:48:42 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

I'm glad we are all on the same page, now.

You said, "Good job by you and Kaiden" and "First, you [Kaiden] spotted the error in the Modus Ponens form."

The recognition belongs entirely to jim. He brought the mistake to light and I commented only to support him when when his observation was dismissed. And thank you again for clarifying the final portion of your reply to my post.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 07:01:20 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

"My general response to questions of the Bible is that the arguments that attempt to prove God's existence, fall apart as circular arguments which are fallacies."

Are you stating that the arguments for God's existence are circular or that the arguments for God's existence that draw from the Bible are circular, or both?

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 01:20:54 AM
@Kaiden: Well, when both you pointed to the same thing, it prompted me to take another hard look at what I'd posted. Two people pointing to the same thing, probably had a good case to make. When I saw the mistake I had to acknowledge the error and correct the mistake. When you make a mistake, you should own it, and grow from it.

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 01:48:59 AM
@Kaiden: I think that arguments for God's existence are pointless since the very concept is metaphysical and that puts it outside the realm of the physical world. Science can't verify metaphysical issues since it's only equipped to deal with the physical world. There's no way to determine the existence of God with any instruments that exist. There is no mathematical formula or calculus that can pinpoint the place where God lives. It's a belief and I think that people should stop trying to prove something that requires faith. If you have faith then proof isn't necessary. Those whose faith is weak are the ones that usually attempt to prove Gods existence. Of course, beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it. However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism. Each time we attempt to justify a belief it requires another justification for the previous one that was needed to justify the belief in the first place. That process leads to infinite regress. Or...the person may simply stop and say I believe it because I believe it....which is a circular argument with the belief used to justify itself. In an argument of this kind with somebody if it gets this far, it usually ends up in a circular argument. Not always because the person will usually cut off the argument once they see where this is headed.

But I'm also saying that arguments that draw from the Bible are circular. If a person wants to argue that the Bible proves Gods existence, It instantly begs the question what proves the Bible? That's when the argument becomes an exercise in circular reasoning.

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Kaiden
Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 09:38:33 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

Larry Allen Brown, we share a common skepticism towards purely scientific and mathematical enterprises of proving that there is a God (or that there is not). Philosophy is the relevant field of human thinking that you neglected to name. God is a metaphysical reality, as you acknowledged, and the rational pursuit of truth about this aspect of reality (including whether it is real at all) is purview to one of philosophy’s main branches: metaphysics. The metaphysical nature of a being like God does not render the activity of constructing and defending arguments for (or against) this kind of being’s existence a pointless matter; it renders it a philosophical matter. And numerous noncircular arguments for God’s existence have come out of philosophy throughout the centuries.

Alright, what do you mean by an “appeal to authority”? It is my understanding that an "appeal to authority" is a phrase referring to a fallacious argument that supports a conclusion only by deferring to the opinion of someone who is given to be an expert on the subject matter. I am not sure this is the meaning that the phrase takes within the context of your post. If it were, then it is easily false that every belief must be justified by arguments of this sort. For instance, I am justified in believing that a fire is hot without constructing an argument with premises that defer to the opinion of an expert of some kind. Please, I ask you to explain your notion of an appeal to authority.

After stating that beliefs must be justified by an appeal to authority (whatever you mean by that), you claim that this requirement can never be “adequately met”. Am I supposed to understand from your comments that therefore no belief is adequately justified? I suspect that you yourself doubt the legitimacy of your own comments after realizing that this is what they naturally imply. Even supposing that your comments were true, you still ought to doubt that you know they are true (because your belief that the comments are true is not adequately justified if the comments are true and justification is necessary to knowledge.) The backfiring tendencies of theories of knowledge--such as your theory--is really makes epistemology such a delicate field of study.

As you argue, the requirement of justifying a belief (which must be accomplished by an appeal to authority, as you say) cannot be met because of the force of a dilemma: for any given belief, the account giving justification to the belief is either an infinite regress of supporting reasons or a dogma. You arrived at this dilemma by hypothesizing that is that in order to rationally accept a belief, I need to draw upon reasons for that belief. But those supporting reasons are also ideas that I believe in. So, consistent with the hypothesis, my belief in those ideas must in turn be supported by reasons that are a step further back in the account of justification, and so on. The account in which beliefs are justified by beliefs will continue indefinitely unless I terminate the regress by accepting dogmatically some belief in that account of justifications. And to accept a belief dogmatically is, as you argue, to “believe it because I belief it”, and so is circular. Therefore, an account of justification for any given belief is either infinitely regressive or dogmatic (that is to say, circular). The reason that the arguments for God’s existence are circular is because the defenders of these arguments—in your typical experience, Larry Allen Brown—eventually grab the second horn of the dilemma.

Has the previous paragraph represented a fair understanding of your position in my own words?

I expressed my disagreement at the end of the opening paragraph and now proceed to defend my contrary view. Within this rebutting post, I am holding fixed the question of whether theism is true and holding fixed the question of whether there are sound arguments for God's existence. Instead, my concern in this post is with proving that it is false that the arguments for God’s existence are circular. By “the” arguments, I am assuming you meant “all of the” arguments for God’s existence. And so my position, by denying your view, is that some arguments for God’s existence are not circular (regardless of their soundness or unsoundness.)

The disjunction that every belief is justified by an account that ultimately is either infinitely regressive or dogmatic is presented as a cornerstone idea within the framework of your position. This disjunction serves as a dilemma, with either horn rendering an account inadequate as a justification for a belief. I seriously doubt the legitimacy of the dilemma that you present. The alternative to an infinite regress of justifications (IRJ) is not a circular acceptance of a belief (which is what the word “dogma” stands for in the context of your dilemma). The alternative to an IRJ is an account of justifications that terminates (has a belief that is not itself inferred to or justified by a belief). Contrary to your thinking, an account of justifications that terminates does not imply that the terminating belief (the belief that stands at the "end" of the account) is circularly accepted. After all, circular reasoning only occurs when a reason is given for a belief. When an account of justification has a terminating justification, no reason is given for that belief that stands at the end of the account (because the account is terminated there). Since no reason is given for the belief at which the account is terminated, no circular reasoning occurs at that belief.

To put it another way, circular reasoning does not occur in an account of justification that terminates--that "stops", as you say--because circular reasoning IS an infinite regress of justification. It is a looping argument, hence “circular”. It would be contradictory for a circular account to contain a belief at which justification stops. The statement of your dilemma is comparable to the statement that everything that exists in a zoo is either a mammal or a tiger. The second disjunct is merely an instance of the other disjunct, not an alternative to the other disjunct. A circular argument is a kind of infinitly regressive account of justification, not an alternative to it. In light of this, you are confused when you state that an account that justifies a belief either “leads to an infinite regress…Or the person may simply stop and say I believe it because I believe it…which is a circular argument…”. Moreover, in light of what has been said, a theist whose regress of justifications for their belief in God ceases at some belief that they accept as basic has not thereby reasoned in a circle. The belief that they accept basically may be irrational accepted, somehow, but not for circularity.

Also, it is unclear as to what kind of situation is being described in the final sentence of your first paragraph. What does it mean to “cut off” an argument because of where it is “headed”? Can you provide an example of a dialogue in which a theist “cuts off” an argument after seeing “where this is headed”, so that I can visualize the kind of situation that the final sentence of your first paragraph are describing?

To directly counter your position, allow me to provide a noncircular argument for theism. There was an argument for God’s existence posted on this website weeks ago (a page that I think has disappeared from “logicallyfallacious” after a sufficient period of inactivity). Michael Chase Walker shared the Kalam cosmological argument, with the caveat that it contained a plurality of fallacies (and to my disappointment, he proceeded to articulate and defend no fallacies at all, by the way, as far as I can remember). Here is a variation:

1. If the universe began to exist, then it has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

The conclusion is statement 3, which is supported by premises 1 and 2. Neither premise assumes that the universe has a cause. As far as premise 1 is concerned, the universe has no cause because the universe does not exist. As far as premise 2 is concerned, the universe inexplicably began to exist. Furthermore, each premise may be supported by arguments that are logically independent of the argument from 3 to 1 or from 3 to 2. The presentation of just one noncircular argument for theism disapproves that "the" (as in “all of the”, I assume) arguments for God’s existence are circular.

For curiosity's sake, what follows is another example. Aquinas’ second way is particular popular among his Five Ways and is noncircular (and is brief enough to be worth typing here). It may be organized with the following layout:

1. At least one thing has an efficient cause.
2. Every causal chain must either be circular, or infinite, or it has a first cause.
3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
5. Nothing is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
6. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.
7. Therefore, there is a first cause.

As far as premise 1 is concerned, the series of efficient causes has no first member. As far as premise 2 is concerned, the third disjunct is false. Statement 5 is an intermediate conclusion, supported by premises 3 and 4. Premise 3 is does not assume that its antecedent (statement 5) is true or that there is a first cause (statement 7). Premise 4 does not assume anything about sufficient causes (so does not assume statement 5) and does not assume that the series of causes is finite (so does not assume statement 7). Each premise is also supportable by arguments that are logically independent of the argument from the conclusion to each of those premises. This is a noncircular argument for God’s existence.

Also, in variations that I have seen of Leibniz’s sufficient reason arguments, I have found no circular reasoning. The sufficient reason arguments argue to a first, self-explanatory being whose sufficient reason for existing is in itself. Certain moral arguments for God’s existence are also noncircular.

1. If God did not exist, then objective moral values and duties would not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exists.
3. Therefore, God exists.

As far as the first premise is concerned, there is no God. As far as the second premise is concerned, objective moral values and duties exist without a God. And the premises may be supported by arguments that are logically independent of the argument from statement 3 to statement 1 or from statement 3 to statement 2. This is a noncircular moral argument for theism. Arguments from human dignity are similar to moral arguments and are certain of them are noncircular. Teleological arguments are not usually deductive, though some are. The teleological arguments I have studied are also noncircular and certain ontological arguments are also noncircular.

Altogether it is not my typical experience that the arguments for God's existence are circular. Although, the arguments I study that are for or against religious beliefs are argument that I research from the philosophical literature. The professionalism of these materials make it not surprising that the arguments defended in them are typically valid and not fallacious. Indeed, even in debates between professors of philosophy on the topic of whether there is a God, it is simply rare that the atheist party accuses the theist party of defending circular arguments in the debate. Concerning the deductively valid theistic arguments, you'll notice that the dialogue nearly always focuses on the truth-value of the premises. Personally, whenever I have encounter claims that the arguments for theism are circular, it is either coming from nonbelievers whose primary experience with arguments on God's existence involve conversations with unphilosophically trained theists who offer arguments that even professional philosophers who are theists would critique. Or, I find these claims emenating from nonbelievers who engage with the arguments that appear in the philosophical literature, but who themselves evidently do not possess the philosophical training to present an accurate analysis and evaluation of those arguments. In the scholarly work, I simply do not come across philosophers calling the arguments for God's existence circular.

Now, the arguments that support God's existence and draw from the Bible are fallacious depending on how the Bible is being used in relation to the argument. For instance, a post was raised on this website about a month ago (and still exists on the Posts Ordered by Date list; the last comment was made four days ago as of now) presenting an argument for the resurrection of Jesus. A member called Colin P constructed the argument as:

A. If there is sufficient weight of evidence to believe that Christ was raised from the dead then we should believe that Christ was raised from the dead.

B. There is sufficient weight of evidence to believe that Christ was raised from the dead.

C. Therefore we should believe that Christ was raised from the dead.

Naturally, this argument lends considerable support to the theism--Christian monotheism, in particular. Yet, if a Christian used this argument as part of his case for theism, it would not be circular to cite the Bible in support of premise (B) of this argument. The testimonies provided in the Gospels and Paul's epistles may supply part of the historical evidence that there was a man named Jesus who lived, died, and some time later was seen alive again. On the other hand, scripture may easily appear in a fallacious fashion as part of an argument for God's existence, as in: we can know that there is a God because His Word, the Bible, assures us of this in Genesis. I think this argument begs the question when it draws upon the Bible because it sincerely calls the Bible the Word of God, which assumes that there is a God whose word it is. So, in certain cases, though not in every case, citing scriptures in support of an argument for God's existence fosters a question begging situation.

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.

From, Kaiden.

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Larry Allen Brown
Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 09:42:54 PM
@Kaiden:
That's a long post Kaiden, and I'll do my best to address the main points;

1. Philosophy is the relevant field of human thinking that you neglected to name.
I didn't think it was necessary. It seemed clear to me that it would be obvious to others.

2. God is a metaphysical reality,
I think I said God was a metaphysical concept. Not a reality. I think reality I don't think I would call something metaphysical as reality. Reality in my view is that which is of the physical universe. Metaphysical lies outside the physical, so I wouldn't call it reality.

3.and the rational pursuit of truth about this aspect of reality (including whether it is real at all) is purview to one of philosophy’s main branches: metaphysics
How can we determine that it's an aspect of reality when we have concluded whether it is real at all?

4.The metaphysical nature of a being like God does not render the activity of constructing and defending arguments for (or against) this kind of being’s existence a pointless matter; it renders it a philosophical matter. And numerous noncircular arguments for God’s existence have come out of philosophy throughout the centuries.
It strikes me as a religious matter with canon's and dogma to support it's theory. So, what is the difference between religion and philosophy? I see a vast difference. Religion ( like all ideologies) is a closed system It admits no new knowledge. There are very fundamental differences between philosophy and ideology. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs, doctrines that back a certain social institution or a particular organization. Philosophy refers to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is and the principles governing behind it. Religion ( ideology) is aimed at changing the world whereas philosophy is aimed at seeking the truth.

Ideology is rigid and once fixed on certain beliefs, refuses to change its stance irrespective of any change in the surrounding environment. Challenging an ideologue can be the most difficult task. A philosopher, on the other hand, may arrive on some construct for the basis of life and other things but will be willing to discuss and ponder other philosophies. A philosopher is open-minded and willing to listen to criticism whereas an ideologue will refute anything challenging his or her ideology outright. This also suggests that while philosophy encourages people to think, ideology discourages any thinking that goes against the basic doctrines that govern the ideology.

The purpose of any philosopher is to seek knowledge for the sake of wisdom and truth whereas an ideologue’s sole aim is to advocate and enforce his or her ideology ( belief) wherever he can. Philosophy is objective whereas an ideologue will always impose his or her ideology’s vision and discard anything against it. Philosophy requires structured thinking whereas ideology has a lot of personal emotions at play. Philosophy is neither harmful nor helpful as there is no advocacy behind it. On the other hand, an ideology can bring both harm and good to the society. This is because the set of doctrines that govern the ideology may always not serve universal interests and ideology demands advocacy and conversion of other beliefs and thoughts to that particular ideology in order to reign supreme. However, every ideology is born out of some philosophy.
Philosophy is objective whereas ideology is dogmatic and refuses to participate in any discussion that does not agree with that ideology

5. And numerous noncircular arguments for God’s existence have come out of philosophy throughout the centuries.
None have been convincing. Precisely because they're all metaphysical in nature. I think most would refer to it as pseudo-science.

I'll try to address your other comments in another post.

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Larry Allen Brown
Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 10:32:28 PM
@Kaiden:
1. Alright, what do you mean by an “appeal to authority”?
ad verecundiam: Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered

2.It is my understanding that an "appeal to authority" is a phrase referring to a fallacious argument that supports a conclusion only by deferring to the opinion of someone who is given to be an expert on the subject matter. I am not sure this is the meaning that the phrase takes within the context of your post.

I think it certainly does. The sentence you're referring to is "beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it." Take a belief that you have. It can be anything. It doesn't have to be a belief in God. It could be a belief in a political system or a religion or a belief in racism, or the second amendment, or anything. That belief is always justified by an appeal to some authority that gives you a reason to believe it and makes that belief rational or at least valid for the person holding that belief. Critical thinking is generally suspended for the sake of a belief that you might feel is justified in something not proven to be true, but alleged to be true.

3.If it were, then it is easily false that every belief must be justified by arguments of this sort. For instance, I am justified in believing that a fire is hot without constructing an argument with premises that defer to the opinion of an expert of some kind. Please, I ask you to explain your notion of an appeal to authority.

You don't believe that the fire is hot. You know that it's hot. You have direct knowledge that it's hot, and direct knowledge trumps belief. No authority has to convince you. It's provable that it's hot. Stick your hand in the fire and you don't need any belief that requires an appeal to an authority. You know through direct knowledge that fire = hot. There is no appeal to authority in your example.

4.After stating that beliefs must be justified by an appeal to authority (whatever you mean by that), you claim that this requirement can never be “adequately met”. Am I supposed to understand from your comments that therefore no belief is adequately justified?
That's correct. I believe I explained this:
Justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it. However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism. Can you give me an example of a belief that isn't justified by some dogma?

5. I suspect that you yourself doubt the legitimacy of your own comments after realizing that this is what they naturally imply

Not at all. You'd be wrong.

6.Even supposing that your comments were true, you still ought to doubt that you know they are true (because your belief that the comments are true is not adequately justified if the comments are true and justification is necessary to knowledge.)

Justification is NOT necessary to knowledge. I take it that you're a foundationalist. It's not justification that makes our science rational. It's the ability to criticize our theories. It's why the argument for Gods existence gods nowhere. It's a metaphysical argument that has no physical properties to examine.
Your beliefs, whatever they might be, require justification for you to accept that. That justification comes from some authority. It might be a book, or a philosopher, or a politician. It doesn't matter. It comes from something. If it's a book, then it's the author of the book.
So, as a foundationalist you are asked what is the foundation or basis for the belief. If you entertain a belief of any kind there must be a basis for that belief. But if you acknowledge that there is a basis for it, then you are accepting that things require bases. So what is the basis for the basis of your belief. And then of course, what is the basis for the basis for the basis of that belief. And on it goes into infinite regress with a never ending series of justifications for the last justification for the belief that has no rational justification in the first place. I do not deal with beliefs. I don't hold them.

6. Even supposing that your comments were true, you still ought to doubt that you know they are true
Why? I'm not trying to prove what is true. I'm more inclined to demonstrate what's false. In my view locating the truth is not an additive process, but a subtractive one. Eliminate those things that are false and what's left over, ( the remainder like in math) is what is true. And that holds until another issue comes before us the makes a claim of truth. Can that claim be falsified? If it can, then it's false and the truth remains before us. Until the next time.

(because your belief that the comments are true is not adequately justified if the comments are true and justification is necessary to knowledge.)

Justification is NOT necessary to knowledge. Justification leads to infinite regress. What is the basis for the justification? You will always be looking for a justification for the justification. Our science is rational because it can be criticized. Not because it can be justified. That's the scientific method. We always look for ways to disprove a theory. NOT to prove one. That would require inductive reasoning and Hume pointed to the problem of induction as unable to rationally prove our science.

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Larry Allen Brown
Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 10:51:08 PM
@Kaiden:
1.the account giving justification to the belief is either an infinite regress of supporting reasons or a dogma
The dogma actually leads to the infinite regress. But I think you've got the gist of it.

2.You arrived at this dilemma by hypothesizing that is that in order to rationally accept a belief, I need to draw upon reasons for that belief

Do you need reasons for your beliefs? If not, then why hold them?

3. But those supporting reasons are also ideas that I believe in
What is the source?. You have beliefs and reasons for those beliefs. What is their source? Why do you believe them? Where did they come from. Aren't they really theories of rationality that you hold to justify the belief that you hold? Where did the Theory of rationality come from?

4. So, consistent with the hypothesis, my belief in those ideas must in turn be supported by reasons that are a step further back in the account of justification, and so on.

Looks that way.

5.The account in which beliefs are justified by beliefs will continue indefinitely unless I terminate the regress by accepting dogmatically some belief in that account of justifications.

Either that, or accepting that you could be wrong about holding that belief. But trying to justify it won't work. If you simply accept dogmatically the belief that leads to infinite regress, then you are essentially saying that you believe it because you believe it. You cut off the argument. End of story. That's circular reasoning. You can't use a theory to justify itself.

6. The reason that the arguments for God’s existence are circular is because the defenders of these arguments—in your typical experience, Larry Allen Brown—eventually grab the second horn of the dilemma.

Most often that's been the case.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 15, 2019 - 12:19:33 AM
@Kaiden:

1.Has the previous paragraph represented a fair understanding of your position in my own words?

For the most part, I think it does.

2. Instead, my concern in this post is with proving that it is false that the arguments for God’s existence are circular.

I believe that I gave you an example of the argument for God that was indeed circular.
God exists"
According to who?
According to the Bible
What makes the Bible true?
It's the inspired word of God.
Says who?
Say's the Bible

That's a circular argument. None of that proves that God exists, nor does it prove that the Bible is the inspired word of God. But it uses the Bible to prove the Bible to prove God which proves the Bible and so on.

Now, there may be other argument's that don't rely on circular reasoning, but since we are dealing with a metaphysical subject, there isn't any way to prove or disprove the argument. In my view attempting to do so is a waste of time. It's as much a waste of time for the true believer as it is for the hard atheist. IT's not something that can be proven or disproven. It's a belief. It's not an issue that science can verify.

3. By “the” arguments, I am assuming you meant “all of the” arguments for God’s existence.

I haven't heard "all" the arguments for Gods existence. Those I've heard fall far short. There may be others, but they have a steep hill to climb since a metaphysical argument can't be proven. I think I pointed out that beliefs must be justified by an appropriate authority which makes the belief rational fore the believer. (beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it. However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism")

4. every belief is justified by an account that ultimately is either infinitely regressive or dogmatic is presented as a cornerstone idea within the framework of your position.

Yes.

5. This disjunction serves as a dilemma, with either horn rendering an account inadequate as a justification for a belief. I seriously doubt the legitimacy of the dilemma that you present.

Demonstrate.

6. The alternative to an infinite regress of justifications (IRJ) is not a circular acceptance of a belief (which is what the word “dogma” stands for in the context of your dilemma)

Of course there is another alternative. The person could recognize that he can abandon the long held belief and change his point of view.

7.The alternative to an IRJ is an account of justifications that terminates (has a belief that is not itself inferred to or justified by a belief).

Give me an example of a series of justifications that terminates a justification without requiring a justification for doing so.

8.Contrary to your thinking, an account of justifications that terminates does not imply that the terminating belief (the belief that stands at the "end" of the account) is circularly accepted.

Again, you'll have to provide an example for what you're suggesting. The belief doesn't stand at the end of the account. The belief stands at the beginning. The justifications are the basis for the belief that is at the very beginning. NOT at the end. In infinite regress, there is no end. That's why it's called "infinite". The question; "Why do you believe in God," comes at the beginning of an argument. The reasons are used to justify the belief that comes at the beginning, and if the person ends by saying I believe in God then the argument has been circular. All the justifications led back to the beginning.

9. After all, circular reasoning only occurs when a reason is given for a belief
It depends on how far you want to pursue the belief. If it turns out that the belief is used to justify itself, then yes...it's definitely circular reasoning. An argument is circular if its conclusion is among its premises, if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. Such arguments are said to beg the question. A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion.

10. When an account of justification has a terminating justification, no reason is given for that belief that stands at the end of the account (because the account is terminated there). Since no reason is given for the belief at which the account is terminated, no circular reasoning occurs at that belief.

Kaiden, I think you know better than this. You say this: "When an account of justification has a terminating justification, no reason is given for that belief that stands at the end of the account (because the account is terminated there)." That is not an example of a belief coming to an end. That's an example of a FACT. 2+2=4. That requires no further justification and the account is terminated there. Fire is hot, That's not a belief. That's a fact. It also requires no further justification. Water is wet. Etc. That's what FACTS do. We're talking about beliefs here. Facts are Truths. Beliefs are not the same as facts. You cannot use the example of a fact to support your contention that a belief has a final justification that avoids infinite regress. Only facts do that. Beliefs do not. Beliefs can be disproven. Facts have already been proven. We use facts and what we know as truth to determine those theories that are false. There must be something to measure them against to determine if the theory can last.

11. Also, it is unclear as to what kind of situation is being described in the final sentence of your first paragraph. What does it mean to “cut off” an argument because of where it is “headed”?

It means to end the argument because it's leading to a direction that falls outside of the dogma and can't be answered without falling deeper into tougher questions regarding the belief.
Take the argument for Divine Command Theory and the Euthyphro Dilemma.
"Are right actions right because God commands them?
or are right actions commanded by God Because they are right?
Many theists don't want to go there because there is no right answer. Whichever answer they choose creates a major problem. Either God commands according to whim with nothing to inform him of what is ethical and moral meaning that he could command that genocide is good and moral if he chose to. OR...God gets this morality from an outside source which means that something outside of God informs him of what is ethical and moral. And how can that be without recognizing that there is a source beyond God that informs him of what morality is.

12. To put it another way, circular reasoning does not occur in an account of justification that terminates--that "stops", as you say--because circular reasoning IS an infinite regress of justification. It is a looping argument, hence “circular”.

No. It's clear that you don't understand me. Circular reasoning doesn't occur in an account that terminates because the termination results in a Fact. Not a justification for a belief. Beliefs can't terminate. That's why they're called beliefs and not facts. In a series of justifications that lead to infinite regress, the person offering the justifications will eventually realize that this will go on forever and end the argument by saying, "I believe because I believe it. " That and that alone is what make the persons argument circular. He's using his belief to justify his belief.
A more complex but equally fallacious type of circular reasoning is to create a circular chain of reasoning like this one: "God exists." "How do you know that God exists?" "The Bible says so." "Why should I believe the Bible?" "Because it's the inspired word of God." The so-called "final proof" relies on unproven evidence set forth initially as the subject of debate. Basically, the argument goes in an endless circle, with each step of the argument relying on a previous one, which in turn relies on the first argument yet to be proven.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 15, 2019 - 12:48:25 AM
@Kaiden:
1.It would be contradictory for a circular account to contain a belief at which justification stops."
Give me an example of a belief where justification stops.

2.In light of this, you are confused when you state that an account that justifies a belief either “leads to an infinite regress…Or the person may simply stop and say I believe it because I believe it…which is a circular argument…”.

No. I'm not confused at all Kaiden. But I'm pretty certain based on what you've posted so far, that you are. Any account of a belief that attempts to justify itself will require a basis for the justification. Correct? You do agree with that right? This is what Foundationalism looks like. Foundationalism is the theory in Epistemology that beliefs can be justified based on basic or foundational beliefs (beliefs that give justificatory support to other beliefs). Foundationalism concerns philosophical theories of knowledge resting upon justified belief, or some secure foundation of certainty such as a conclusion inferred from a basis of sound premises. If you agree with that, then you must admit that things require bases so you must then ask yourself, what is the basis for the basis that you've used to justify your belief? And what is the basis for the basis and on it goes into infinite regress. At some point because being infinite you'll never live long enough to reach the bottom, because there is no bottom you'll likely say that you believe what you believe, because....and that's it. And that stops the regress by using circular reasoning to escape the regress. OR. you decide that that belief can't be justified. and you discard it altogether.
The positivists all agreed that our knowledge must be justified in order to be rational, but they were wrong. Scientific knowledge cannot, and need not, be justified at all. It is rational not because we have justified it, but because we can criticize it. Any attempt to justify our knowledge must, in order to avoid infinite regress, ultimately accept the truth (or reliability) of some statement (or faculty, or person) without justification. That's called a Truth.

But the fact that the truth (or reliability) of this statement (or faculty, or person) is accepted without justification means that we attribute to it an authority that we deny to others. Thus, where Wittgenstein and the positivists appealed to experience to justify our knowledge, we now can argue that ‘the main problem of philosophy is the critical analysis of the appeal to the authority of ‘experience’—precisely that ‘experience’ which every latest discoverer of positivism is, as ever, artlessly taking for granted.

The observation statements that report our experience never entail the truth of a strictly universal statement (or theory). So universal statements (or theories) cannot be justified (or verified) by experience. But it takes only one genuine counter-example to show that a universal statement is false. So some universal statements (or theories) can be criticized (or falsified) by experience—or, at least, by the acceptance of observation statements that contradict them. It is falsifiability, and not verifiability, that distinguishes empirical science from metaphysics. And that is the basis for he scientific method that we use today.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 15, 2019 - 02:04:06 AM
@Kaiden:

1.To directly counter your position, allow me to provide a noncircular argument for theism.
1. If the universe began to exist, then it has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.


P1. If the Big Bang happened, then the universe has a cause for it's existence
P2. The Big Bang happened
C: Therefore, the universe has a cause for it's existence.

Ok, WE know about the Big Bang, and we know that the universe exists. Now what is the argument for theism? How does this counter my arguments?

Neither premise assumes that the universe has a cause

Not in your syllogism. But in mine it does. The Big Bang.

Furthermore, each premise may be supported by arguments that are logically independent of the argument from 3 to 1 or from 3 to 2. The presentation of just one noncircular argument for theism disapproves that "the" (as in “all of the”, I assume) arguments for God’s existence are circular.

??? Kaiden. Your premises have absolutely nothing to do with theism. Premise 1 is a conditional If/then. It doesn't draw any connection to theism. Where are you going with this?

1. At least one thing has an efficient cause.
Does that include God?
2. Every causal chain must either be circular, or infinite, or it has a first cause.
3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
Does this include God?
4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
What does nothing look like?
5. Nothing is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
6. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.
But a chain of justifications can. What is the end of the Chain of causes?
7. Therefore, there is a first cause.
Like the Big Bang?

2.Also, in variations that I have seen of Leibniz’s sufficient reason arguments, I have found no circular reasoning. The sufficient reason arguments argue to a first, self-explanatory being whose sufficient reason for existing is in itself. Certain moral arguments for God’s existence are also noncircular.


But it is. You first have to believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God, and that doesn't prove the existence of God. So you accept the premise on belief. Not because God is a proven entity. The argument depends on that belief. In fact I offered the Euthyphro Dilemma as an example. of Divine Command Theory. Does God command this particular action because it is morally right, or is it morally right because God commands it?” It is in answering this question that the divine command theorist encounters a difficulty. A defender of Divine Command Theory might respond that an action is morally right because God commands it. However, the implication of this response is that if God commanded that we inflict suffering on others for fun, then doing so would be morally right. We would be obligated to do so, because God commanded it. This is because, on Divine Command Theory, the reason that inflicting such suffering is wrong is that God commands us not to do it. However, if God commanded us to inflict such suffering, doing so would become the morally right thing to do. The problem for this response to Socrates’ question, then, is that God’s commands and therefore the foundations of morality become arbitrary, which then allows for morally reprehensible actions to become morally obligatory.

However, two new problems now arise. If God commands a particular action because it is morally right, then ethics no longer depends on God in the way that Divine Command Theorists maintain. God is no longer the author of ethics, but rather a mere recognizer of right and wrong. As such, God no longer serves as the foundation of ethics. Moreover, it now seems that God has become subject to an external moral law, and is no longer sovereign.

God is no longer sovereign over the entire universe, but rather is subject to a moral law external to himself. The notion that God is subject to an external moral law is also a problem for theists who hold that in the great chain of being, God is at the top. Here, there is a moral law external to and higher than God, and this is a consequence that many divine command theorists would want to reject. Hence, the advocate of a Divine Command Theory of ethics faces a dilemma: morality either rests on arbitrary foundations, or God is not the source of ethics and is subject to an external moral law, both of which allegedly compromise his supreme moral and metaphysical status.

This is a noncircular moral argument for theism

Kaiden, it's a non-valid argument. It' doesn't prove anything about God and in fact, your "final proof" relies on unproven evidence set forth initially as the subject of debate. Basically, the argument goes in an endless circle, with each step of the argument relying on a previous one, which in turn relies on the first argument yet to be proven.
1. If God did not exist, then objective moral values and duties would not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exists.
3. Therefore, God exists.

P1 is not true. Our morality and values and duties are not dependent upon God. I'm an atheist and none of those are necessary for me to understand the difference between right and wrong.
P2. I do think is true. I subscribe to objective Truth.
The conclusion doesn't follow.
I don't see this as a valid argument.

3.Arguments from human dignity are similar to moral arguments and are certain of them are noncircular.

I haven't seen an example yet.

4. The teleological arguments I have studied are also noncircular and certain ontological arguments are also noncircular.

As I said before, I haven't seen one that doesn't result in infinite regress and end in circular reasoning. Give me something more than telling me what you studied. Give me an example. I didn't find the last one convincing.

5. Altogether it is not my typical experience that the arguments for God's existence are circular Not typical perhaps, but you've just encountered one with me. Perhaps your philosophical journey's have been those that simply feed a narrative that you've come to believe. Are you a fallibalist or not? Mill was. The question is always is it possible that you could be wrong about something?

6. Although, the arguments I study that are for or against religious beliefs are argument that I research from the philosophical literature
Same here.

7.Indeed, even in debates between professors of philosophy on the topic of whether there is a God, it is simply rare that the atheist party accuses the theist party of defending circular arguments in the debate.

I find that surprising. I've demonstrated for you an example of exactly how that would occur. I'll do it again for you. And this applies to any belief you might hold, not just a belief in God.
But of course this will depend on your acceptance of the statement that I offered:

Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.
Do you agree with that or not?

However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism. Each time we attempt to justify a belief it requires another justification for the previous one that was needed to justify the belief in the first place. That process leads to infinite regress.
Do you agree with this statement or not?

Or...the person may simply stop and say I believe it because I believe it....which is a circular argument with the belief used to justify itself.
Would that or would it NOT demonstrate a circular argument?

In an argument of this kind with somebody if it gets this far, it usually ends up in a circular argument. Not always because the person will usually cut off the argument once they see where this is headed.


They will do that to avoid having to face the dilemma. The argument leads to infinite regress, or circular reasoning, or abandonment of the belief. I cannot come up with any other alternative. Can you? And if so, then show me. Without offering a syllogism that requires a belief in the premise. Present a premise that is demonstrably true.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 15, 2019 - 02:42:59 AM
@Kaiden:
1. In the scholarly work, I simply do not come across philosophers calling the arguments for God's existence circular.
I'm really surprised at that, but I guess this is a new experience for you. Considering that this is a logical fallacy site, I would think that you've been exposed to the example of the circular argument for the existence of God. It's used all the time.
Here's another example:
The following argument begs the question.
We know a god exists because we can see the perfect order of creation, an order which demonstrates super natural intelligence in its design.

The conclusion of this argument is that a god exists. The premise assumes a creator and designer of the universe exists, which many people would take to mean that a god exists. In this argument, the arguer should not be granted the assumption that the universe exhibits intelligent design, but should be made to provide support for that questionable claim.

There are many examples of circular reasoning and begging the question that use examples of theists using an argument such as this to prove the existence of God. I'm really surprised that as a student of philosophy you haven't run into them before now.

2. Concerning the deductively valid theistic arguments, you'll notice that the dialogue nearly always focuses on the truth-value of the premises.


Right. As it should. I didn't find your example demonstrated the truth of Premise 1 in your syllogism.

3. A. If there is sufficient weight of evidence to believe that Christ was raised from the dead then we should believe that Christ was raised from the dead.
B. There is sufficient weight of evidence to believe that Christ was raised from the dead.
C. Therefore we should believe that Christ was raised from the dead.


It's a valid construction of Modus Ponens. But it's not a sound argument. Deductively if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. But he hasn't proven the premises are true. He's already assumed the truth of his argument. His so-called "final proof" relies on unproven evidence set forth initially as the subject of debate. Basically, the argument goes in an endless circle, with each step of the argument relying on a previous one, which in turn relies on the first argument yet to be proven. in other words, an argument is circular if its conclusion is among its premises, (which his clearly is) if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. Such arguments are said to beg the question. A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion. He's presented a circular argument in his deductive syllogism. It's a logical fallacy.

4. Naturally, this argument lends considerable support to the theism--Christian monotheism, in particular. Yet, if a Christian used this argument as part of his case for theism, it would not be circular to cite the Bible in support of premise (B) of this argument.

Uhh...seriously? It doesn't lend any support. I just pointed out that it's an example of circular reasoning. It's a logical fallacy. surely you can see that. His conclusion is found in his premise.

5. Yet, if a Christian used this argument as part of his case for theism, it would not be circular to cite the Bible in support of premise (B) of this argument.
Why not? Does he get some kind of theological dispensation that trumps logic? I'm not aware of that. I've never come across that in my studies.

6. The testimonies provided in the Gospels and Paul's epistles may supply part of the historical evidence that there was a man named Jesus who lived, died, and some time later was seen alive again.

You're using the Bible to prove the Bible. That is not a valid argument. That's circular reasoning. Look, you can't use a theory to prove itself, and you can't use the Bible to prove the Bible. So please don't go there.

7.On the other hand, scripture may easily appear in a fallacious fashion as part of an argument for God's existence, as in: we can know that there is a God because His Word, the Bible, assures us of this in Genesis. I think this argument begs the question when it draws upon the Bible because it sincerely calls the Bible the Word of God, which assumes that there is a God whose word it is. So, in certain cases, though not in every case, citing scriptures in support of an argument for God's existence fosters a question begging situation.

Begging the question and circular reasoning are really the same thing. So clearly, even if you haven't encountered this argument in a scholastic setting, you've acquired enough logical understanding that arguments for the existence of God can and very often are Circular.

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Kaiden
Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 11:34:27 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Thank you for responding comprehensively to my position, despite its length. I invite you to revisit my post from Sunday night in which I include a paragraph dedicated to stressing that I am holding fixed the question of whether the arguments for God’s existence are sound. You very quickly lost sight of this paragraph and spiraled into the mindset that I am aiming to prove the existence of God. What I defended is the proposition that some of the arguments for God’s existence are not circular.

Here is a definition to bear in mind: an argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.

I want to return first to the moral argument, which is the argument at which there seemed to be the most issues in terms of understanding it. In your case for the question-begging status of this argument, it is claimed that the argument is circular because “you first have to believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God...”. After giving it more thought, I think the trouble you find with this argument is motivated by an existential interpretation of the first premise. The term "did not", in premise 1, may have suggested to your mind that the opposite of this is being assumed by the premise because "did" is commonly used in the past tense. While in colloquial conversation it seems natural to read such interpretations into the premise, the premise ought to be understood as a hypothetical musing within the context of this philosophical argument, as in: what would follow from a world in which there were no God? The nonexistence of objective moral values and duties is what would follow. But there are objective moral values and duties (premise 2), therefore, it is false that the nonexistence of God obtains.

Now, if this contextual interpretation does not come easily to you, then the first premise may be reworded as a colloquially blunt deliverance of the statement: if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. One may accept the second premise while consistently maintaining that God does not exist (and, consequently that objective morality does not depend on God). Indeed, this is precisely your case: you agreed to premise 2 and are an atheist. On the other hand, an atheist may consistenly accept premise 1 and declare that morality is only a social construct, for example, with no objectivity. This goes to show that the premises do not assume a God, nor do they require one to first accept the conclusion. Trivially, a person must accept that moral values and duties exist in order to accept premise 2. However, the proposition that there is a God only follows with regards to this moral argument when that second premise is asserted together with the first premise—as an argument with which one may infer to the conclusion through a valid Modus Tollens logical inference rule.

You argued not only for the fallacious status of the argument, but for the invalidity of the argument. Contrary to correct method, in the course of allegedly proving the invalidity of the argument you demonstrate nothing at all about whether it is possible both that the premises are true and the conclusion false. Rather, it was after denying the premises that you then remarked that you do not see the argument as valid. The invalidity of the moral argument is not testable by assessing the premises for truth. An argument may be unsound and valid; the first premise may be false and the argument valid. As an argument with a Modus Tollens form, the moral argument is patently valid in addition to being noncircular.

Let us work back up now to Aquinas’ Second Way. You offer no rebutting arguments to my demonstration that the premises do not assume that there is a first cause.

Instead, you list a series of questions interspersed between the premises; questions that are ineffective in the way of showing that the premises assume that there is a first cause (partly because questions, of course, do not declare or argue anything). Furthermore, the specific question that repetitively appeared (“does that include God”) evidenced that you are under the erroneous notion that an argument for God’s existence is circular if the person delivering the argument already believes that God is the first cause. The circularity of an argument depends on whether the premises of the ARGUMENT assume the conclusion. It is entirely reasonable, and not necessarily circular, for a person (Aquinas, for a suitable example) to accept a proposition in his own mind prior to constructing an argument in favor of its truthfulness. The argument does not therefore become circular, so long as its premises do not assume the conclusion to be proven. To defeat my defense of the noncircularity of Aquinas’ Second Way, what you would have had to show was that the premises of the arguMENT assume a first cause, not that the arguER would already answer your question “does that include God” affirmatively in his own mind. Your rebuttal confuses the argument with the arguer. Moreover, each premise may be supported by reasons logically independent of the argument from the conclusion to the premises; and you do not counter-argue this observation, either.

Working our way up, the first argument you addressed is the Kalam argument. No objection at all is given by you that the Kalam argument is circular. You even concede that the syllogism I wrote is not circular.

In order to nonetheless avoid the proposition that some arguments for God’s existence are noncircular, your recourse was to point out the theistically-neutral status of the Kalam’s premises. I acknowledge this status, as well. The theistically-neutral nature of the premises of the Kalam does not detract from its purposes as an argument for theism. The statement relevant to theism is the conclusion of the argument, of course. When we speak of a cause of physical reality, including space and time, we speak of a being that, by our knowledge its existence, would increase the probability that there is a God. This becomes especially clearer when a supplementary analysis is conducted on what sort of being(s) may be properly identified with the cause. In addition to conducting this supplementary analysis, the Kalam argument functions very well in collaboration with additional arguments, as part of a reinforcing, accumulative case that tapers towards the existence of a transcendent, personal cause of the universe. For these reasons, the Kalam cosmological argument is appropriately classified as an argument for God’s existence. The Kalam has been included both in philosophical encyclopedias and in textbook introductions to the philosophy of religion, under chapters concerning arguments for God’s existence. Since you have already conceded that the argument is not circular, I hope we thereby have reached a quick agreement at the Kalam cosmological argument: there is a noncircular argument for God’s existence.

Just one noncircular argument for God’s existence satisfies my position. To present noncircular teleological and sufficient reason arguments (some of the arguments you marked as missing among my examples) is superfluous. The remainder of the post to which I am here replying discusses your dilemma. My critique of your dilemma is argued as an undercutting defeater to the position that the arguments for God’s existence are circular. My presentation of noncircular arguments for God’s existence are argued as an opposing defeater to your position. In the effort to establish my position that some of the arguments for God’s existence are not circular, the success of my opposing defeater takes a clear priority over the success of my undercutting defeater. That is to say, defending the noncircularity of (even one of) the arguments I display is satisfactory to the grounding of my position, regardless of a direct deconstruction of the force of your dilemma. My responses to the other replies that you post about your dilemma might appear eventually, and at a lower degree of urgency.


Thank you for your response, and one that was comprehensive, Larry Allen Brown.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 01:37:40 AM
@Kaiden:
"You very quickly lost sight of this paragraph and spiraled into the mindset that I am aiming to prove the existence of God. What I defended is the proposition that some of the arguments for God’s existence are not circular."

I think you're misreading me Kaiden. I'm not suggesting that you're attempting to prove the existence of God. I have no idea of what your view on that subject is, so I'm not inclined to presume what you might be trying to prove. For one thing, I'm not of the mind that theories can be proven. They can be disproven, but they're never proven. so I'm not inclined to suggest that you're attempting to prove anything. If you are then I'm sure you'll make that clear.

I pointed to a statement that I made earlier: " Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.". Do you hold any beliefs Kaiden? If so, what justifies that belief? Why do you hold it? What do you base that belief on? And how do you avoid the infinite regress v the dogmatism that is necessary to justify the belief? And how do you accomplish that without resorting to a circular argument? Since you have chosen to defend the idea that not all arguments for Gods existence are circular, I have asked you to provide an example of such an argument that demonstrates that for me. You offered this:

"For instance, I am justified in believing that a fire is hot without constructing an argument with premises that defer to the opinion of an expert of some kind. Please, I ask you to explain your notion of an appeal to authority."

I pointed out the "fire is hot" is not a matter of belief. It's a matter of fact, and doesn't require any investment of unjustifiable belief. You don't believe that the fire is hot. You know it. And direct knowledge trumps belief all the time.

"Here is a definition to bear in mind: an argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false."

Thanks but I'm already aware of that.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 02:00:31 AM
@Kaiden:
" In your case for the question-begging status of this argument, it is claimed that the argument is circular because “you first have to believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God...”.

I don't know which comment you're referring to Kaiden. As you can see by how I structure my responses to you, I always quote you and answer what is quoted. It would help enormously if you would do the same so I don't have to look back at previous posts to locate the context of what you're talking about.

"it is claimed that the argument is circular because “you first have to believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God..."

Claimed by who? Me? It doesn't sound like something I'd say. Can you offer something in context so I can understand what your getting at? I don't believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God, and I haven't claimed that. You're making this statement: "In your case for the question-begging status of this argument, it is claimed that the argument is circular because “you first have to believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God...”.

I have said that you cannot use God to prove God. You cannot use the Bible to prove the Bible or to prove God. I don't believe that morality or values only exist because of God. Most atheists that I'm familiar with have very high moral standards and maintain personal values that they live by. And, they avoid the hypocrisy of theists that adhere to a strict dogmatic view to support a belief. An argument is circular because of what I've stated before. Basically, the argument goes in an endless circle, with each step of the argument relying on a previous one, which in turn relies on the first argument yet to be proven. in other words, an argument is circular if its conclusion is among its premises, if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. I've provided examples of that.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 03:31:59 AM
@Kaiden:

" I think the trouble you find with this argument is motivated by an existential interpretation of the first premise."

No Kaiden. The trouble I'm having is knowing exactly which argument you're referring to? You wrote a very very long piece and I answered it using several responses as I'm doing right now. I have no idea which premise you're referring to. You must be specific and quote something that either you or I have said, as I'm doing with your comments so that I can respond in kind.

I'm going to guess that you mean this syllogism:
1. If God did not exist, then objective moral values and duties would not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exists.
3. Therefore, God exists.

It's Modus Tollens isn't it? I used the same argument regarding the OLC memo on indicting a sitting president.
Modus Tollens: If/then
P1. If the president cannot be indicted, then he is above the law
P2. No one is above the law
C: therefore; the president can be indicted

If theory T is true, then we should observe O.
We do not observe O.
Therefore, theory T is false. ( Modus Tollens )

If P, Then Q.
Not Q
Therefore, Not P

Modus Tollens

very good. I agree that it's a valid argument. But it's not sound. And it doesn't prove the existence of God. So as an argument for the existence of God it fails. The problem with the attempt to apply a logical deductive syllogism to a metaphysical concept such as God still demands that God can be either proven or disproven. Your example attempts to prove the existence of God as a matter of logic. You still have to assume that a metaphysical concept such as God is something provable. An argument is circular if its conclusion is among its premises, (which his clearly is; If God did not exist, ) if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. Such arguments are said to beg the question. A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion. In your syllogism...
1. If God did not exist, then objective moral values and duties would not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exists.
3. Therefore, God exists.
… the conclusion; "GOD"; is found in your first premise. The first premise assumes that a God exists and is the author of Objective moral values and duties. The existence of objective morals and values proves that God exists. The argument is circular. The syllogism assumes the thing it's trying to prove. It's using God to prove God.




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jim
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 03:58:19 AM
@Larry Allen Brown @Kaiden

Hi guys, just wanted to weigh in on this very interesting argument again to say that I fully agree with Larry here. This is definitely Begging the Question:

1. If God did not exist, then objective moral values and duties would not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

In my opinion, only people who already accept (3) would be likely to judge (1) to be a true statement. When you have to accept the conclusion before you're able to make the argument, that is clearly circular.

Let's use an example based on a totally different belief.

1. If the CIA didn't kill JFK, he would have survived his trip to Dallas.
2. JFK did not survive his trip to Dallas.
3. Therefore, the CIA killed JFK.

If you accept premises (1) and (2) then the conclusion follows - it's a valid argument. But only people who already accept (3) are likely to judge (1) to be true.

In each case, people who don't already believe the conclusion are able to come up with entirely plausible alternatives to the first statement.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 04:04:05 AM
@Kaiden:
"Let us work back up now to Aquinas’ Second Way. You offer no rebutting arguments to my demonstration that the premises do not assume that there is a first cause."

You offered this as an argument for theism:
To directly counter your position, allow me to provide a noncircular argument for theism.
1. If the universe began to exist, then it has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

How is this an argument for theism? It comes from Aquinas. I'm going to assume that it's an argument that God is the cause of the universe.

I'm questioning your premises.

"1. At least one thing has an efficient cause."
Does that include God?
I asked you if that statement includes God. If the argument for God is that at least on thing has an efficient cause, then what caused God?

2. Every causal chain must either be circular, or infinite, or it has a first cause.
I agree. It's going to be one of those things.

3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
Does this include God? Can God be his own cause? He/she/It would have to be prior to itself.

4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
What does nothing look like? Nothing doesn't exist. If #4 is true, then God cannot be prior to himself. Begs the question; What caused God?

5. Nothing is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
Again, what does nothing look like?

6. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.
But a chain of justifications can. What is that statement based on? What is the end of the Chain of causes? The statement here is that a chain of causes cannot be infinite. If that's true then what is the end of a chain of causes? What is the foundation?. What is the base?. And if we are going to admit that things have bases then what is the basis for the base. This argument leads to infinite regress.

7. Therefore, there is a first cause.
Like the Big Bang? Science has determined that. The universe is approximately 14.6 Billion years old. The universe is expanding. Science has traced it backward in time to the point of singularity they call the Big Bang. What came before that...we don't know.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 12:28:54 PM
@Kaiden:
" if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. One may accept the second premise while consistently maintaining that God does not exist (and, consequently that objective morality does not depend on God). Indeed, this is precisely your case: you agreed to premise 2 and are an atheist."

Let me be more clear on this. Yes I'm an atheist. I recognize objective truth. Not necessarily objective morality or values. However morality without Truth is a contradiction in my view.

"Furthermore, the specific question that repetitively appeared (“does that include God”) evidenced that you are under the erroneous notion that an argument for God’s existence is circular if the person delivering the argument already believes that God is the first cause."

A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion. If the person is arguing that God is the first cause then he already assumes God a priori. He's using his belief in God to prove God as a first cause. You can't use God to prove God without using a circular argument.

"The circularity of an argument depends on whether the premises of the ARGUMENT assume the conclusion."

Yes. And the argument presented assumes it's conclusion

It is entirely reasonable, and not necessarily circular, for a person (Aquinas, for a suitable example) to accept a proposition in his own mind prior to constructing an argument in favor of its truthfulness.

Really? But he doesn't demonstrate truthfulness at all. He demonstrates those things that he thinks support his belief. He's using inductive reasoning to try to prove something that cannot be proven. He has taken a position that he believes as true and is looking for ways to justify his belief. He has started with a basic assumption and is looking to find things to support his conclusion.

"what you would have had to show was that the premises of the arguMENT assume a first cause, not that the arguER would already answer your question “does that include God” affirmatively in his own mind. "" Moreover, each premise may be supported by reasons logically independent of the argument from the conclusion to the premises; and you do not counter-argue this observation, either.

Each premise should stand on it's own. And each was questioned on it's own. My purpose was not to counter his argument. My purpose was to question his premises. My objective is to find out what if anything makes these Premises you offer true. Each one was questioned and offered an alternative view presdented. First Cause? God v Big Bang. The Big Bang is demonstrable. God is not. Belief in God doesn't demonstrate God as a first cause.

"" Moreover, each premise may be supported by reasons logically independent of the argument from the conclusion to the premises; and you do not counter-argue this observation, either."

I didn't see those. I did see a circular argument, but nothing that presented itself as demonstrating the truth of the argument. Please bear in mind that I am not here to offer a counter argument. As always, I'm questioning the premises. You seem to be taking issue with the fact of the questioning itself, and expect me to offer a counter argument.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 01:45:08 PM
@Kaiden:

"Working our way up, the first argument you addressed is the Kalam argument. No objection at all is given by you that the Kalam argument is circular"

You should know that I'm NOT a fan of Dr.William Lane Craig. or the Kalam argument. The syllogism that you offered is:
Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
The universe began to exist.
Therefore, the universe has a cause.

I think you offered it as a conditional Modus Ponens:
1. If the universe began to exist, then it has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.

As I said before, I don't see this as an argument for Theism. I think attempts to make it into such an argument are examples or tortured reasoning.

This is why I offered this:
P1. If the Big Bang happened, then the universe has a cause for it's existence
P2. The Big Bang happened
C: Therefore, the universe has a cause for it's existence.

Dr Craig as I'm sure you know is a well known apologist for theism. And the syllogism offered is the foundation of his belief in God. So I would say that he is a Foundationalist. But one argument against this argument is If god created the universe, then there was a moment in which god existed alone, before he created the universe, and then there is a moment in which god exists together with the universe, after he created it. These moments can only exist, if there is time. In other words, god cannot, with all his power, escape the dimension of time. And if god exists in time, and if he is defined as having no beginning, it then flows logically that god has an infinite past, and an infinite past is the very idea the theist must argue does not and cannot exist when he argues that the universe has a beginning. Craig’s reasoning behind the “timeless” god that exists before he willed the creation of the universe is insufficient. When did god decide to “will” the universe into existence? How much time elapsed prior to creating the universe? Time can't exist before time and time doesn't exist prior to the Big Bang. What was he doing and for how long before he decided creating a universe was on his agenda? If a conscious, intelligent, non-material being can will universes into existence, doesn’t the conscious act of deciding on the creation of a universe to exist require time to exist, just as the physical act that the actual creation of the universe does? Aren’t they both temporal events? There is no such thing as time before time.

Relational theory of time states that “space does not exist unless there are objects in it; nor does time exist without events.” Dr. Craig’s god is immaterial of course and so before he willed the universe into existence, there were no objects, but there were events. Namely, (but not limited to) his will to create the universe. If god is an unembodied mind, a cosmic architect and an intelligent designer, he must have designed the universe with some intention. In other words, under the theistic view, god couldn't have just spontaneously created the universe without a blueprint and some prior planning; there was intent in the creation. How could this have happened before time itself existed? Being timeless excludes the possibility of multiple events, because time will exist “posterior” after the occurrence of the initial event. And god’s conscious planning of the universe postulates at least one event prior to the event that Dr. Craig claims started time. Isn't this all a case of special pleading?

I think you are a foundationalist by what I've read of your comments. The rationality of science collapsed when Einstein imposed a non-Euclidean geometry and a non-Newtonian physics upon nature. Einstein described a natural world that rational beings before him had never conceived. And his descriptions were then corroborated by the results of the experiments that he conceived in order to test them. Using logic and intuition alone never would have taken us to the conclusion that time is relative. Einstein’s remarkable discovery was made using scientific calculations, and it flipped our logical understanding of time upside down.

The success of Einstein’s theory shattered all hopes of explaining the rationality of science in terms of a priori foundations. If Kant could be wrong about the a priori certainty of Newtonian Mechanics and Euclidean Geometry, then how could anyone ever claim to be a priori certain again?

Wittgenstein and the logical positivists, in particular, argued, as Hume had argued before them, that the meaning of a term is reducible to sense impressions, and that empirical verifiability is what distinguishes science from metaphysics, and sense from nonsense.
When you state; "It is the self-evident fact of existence—that something is—and its corollaries, I am aware of it (consciousness), and of myself as distinguished from it (identity) that reside at the base of all knowledge.", you are agreeing with and relying upon the very same logical positivism that reduces everything to sense impressions.

It was in this context that induction and demarcation emerged as the two fundamental problems of epistemology. Attempts to explain the rationality of science as a byproduct of its justification had failed. We cannot rationally ground science upon a priori cognition because a priori cognition is unreliable, and we cannot rationally ground science upon sense experience because inductive inference is invalid. If we want to avoid Hume’s conclusion that science is irrationally grounded in custom and habit, then we have to explain how scientific knowledge can be rational given the fact that it cannot be rationally justified.

But where Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, and the positivists all agreed that our knowledge must be justified in order to be rational, Popper cut the Gordian knot by arguing that scientific knowledge cannot, and need not, be justified at all — and by saying that it is rational not because we have justified it, but because we can criticize it. Popper argued that any attempt to justify our knowledge must, in order to avoid infinite regress, ultimately accept the truth (or reliability) of some statement (or faculty, or person) without justification. I don't see any way of avoiding infinite regress without a) resorting to circular reasoning or b)abandoning the belief that has led to the regress.

The growth of science is both empirical and rational. It is empirical because we test our solutions to scientific problems against our observations and experience. And it is rational, because we make use of the valid argument forms of deductive logic, especially the modus tollens, to criticize theories that contradict the observation statements that we think are true—and because we never conclude from the fact that a theory has survived our tests that it has been shown to be true.


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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 02:15:22 PM
@Kaiden:

"Just one noncircular argument for God’s existence satisfies my position."

It might if you could present an argument that isn't foundational. But you haven't done that. All of your arguments on behalf of God, are foundational and they all require a base. A final point that satisfies all prior justifications. Your final basis for your argument is a belief in God. In other words you believe in God because you Believe in God, which is circular. You begin with a belief in God and then go through a series of what you view as logical arguments to support a belief which you've already decided is true. Your conclusion is always found in your premises. You can call if first cause, and then you claim that it's a theistic argument which only demonstrates that you hold a belief that your argument attempts to justify by imposing your belief into your premises.

"The remainder of the post to which I am here replying discusses your dilemma."

I don't have a dilemma Kaidon. I'm not the one trying to justify a circular argument.

"My presentation of noncircular arguments for God’s existence are argued as an opposing defeater to your position."

I'm afraid; n my view, you haven't done what you think you've done. Obviously we aren't going to agree on this subject, so I'll leave it to others to judge the merits of our arguments.

"In the effort to establish my position that some of the arguments for God’s existence are not circular, the success of my opposing defeater takes a clear priority over the success of my undercutting defeater"

I don't agree at all with this. Are you arguing that you've proved the existence of God? I don't think anybody has established that. How do you prove a metaphysical concept? So you are arguing that your belief in God is logically justified. However your belief can't be logically justified without accepting premises that can't be proven true. Deductive reasoning says that if the premises are true then the conclusion must be infallibly true. You haven't demonstrated that your premises are true. It requires that you suspend disbelief altogether. It requires belief and that beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question...GOD) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.” However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism. It means that you're back to square one. You believe in God because you do. And that's a circular argument.

" That is to say, defending the noncircularity of (even one of) the arguments I display is satisfactory to the grounding of my position, regardless of a direct deconstruction of the force of your dilemma."

Be sure to let me know when that happens. I'm not convinced. I'll leave it to others to judge the rationality of the arguments.

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Larry Allen Brown
Friday, July 19, 2019 - 07:35:16 PM
@Kaiden:

I would add this: •Argumentum ad Verecundiam. Appeal to Authority. An appeal to authority is an argument from the fact that a person judged to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the proposition is true. Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true. If someone either isn’t an authority at all, or isn’t an authority on the subject about which they’re speaking, then that undermines the value of their testimony.

Earlier I said this: "Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question......GOD) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.” However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism."

The argument for the belief in God, as all beliefs, relies on an appeal to authority. What else recommends the belief to you if not some authority? It came to you from somewhere. In this case the authority is the source of the belief itself. But you cannot appeal to God as the source of your belief, and as the authority at the same time. You cannot use God to prove God anymore than you can use any theory to prove itself. And you cannot appeal to God as an authority when you haven't proved that God exists. Furthermore you cannot use the Bible to prove that it's the inspired word of God, because it begs the question, according to who? The Bible cannot be used to prove itself. These are circular arguments. An appeal to an unproven authority undermines your argument. You have a belief. Your belief requires justification. You appeal to an authority of some kind, which in this case is God, to lend credence to your belief. So God is the authority that justifies your belief. You're using God to Justify God as the authority that proves God exists.
That is called circular reasoning. And it's fallacy on two levels. One is ad Verecundiam which is always deductively fallacious. The other is circular reasoning. Begging the question. Which is also fallacious.

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Kaiden
Monday, July 22, 2019 - 10:11:45 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

This is my reply to the post that you published on Sunday, July 14th at 10:32pm:

This is a reply to the Sunday post, as indicated at the top, but I want to start by drawing your attention to something you said in in your reply to me on July 19th, Friday at 2:15pm. Friday, you quoted this sentence from me: "The remainder of the post to which I am here replying discusses your dilemma." Your response to this quote that you take from me was: "I don't have a dilemma Kaid[e]n." You misinterpreted that sentence, there. You do have dilemma--I am referring to the dilemma that you presented in the first place: beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it. However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism.

You don’t give an obvious statement of what you think the word “belief” is supposed to mean, but it is apparent that your dilemma is grounded on a misnomer regarding the word “belief”. A belief is an acceptance of a proposition or an acceptance that something exists. To believe is to regard something as real or true; it is an attitude had towards a proposition. I do believe that fire is hot—I accept as true the proposition “fire is hot”. Moreover, I am justified to believe that fire is hot without an appeal to authority. This counterexample falsifies that every belief must be justified by an appeal to authority. Due to the existence of this counterexample, your dilemma is erroneous from the start because the force of your dilemma, in regards to beliefs, began with the premise that every belief must be justified by an appeal to authority. My belief that fire is hot is justified by neither horn of your dilemma--neither by circular reasoning nor dogma.

Your position, which you initially expressed on July 10th, and your objection to this counterexample about fire are fundamentally problematic and misleading for handling the application of the word “belief” too narrowly, even incorrectly at times, than what the word truly means.

And in your post on Sunday, July 14th at 10:32pm you state at the end of your sixth bulletin point that "I do not deal with beliefs. I don't hold them." If you don't have any beliefs at all, then what do you have?

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.

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Kaiden
Monday, July 22, 2019 - 10:16:36 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

Reply to your post published on Friday 19th 4:04am


You asked how the Second Way is an arguments for God’s existence. The Second Way is an argument for God’s because God is commonly understood within the context of religion to be, among other things, an uncaused cause. Accordingly, an argument in favor of a first cause would, if successful, increase the probability that God exists.

The premises of the Second Way do not assume a first cause. As I stated in my reply, your questions towards me in regards to the premises provide no objection to the non-circularity of the Second Way.

Your contentions against the fourth premise, by the way, are based on a popular misconception of what “nothing” means in philosophy. “Nothing” means that it is false that there is something. Even in everyday speech, when a person claims that there is nothing in their pocket, you understand what he is stating: it is false that there is something (of significance) in their pocket.

The fourth premise states that it is false that something can be prior to itself. The fifth premises states that it is false that something is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.

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Kaiden
Monday, July 22, 2019 - 10:17:59 PM
@Larry Allen Brown: In response to the post you published on Friday at 2:00am

I don’t see why your having trouble identifying which argument I am referring to. That sentence you quote form me is included in a paragraph, the heading of which says: I will start with the moral argument. The proceeding sentences discuss moral values and duties. Every needed indication was there that the first premise in question corresponds to the moral argument—which explains why your guess was correct, after all.

In response to your post published on Monday, July 15, at 2:04am, I wrote the following: it is claimed that the [moral argument] is circular because “you first have to believe that moral values an duties only exist because of God”.

What I wrote there is a description of part of your case for the circularity of the argument. I didn’t write that you agreed that values and duties only exist because of God, rather what I write is that your reason for calling the moral argument circular is that “[a person will] first have to believe that moral values and duties only exist because of God" in order to accept the argument.

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Kaiden
Monday, July 22, 2019 - 10:24:35 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
In reply to the post that you published on Monday, July 15 at 12:19am.


To your 8th Bulletin point:

When I spoke of the belief that stands at the “end” of the terminating account, I was speaking in terms of a mental visualization of the account, as in: A is believed because of B, B is believed because of C [terminate account, here].

In this visualization, C stands at the sequential endpoint. Epistemologically speaking, yes, the acceptance of C marks the beginning (the base) of the account. Our difference in wordage, here, (“end” vs “beginning”) is merely the result of the separate ways that we had represent the account to ourselves for the sake of grasping the idea of it. For instance, when you state that an infinite regress has no "end", I will do you the benefit of the doubt of presuming that you mean that an infinite regress is such that you would never finish counting all the members of it. At face value, you would stand corrected--an infinite regress of time, for example, may have have an end (today).

It is not necessary that I provide an example of such an account in order for the quote you take from me to be true, if that is why you were requesting an example. The statement you quote from me in your 8th Bulletin can be recognized as true through reflection. Circular reasoning only occurs in the course of making an argument or inference. Since a terminating account has no argument or inference being made in regards to the belief that stands at the termination—a basic belief—it does not follow that the belief is circularly accepted in such an account.


In response to your 10th Bulletin point:

I did not state that “fire is hot” is a belief. I state that I believe fire is hot. A belief and a fact do not contrast with each other in the way that you describe them as contrasting. A fact may be the object of a belief, such that “fire is hot” is both factual and believed. A belief may even correspond to a basic fact, such that the basic fact is also basically believed (which can render the series of beliefs finite and justified).


My reply to your 11th Bulletin point:

Thank you for the example.


In response to your 12th Bulletin point:

Why must all beliefs—under the accurate definition of the word—be justified by an appeal to authority? And what leads you to think that appeal to authority is always the way that people make their beliefs rational to themselves?

The reason I haven’t understood you, if that is the case, is because your notion of what a belief is and of what it means to believe something is apparently a primarily connotative notion.

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Kaiden
Monday, July 22, 2019 - 10:54:56 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Reply to your post published on Monday 15th 2:42am

Scholarly work is the genre of authorship explicitly named in the introduction segment of the quote that you take from me. The examples of question begging arguments that you display are a gross caricature of the arguments for God found in the philosophy of religion and represent the amateurish circular arguments that I encounter outside of scholarship. To think that what you have offered is a new experience for me is therefore severe oversight in regards to reading that quote. Also, I myself displayed an example of what a circular argument for God’s existence could look like, at the end of my Sunday post, yet you are taken by the notion that I haven’t encountered them prior to our engagement.

Concerning your second Bulletin point, it overlooks the paragraph in my Sunday post which contained an express statement that my position shall neither bother with nor depend upon the truthfulness of the premises of the arguments for God’s existence.

Your third Bulletin point is misguided for the same reason. The soundness of the resurrection argument is irrelevant to my position as a whole and to the remarks that I make about this particular argument. When I had asserted that the argument lends support to Christian monotheism, what I meant is that it is an argument that may be delivered in favor of Christian monotheism. I do not mean to suggest that it is a sound argument.

Moreover, it is far from clear that the resurrection argument presented by Colin is circular, and you have offered no clarification that it is. The first premise is consistent with it being false that we should believe that the resurrection occurred and the first premise is quite agreeable independent of an argument from the conclusion to the first premise.

I think it was at the second premise that you were being led to believe that the argument is circular. The second premise may be accepted independent of an argument from the conclusion to that premise. Also, the second premise does not state any normative claim about how a person ought to react to a state of affairs in which there is sufficient evidence to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, whereas the conclusion does state a normative claim. For you to think that premise (B) does assume a normative statement, is just for you to imply the first premise, which reveals that the argument is not circular after all, but a mere Modus Ponens inference.

Additionally, the second premise may be sensibly understood as the statement that there is sufficient weight of evidence to justify a belief in the resurrection of Jesus—perhaps Colin can affirm that this is the meaning of the premise, and quite reasonably so. In which case, the second premise is compatible with it being true that there is sufficient evidence to justify a belief that Jesus did NOT resurrect. That is to say, the second premise does not assume one way or the other about what ought to be believed—sets of evidence may justify both a belief and a disbelief in the resurrection, as far as the premise is concerned, such that there is no rational obligation to finally accept either scenario.

Furthermore, although premise (B) claims that a body of facts is available to justify a belief, no person may be aware of those facts. And as far as (B) is concerned, unless we are aware of the sufficient evidence, we should not hold the belief ourselves. That is to say, there is a logically possible scenario in which (B) is true and the conclusion is false, so (B) and (C [the conclusion of Colin's argument]) are not equivalent.

Altogether, I am not persuaded that the argument begs the question. You have given no obvious grounds for thinking that the arguments begs the question, even though you respond to me as if it were a clear matter. To state, as you do, that the argument is question begging because it will "only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion" is not convincing to me because it seems entirely possible that person may accept each premise on its own merits and then make an inference to the conclusion without having assumed or already accept the conclusion in the course of doing so.

Besides, I did not affirm that Colin’s argument was not circular. What I precisely stated was that the argument would not be circular for reasons pertaining to the citation of scriptures in support of premises B. Even if the argument turns up circular for entirely separate reasons, my precise statement would hold. The reason I displayed Colin argument was not for the sake of his argument, but in order to demonstrate that an argument for God’s existence does not always include premises that draw heavily from philosophy and from sources found in the hard sciences. Some arguments for theism may be more historical in nature, due to the fact that the particular theology may describe a personal God who had interacted with the world in human history—the resurrection of Jesus is one such doctrine that stands out as an example of this. According, natural theologians in certain faiths may argue historically for their theologies and some of these arguments are not circular, even if sacred texts provide a portion of the evidence in favor of certain premises.

In the case of a resurrection argument, citing scriptures pertaining to the life, death, and post-mortem appearances of Jesus would not necessarily be circular; saying that this would be a matter of using the Bible to prove the Bible is a rather vague claim. I presume that when you state such an objection, you are using the word “Bible” in one and the same sense. Now, when you say “Bible”, are you referring to the selected scriptures taken from the Gospels and Paul’s letters by the arguer in support of premise (B) in an argument for God’s existence? On the other hand, are you referring to the entire Bible? On either meaning, your contention is false—in a historical argument like the kind I describe, the entire Bible is not being cited in support of the truthfulness of the entire Bible nor are the selected scriptures being cited in support of the truthfulness of the very scriptures selected. What else might you mean in saying "using the Bible to prove the Bible"?

In the case of a historical argument for theism--Christian theism, in this case--the writings in the Gospel and Paul’s letters pertaining to the life, death and post-mortem appearances of Jesus may be treated as testimonial accounts lending part of the evidence to be considered in the case of the resurrection of Jesus. Testimony is accepted in any court of law. Though in place of a jury of peers, the reliability of the selected scripture may be subjected to investigation by historians and philosophers. Finally, the hypothesis that God rose Jesus from the dead could be defended as the best explanation for the state of the evidence, as opposed to naturalistic explanations for the state of the evidence. This process of establishing historical evidence for an event (such as Jesus' death, post-mortem appearances, empty tomb, etc.) and then defending an abductive argument for the hypothesis that may best explain those events (such as, “God rose Jesus from the dead”) is a kind of argument for God's existence found in certain apologies (in this case, a Christian apology) and I do not see these to necessarily be circular arguments, even when scriptures are drawn in support of certain premises.

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 12:55:33 AM
@Kaiden: ""The remainder of the post to which I am here replying discusses your dilemma." Your response to this quote that you take from me was: "I don't have a dilemma Kaid[e]n." You misinterpreted that sentence, there."

Kaiden. You claim that I have a dilemma. I said I don't have a dilemma. How have I misinterpreted what you said? How many ways are there to interpret that comment? The fact is that you haven't demonstrated what this dilemma is? You haven't provided an example. You leave that to everyone's imagination. and now a week later you decide to tell me what this dilemma might be?

"You do have dilemma--I am referring to the dilemma that you presented in the first place:" It seems that you have taken about a week to try to discover some kind of dilemma on my part, rather than addressing your own.

"You don’t give an obvious statement of what you think the word “belief” is supposed to mean, but it is apparent that your dilemma is grounded on a misnomer regarding the word “belief”. You're going to parse that word? What do you take it to mean Kaiden?

" A belief is an acceptance of a proposition or an acceptance that something exists."
Really? Where did you come up with this definition? What authority are you appealing to in order to present this definition? Lets take a look at your definition: First of all what authority has presented this proposition? It comes from somewhere. Where did it come from? Secondly acceptance of something that exists doesn't require belief. Something that exists is self-evident. I don't believe the mountain outside my window is there. I know it is. It's a matter of fact. not belief.

"To believe is to regard something as real or true; it is an attitude had towards a proposition."
But it requires Faith to believe whatever you regard as real or true. You don't need faith to accept what is real. You can't demonstrate your beliefs or they wouldn't be beliefs. They'd be facts and facts don't require faith which is essential to belief.

"I do believe that fire is hot—I accept as true the proposition “fire is hot”.
No Kaiden. You don't believe fire is hot. You know that it's hot. Because you can demonstrate that truth. It doesn't require belief. Your experience with fire being hot demonstrates the truth of the fact that fire is hot. It's not a proposition that is debatable. It's a settled fact and you know it. Please don't expect me to accept that as an argument that makes sense.

"Moreover, I am justified to believe that fire is hot without an appeal to authority."
Th

You don't need to appeal to an authority to tell you that fire is hot Kaiden. It doesn't require belief. I can tell you that if you stick your hand in a fire, you will burn yourself. Try it and see if I'm not telling you the truth. It doesn't require belief. It's a fact. And you can bank on it. There's nothing ambiguous about it. There's nothing to debate. There is no taking it on faith to support a belief. None of that is necessary when dealing with a fact.

"This counterexample falsifies that every belief must be justified by an appeal to authority"
No. Kaiden it doesn't. the fire example is not a belief. If you choose to believe this, then by all means go for it, but it's simply a very lame argument in a very lame attempt to reject what is a truth regarding beliefs.
"beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it. However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism."

"Due to the existence of this counterexample, your dilemma is erroneous from the start because the force of your dilemma, in regards to beliefs, began with the premise that every belief must be justified by an appeal to authority. My belief that fire is hot is justified by neither horn of your dilemma--neither by circular reasoning nor dogma."

If you believe that fire is hot rather than knowing without the need of faith to support that knowledge then I would say that you're are being totally disingenuous with me and others that might be reading this. Do you actually not know that fire is hot? Do you need faith to support some belief that fire is hot? Seriously? That's too bad. I don't need that. I know that fire is hot. I don't need an appeal to an authority on things that are factual. You on the other hand apparently are in some kind of denial of that as a fact. So my one requirement in all debates with people is that they must "keep it real". This is not an example of keeping it real. You need to be honest with yourself, if your going to be honest with me or anyone for that matter.

If you don't have any beliefs at all, then what do you have?
I recognize the rational unity of man, reason is the same for all of is. Although the burden of truth falls on each of our shoulders individually, we are all united in the sense we share the same world. Truth is the same for all of us. There is only one truth. We’re each approaching it from different directions and positions and situations. Comparing, contrasting and criticizing these positions helps all of us to weed out error and get nearer to the truth. At least those of us who have an interest in the truth. We learn by imaginatively thinking up new idea, new values, new approaches, new positions, then once they are mature enough, subjecting them to criticism. As this is a negative methodology, it need not resort to circular arguments of justification and is therefore not hypocritical. Nor does it attempt the impossible task of taking the burden of judging the truth off our individual shoulders. We only shift ideas when criticism is brought to bear on them and better alternatives are presented. No idea is ever proved or justified.

My only interest is in the truth. I don't invest in beliefs.

Truth is determined by humans, not criteria or standards or bases or dogma. Moreover, a criteria cannot be its own criteria. Again, it is an issue of responsibility. Even assuming you have a criteria you think is adequate, how did you determine that? Are you responsible for that judgement, or is the criteria responsible? And what authority provided that criteria? Merely claiming a standard or a criteria or a basis does not help one to demonstrate the truth of values. Instead, it creates a certain amount of hypocrisy. If we claim a basis ( such as what you've offered in terms of theism) gives us truth, we then are making the implicit claim that truth requires bases. But then it is plainly obvious our own basis lacks a basis, as it cannot be its own basis. By claiming truth must be demonstrated by bases we undermine our own moral integrity. A similar case might be made for the Christian who says that miracles support his faith in God. Is that not hypocritical? After all, faith is faith. It does not require proof. Similarly, from a Christian perspective, if a person is “good” because he wants to go to heaven, is he not being “bad” as he is pursuing selfish ends. There is no moral worth to pursuing selfish ends.

Positive methodologies such as what you've been offering have about as much humanity as a software program. Positive methodologies are automatic. They tell people exactly how they must judge the truth, so that they need *not* judge the truth. It's judged for them by the authority they appeal to.

You asked.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 01:24:00 AM
@Kaiden: "The Second Way is an argument for God’s because God is commonly understood within the context of religion to be, among other things, an uncaused cause."

Do you not see that you are using religion to prove God? You're appealing to religion as the authority for your statement. Read what you said Kaiden. "God is commonly understood within the context of religion to be, among other things, an uncaused cause." The very mention of God assumes that God exists. You're assuming the existence of the very thing that you're trying to prove. That's the definition of a circular argument. What is the authority of that religion? What is the basis for it if not God? And then you resort to "Special Pleading to justify an uncaused cause, when your entire argument is based on everything requiring a first cause. Everything except God who you claim is an uncaused cause through special pleading. Special pleading is a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception. That's a fallacy Kaiden.

"The premises of the Second Way do not assume a first cause. "
Of course not. We simply resort to Special Pleading and that solves that little problem.

"The fourth premise states that it is false that something can be prior to itself."
Which presents an unresolved problem. Did God create himself? He can't exist prior to himself. So what created God.

"The fifth premises states that it is false that something is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
I asked you this before. Does that statement include God. According to your 5th premise God cannot be the efficient cause of itself or be causally responsible for itself. But I suppose special Pleading solves that problem right?

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 02:17:18 AM
@Kaiden: "A is believed because of B, B is believed because of C [terminate account, here]."
And what do you base this on? What is C based on?

"Epistemologically speaking, yes, the acceptance of C marks the beginning (the base) of the account."
What is the basis for this? You're basing C on....C? You're telling me that C is based on itself? You're using C to justify itself? What is the basis for making that claim? That is a circular argument Kaiden. You cannot use a theory to prove itself. I can't believe that you cannot see this. You keep resorting to the same circular reasoning to present your case. You cannot use God to prove God. You cannot use the Bible to prove the Bible and you cannot use this argument because it's circular and a fallacy. Your belief can't be used to prove itself.

"For instance, when you state that an infinite regress has no "end", I will do you the benefit of the doubt of presuming that you mean that an infinite regress is such that you would never finish counting all the members of it. At face value, you would stand corrected--an infinite regress of time, for example, may have have an end (today).

That statement makes absolutely no sense at all. What do you mean by an end ( today) For one thing I'm not talking about an infinite regress in time am I? No. I'm not. I'm talking about an infinite regress in your reasoning that you are using to justify a belief. Time has nothing to do with this. Your reasoning looks for a basis to justify your belief and that reasoning leads you to an infinite regress where you can never reach a final justification without resorting to a circular argument. At some point you're going to stop when you see that there is no end to the search for a justification for the previous justification. That will result in your argument that because "A is believed because of B, B is believed because of C [terminate account, here" That simply doesn't get it. What justifies C? What do you base any of this on?

"It is not necessary that I provide an example of such an account in order for the quote you take from me to be true, if that is why you were requesting an example.
Why not?

"The statement you quote from me in your 8th Bulletin can be recognized as true through reflection."

Through reflection? Reflection is subjective. Are you telling me that truth is relative? Are you a relativist? If you are, then how can you believe in an objective Truth that you would call God? You cannot subscribe to objective truth and be a relativist at the same time. That would violate the law of non-contradiction that states that you cannot be A and be NOT A at the same time in the same context. So which is it?

"Circular reasoning only occurs in the course of making an argument or inference."
And that's exactly what you've been doing. You've been arguing the case for the existence of God throughout this entire debate. And your argument always ends up as circular.

"Since a terminating account has no argument or inference being made in regards to the belief that stands at the termination—a basic belief—it does not follow that the belief is circularly accepted in such an account."

Kaiden….what is the basis for claiming that there is a terminating account to your belief? What justifies that belief if not an appeal to the authority that provides the reasoning that you are using? You are appealing to an Authority of some kind (God, the Bible, whatever...) to make your argument. You haven't demonstrated the terminal account as something that doesn't justify itself which is a case of circular reasoning.

"I state that I believe fire is hot."
It doesn't require belief. I don't believe it. I know it for a fact.

" A belief and a fact do not contrast with each other in the way that you describe them as contrasting."

Of course they do. Facts are supported by reality. Beliefs are only supported by faith.

" A fact may be the object of a belief, such that “fire is hot” is both factual and believed."
That's not true. All I need is one example to falsify that claim. I don't believe that fire is hot. I know that fire is hot. So I'm the example. If your example were actually true then it would be categorically true. And everyone would believe that fire is hot. But knowing that fire is hot is information that comes from direct experience. Not any belief system. You don't need to inject faith into the subject. It's a recognized absolute. Fire is hot and it burns.

"A belief may even correspond to a basic fact, such that the basic fact is also basically believed (which can render the series of beliefs finite and justified)."

If it did Kaiden, then it would no longer be a belief. Facts are understood and accepted. I don't believe that 2+2=4. I know it and I can prove it. 4-2= 2. It's basic math We use subtraction to prove our equations. It's deductive reasoning. You're delving into pretzel logic here.

"Why must all beliefs—under the accurate definition of the word—be justified by an appeal to authority? And what leads you to think that appeal to authority is always the way that people make their beliefs rational to themselves? "

Because beliefs cannot stand alone. They need to refer to something that is the object of the belief. In this case it's God. But it could be anything that you believe in. There must be something to justify the belief or you wouldn't hold it. If the belief doesn't correspond to your rational mind, you're not going to accept it. That something is always the author of the thing you believe in. Whether its God or the Bible or whatever. It's the authority that provides you with the justification for holding that belief. Why else would you hold it? Do you believe in bullshit? I doubt it. You need something stronger to invest your faith in than bullshit. There has to be some authority that makes the belief rational in your mind or you wouldn't hold it. But again, the problem is that the belief can never be justified because trying to do so will always lead to infinite regress or circular reasoning where you stop the regress and either believe it because you do, which is circular or reject it because it leads to nowhere.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 02:26:33 AM
@Kaiden: Your long post is more than I wish to weigh in on. It's late and I have a long road trip tomorrow. But I will say this: Your very last paragraph demonstrates my case for me. You're using the Bible to prove the Bible and to prove God which proves the Bible which proves God and on and on it goes. The entire exercise is a Circular Argument. You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible without resorting to Circular reasoning. That's a logical fallacy. If you can't see that, I can't help you. This is a site that is a forum for logical fallacies. I'd suggest you look up begging the question; circular argument and then look at what you're saying. Good luck with that.

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jim
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 05:46:40 AM
@Kaiden: Any time you refer to using the Bible as a historical argument for theism, you are using circular reasoning, because the only people who see it as evidence of anything are people who already believe it is true.

You could use literally the exact same arguments to say Beowulf is evidence for the existence of dragons and a monster called Grendel.

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Kaiden
Saturday, July 27, 2019 - 11:22:29 AM
@jim:
Hi, jim!

The idea that you express in your first paragraph is not what we observe to be true about people. For example, a person may deny that Smith is guilty of the murder, and concede that there is evidence that Smith committed the murder (perhaps the person acknowledges that Smith was caught on camera walking onto what would ten minutes later become the crime scene, which is incriminating evidence). Such scenarios are commonplace: it is typical human experience to accept a claim while admitting that there is some evidence pointing in the other direction and that there are strong arguments for the opposing viewpoint. In contradiction to your first paragraph, it is a plausible scenario that some people consider the Biblical accounts to be evidence for the occurrence of a resurrection—because the relevant scriptures are written as historical narratives and make reference to eye-witnesses—without finally believing that the content of those testimonies are accurate or that “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation of the total evidence body.

Indeed, some non-Christian scholars acknowledge sincerity in the New Testament testimonies about the post-mortem appearances of Jesus, but attribute these sightings to the visitation of a long-lost twin of Jesus or to mass hallucination. There is no necessary connection between acknowledging that the testimonial nature and historical narration of passages of the New Testament may be treated as evidence for events pertaining to Jesus, on the one hand, and holding prior belief in the truthfulness of the content of the testimonies or in the existence of God, on the other hand.

Beowulf was not written as history; the author composed the work as a poem. On the contrary, the Gospels and Paul’s letters were written as narratives about a man named Jesus of Nazareth and speak from first hand experience or make reference to witnesses to certain events. To consider the citation of Beowulf to be of an exact kind of argument for monsters and dragons would be a mistreatment of literature in terms of genre.

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jim
Sunday, July 28, 2019 - 02:36:45 PM
@Kaiden:

"A person may deny that Smith is guilty of the murder, and concede that there is evidence that Smith committed the murder"

I should have been clearer. When I said "the only people who see it as evidence of anything are people who already believe it is true" I should have said "anything supernatural or divine". It is not evidence of those things. It is evidence of some historical events, although the only way we can tell which are actually historical is by looking at other sources.

For example: Jericho existed. We know this because of archaeology. However, we also know that the account in Joshua of the fall of Jericho was not true. The city had been abandoned for about 200 years before the battle of Jericho described in the Bible.

Caravans of camels are described in the Bible during Abraham's time - but camels weren't domesticated in the region at that time. They were by the time the book was written, though, so the authors wrote it in without knowing the difference.

Want a New Testament example? How about the fact that Jesus's birth happened during the reign of Herod the Great, when Quirinius was governer of Syria? Except that Herod the Great died in 4BC and Quirinius didn't become governer until 6AD.

Simply put, the Bible may add to our understanding of events that we have other historical sources to back up, but as a historical source in its own right, we cannot accept any of what it says in the absence of other evidence.


"it is a plausible scenario that some people consider the Biblical accounts to be evidence for the occurrence of a resurrection—because the relevant scriptures are written as historical narratives and make reference to eye-witnesses—without finally believing that the content of those testimonies are accurate or that “God raised Jesus from the dead” is the best explanation of the total evidence body."

The word doing almost all the work in this paragraph is 'some'. I'll concede that I can't speak for absolutely everybody. However, if your default position is that the resurrection did not happen, a story that makes references to eye witnesses is no more convincing than believing in Superman because of the guy in the story that says 'Look - up in the sky!'

In fact, even the non-Christian scholars you mention don't see it as evidence of an actual resurrection. They see it as evidence that something happened that people at the time may have believed was a resurrection.

Let me be absolutely clear. I'm not saying the Bible story isn't evidence that people thought a thing. I'm saying it's not evidence they were right.


"Beowulf was not written as history"

With all due respect, you have no idea how it was written. Nobody knows who wrote it and scholars have trouble agreeing when it was written to within a few centuries.

One thing they do agree about, almost universally, however, is that there is a great deal of history in Beowulf. Archaeological excavations in the 19th Century confirmed historical details for which Beowulf was the only source, and it is still used as a source of information about Scandinavian figures such as Eadgils and Hygelac.


"On the contrary, the Gospels and Paul’s letters were written as narratives about a man named Jesus of Nazareth and speak from first hand experience or make reference to witnesses to certain events."

They absolutely do not speak from first hand experience. The earliest of the gospels was written 40 years after Christ's death. Paul never met Jesus.

I honestly don't know why you think it's impressive in any way that a piece of writing 'makes reference to witnesses' of anything. Literally billions of works of fiction refer to people seeing things happen. It doesn't mean that actually happened. Many many of those works of fiction are called 'Historical fiction'. They are about real people and real events. They refer to eye witnesses and if you check other sources you will find that some of what is written is true. Consequently, you may see Ken Follett's The Pillars of Earth as evidence that low status people regularly ate breakfast in 12th Century England. And you would be wrong.

Similarly, if you believe the Bible is a reliable historical record, you can see it as evidence for God. If however, like very many biblical scholars, you see the Gospels as "written with the intention of glorifying Jesus and are not strictly biographical in nature."(E.P. Sanders) or "primarily as theological, not historical items"(Ingrid Maisch and Anton Vögtle) then you are unlikely to see it as reliable evidence of anything supernatural.

It is my contention that those who already believe in God are considerably more likely to view the Bible as reliable evidence for anything, while those who do not already believe in God are unlikely to be convinced by a story which cannot be corroborated by other sources.

This lack of corroboration makes the 'evidence' in the Bible insufficient to argue for the historicity of the Battle of Jericho, the mass rising of the dead from graves in Jerusalem, the talking donkey in Numbers, the very existence of Moses, or indeed, the existence of God.

It is for this reason that using the Bible as evidence to try to convince anybody about anything requires them to already believe that there is a reason to trust the Bible.

And the only reason to trust the Bible (in the absence of other evidence) is because the Bible says it is the word of God.

Textbook circular reasoning.



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Larry Allen Brown
Sunday, July 28, 2019 - 06:58:53 PM
@jim: "It is for this reason that using the Bible as evidence to try to convince anybody about anything requires them to already believe that there is a reason to trust the Bible.

And the only reason to trust the Bible (in the absence of other evidence) is because the Bible says it is the word of God.


As I was saying.....

Textbook circular reasoning.



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Kaiden
Sunday, August 04, 2019 - 10:48:17 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

Reply to the post that you published on Tuesday 23rd July 12:55am

You quote the following sentence from me—“You do have a dilemma—I am referring to the dilemma that you presented in the first place:”.

You responded to this sentence saying that in all of this time I have failed to produce any kind of dilemma on your part. Rather carelessly, you neglected to notice that there are a pair of semi colons at the end of the quote you take from me, which are succeeded by the sentences that explain what it is that I am referring to as “your dilemma”. I clearly state what dilemma I am referring to. On July 10, Wednesday at 2:15, you state about the justification of beliefs that “…this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the DILEMMA OF INFINITE REGRESS VS. DOGMATISM.” All caps are mine. Notice the word “dilemma” with which you yourself chose to describe the disjunction. You present “infinite regress vs. dogmatism” as a DILEMMA with regards to justifying beliefs. I have explained more than once that when I say “your dilemma” I am referring to the dilemma that you presented in the beginning of our discussion; and this was the word by which you yourself chose to call it, so I followed suit and denoted the disjunction by that same word.

You asked me what authority I am appealing to with regards to the definition of “belief” and “believe.” The structure of your question comes off to me as rhetorical. What is sensible is to ask me what source I researched in order to verify the definitions that I present. To ask what “authority” I “appealed to”—rather than ask what “source” I “researched”—is a rhetorical phrasing so as to make it seem, right from the start, that the definition I display was fallaciously arrived at. I did not “appeal to authority”—as in: commit a fallacy—but I looked the words up in the Websters’s Dictionary Plus Thesaurus, published by Nickel Press in 1994, as well as Webster’s Dictionary for Students New Edition, published by Federal Street Press in 2007, and I consulted the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, under an article called “Belief”, authored by E Schwitzgebel in 2006. I was already familiar with the terms, but as has been my habit (by way of good advice) since grade school, I keep dictionaries and an encyclopedia accessible when composing my papers and posts.

Also, to know something does not mean that you don’t believe it. To know something implies that you do not MERELY believe it.

What you have done is misrepresent the definitions words and you are attempting to ground your position on a misnomer and a primarily connotative and very narrow stance concerning the word “belief”. In my post on Monday July 22nd at 10:11pm, I provided the sufficient undercutting defeater to your dilemma and to your standpoint regarding beliefs. Moreover, you have unsuccessfully countered my opposing defeater that there are non-circular arguments for God’s existence, having not shown the circularity of the Kalam argument, a moral argument (with the adjusted first premise that I offered: if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist), and the Second Way.

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.

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Kaiden
Sunday, August 04, 2019 - 11:02:45 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

Reply to the post that you published on Friday 19th 12:28

You write: "A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion. If the person is arguing that God is the first cause then he already assumes God a priori. He's using his belief in God to prove God as a first cause. You can't use God to prove God without using a circular argument."

In that response to the Second Way, you explain why a circular argument fails as a proof and then you provide a conditional statement of what would be the case if a person were arguing that God is the first cause. A general explanation and a conditional statement are accomplishing nothing in regards to proving that there is circularity in the Second Way.

If you meant to particularly state that the SECOND WAY fails as a proof because it would only be seen as sound by those who already agree to the conclusion, then you are in the wrong. The argument may be proven valid independently of an acceptance of the conclusion. Also, I long ago defended the proposition that none of the premises assume that there is a first cause and you still have not proved this proposition false. Both elements necessary to determining that the argument is sound (validity and truthfulness of premises) are capable of being be accepted without assuming that there is a first cause.

Also, if you meant to assert that the antecedent of the above conditional statement IS true (the conditional statement in the quote that I take from you), and that the consequent follows from it, then your analysis is flawed. The defender of the Second Way qua the defender of the Second Way is not arguing that God is the first cause. The conclusion states that there is a first cause; any identification of the first cause would require further reasons or premises to be given in tandem with the Second Way that I have presented. So, the antecedent of the conditional statement that you provide is false in regards to the defender of the Second Way qua the defender of the Second Way. Thus, even if the conditional statement were true (which I don't think it is, for that matter)--that if the person is arguing that God is the first cause then he already assumes God a priori--it would still not yet be established that the defender of the Second Way is "already assuming God a priori".

You state a short distance further down in your post that the Second Way assumes it’s conclusion. This statement hangs unsupported. I listed all of the premises and explained that none of them assume there is a first cause and you have written nothing to prove that the contrary is true. Not once have you presented the exact premise(s) that assumes that there is a first cause nor explained the reasoning behind why you think they assume the conclusion.

Further down, you quote me on saying that it is not unreasonable for Aquinas to construct an argument to support what he thinks is true. Your response does not object to the quote and so leaves me curious as to the purpose of the response.

Continuing on, you continued to pose the critique that the truth of the “arguments” have not been demonstrated. For one thing, arguments are neither true nor false—premises are. And you are forgetting that the truthfulness of the premises is irrelevant to my position. The irrelevancy of the truthfulness of the premises explains why I did not present arguments in favor of the premises.

In sum, in the post to which I am here responding, no argument is given for the circularity of the Second Way, let alone a good one. Please, present which premise(s) assumes the conclusion or concede that the Second Way is not circular.

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Kaiden
Sunday, August 04, 2019 - 11:06:42 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

Reply to the post that you published on Tuesday 23 at 1:24am.


The quote that you take from me discusses nothing more substantial than a typical concept of God, which contains no existential implications. Moreover, I have not tried to prove God’s existence nor have I professed any belief in the existence of such a being, so there is prima facie reason to deny that in the case of God I am “assuming” what I am trying to “prove”.

The notion that the Second Way is based on everything requiring a first cause is pulled out of your hat in order to accuse the argument of Special Pleading. What the Second Way concludes is that there is a first cause, which, analytically, would not have a cause of its existence. And the proposition that there is a first cause is not an unsupported proposition, but follows from the premises. The general principle or rule that everything does have a first cause is nowhere to be found with regards to the Second Way and I do not see how such a principle is even possible. Your "special pleading" critique does not suffice as either a relevant or even a coherent objection.

Due to your persistence, I may as well address how premises four and five relate to a God. As far as premises four and five are concerned, there is no God, so one who affirms these premises does not necessarily have an answer to your question. It is as quick as that. However, one who affirms premises four and five would assert that if God does exist, then the statements in premises four and five are true of that being. This is obvious and does not warrant having to ask—the premises are categorical, so of course each would be true of God, if the statements are true and a God exists. You give no explanation supporting your claim that these premises are problematic for the existence of a God—or for a first cause, for that matter, because that is the entity feature in the conclusion.

In sum, just as I stated in my response to your Friday the 19th 12:28 post, there has been no progress towards proving the circularity of the Second Way.

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Kaiden
Sunday, August 04, 2019 - 11:14:53 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

Reply to the post that you published on Tuesday, July 23rd at 2:17am

You quote the following sentence and respond to it: “Epistemologically speaking, yes, the acceptance of C marks the beginning (the base) of the account.”

Your response to this sentence is incoherent. By definition, the basic belief is not based on another belief. To ask, “what is this based on” is therefore nonsensical in regards to the account. Nor did I say that the basic belief is justified by itself. What I state is the obvious truthhood that a basic belief is not argued for or inferred to, so no circular reasoning occurs at that belief because circular reasoning only occurs in the course of an argument or inference. I never claimed that such an account is real or that there is a terminating account to my own beliefs—two notions that you mistakenly hold about me. What I claim and defended is that an account containing a belief accepted basically is not guilty of circular reasoning. The disjuncts of your dilemma are inaccurate (don’t forget what “your dilemma” refers to), therefore, as I have previously explained.

I mentioned an infinite regress of time as a example of an infinite regress that could have an end, despite your statement that an infinite regress could not have an end. Time may be infinite in the past, but not in the future—so it is a logically possible regressive sequence with no beginning, but an end. When you stated that infinite regresses have no end, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that I described as giving to you in the passage that you quoted from me.

You claimed that your lack of belief that fire is hot falsifies that a fact may be the object of a belief. Your “counterexample” is truly confused. My statement said that a fact MAY be the object of a belief. It does not state that all facts ARE the objects of belief. Therefore, what you have presented is not a counterexample. Of course, given an accurate definition of “believe”, you do believe that fire is hot. So even if I had given the general statement that you mistakenly thought I did, what you present would still not be a counter example (because a counterexample to a general must be true, and it is false that you do not believe that fire is hot.)

I have addressed your misnomers with greater force in a post that I put up earlier today.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 02:03:31 AM
@Kaiden: "What I state is the obvious truthhood that a basic belief is not argued for or inferred to, so no circular reasoning occurs at that belief because circular reasoning only occurs in the course of an argument or inference."

First of all you should be careful when stating that anything is an "obvious truthhood". If the thing your claiming is obvious and a truthhood then it would be recognized by everyone as objectively true. That would make it both obvious and trut. The fact that whatever it is you're referring to has no basis except the claim that you make that it's an obvious truthhood should tell you that it's neither obvious nor demonstrated as a truthood. And secondly, if what I'm saying is incoherent then why is it that Jim has no problem in understanding it?

"What I claim and defended is that an account containing a belief accepted basically is not guilty of circular reasoning."

You accept a belief Basically. That means foundationally. Fundamentally. So what is this foundational basis? Based on what if not itself? You seem to be basing some belief on itself. If not, then please tell me what you base it on?

"The disjuncts of your dilemma are inaccurate (don’t forget what “your dilemma” refers to), "
As I said before Kaiden, I don't have a dilemma. You'll have to point it out to me. It seems to me however, that you do have one. You keep alluding to some basic foundation for a belief without pointing out what the believe is based on other than itself, which is....circular reasoning. That's your dilemma and it's yet to be resolved.

"I mentioned an infinite regress of time as a example of an infinite regress that could have an end, despite your statement that an infinite regress could not have an end"

Because it's not the same thing. You'll need to take that up with Tarski. The very word infinite should tip you off that it's not. Your analogy doesn't apply.

"Time may be infinite in the past, but not in the future—so it is a logically possible regressive sequence with no beginning, but an end."

I'd say it's exactly the opposite. We can trace the universe backward in time to the Big Bang. Cosmologists have said that the universe is approx. 13.7 Billion years old. In physical cosmology, the age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang. The current measurement of the age of the universe is 13.799±0.021 billion years within the Lambda-CDM concordance model. The uncertainty has been narrowed down to 21 million years, based on a number of studies which all gave extremely similar figures for the age. These include studies of the microwave background radiation, and measurements by the Planck spacecraft, the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrop… . You couldn't know that if you couldn't trace backwards to it's beginning. The universe is also expending so there is no end to it. If you can point to an end, then you should inform the rest of the world when that might take place.

"so it is a logically possible regressive sequence with no beginning, but an end. "
I believe that I've demonstrated why that is false.

"You claimed that your lack of belief that fire is hot falsifies that a fact may be the object of a belief. Your “counterexample” is truly confused. My statement said that a fact MAY be the object of a belief."


I'm not confused at all. You seem to be. I know what you said. I think most people here know what you said. I told you that I don't believe that fire is hot. I know it for fact. I differentiate fact from belief. I think it's important to deal with the meaning of words. Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. In other words, belief is when someone thinks something is reality, true, when they have no absolute verified foundation for their certainty of the truth or realness of something. Belief requires faith, not demonstration. Fact is demonstrable.

"Of course, given an accurate definition of “believe”, you do believe that fire is hot. "
I just gave you an accurate definition. You may belief that fire is hot. But I can prove to you that it's not. I don't need to invest in belief to do it.

I have absolute verified foundation to demonstrate that fire is hot. Belief doesn't enter into it. Direct experience informs me.

"(because a counterexample to a general must be true, and it is false that you do not believe that fire is hot.)"

A general?? A general what? Are you talking about a generality? if so then you're applying inductive reasoning to your argument and induction never proves a claim. It presents a generality and that's the best it can do. If it's not a generality that you mean, then what do you mean by the term General? You may not grasp what I've said, but I think you're in denial. I also think that most people on this forum would agree with what I'm saying. It is NOT false that I do NOT "believe" that fire is hot which sounds like a double negative. It is a false statement to state that I believe that fire is hot. Belief is not required. It's a fact. It's a True statement that is demonstrable. No faith is required. Belief is when someone thinks something is reality, true, when they have no absolute verified foundation for their certainty of the truth or realness of something. Belief requires faith, not demonstration. Fact is demonstrable. Fact is something based on observation and hence is considered true whereas opinion is an assumption or a belief. This is one of the main differences between a fact and an opinion. A fact is a statement that can be considered as a proved opinion. I think you're confused regarding the meaning of belief. I don't believe that fire is hot. I know it to be factually true.

You may think that you've addressed "misnomers with greater force" with this post, but I think you're deluding yourself. I see no evidence that you've advanced your argument. at all.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 03:21:59 AM
@Kaiden: "his is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the DILEMMA OF INFINITE REGRESS VS. DOGMATISM.” All caps are mine."

this is a silly argument Kaiden. I'm describing the dilemma faced by those that subscribe to beliefs. it's not MY dilemma. I don't hold beliefs. For you to argue that I have a dilemma is disingenuous. You could have stated that the dilemma that I described in my statement is such and such and yet you referred to it as MY dilemma. It's THE dilemma of infinite regress v dogmatism. It's not mine. It does appear to be yours.

"You present “infinite regress vs. dogmatism” as a DILEMMA with regards to justifying beliefs. I have explained more than once that when I say “your dilemma” I am referring to the dilemma that you presented in the beginning of our discussion; and this was the word by which you yourself chose to call it, so I followed suit and denoted the disjunction by that same word."

That's a bogus explanation. Referring to this condition as My dilemma is totally misleading and I think objective third parties would agree.

"The structure of your question comes off to me as rhetorical."
I asked you this: "what authority you're appealing to with regards to the definition of “belief” . You haven't given an answer yet.

"What is sensible is to ask me what source I researched in order to verify the definitions that I present. "
No. What is sensible is to ask you the question I asked you. Whatever your research is, what is the authority of the source that you are using. It's not a trick question.

"To ask what “authority” I “appealed to”—rather than ask what “source” "
That's a logical fallacy Kaiden. distinction without a difference . The assertion that a position is different from another position based on the language when, in fact, both positions are exactly the same—at least in practice or practical terms. From Bo's book'
Bennett, Bo. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies (Academic Edition) (p. 102). eBookIt.com. Kindle Edition. Your source IS the authority that you are relying on. Your avoiding the question.

"I did not “appeal to authority”—as in: commit a fallacy"

Of course you did. You just now offered a distinction without a difference and the authority that you appeal to is Websters’s Dictionary Plus Thesaurus, published by Nickel Press in 1994, as well as Webster’s Dictionary for Students New Edition, published by Federal Street Press in 2007, and I consulted the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, under an article called “Belief”, authored by E Schwitzgebel in 2006. So the strongest appeal to authority that you describe here is an article called “Belief”, authored by E Schwitzgebel in 2006. That's an example of argumentum ad verecundiam. But the fact that the truth (or reliability) of this faculty, or person is accepted without justification means that we attribute to it an authority that we deny to others. Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true.

"Also, to know something does not mean that you don’t believe it. To know something implies that you do not MERELY believe it. "

What it means is that it doesn't require belief, which requires faith. It's called a fact. It's physical. Not metaphysical.

"What you have done is misrepresent the definitions words and you are attempting to ground your position on a misnomer and a primarily connotative and very narrow stance concerning the word “belief”.

Wrong. Kaiden. I just know the difference between a belief that requires an appeal to authority for justification, and a fact which is demonstrable and needs no further justification.

"In my post on Monday July 22nd at 10:11pm, I provided the sufficient undercutting defeater to your dilemma and to your standpoint regarding beliefs.
Once again, it's not MY dilemma. You should really stop with the misleading usage of wording. And I'm afraid you've failed to support your claims.

"Moreover, you have unsuccessfully countered my opposing defeater that there are non-circular arguments for God’s existence, having not shown the circularity of the Kalam argument, a moral argument (with the adjusted first premise that I offered: if God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist), and the Second Way. "

I told you before that I'm not a fan of William Lane Craig of his arguments and I stated why. I'm not alone in my criticism of Dr. Craig. and he apparently is the authority that you appeal to . And this demonstrates exactly what I've said all along. "“Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question You) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.” However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism.
The authority that you appeal to is Dr. Craig, and his authority is the Kalam argument. And what is that based on? I don't think you fully grasp that you continue to offer one appeal to authority after another with each justification needing another to justify the one preceding it. Good Luck with all of that Kaiden.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 04:05:22 AM
@Kaiden: "Also, I long ago defended the proposition that none of the premises assume that there is a first cause and you still have not proved this proposition false."

You mean a first cause like...the Big Bang?
You haven't proved that it's true. It requires that you believe that God is a first cause.
According to Aquinas
P1.There is a first cause
P2.If a first cause exists, then God exists.
C:God exists.

P2. requires a belief that a God exists and there is nothing that demonstrates that as true in the premises.
But God cannot exist prior to himself. Aquinas states Nothing can be prior to itself. How can God exist prior to God in order to create something? Time had to elapse prior to his creating anything. there is no time before time. Time requires action. Nothing exists before time. What was God doing prior to his creation?

It's not a sound argument Kaiden. It's Special Pleading.
P1.There is a first cause
P2.If a first cause exists, then the Big Bang happened
C:the Big Bang happened.

The first event in the history of the universe was an explosion of an extremely dense collection of particles, with every particle moving apart from every other particle. This event had no cause -- in particular, no intelligent being set it into motion -- and, further, every subsequent event has been an effect of this event. That is the position of cosmologists and physicists. There is a physical scientific explanation of what took place. What was going on prior to the Big Bang is not possible to calculate with our present understanding because there is no time before time. We can only know what exists based on the physical properties of the Universe.

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jim
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 06:49:56 AM
@Kaiden:

The Second Way stuff is a pointless argument. In the very first post in which you laid it all out, you concluded the ensuing paragraph with "This is a noncircular argument for God’s existence."

No. It isn't. Larry says the second way is circular, but EVEN IF HE'S WRONG and it is the least circular, most perfect argument in logical history, it's not an argument for God. It's an argument for a first cause. The first cause could be Zeus, quantum fluctuations, the fart of a parallel dimension, or the disembodied mind of Robin Williams.

YOU MADE IT CIRCULAR when you claimed it's an argument for God, because you can only do that by assuming God exists.

In a later post, you dial it back a bit and claim that if a first cause exists it makes it more likely that God exists. I'll accept that if you accept it also makes it more likely that the Universe was a product of Robin Williams' disembodied mind. The logic for both propositions is identical. I could argue that my proposition has more evidence, since we know that Robin Williams actually existed. I have lots of real, extra-biblical proof of that.

In conclusion, stop using the second way as an example of non-circular evidence for God.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 01:55:12 PM
@Kaiden: There is a fatal flaw in your argument. You begin with the theory that God exists and all of your efforts are spent trying to prove your theory as true. The fact of the matter is that no theory is ever proven to be true. All theories are conditional because we can never know if the next explanation falsifies the theory. Attempts to prove a theory require inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is a logical process in which multiple premises, all believed true or found true most of the time, are combined to obtain a specific conclusion. In other words. you look for reasons to support or justify your belief. But in doing so, you then need reasons to support or justify the things that you use to support or justify the belief. And on an on it goes. That's infinite regress. Inductive reasoning is often used in applications that involve prediction, forecasting, or behavior. But they never prove their conclusions as true. At some point to avoid the regress you will either reject your theory, or resort to circular reasoning to justify your claim. You will use the claim as evidence for itself.

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Kaiden
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 11:31:11 PM
@jim:
Hi, jim!

Thank you, jim, for your patience as I’ve been handling my priorities over the past few weeks and so have only been responding sparsely.

I objected to the comparison that you drew between the abductive argument I describe and an argument that cites Beowulf as evidence for the existence of monsters and Grendel. You quote the sentence “Beowulf was not written as history”, which was part of my objection to your comparison, and you reply that I have no idea how it was written. Your reply is merely the denial of my knowledge and so offers no substantial objection to my knowledge of how it was written. Besides, the missing identity of the author and the lost date of composition—the two facts that you mention in support of the idea that I don’t know how the tale was written—are unnecessary to the possession of knowledge regarding the tale’s genre. I encourage you to research the tale and learn that it is common knowledge that Beowulf is written as a poem.

Beowulf was written as a poem, whereas the New Testament reads as a narrative of allegedly historical events, with the intention that every person would consider the texts reliable and believe its contents. So, in light of the difference in genre, claiming that an exact kind of argument can be given that Beowulf is evidence of the existence of dragons and Grendel rests on a poor literary analysis. Besides, even if historians had not known in what genre Beowulf was composed, this would make your comparison between Beowulf and the NT citation all the more dubious—because you would be making the comparison without possessing the literary knowledge pertinent to ensuring that the comparison is licit. Herein is the backfiring-nature of your retort that we do not know how Beowulf is written.

The verdict of your post, expressed in the final two sentences that you write, warps the structure of my argument in critical ways. I state that it is not circular to cite selected scriptures as part of a collection of evidence from which it may be inferred abductively that “God raised Jesus from the dead”. However, what your verdict amounts to stating is that citing the Bible is an exercise in circular argumentation when cited in the ABSENCE of supportive evidence. In light of this, your verdict speaks past the precise kind of argument that I described because I spoke of an argument in which scripture would be cited with a corroborative body of historical evidence.

Even if your post had argued against the reliability of the specific scriptures that are relevant to the kind of argument I describe (which it doesn't; it objects to the reliability of Old Testament and impertinent New Testament material), your post would remain an unsuccessful rebuttal because your conclusion would boil down to the claim that the kind of argument I describe is evidentially challenged, whereas my position is that such an argument, even if not sound, is non-circular. This deviation from the topic of circularity into the topic of soundness is the same rabbit trail that Larry Allen Brown stumbles onto time and again, and I want to get you off of it, jim. Also, it is important not to treat “the Bible” as if it were one book, such that citing the Bible to corroborate the Bible would be circular. You should take care to understand that the Bible is not a single book. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four books, with different authors, complete with separate writing styles and unique perspectives, and Paul had written texts, as well. These authors' works are five separately written historical that are able to corroborate one another.

You and Larry seem to persistently “see” circular reasoning because you both persistently refer to the use of “the Bible” as if the Bible were a single book, whereas the Bible is not a single book nor does my argument draw from scripture on an entire Biblical scale. As I stressed in my previous post on this topic, the abductive argument I describe draws from scriptures pertaining to experiences of Jesus and records of certain information pertaining to his death, post-mortem appearances, and tomb, etc.. The inference from this information to the hypothesis that God rose Jesus from the dead is not a circular process of reasoning unless the relevant statements from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul, or any further supporting evidence, in turn assumed the supernatural hypothesis in question.

I already showed that it is false that only those who agree to the supernatural hypothesis would accept the authenticity of the experiences and historical information given in the New Testament. There is no necessary connection between accepting a person’s experience as genuine (such as seeing a likeness of Jesus subsequent to him having been killed) or accepting a person’s record of certain state of affairs (an empty tomb, the conversion of Saul/Paul, etc, and the martyrdom of the disciples, for instance), on the one hand, and believing, on the other hand, that the best explanation of these experiences and state of affairs is a supernatural or divine explanation (that Jesus was raised from the dead by God, for example). I pointed out that Secular scholars (even theists of contrary religious convictions) may agree that Jesus lived and was crucified, that his tomb was empty days later, and that people claimed to have seen him post-mortem, that the disciples and Saul/Paul converted for some reason and died for their claims, and so on and so forth. You appeared to agree that secular scholars can admit as much. They would just postulate and defend a naturalistic hypothesis over the historical information. To carry out the abductive argument in favor of, for example, a Christian monotheism, a person would have only to show that the hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" best explains the evidence body.

In sum, the historical information that would be pertinent to the abductive argument and make up the evidence body do not assume the conclusion to be abductively derived from that information. Nor does the abductive argument that I described propose that scriptures are to be cited without corroboration. About the argument that I describe, you have proved nothing to the contrary of these two points. In light of this, I maintain that the abductive argument I describe is not circular.

Thank you, jim.

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Kaiden
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 11:34:50 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
My response to the post that you published on Sunday July 28th at 6:58:

No, apparently jim’s post is not what you were saying. Jim objected to the historical/abductive argument that I presented. Your objection was instead to COLIN’S argument. Moroever, the reasons you gave for the circularity of Colin’s argument are largely different than the reasons jim defended for the circularity of the argument that I presented. Accordingly, my responses to you and jim are separate and you have made no effort to counter my arguments for why it is far from clear that Colin’s argument is circular.

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Kaiden
Monday, August 05, 2019 - 11:43:00 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
My repose to the post that you published on Monday August 5th at 1:55:

I have not stated that I believe there is a God; I have reminded you of this numerous times. Supposing that were true about me, it is not the case that my efforts are spent trying to prove that there is a God. This has been a persistent misunderstanding in your responses to me. What I defend is the thesis that there are noncircular arguments for the existence of God. My responses to your most recent posts are forthcoming, though as usually I will take my time.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 - 02:16:47 AM
@Kaiden: "I state that it is not circular to cite selected scriptures as part of a collection of evidence from which it may be inferred abductively that “God raised Jesus from the dead”.

According to who? First tell me who God is. You've inserted God into the explanation. That requires that we accept that there is a God that raised a person named Jesus from the dead. You are inferring this abductively? In abductive reasoning, unlike in deductive reasoning, the premises do not guarantee the conclusion. This process, unlike deductive reasoning, yields a plausible conclusion but does not positively verify it. I'm not even sure as to how plausible your explanation is, since the explanation you offer requires that a metaphysical being be accepted as factual and necessary for your explanation to be considered plausible.

"In light of this, your verdict speaks past the precise kind of argument that I described because I spoke of an argument in which scripture would be cited with a corroborative body of historical evidence."

What historical evidence are you referring to that demonstrates any of the miracles attributed to Jesus? Would God raising the dead be evidence that you are using to support that claim? Where did you first hear about that event if not in the Bible? What other source did you have other than the Bible? You're using the Bible as your source. Your beliefs are justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question. In this case it's the Bible) So what proves the Bible as a reliable source? I'm sure that you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but according to who? You're relying on some authority to inform you of this. What authority is that?

"You and Larry seem to persistently “see” circular reasoning because you both persistently refer to the use of “the Bible” as if the Bible were a single book, whereas the Bible is not a single book nor does my argument draw from scripture on an entire Biblical scale."

So which books of the Bible should be taken seriously and which should be dismissed? Should the Pentateuch be dismissed. It contains that 10 commandments.
The gospels were stitched together decades after the crucifixion by non-eyewitness zealots freely borrowing from oral traditions and now-lost earlier texts.
Differing manuscripts show that the gospels have undergone insertions, deletions, additions, and revisions.
The gospels were written 35-60 years after Jesus' death, and (unlike every other intact work of classical nonfiction) no authors are identified in the earliest copies. Only about a century later did the gospels become associated with the names of their alleged authors. Writing extensively twenty years after Jesus' death, Paul gives no hint that any gospel had yet been written down.

Mark was written c.65-70 by an unknown author who later church tradition said was an associate of the apostle Peter. The earliest copies of this gospel end abruptly at 16:8 before any visions of the risen Jesus, which were added later in various differing endings.

Matthew was written c.70-80 by an unknown author who later church tradition identified with the apostle Matthew, but the text heavily quotes the non-eyewitness Mark rather than providing an independent eyewitness account. Matthew changes (21:5 vs. Mk 11:7) or embellishes (2:15, 2:23) its narrative to make it fulfill Old Testament prophecies.

Luke is a second-hand [1:2] account written c.80 by a supposed companion of Paul. Luke is confused (4:23, 31, 44; 24:12) about Palestinian geography. Writing after the fall of Jerusalem, Luke in 21:8 modifies Mark 13:6 to say the end is not necessarily near.

John was written c.90 by an unknown author who is ambiguously identified (in the third person: 21:24) with the apostle John only in the final chapter, which is itself an apparent addendum.

I could go on with this but I have to ask you; when you say this:"Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four books, with different authors, complete with separate writing styles and unique perspectives, and Paul had written texts, as well. These authors' works are five separately written historical that are able to corroborate one another.

In light of what I just posted, why are any of the Gospels to be taken as authoritative? As I said before: " Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question ) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.” However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. dogmatism. Your belief is centered upon your appeal to the authority of the Books of the Bible that you have cited. But those books are unreliable sources with many contradictions. You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible Kaiden.

" In light of this, I maintain that the abductive argument I describe is not circular."
Despite its increasing popularity in business studies, application of abductive reasoning in practice is challenging and you are advised to stick with traditional deductive or inductive approaches when making your arguments regarding abstract metaphysical claims.

Abductive validation is the process of validating a given hypothesis through abductive reasoning. Under this principle, an explanation is valid if it is the best possible explanation of a set of known data. The best possible explanation is often defined in terms of simplicity and elegance (such as Occam's razor, and I am a HUGE fan of Occam's razor.) Abductive validation is common practice in hypothesis formation in science. The main function regarding Occam's Razor is to never add unnecessary contingencies to find the truth. The simplest answer is usually the right one. I see you as adding a host of unnecessary contingencies that require the suspension of all skepticism to accept your claims.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 - 02:32:33 AM
@Kaiden: Are you talking about this thread, or some other thread? Who is Colin and where did he post something on this thread? I don't even know what response you're referring to Kaiden. You're going to have to be a lot more specific than telling me what post I was replying to when there doesn't seem to be a post of mine with that date on it, let alone a person named Colin. I did respond to a post by Jim. But I don't recall what you're talking about.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 - 03:24:47 AM
@Kaiden: You haven't shown any that aren't circular yet. You keep offering things that end in circular arguments. Then you deny that they are circular. I don't know if you believe in God or not. You appear to have beliefs and I have stated how beliefs require an appeal to authority. You demonstrated numerous times that you appeal to some authority to justify your beliefs. Your beliefs have some basis to them because of your foundationalist philosophical views. You then assert that your foundational argument needs no further justification and therefore all justifications end at that point. But it doesn't. As a foundationalist, you must accept that all things have foundations. And that must include the foundation you are relying on as well. As a foundationalist you view that all things have a basis. If all things have a basis, then there must be a basis to the basis as well. Or you are using the foundation as proof of itself. like an axiom. A self-evident Truth that needs no further justification.

I don't think you follow what has been going on here. Every criticism is an attempt to show that a given statement is inconsistent with something that is believed to be true. But only valid deductive arguments allow us to exercise rational control over a critical discussion. This is because valid deductive arguments are the only arguments in which the conclusions actually follow from the premises. In invalid and so-called ‘inductive’ arguments the truth of the conclusion is consistent with the truth of the premises. But inconsistency, ironically enough, is what really matters. In a valid deductive argument the falsity of the conclusion is inconsistent with the truth of the premises. And this inconsistency is what it means for the conclusion to follow from the premises. It means that we cannot simultaneously assert the truth of those premises and deny the truth of that conclusion without contradicting ourselves. It means that we must, if we want to avoid contradicting ourselves, choose between asserting the conclusion and denying the premises. A valid argument, is not so much a proof as a choice. It presents us with a set of mutually exclusive alternatives. We can choose to accept its premises, in which case we must also accept its conclusion; or to reject its conclusion, in which case we must reject one or more of its premises; or to reject its premises, in which case we need do nothing at all vis-à-vis its conclusion. But we cannot, without contradicting ourselves, choose to both accept its premises and reject its conclusion. The law of non-contradiction is quite relentless. It is only our respect for truth and criticism and the law of non-contradiction that enables us to learn anything at all.

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jim
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 - 04:02:20 AM
@Kaiden:

OK Kaiden, thanks for your lengthy reply, but since it amounts to nothing more than saying "nuh-uh" over multiple paragraphs, I'm done here.

The fact that you accuse me of not understanding literary forms when I draw an analogy and then blindly refuse to accept the near universal scholarly opinion that the gospels are based on each other and a putative fifth source, Q, (and therefore ARE NOT CORROBORATIVE OF ACTUAL HISTORY) is absurd, and I will no longer engage with you. Enjoy your continued debate with the incredibly patient Larry, but I see no value in this any more.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, August 06, 2019 - 11:38:22 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
In response to the post that you published on Friday July 19th at 1:45pm:

To begin, I shall briefly inform you that the Kalam cosmological argument is not the foundation for Dr. Craig’s belief in God---a point that he has stressed numerous times across various articles and speeches.

Your argument against the Kalam cosmological argument denies none of its premises, nor proves that the argument is invalid or that it commits a fallacy. In short, what you present is not an argument against the goodness of the Kalam. Instead, your argument appropriately serves as a blocker against the case that the cause of the universe should be properly identified as God.

This so-called argument that you present against the Kalam cosmological argument, though not legitimately an argument against it, is an instance of poor reflection. That the universe began to exist is consistent with the possibility of an actual infinite regress of time. To claim that the universe IS NOT past-eternal does not require arguing that there CANNOT be an infinite regress of time. Your error is elementary where you stated that “an infinite past is the very idea that the theist must argue does not AND cannot exist when he argues that the universe has a beginning.” The capitalization in that quote is mine. This conjunction should easily have been seen to be false.

Moreover, a theist’s defense of the statement that the universe began to exist would not require the theist to maintain that there is no reality at which an infinite regress of time obtains. All that would have to be shown in regards to the statement given in the second premise of the Kalam is that an infinite regress of time does not obtain at the universe. After all, the universe is the only reality that the second premise claims began to exist.

Support for the proposition that the universe began to exist may be mustered from cosmogonical evidence, irrelevant of whether actual infinites can obtain or do obtain at some reality. Even you agreed, on a scientific basis, that the universe began to exist. In light of that, your viewpoint is uncoordinated for stating that the theist must defend the second premise of the Kalam cosmological argument with arguments for the nonexistence and impossibility of infinite regresses. For on the one hand, you agree to the claim that the universe began to exist, and you agree to this without the philosophical arguments against the reality or possibility of actually infinite regresses of time, yet you state that in the defense of the second premise of the Kalam the theist must argue that an actual infinite regress of time does not and cannot exist. There is a lack of coherency among your claims.

Towards the end of your first large paragraph, and throughout your second large paragraph, you put forward questions about the temporal implications of the existence of a personal creator of the universe. If you have seriously read Dr. Craig’s work, you would be aware that he addresses topics related to your questions and argues in favor his view in regards to his answers to those questions. If you are genuinely wanting to know how to make sense of these questions from Dr. Craig’s perspectives: read him. The fact that you mistakenly considered the Kalam argument to be the foundation of his belief in God strongly hints to me that you lack serious familiarity with his viewpoints. I can point you towards some of his material in you want, for a good start. There is no reason to be so particular about Dr. Craig, by the way—the Kalam argument proceeds him by hundred of years and is independent of him and there are numerous philosophers who speak to the nature of a metaphysical cause of the universe in ways that address your questions.

On the other hand, if your questions are actually objections in a passive disguise, then the questions need to be reformulated explicitly as those objections. For example, you asked “…doesn’t the conscious act of deciding on the creation of the universe to exists require time to exist…?” If you really meant to propose, as an objection, the declarative statement that “the conscious act of deciding on the creation of the universe to exists requires time”, then you need to give that statement explicitly and defend that viewpoint. Though I have some answers for you to consider regarding your questions, I don’t want to trail into them because they are ultimately besides the point of my position. Also, there are philosophers more experienced than me on the topic of the relationship between personhood and time whose publications are available. Indeed, one of Dr. Craig’s specialities in philosophy is time, so do take the effort to study him more on this issue, along with the works of other philosophers of time.

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.

P.S. -

P1. If the Big Bang happened, then the universe has a cause for it's existence
P2. The Big Bang happened
C: Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence.

You layout the above argument and state that you present it because you do not see that the layout I provide is an argument for theism. Now, how is the above argument that you present an argument for theism? And if it is not, then why did you say that the reason you presented the above argument is because the Kalam that I presented is not an argument for theism?

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, August 07, 2019 - 03:19:49 AM
@Kaiden: I'll make this short because, I'm really no longer interested in repeatedly responding to your posts point by point. I've already addressed them in previous posts and see no reason to continuing to restate the same things over and over again.

"You layout the above argument and state that you present it because you do not see that the layout I provide is an argument for theism."

Oh, it's an argument. It's just not a sound argument. It's circular. The theistic argument is an argument for God as subject of your argument. That requires that God is accepted as something that can be argued as provable. What tangible evidence do you have that would make me assume that it's a subject that can be demonstrated as true? Something that is demonstrable as opposed to theoretical. You go through a variety of theories in an attempt to prove the thing you already believe. Your belief or Dr. Craig's belief doesn't not make those beliefs true. My only interest is in what is factually true.

You then present this:
P.S. -

P1. If the Big Bang happened, then the universe has a cause for it's existence
P2. The Big Bang happened
C: Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence.

So you offer a post script that points to the exact same syllogism that you offered, except that the Big Bang is used to replace God.

Then you say this: "You layout the above argument and state that you present it because you do not see that the layout I provide is an argument for theism."
Again, you are making an argument but it isn't a sound argument and it's a circular argument. Your premise requires accepting God as being a true premise and you haven't demonstrated why that is true beyond the point that you believe it to be true.

Then you ask me this: " Now, how is the above argument that you present an argument for theism?"
I'm not presenting an argument for theism Kaiden. You are. I don't see how you can possibly be confused about this. My argument is based on the Big Bang which is the argument made by physicists and cosmologists and science. Not Theism.

"And if it is not, then why did you say that the reason you presented the above argument is because the Kalam that I presented is not an argument for theism?"

Because your argument is circular, And circular reasoning is a logical fallacy.

Furthermore: You say this:
"To claim that the universe IS NOT past-eternal does not require arguing that there CANNOT be an infinite regress of time. Your error is elementary where you stated that “an infinite past is the very idea that the theist must argue does not AND cannot exist when he argues that the universe has a beginning.”

For starters Infinite Regress does not refer to time as you are assuming incorrectly. You offered the idea of an infinite past. That's NOT what infinite regress is about. An Infinite regression is a loop of premises that continue on in ad infinitum. That is, since each premise is contingent on some reason, we then require another premise to justify that reason. In philosophy, the infinite regression phenomenon frequently takes the form of an argument. Your argument falls into an infinite loop. That is why foundationalism collapsed and we have Einstein to thank for that. The success of Einstein’s theory shattered all hopes of explaining the rationality of science in terms of a priori foundations. If Kant could be wrong about the a priori certainty of Newtonian Mechanics and Euclidean Geometry, then how could anyone ever claim to be a priori certain again? If everything requires a base then you must admit that bases require bases. What is the basis for the basis? Your claim is that God is the foundational basis and no further justification is required. That means that belief in God is necessary to accept the argument that God exists. Well...imagine that? That means that you're using God to prove God and THAT is a circular argument.

You say this:
"I mentioned an infinite regress of time as a example of an infinite regress that could have an end, despite your statement that an infinite regress could not have an end."
However it should be clear to you that you aren't using the term "infinite regress" properly, because if you can demonstrate an end to anything then the word infinite wouldn't exist. At least not in the context you are using it. It would be meaningless. And yet Tarski uses it himself, and his expertise in logic is undeniable. The regress argument (also known as the diallelus[ it means that any proposition requires a justification. However, any justification itself requires support. This means that any proposition whatsoever can be endlessly (infinitely) questioned. That is what Infinite Regress means. I don't need to be an expert on Dr.Craig or Kaman theory to know that it is based on a proposition that requires justification and that justification will lead to an infinite regress. There is only two possible outcomes. One is to abandon the argument and the other is to say that You believe it...because you believe it. And that is a circular argument.



Time may be infinite in the past, but not in the future—so it is a logically possible regressive sequence with no beginning, but an end."

Clearly we aren't taking about a regression in time back to the beginning of the universe. There is a beginning so there is no infinite past. The approximate age of the universe is 13.7 Billion years +- 21 million. Obviously if an age can be established then it's because they know when a beginning took place. It is not a case of an infinite past Kaiden. There is a beginning. That demonstrates that there is not an infinite past. As for an ending to the future, I see no evidence of that being true.

I said this: "But God cannot exist prior to himself. Aquinas states Nothing can be prior to itself. How can God exist prior to God in order to create something? Time had to elapse prior to his creating anything. there is no time before time. Time requires action. Nothing exists before time. What was God doing prior to his creation? " What created God? Are you suggesting that God is the Big Bang? You haven't responded to this. At least not in any adequate way. To be honest with you Kaiden, I'm really tired of continuing this. You seem to be clinging to some theories that require justifications that never end. And I have no interest in pursuing this any more than Jim does. And yes...I am responding to Jim who said this: "Enjoy your continued debate with the incredibly patient Larry, but I see no value in this any more."

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Kaiden
Friday, August 09, 2019 - 11:45:06 PM
@jim:

Hi, jim!

The challenge you present is that I made the Second Way circular when I claimed that it’s an argument for God’s existence.

Your notion is frankly ridiculous. Acknowledging what an argument is being defended in favor of (the Second Way for God’s existence, for instance) does not make that argument circular. Moreover, none of the premises of the Second Way assume that there is a God. I demonstrated as much and you have provided no counter to that demonstration.

I hadn’t dial backed on my stance concerning the Second Way. Rather, the characteristic that the Second Way has of increasingly the probability that there is a God was elaborated on to explain why the argument is an argument for God’s existence, not to redact my claim that it is an argument for God’s existence. I explicitly state that that was the purpose of the elaboration.

A disclaimer features in your post with the promise that you will accept that the Second Way increases the probability that God exists if I accept that it also makes it more likely to be true that: Robin William’s disembodied mind had created the universe. That’s just plainly bad epistemology. You should agree that the Second Way increases the probability that there is a God not provided that some person agrees to a claim concerning Robin Williams' mind, but provided that the former things are true of the Second Way and that there is reason to believe so.

The Second Way does not state that the universe was caused to come into existence, so I wonder why I should feel obliged to admit that the Second Way increases the likelihood that the universe was the product of Robin Williams' disembodied mind. The Second Way only argues concerning the prohibition of an infinite essentially ordered causal series, as I remark to Larry, and to a first cause of series of this sort, which has nothing to do with a cause of something that began to exist and is even compatible with the universe having no temporal beginning. Apparently, you must have the Second Way confused with the Kalam cosmological argument.

Thank you, jim.

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Kaiden
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 12:04:47 AM
@Larry Allen Brown:
In reply to the post that you published on August 5th at 2:03am

You provide no counter argument to the argument I give in that quote for why no question begging occurs at a basic belief. You merely complain that I shouldn’t consider my view obvious (however, “unanimous agreement” is not analytic to the concept of obviousness).

And I addressed that the question of 'what belief is the basic belief based on' is an incoherent question. Rather than counter the incoherency of this question, you point over to somebody (jim, specifically) and say they have no problem understanding you. But jim has not stated anywhere that he understands your view on this particular issue! Nor has he himself himself countered the incoherency of the question! Such a pointing-over makes no headway. The best option that seems to be available is to deny that a basic belief can be rationally accepted, which is moot (and we can discuss this), but the holding of a basic belief would at least not be question-begging because a belief accepted basically is neither argued nor inferred to.

In the case of an infinite regress of time, you state that “it’s not the same thing” and refer to it as a false analogy. It is not the same thing as what? Perhaps you mean that an infinite regress of time is not an infinite regress of justifications, and so the logically possibility of the former having an end would not suffice to show that the latter can have an end. If this is what you mean, then I should point out that in your Monday July 15th at 12:19am post, under the 8th bulletin point, you seemed to suggest that infinite regresses qua infinite regresses have no end. The only apparent stipulation given for why there could be no end to an infinite regress was that the state of being “infinite” analytically prohibited it, devoid of whether the regress was epistemological or temporal in nature. So, I provided an appropriate counterexample. If you mean to speak only of epistemological infinite regresses having no end, then let us speak of these regresses as having no end in light of being epistemological, not in light simply of being infinite.

Besides, you have not countered the claim that an infinite regress of time is a logically possible state of affairs, anyways. You conclude your discussion of the Big Bang theory and the age of the universe with nothing more substantial than that the current state of the physical evidence strongly concludes that the actual universe has a beginning and no end. To observe that a state of affairs is true of the history of the actual universe is insufficient to ground a claim that a contrary state of affairs concerning time is logically impossible.

But this discussion of infinite regress has been taken us far afield. As I said, I mentioned it only to point out where I was giving you the benefit of doubt. The point, if you can recall, was that C, in my example of am account of justifications, appears last in the account from a visual perspective, and it was for that simple reason that I termed it the “end”. The "end" meant nothing more than that C is the last letter, in the relevant sense, that I typed in the sentence containing it. Our current back and forth about infinite regresses has led us into discussion irrelevant to that initial point.

Moving forward, you were quite confused in regards to my statement that a fact may be the object of belief. You had replied to my statement with the claim that you do not believe that fire is hot and you presented that as a “counterexample”, as if I had stated that every fact IS the object of a belief. I did not state that every belief is the object of a belief, only that it is permissible that a fact be so. Therefore, to point to some fact as being NOT believed by some single person does not even begin to be a counterexample to what I stated.

By “general”, by the way, I intended to write “general statement”. Even if I had given the general statement that you mistakenly thought I did, your statement that you do not believe that fire is hot would be ineffective because it is false, whereas a counterexample to a general statement must be a true statement. Supposing it WERE true that you don’t believe that fire is hot, that STILL would not falsify the general statement (that I did not actually state) because your lack of belief that fire is hot would not imply that no one believes that fire is hot. If you don’t believe that fire is hot, it could still be true that fire is hot is the object of a belief, provided that some person besides you believes that fire is hot. So, were it true that I delivered the general statement that you thought I did, and were is true that you yourself held no such belief, it still would not have falsified the general statement. Again, this particular side discussion is only an intriguing diversion because I did not, in the first place, give the general statement that you thought I had.

You provide the following definition of “belief”: the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.

Notice the phrase “with or without” in the definition. The phrase “with or without”, Larry, is permitting that a belief—the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case—can come along with empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Your definition corroborates mine that a belief is the state of mind of regarding something as true, and your definition allows that I believe that fire is hot—I regard it as true that fire is hot, and with the empirical evidence to prove that it is the case with factual certainty, as is permitted to come along with my belief according even to the definition that you presented. And this belief about fire does not appeal to authority for its grounding. Your obdurate misapprehension of the term “belief”, along with the counterexample about fire as a belief not accepted by appeal to authority, and the argument I provide that question-begging does not occur at a basic belief work collaboratively as undercutting defeaters to your preliminary position on why the arguments for God’s existence are circular.

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Kaiden
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 12:14:57 AM
@Larry Allen Brown:
In reply to the post that you published on August 5th at 3:21am:

In my first addressment to your viewpoint—the addressment I published on July 14th—you’ll notice that I did not refer to the disjunction as “your dilemma”. This term did not appear in my work until later. That is to say, I used the term “your dilemma” as short-hand only AFTER having made it apparent as to what specific disjunction was being denoted by that phrase. And the term “your dilemma”, once it became short-hand, was always mentioned within a context that made reference to that disjunction of infinite regress vs. dogmatism. The very moment that you expressed a loss of attention concerning what the phrase meant, I responded with a precise explanation of what the term referred to and yet in your succeeding response you STILL did not get the reference of the term (not until I explained it explicitly for a second time). In light of this, anyone who is now complaining of being misled by the term “your dilemma” simply had given no care to its use within the context of my writings nor to my repetitive and meticulous explanations of what the term denotes.

Seeing as you take offense to the phrase, I will drop that wording, anyways. It remains that the dilemma denoted BY the phrase has been defeated in light of your misnomer regarding the word belief and by the realization that a basic belief is not accepted circularly because no argument or inference is made to a basic belief and question begging only occurs in the course of making an argument or inference. I address these points more in depth in my reply to the post that you published on August 5th at 2:03am.

You quote this sentence from me: “the structure of your question comes off as rhetorical to me”. In reply, you state that I have not yet answered your inquiry about what authority I appealed to. I have not yet answered the inquiry? My guess is that you do not read my entire posts prior to responding to them, but type your responses while you read it for the first time. After all, I provided the sources for my definition just sentences following the quote that you take from me, such that your comment that I haven’t answered yet is a pointless remark. (and referring to my activity with the words "appealing to authority" is, as I argued, inappropriate.)

You quote this sentence from me: “what is sensible is to ask me what source I researched in order to verify the definitions that I present.” Larry, your response to this quote is especially amusing. You stated “no” as a reply that what I wrote in this quote is the sensible question to ask and immediately you precede to state that the sensible question to ask is what research I did for my definitions…which is precisely the question that I described in the quoted sentence.

Moving on, I claimed that your question as to what authority I appealed to for my definitions is rhetorical because it already suggests that my research was fallaciously conducted. You responded that there is no essential distinction between asking what authority I appealed to and asking what sources I researched (and you thusly accuse me of committing the fallacy of difference without distinction).

There is a practical difference between the questions. Look up “appealing to authority” and what your search engine will probably show, as mine did, is entry after entry related to the fallacy. Type in something related to conducting research and you receive scarcely any such entries, if any at all, about committing a fallacy related to studying authoritative sources. There is clearly an incredibly strong fallacious connotation to the phrase “appealing to authority” that “conducted research” (or some similar sentence) does not possess. Throughout your own posts, the phrase “appeal to authority” has consistently referred to the fallacy. Accordingly, along with working within the contexts of your preceding posts, it was fair for me to claim that that the phrasing “what authority did I appeal“ is rhetorical for suggesting that you were considering my research to be fallacious, even if the question was MEANT to express an inquiry identical to the question of “what research have I done.” This is not unlike your complaint that stating "your dilemma" was misleading, except in that case, I provided the necessary context and meticulous explanation necessary to ensure that no mistake of terminology could be made by a person who gave any care to my writings.

You quote my statement: “I did not “appeal to authority”—as in: commit a fallacy.” In response, you say that I did appeal to authorities in the fallacious sense described by the above quote: the Webster’s dictionary and the encyclopedia. This is a back-handed remark. Just prior, you had stated that the question of what authority did I appeal to did not intend to carry fallacious connotations. Yet once I laid out my researched sources, you turn around and, without missing a beat, respond by saying that in accepting my research, I committed ad verecundiam. So, when you asked me what “authority I appealed” to for my definitions, it appears I was correct, after all, to suspect that your question was carrying connotations related to the fallacy and that you were merely waiting for me to post my sources for the opportunity of calling this an instance of ad verecundiam.

Your position is suffering serious inconsistencies in other ways. You yourself provided a definition of “belief” in your post from August 5th at 2:03am. Your claim against me that a fallacious appeal to authority has been committed through research done on the word “belief” would, if accurate, similarly carry over onto you. Moreover, are you an astronomer, astrophysicist, physicist, cosmologist and a professional philosopher? On numerous occasions you speak about information related to the Big Bang and facts in physics, and scientific and philosophical theories. Also, your claim that I committed the fallacy of difference without distinction was supported by drawing upon definitions provided by Dr. Bennett, which also happens to be an encyclopedia source, just like I had used in regards to researching the word “belief”. You must be trusting the research of professionals in those fields, along with, apparently, dictionaries and encyclopedias, to support your position. Your claim against me that an appeal to authority has been committed by my studying of E Schwitzgebel and Dr. Craig (and Webster’s dictionary) are accusations that would, if accurate, similarly carry over onto you, Larry. And if you deny that this fallacy would simply perforate your own posts, then this is what we call Special Pleading.

The above paragraph only goes to disarm the force of your accusations, showing that you cannot be serious in leveling them, on pain of (a rather dishonorable) inconsistency. You are all bark and no bite, lest you have to bite yourself. If your accusations are right, you had better keep in mind that we BOTH are at fault. As for me, all that would suffer is my undercutting defeater. My more vital opposing defeat would remain intact.

More than being inconsistent, your accusations are false. Following his main entry on appeal to authority, Dr. Bennett includes a cautionary notice that appeal to authority is not to be muddled with deferring to an authority on the issue—the latter is an appropriate course of action. Consulting a dictionary and an encyclopedia for knowledge is deference to an appropriate authority on issues related to terminology. I checked three sources which all corroborated each other, and even your definition, per my reply to your August 5th at 2:03am post, aligned with my research so as to number four corroborating sources--drawing upon dictionaries and an encyclopedia--to ground my position regarding the word "belief".

Finally, I have not actually looked to Dr. Craig as an authority to support my position. Where have I cited him in defense of my proposition that the dilemma you present is faulty and the arguments for God’s existence are not circular?

These rebuttals that you are stitching together against my undercutting defeater have slipped you into cringe-worthy incoherency, in addition to them being erroneous rebuttals, and it appears you have broken down into denialism regarding an accurate understanding of the word "belief".

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.

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Kaiden
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 12:38:32 AM
@Larry Allen Brown:

In reply to the post that you published on August 5th at 4:05am:

The first cause would not at all be a first cause of the kind that you are imagining. The Second Way only speaks about essentially ordered casual series, as opposed to accidentally ordered causal series. The kind of casual series spoken of by Aquinas’ Second Way has absolutely nothing to do with a beginning of the universe, the Big Bang, or a cause of the coming into being of the universe. Your confounding of these two kinds of causally ordered series was reiterated by jim, as well, when he gave a list of possible causes of the beginning of the universe (parallel dimensions, Zeus, Robin Williams, etc). But at least jim, unlike yourself, did not self-proclaim any “experience” with arguments for God existence. A similar mishandling of concepts occurred in regards to the Second Way when you objected with the claim that “nothing” cannot exist. Failure to grasp the basic requisite philosophical concepts necessary to understand and then evaluate the arguments for God’s existence (in this case, the Second Way) is one reason for the inadequacy of your objections.

Concerning the caricature of Aquinas’ argument given at the top of your post, Aquinas does not merely postulate as a premise that there is a first cause and then attempt to derive the existence of God. It must not be forgotten that the proposition that there is a first cause is a proposition inferred to from the following statements (1-6), just as I laid out in my post from July 14th:

1. At least one thing has an efficient cause.
2. Every causal chain must either be circular, or infinite, or it has a first cause.
3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
5. Nothing is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
6. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.
Therefore,
7. There is a first cause.

Concerning this argument, you take the following quote from me: "…I long ago defended the proposition that none of the premises assume that there is a first cause and you still have not proved this proposition false.” Your reply to this quote does not deny your shortcoming of proof against this proposition. Also, despite your insistence that I myself “haven’t proved [the proposition] true”, you do not counter the defense referred to in the quote that you take from me nor have you displayed which premise(s) (among one through six) assume that there is a first cause, even after my explicit request that you display them. Your claim for the circularity of the argument from premises 1-6 to the statement that there is a first cause is persistently void.

Similar to what took place regarding the Kalam cosmological argument, what you have presented in the post to which I am here responding is not a challenge against premise 1-6 to the conclusion that that there is a first cause. Instead, you attempt to block an inference from the conclusion that there is a first cause to the explicit statement that the first cause is God. You present an example of how such an connection may be laid out:

There is a first cause.
If there is a first cause, then God exists.
Therefore,
God exists.

In challenge to this syllogism, you claim that it is an instance of question-begging. You find the argument question-begging in light of premise two, saying that premise two requires a belief that God exists. Your sentence that says that premise two “requires a belief that God exists” is a technically clumsy sentence. What does it mean for premise two to require a belief that God exists? The premise can be true without anyone believing that God exists. Surely you didn’t mean to say instead that a person must believe that God exists in order to accept premise two. The premise is merely a conditional statement, the acceptance of which requires no affirmation of the antecedent or of the consequent. Perhaps you can clarify what you mean when you state that premise two requires a belief that God exists and offer in tandem what is currently a missing defense of that claim, anyways.

And as I explained in preceding posts, the idea that God is a first cause is a conceptual construct, void of implications that the concept is instantiated by an actual being. To think that calling God a first cause begs the question of his actual existence is misconstrued.
Acceptance of this concept of God does not entail that the Second Way is a circular argument and you give no clear case of why it would.

What is intriguing is that a thiest may conjunct the above syllogism that you present with premises 1-6 that I listed at the top of this post, constructing an argument that explicitly uses the word God, so as to appease those who otherwise see no connection between an efficient first cause of all conditional reality and a God.

1. At least one thing has an efficient cause.
2. Every causal chain must either be circular, or infinite, or it has a first cause.
3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
5. Nothing is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
6. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.
Therefore,
7. There is a first cause.
8. If there is a first cause, then God exists.
Therefore,
9. God exists.

I am not claiming that adding premise eight is specifically what Aquinas’ had in mind, rather I am saying that given that you do choose to make explicit reference to the statement in premise eight, you still have argued no good case that it is question-begging. In none of your posts have you even presented which premises among 1-6 are supposedly question-begging and your case that statement 8 is question begging was dismally unsuccessful and linguistically vague. Additionally, the conclusion of this expanded argument explicitly says that God exists. You’ve come up empty handed regarding the circularity of what would still be an argument for God’s existence.

The moral argument with the adjusted first premise also explicitly concludes that there is a God, and you have not attempted to object to it’s noncircular status, but seem to have conveniently forgotten about this argument entirely. It is enough to ground my position, regardless of the Kalam cosmological argument and Second Way. Your position that the arguments for God’s existence are circular is more than defeated. Indeed, in none of your posts, for the past month, have you ever displayed which premises of the Kalam, the moral argument with adjusted first premise, or the Second Way that I present assumes their respective conclusions. You case is left hanging, bereft of the relevant support.

But anyways, your notion of what kind of first cause was being discussed in regards to the Second Way is mistaken.

Moreover, your case for the special pleading of the argument is unsupported. What general rule is the Second Way stating an exception to without good reason? You have not addressed the rebuttal that I previously gave to the Special Pleading fallacy. Besides, special pleading is not the fallacy that my thesis even claims to be absent, but rather the fallacy of question begging. Additionally, your talk about the Big Bang in the last portions of your post are utterly removed from the Second Way which speaks only about essentially ordered causal series, having nothing to do with a beginning of the universe. As you begin to hopefully take a serious look into Dr. Craig’s viewpoints, per my advice given on August 6th, you would do well to include Aquinas or commentators of Aquinas in your reading list and garner a proper philosophical understanding of his arguments. There are materials I can direct you towards, if you would appreciate it.

Thank you, Larry Allen Brown.

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Larry Allen Brown
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 02:28:09 AM
@Kaiden: "You merely complain that I shouldn’t consider my view obvious (however, “unanimous agreement” is not analytic to the concept of obviousness). "

Wrong again Kaiden. What you perceive as obvious doesn't make anything obvious. I'm not convinced that you understand what obvious is and what it isn't. You obviously do not see the circular argument that you offer over and over again. It's quite obvious to me, and to Jim that you completely miss that which makes your assumption of what is obvious highly questionable, and more subjective than obviously objective. Any discussion about the existence of God presupposes God as an actual entity that is capable of being proven. The God that we all assume is being described here is not of the physical world. There are no means to measure a metaphysical subject using the science that we have. It only measures the physical universe. So you must rely on a theory that you hope to prove follows some valid logical syllogism, but you must always rely on a premise that assumes that God exists. You haven't demonstrated that is True. Sol the argument is never sound. Your conclusion is always entailed in your premises.

"And I addressed that the question of 'what belief is the basic belief based on' is an incoherent question."

No Kaiden. You haven't. It's not an incoherent question at all. Your saying that is merely an avoidance of the dilemma you find yourself in. You're left with no other option that to state that the foundation of your argument is it's own foundation and doesn't require any further justification. You're a foundationalist. I get that. But being a foundationalist demands that you accept that there is a foundation to everything. And that includes the foundation that you claim as a bottom line. You cannot use a theory to prove itself without demonstrating a circular argument. You are in the throws of an infinite regress and the only escape from it is to resort to saying that you believe this because you do. And that is a circular argument. You are using your belief in something as evidence of itself.

"But jim has not stated anywhere that he understands your view on this particular issue! "

He doesn't have to state that Kaiden. I can read what he says in response to what you've said to know that he's in agreement with me that you're offering a circular argument. That informs me that he see's the same problem in your argument that I do.

"In the case of an infinite regress of time, you state that “it’s not the same thing” and refer to it as a false analogy. It is not the same thing as what? "

That's right. It's not. And I explained this to you already. An Infinite regression is a loop of premises that continue on in ad infinitum. That is, since each premise is contingent on some reason, we then require another premise to justify that reason. In philosophy, the infinite regression phenomenon frequently takes the form of an argument. It's not about time. It's about a circular reasoning process that never ends.

"Perhaps you mean that an infinite regress of time is not an infinite regress of justifications,"

That's what I said.

"and so the logically possibility of the former having an end would not suffice to show that the latter can have an end."

Lets start here. With the word infinite. You argue that there is an end point in time. If there is an end point in time then the word Infinite has no logical meaning because infinite means without end. So why are you using it to describe something that you claim doesn't exist?? Infinite regress has nothing to do with what you think it means. It has to do with an endless loop of justifications for a premise.

"you seemed to suggest that infinite regresses qua infinite regresses have no end."
That's why they call them "infinite' Kaiden.

"So, I provided an appropriate counterexample."
No. Kaiden. You haven't. Not even close. This is really become absurd.

"Besides, you have not countered the claim that an infinite regress of time is a logically possible state of affairs, anyways."

Yes. Kaiden I have. First I've stated clearly to you what the term means and that you are using it absolutely incorrectly. You want to argue a point that is simply false. An infinite regress in time doesn't exist because a regress is a backward move and the very fact that the age of the universe is known to be approx. 13. 799 billion +- 21 million years tells us that there is a starting point, and that demonstrates a finite point in time. Not something that can be described as infinite. The very word infinite doesn't apply to something with starting point. You can go infinitely forward but not backward.

"To observe that a state of affairs is true of the history of the actual universe is insufficient to ground a claim that a contrary state of affairs concerning time is logically impossible."

So you have a theory. What is that theory based on? What is the evidence that you have to support your theory?

"But this discussion of infinite regress has been taken us far afield."
Not by me Kaiden You seem to want to use the term in a way that might fit your narrative. But that's not how it's used in philosophy.

Kaiden. I've become really bored with this. Do you know the meaning of the word Pedantic? You insist on denying what you're doing in promoting an argument that is wildly pedantic on your part. I have no interest in pursuing this any further. I see you attempting to justify a circular argument and when it's clearly pointed out to you, you deny it. So, there's nothing more to say about this.

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jim
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 04:33:45 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

I have a theory that Kaiden is just a performance artist, showing us a real world example of Argumentum ad Nauseam.

It's fairly effective, since we're both sick of his posts.

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Larry Allen Brown
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 09:01:13 PM
@Kaiden: "Notice the phrase “with or without” in the definition. The phrase “with or without”, Larry, is permitting that a belief—the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case—can come along with empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty."

You've totally missed the point Kaiden. "with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty." Selectively editing my statements doesn't help your argument. There are two possibilities here. "With" empirical evidence implies acceptance of the evidence of the truth of a claim. You believe that the claim is true BASED upon empirical evidence that this is the case. You may not have experienced that fire is hot, but you take it on good authority that this is the case. And that demonstrates the second possibility which is an appeal to authority. If you stick your hand in a fire, you won't need any authority to inform you that fire is hot and will burn you. You have direct experience and that trumps belief. It's a fact and facts don't require belief to be facts. They remain as facts whether you believe them or not. They're accepted truths. However, if you've never experienced being burned by fire, then you might simply take it on some authority that fire is hot and you'll burn yourself if you put your hand in the fire. So you are either taking it on an appeal to authority, or you are experiencing first hand, that fire is hot, and belief one way or the other doesn't change the fact that fire is hot. In other words, that you might understand, belief is not necessary to know that fire is hot, which is what I told you from the very start. I don't "believe" that fire is hot. I know that fire is hot. Belief isn't required. Your phrasing of the issue that I don't believe that fire is hot is completely misleading because you make it sound as though I'm happy to stick my hand in a fire because I don't believe that it's hot. What I'm saying is that belief doesn't enter into it. I don't need to appeal to any authority about it. I have direct experience with it. Direct knowledge. I don't need to invest belief or faith in this. I know that fire is hot. It's a truth and I accept it as genuine. Does that make this clear? You may choose to believe this. That's totally up to you. I'm telling you that I don't need to invest any faith or belief in this subject. I'm totally secure and convinced in the truth of this. My knowledge that fire is hot presupposes any belief. I'm not burdened with faith on this matter. That kind of knowledge is absolutely final. Either I know it or I don’t. And if I do know it—if it is true and I have full reason to believe that it is true—then that is the end of it and there is nothing more to be said. For you to continue with your word salad explanations of why your "belief" is justifiable and necessary to understand that fire is hot is beyond me. I can only tell you that when you asked me if I believe that fire is hot and I tell you that I don't believe it. It know it to be true and the belief is not necessary, I can tell you that your believing it's hot or not believing it's hot doesn't change the fact of it's being hot. The fire doesn't need your believe. It's hot whether you believe it or not.

I see you as an institutionalist Kaiden. The institutionalist approach to science is just one instance of a far more general response to the collapse of foundationalism that I call ‘Floating Foundationalism’. Floating Foundationalism comes in many different varieties. But its basic move is to accept some statement or theory—paradigm, linguistic framework, form of life, belief or what have you—without justification, and to then use it as a foundation upon which to justify everything else. In so doing, Floating Foundationalism retains the demand, the purpose, and sometimes even the logical structure of justification. But it leaves the foundations themselves floating in mid-air. It acknowledges that justification is ultimately grounded upon something that is itself ungrounded and, irrational. But it advises us not to question these things, but to ‘commit’ ourselves to them instead—and to proceed as if nothing has changed. The only real difference between Floating Foundationalism and traditional bedrock foundationalism is that Floating Foundationalism does not even pretend that its foundations are indubitably true or that the theories that are ‘grounded’ upon them always follow with logical necessity.

What exactly turns on the justification of a belief if it's not its correspondence with the facts? And what, if anything, does all of this have to do with the institutionalist’s distaste for criticism?
These questions, in my view, can all be answered in a word. The word is ‘authority’, and in this context it refers to the cognitive authority that justification is supposed to provide for our beliefs.
This is why institutionalists recommend that we commit ourselves to a theory. Whether is a so-called "Second Way" or third or fourth. And this is why they do not like criticism. If our knowledge is not grounded upon bedrock, then we better not rock the boat. But in my view, it is just this appeal to foundations that are not indubitably true and to arguments that are not logically valid that is likely to lead to infallibilism and authoritarianism.

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Larry Allen Brown
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 09:21:12 PM
@Kaiden: "Finally, I have not actually looked to Dr. Craig as an authority to support my position".

Oh course you have Kaiden. Now you're resorting to BS. Look at the statements below that you made earlier"

" If you are genuinely wanting to know how to make sense of these questions from Dr. Craig’s perspectives: read him."

"Indeed, one of Dr. Craig’s specialities in philosophy is time, so do take the effort to study him more on this issue, along with the works of other philosophers of time. "

Why do you recommend him if you don't consider him as an authority on this subject? What makes you think I would be interested in reading anybody who wasn't? Clearly you do look to him as an authority that you are drawing from or you wouldn't bring him into the discussion. It's an appeal to authority Kaiden. Argumentum ad Verecundiam. You know that. I know it. We all know it. It's a fallacy pointed to in Bo's book:
"The Pope told me that priests can turn bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood.  The Pope is not a liar.  Therefore, priests really can do this." Explanation: The Pope may believe what he says, and perhaps the Pope is not a liar, but the Pope is not an authority on the fact that the bread and wine are actually transformed into Jesus’ body and blood.  After all, how much flesh and blood does this guy Jesus actually have to give?

Bennett, Bo. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies (Academic Edition) (p. 32). eBookIt.com. Kindle Edition.

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Larry Allen Brown
Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 09:30:32 PM
@jim: Yeah....I think you've hit it. Kaiden loves to argue and that's a good thing, but this line of reasoning is really off the mark in my view. And I'm really feeling like I'm stuck in Groundhog Day.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, August 12, 2019 - 01:33:18 PM
@Kaiden: "As you begin to hopefully take a serious look into Dr. Craig’s viewpoints, per my advice given on August 6th,"

Argumentum ad Verecundiam

"you would do well to include Aquinas or commentators of Aquinas in your reading list and garner a proper philosophical understanding of his arguments."

Argumentum ad Verecundiam

" There are materials I can direct you towards, if you would appreciate it. "
What makes you think that I haven't already looked into this? I disagree with the entire theory.
You begin this string a reasoning with this: 1. At least one thing has an efficient cause." So you are already establishing that everything has an efficient cause. Then tell me what is the cause of that one thing. And do it without presenting a case of "special pleading". Special pleading is a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception. Your generally accepted rule is rule #1. 1. At least one thing has an efficient cause.". So you are already establishing that everything has an efficient cause. What is the efficient cause of the one thing?

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Kaiden
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 10:57:33 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Reply to the post that you published on August 10th, 9:21pm:

Appeal to authority is a fallacy and occurs in the course of making an argument or drawing an inference; it is not implied by a recommendation to some author’s material, nor is considering someone an authority on a subject, so as to recommend their books, a fallacy. And as is becoming common place, the majority of your replies are now (preposterous) attempts at attacking minor issues that do nothing to progress your position nor to rebut my major theses.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 11:05:05 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

In reply to the post that you published on Monday, August 12th at 1:33pm

Your critical thinking is out of order. Elementarily, the claim that at least one thing is predicated by “has an efficient cause” does not imply the claim that everything is predicated by “has an efficient cause”. Also, an appeal to authority occurs in the course of an argument or inference, neither of which characterizes the quotes that you have taken from me.

And (in answer to your question) what made me think that you haven't looked into Dr. Craig's or Aquinas' views with seriousness was your very bad objection to the "Kalam argument", along with misrepresenting Dr. Craig's belief in God as being founded on the Kalam argument, and your misunderstanding of a critical aspect of Aquinas' Second Way (Aquinas speaks of essentially ordered causal series). I urge you to give up maintaining that author recommendations are a fallacy and become informed on Aquinas’ arguments by reading his works or those of his commentators, as well as researching material to aid the development of some answers to the inquiries that you raised concerning conscious atemporal beings and to get a good grip on a proper analysis of the Kalam argument.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 11:12:20 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Reply to the post that you published on August 7 th at 3:19am:

A large portions of your response merely focuses on the post scriptum; the portions of your response that do respond to elements prior to the post scrpitum do not deny the badness of your argument against the Kalam, but instead dwell exclusively on subtopics that are immaterial to the rebuttal I posed against your argument. So if you intended to “make this short”, you may as well have actually addressed the main points of my post. But let me respond here to some confusions surrounding your treatment of these subtopics, first, so as to get them out of the way.

You open with a statement that the Kalam argument is circular. In the following sentences, you proceed to not display which premise of the argument assumes that the universe has a cause or that there is a God. In fact, on July 15th at 2:04am, you stated that the syllogism I offered—the Kalam cosmological argument—is not circular, Larry! Yet, here you are now stating that the Kalam argument is circular—and without specifically stating which premise of the two premises does so or how that premise does so. Also, you state that I am attempting to prove “the thing [I] already believe.” I have responded to your posts numerous times reiterating that I have professed no belief in the existence of God and have not attempted to prove his existence (if that is what you meant). You even finally acknowledged at one point that you do not know whether I believe in God, but now here you are again stating that I am trying to prove what I already believe. As I have pointed out in numerous ways prior, consistency is hard to come by in your posts and you ought to make an effort to be consistent.


In regards to the following argument:

If the Big Bang happened, then the universe has a cause for its existence.
The Big Bang happened.
Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence.

Contrary to your comments, the Big Bang is not replacing “God” in the argument that you present. Formally, the phrase “the Big Bang happened” is substituted in for the phrase “the universe began to exist”. None of the specific statements of the Kalam that have been substituted out for statements about the Big Bang mentioned anything about God. To say that the above syllogism is exactly the one I present, except that the Big Bang is replacing God, is an poorly-stated remark and I do ask for a clarification.

It is still not clear as to why you bother bringing up this argument that speaks about the Big Bang. You state that you raised the argument because “my” argument—the Kalam is not mine—is circular. Well, the Kalam is not circular, though if it were, that mere fact wouldn’t explain why you are bringing up this OTHER argument. For instance, did you intend to present the argument about the Big Bang as a replacement of the Kalam argument (as in: the Kalam argument is circular, so here, in place of it, I am presenting a non-circular argument that is based on the Big Bang)? Alternatively, are you saying that the Kalam argument is circular because it is equivalent to this argument based on the Big Bang and this argument based on the Big Bang is circular? It is difficult to make out your intentions with why this other argument is brought up. On either scenario, however, you are wading into heavy mistakes, Larry. Perhaps there is a third scenario. However, I will wait for your clarification to this before addressing these issues.

Moreover, you have said that I am the one presenting an argument for theism (the Kalam), not you. Yet in the post to which I am here responding, you stated that you did not see the Kalam argument as an argument for theism. How do you reconcile these two remarks? Furthermore, the sentence in the conclusion of your argument about the Big Bang is identical to the sentence in the conclusion of the Kalam argument—thus, what would it mean, anyways, to say, on the one hand, that I am presenting an argument for theism, but that, on the other hand, you have not presented an argument for theism, seeing as the conclusions of both arguments are phrased identically?

You may have interesting ways of clarifying your presentation of this other argument, but it was at least unfair to retort that I couldn’t possibly have been confused by your language.


You quote this statement from me: “Time may be infinite in the past, but not in the future—so it is a logically possible regressive sequence with no beginning, but an end.” I'm not sure exactly where the quote you are taking from me, here, appears in the post to which you are responding. Anyways, as I express more in depth in my response to your August 5th, 2:03 am post, this discussion about the possibility of an infinite past coming to an end is a long rabbit trial from the actual point that I was making when I stated the quote.

Anyways, your so-called argument against the Kalam, which you expressed on July 19th at 1:45pm, and which I had responded to, attacks none of premises of the Kalam, nor proves its invalidity, nor proves that it commits a fallacy, and so it is not a legitimate argument against the goodness of the Kalam. That was my first main rebuttal to your argument. Also, your argument against the “Kalam” is erroneous for stating that in arguing that the universe is not past-eternal, a theist is required to argue that there cannot be an infinite temporal past nor that an infinite temporal past does not obtain at any reality. In conjunction with that point, I drew out the consistencies that your argument bore against your own viewpoints. I have received no rebuttal at all in reply to these main points. That is to say, the post to which I am here responding accomplishing nothing in the way of overturning my refutation of your argument against the Kalam, but avoids the discussion of the elementary inadequacies of your argument against the Kalam by deviating mostly into unimportant subtopics.

Also, I shall not address your subsequent questions about Aquinas’ view because your questions are inspired by a fundamental misunderstanding the Second Way, which I explain more in depth in my response to the post that you published on August 5th at 4:05am.

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Kaiden
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 11:40:22 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Reply to the post that you published on August 10th, at 2:28am:

You open with this statement: "wrong again...".

Wrong about what? You don’t deny that you protested my use of the word "obvious" nor do you insist that “unanimous agreement” is analytic to “obvious”. What is of greater noteworthiness, furthermore, is that I don't see any rebuttal to the what it was that I was that I was even calling obvious. As is persistently being shown in other ways, many of your retorts are without any bite or substance.

Rather than offering any important objections regarding the quoted statement, you quickly move on to the particular subject of the arguments for God’s existence. An argument is not rendered circular because people in the discussion believe that the conclusion is capable of being proven. What you’ve said is a mishandling of the definition of the fallacy of circular reasoning, and one which is becoming discreditable following my multiple corrections of your confusion between the argument and the arguers. An argument is circular if the premises of the arguMENT given for the conclusion assumes the conclusion, not if the people discussing think that the conclusion is true or can be proven to be true. The Kalam cosmological argument is bereft of any premise that God‘s existence can be proven or that God exists. Take a close look at the two premises of the Kalam cosmological argument and respond which of those two assumes that the universe has a cause of its existences or that God's existence can be proven.

You quoted this sentence from me: “And I addressed that the question of ‘what belief is the basic belief based on’ is an incoherent question.”

Contrary to your replying statement, I did address the incoherency of the question. And is the notion that jim agrees with you the best defense you have for your stance on this particular issue, anymore?

Moving forward, you are thinking of the term “infinite regress” as it applies within the context of the branch of epistemology and supposing that the term as used in this branch constitutes the only applicable meaning. What you have is a narrow understanding. Literally, an infinite regress has no inherent epistemological meaning, but refers to a serial structure of elements, with each element leading to or causing another ad infinitum. In metaphysics, for example, an infinite regress may denote an infinite essentially subordinated series, such a series of conditional realities in Aquinas’ Second Way, which has nothing to do with justifying premises of beliefs.

Philosophers also discuss infinite TEMPORALLY subordinated series. I never stated that an infinite has no end, but that logically a regress, in a temporal sense, may come to an end (today, for example), though having never begun. Perhaps, this is false for some good reasons, but not only in light of the word “infinite“. If you do not think so, then so be it! I have stated numerous time that this takes us far afield from the point for which this was brought up, anyways. And this side-topic bears utterly no influence whatsoever on my undercutting or rebutting defeaters, so I will address this specific point with no further urgency. But what is the case about the universe—that its history is not past-eternal and will likely never end—does not suffice to prove the logical impossibility of a different state of affairs, and the fact that you continue to try and maintain such a counter-argument is bizarre.

I have not stated that I am a foundationalist. What I state is not that a basic belief actually exists (i have reminded you of that, before), which would be necessary to accurately naming me a Foundationalist, but that a basic belief, conceptually speaking, is not argued or inferred to and so the acceptance of a basic belief is not question-begging because question-begging only occurs in the course of an argument or inference. Mistaking me for a foundationalist, merely because I affirm that a basic belief is not accepted on circular reasoning, was similar to your instances of stating that I believe in God, when my thesis was that some arguments for his existence are not circular.

As an important note, Foundationalism does not, contrary to your misrepresentation, state that everything has a foundation. That is precisely the contradiction of Foundationalism’s thesis—this position states that some beliefs have no prior belief on which they are founded. A similar confusion occurs in your criticisms against the Second Way (the Second Way does not state that everything has a first cause, contrary to your misrepresentation of it).

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 11:57:14 PM
@Kaiden: "Appeal to authority is a fallacy and occurs in the course of making an argument or drawing an inference;"

Which of course, is exactly what you've been doing all along. You've been appealing to authority Kaiden. Trying to parse this isn't going work. I would suggest that you read Dr. Bo's book. He's an expert on the subject and it's clear that you are not. Now...am I appealing to authority...or not?

"it is not implied by a recommendation to some author’s material,"
Yeah. It is. You are using his material to support your argument as if he is an authority on the subject. Why else would you recommend him to me, if you didn't think that he had some degree of expertise on this subject? Are you recommending somebody to me that has no expertise on this? Why would I be interested in that? Did I ask for a recommendation from you? No. I didn't. You thought that you might recommend somebody to me that your narrative is based on and that might influence my thinking. Why else would you do that?

"nor is considering someone an authority on a subject, so as to recommend their books, a fallacy."
Dr. Craig is NOT an authority on this subject. He has a degree from Wheaton College in theology. A school I'm familiar with since I grew up in the Chicago Suburbs. It's a Christian college It's specialty is theology and TEDS which is a theological seminary north of Chicago. NOT physics. Dr. Craig has no expertise in physics or cosmology. So Argumentum ad Verecundiam fits him like a glove. It's the appeal to an improper authority.An appeal to an improper authority, such as a famous person or a source that may not be reliable or who might not know anything about the topic. This fallacy attempts to capitalize upon feelings of respect or familiarity with a famous individual. It is not fallacious to refer to an admitted authority if the individual’s expertise is within a strict field of knowledge. On the other hand, to cite Einstein to settle an argument about education or economics is fallacious. To cite Darwin, an authority on biology, on religious matters is fallacious. To cite Cardinal Spellman on legal problems is fallacious However, to refer to Dr. Bo on logical fallacy's is probably not since the topic is narrow enough and his work can be supported by many other examples.

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 12:24:51 AM
@Kaiden: "Elementarily, the claim that at least one thing is predicated by “has an efficient cause” does not imply the claim that everything is predicated by “has an efficient cause”.

Show me something that doesn't have an efficient cause.
You point to this:
1. At least one thing has an efficient cause.
2. Every causal chain must either be circular, or infinite, or it has a first cause.
3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
5. Nothing is either the efficient cause of itself, or is causally responsible for itself.
6. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.
Therefore,
7. There is a first cause.

Based upon that string of premises..( which demonstrates your foundationalism that all things require bases ) show me something that does not have an efficient cause. What is there in nature that has no efficient cause? Simply look at premise 3 - 7. And then tell me that everything is not predicated by a first cause. 3. If something were the efficient cause of itself, it would be prior to itself.
4. Nothing can be prior to itself.
Your own post of this string of premises shows you to be wrong. The logical argument based on your premises states that all things have an efficient cause.

"Also, an appeal to authority occurs in the course of an argument or inference, neither of which characterizes the quotes that you have taken from me."

Kaiden we've been arguing this subject for days. You appeal to authority ( Dr.Craig, Thomas Aquinas. The Second Way, Kalam Cosmological argument ) and the very inference listed above. 1-7. You're simply acting in denial of the very things that you stated previously. You attempt to redefine a logical fallacy when it demonstrates that you've engaged in it.

Kaiden. You have not answered any of the objections that I've presented and have fallen victim of one fallacy after another, and you've been acting on Craig, and Aquinas, and Kalam and the Second Way, demonstrating your own appeal to authority which you use to promote a narrative that I rejected a long time ago. It's a theistic argument. And whether it's Kalam, Aquinas, Craig, a Second way a third way or whatever you choose to offer, you are using a circular argument that requires a belief in the conclusion prior to any evidence you might offer. I would urge you to "get a good grip: on the philosophy of science to learn the demarcation between science and pseudoscience which is part of the larger task of determining which beliefs are epistemically warranted. It would clarify the specific nature of pseudoscience in relation to other categories of non-scientific doctrines and practices, including science denial(ism) and resistance to the facts.

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 01:00:39 AM
@Kaiden: "I have not stated that I am a foundationalist"

You don't have to Kaiden. Your entire argument reveals it.

"As an important note, Foundationalism does not, contrary to your misrepresentation, state that everything has a foundation."

You're going to tell me about Foundationalism? Foundationalism concerns philosophical theories of knowledge resting upon justified belief, or some secure foundation of certainty. Traditional ‘bedrock’ foundationalism said that knowledge must be justified in order to be rational, and it attempted to justify our knowledge by deriving it from an indubitable and infallible source. Descartes, it is well known, declared that the God-given intellect is such a source, and that whatever we clearly and distinctly perceive with it must be true. But by the eighteenth century, many philosophers had grown sceptical of attempts to ground rational knowledge upon a priori intuition. These philosophers regarded sense experience as the only criterion of truth. They said that our general theories must be inferred inductively from experience. And they demanded that we eliminate beliefs that could not be grounded upon sense experience alone.
But Hume then argued that the attempt to ground our scientific knowledge upon sense experience leads to irrationalism. Hume pointed out that there is no ‘middle term’ that allows us to validly infer future events from past experiences, and that such inductive inferences provide only psychological, as opposed to rational, justification through custom and habit. Hume thought that our knowledge was, in fact, psychologically justified in just this way, and he said that reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions. But Kant rejected Hume’s irrationalism, and, thinking that Hume was right to think that empiricism entailed it, proclaimed that there must be a priori knowledge after all. Kant pointed to Euclidean Geometry and Newtonian Mechanics as examples of what he called a priori synthetic knowledge. And he tried to explain how a priori synthetic knowledge was possible by saying that the mind imposes its laws upon nature in order to understand it, and that all rational beings impose the same laws.

This, was the situation in epistemology before Einstein.

Kant’s attempt to salvage the rationality of science collapsed when Einstein imposed a non-Euclidean geometry and a non-Newtonian physics upon nature. Einstein described a natural world that rational beings before him had never conceived. And his descriptions were then corroborated by the results of the experiments that he conceived in order to test them.
The success of Einstein’s theory shattered all hopes of explaining the rationality of science in terms of a priori foundations. If Kant could be wrong about the a priori certainty of Newtonian Mechanics and Euclidean Geometry, then how could anyone ever claim to be a priori certain again? But it did not quite shatter the hopes of foundationalists, who, forgetting about Hume’s irrationalism, once again tried to explain the rationality of science as a byproduct of its justification by sense experience. Wittgenstein and the logical positivists, in particular, argued, as Hume had argued before them, that the meaning of a term is reducible to sense impressions, and that empirical verifiability is what distinguishes science from metaphysics, and sense from nonsense. They were wrong. It's not verifiability that makes our science rational It's the ability to criticize and falsify that makes our science rational.
It was in this context that induction and demarcation emerged as the two fundamental problems of epistemology.

Where Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein, and the positivists all agreed that our knowledge must be justified in order to be rational, Popper cut the Gordian knot by arguing that scientific knowledge cannot, and need not, be justified at all—and by saying that it is rational not because we have justified it, but because we can criticize it.

Any attempt to justify our knowledge must, in order to avoid infinite regress, ultimately accept the truth (or reliability) of some statement (or faculty, or person) without justification. That is precisely why I reject Cr. Craig and Kalam and Aquinas and your Second way. In order to avoid infinite regress we must accept some foundational statement without justification. That will give us a circular argument. It's unavoidable. You keep doing it, and I'm pretty sure that most people here see that, but you persist anyway and then deny that you're doing it. But the fact that the truth (or reliability) of this statement (or faculty, or person) is accepted without justification means that we attribute to it an authority that we deny to others. Thus, where Wittgenstein and the positivists appealed to experience to justify our knowledge, Popper argued that ‘the main problem of philosophy is the critical analysis of the appeal to the authority of ‘experience’—precisely that ‘experience’ which every latest discoverer of positivism is, as ever, artlessly taking for granted’. The observation statements that report our experience never entail the truth of a strictly universal statement (or theory). So universal statements (or theories) cannot be justified (or verified) by experience. But it takes only one genuine counter-example to show that a universal statement is false. So some universal statements (or theories) can be criticized (or falsified) by experience—or, at least, by the acceptance of observation statements that contradict them.

We cannot rationally ground science upon a priori cognition because a priori cognition is unreliable, and we cannot rationally ground science upon sense experience because inductive inference is invalid. If we want to avoid Hume’s conclusion that science is irrationally grounded in custom and habit, then we have to explain how scientific knowledge can be rational given the fact that it cannot be rationally justified. It is falsifiability, and not verifiability, that distinguishes empirical science from metaphysics. It is what is known as the Scientific Method.

I've studied a bit about foundationalism Kaiden. I know a foundationalist when I see one.

I think this has truly gone on as far as it can go. If I were you, I would simply continue on your quest with a critical mind. See where it leads. But I'm not interested in pursuing this any longer.

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kylee
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 01:09:35 AM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Can you prove that other minds exist?

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 01:13:20 AM
@kylee: I can't prove any theory. I don't know who can. Theories are always conditional. They're never proven. But they can be disproven.

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Kaiden
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 10:39:09 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Reply to the post that you published on August 13th at 11:57pm.

Thank you for your patience, as always. I countered the accusation of appealing to authority; in reply, you do nothing beyond restating that I committed an appeal to authority, providing no good reasons for why I have done so. And as stressed before, your accusations of “appeal to authority” have no bite on pain of inconsistency. Besides, my mention of Dr. Craig did not appear in support of any position that I offered. You simply don’t read my posts with care and this has resulted in misguided responses on numerous occasions. I stated that Dr. Craig is a philosopher, one of his major interests being the philosophy of time; I stated nothing about his knowledge of physics or cosmology and so your rant on this supposed appeal to inappropriate authority is irrelevant. Again, I had encouraged you to read his material, and that of other philosophers of time, in order to attain a better understanding to the questions you raised regarding consciousness and time. If you choose to remain stuck with your questions, considering it a flaw in reasoning for me to direct you towards pertinent material, then I will leave you be. But your lack of understanding certain aspects of the arguments has shown itself to be a weak point in your responses towards me and I encourage you to delve more the material on the arguments for theism.

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Kaiden
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 10:56:56 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
Reply to the post that you published on August 14th at 12:24

Not once in course of over a month have you presented which premise of the Second Way assumes its conclusion, even following my request that you present which premise. Eventually, you resorted to slipping in the conditional statement “if there is a first cause, then God exists” and called that a question begging premise, but proceeded to give no defense of that claim which, indeed, turned out to be woefully flawed. Simply, you have no case for the question-begging status of the Second Way.

Now, instead of defending the position that the argument is question-begging, apparently you adjust tactics and argue for its status as an argument the commits special pleading fallacy. I have already pointed out that your claim was elementarily mistaken for saying that the first premise implies that everything has an efficient cause. Your reply glosses over this mistake. In the post to which I am here responding, your approach is to request that I show you something in nature that on the basis of the premises of the Second Way does not have an efficient cause. I addressed this issue some time back and the answer ought to be clear, anyways. Perhaps you are concluding from premises three and four that nothing is the efficient cause of itself and that, consequently, everything must have an efficient cause other than itself. But that is not the consequent of premises 3 and 4. As far as those two premises are concerned, there is nothing at all, let along things that have an efficient cause. The conclusion of the argument is a consequence of all six premises together, and the first cause, the first cause, concluded by the argument, would not have an efficient cause.

Despite the things mentioned in the above paragraphs, and despite your shortcoming with regards to presenting which premise of the Kalam, the adjusted moral argument, or the Second Way begs the question, and despite my previous posts in which I’ve dismantled your so-called argument against the Kalam, revealed the misnomer regarding “belief”, argued that a basic belief is not circularly accepted, rebutted each and every one your accusations that I’ve committed a fallacy, and pointed out your misunderstandings of certain of the arguments and your jumbling of—and ignorance of—philosophical concepts, you nonetheless manage to type that I have “not answered any of the objections that I’ve [you’ve] presented”. I wonder why you had the mind to type such a remark. Your position that the arguments for God's existence is untenable and, as I have shown and stressed on numerous accounts, the content of your posts are frequently inconsistent. I stated that in my experience, one of the main groups of people who state that the arguments for God’s existence are circular are those who study them, but lack the philosophical training necessary to providing a good (and coherent) analysis evaluations of these arguments. Frankly, your posts have not deviated from this experience.

(and since the quotes that you took from me were not arguments or inferences, they cannot be properly considered fallacious.)

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Kaiden
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 11:07:27 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
In reply to the post that you published on August 14th at 1:00am:

"You're going to tell me about Foundationalism?"

The attitude of your “question” is unwarranted, Larry. You’re not beyond correction. According to Foundationalist theories, knowledge rests ultimately on noninferential beliefs which, of course, would not in turn rest on some further beliefs. If you understand this point, then your characterization of Foundationalist theories has, to say the least, not been fairly articulated throughout your posts. You may not agree with those theories, but you should at least accurately represent what these theories claim about knowledge.

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Kaiden
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 11:23:51 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:
In reply to the post that you published on Saturday, August 10th at 9:01pm

Perhaps you can condense the convoluted and heavily reiterative first paragraph. I'm not seeing any reason amidst that paragraph as to why my analysis of the definition you provided was inaccurate--that a belief is the acceptance of something as true or real (and the belief may be held with the things further mentioned in the definition.) Additionally, the definitions that I researched remain.

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Kaiden
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 11:32:04 PM
@Kaiden:

I would also like to comment on your assessment of the abductive argument that I explored regarding, for a popular example, Christian theism. As time allows, I may publish a brief reply. Thank you, again, for your patience, Larry.

In that last large paragraph of my 10:56:56pm post, I intended to type in the third to last sentence the following: "your position that the arguments for God's existence are circular is untenable and...".

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 04:57:02 PM
@Jim Tarsi: Hi Jim. Thanks for responding. I'd like to go over the issues as you point to them
"P1 is incorrect; others have pointed out, and Mueller stated in his report, that a sitting President can certainly be indicted after he leaves office. Therefore, he cannot be indicted while he is President, but he is not above the law."

The problem that I see with this has several points. The argument is made that a sitting president can't be indicted. He can be indicted after he leaves office. What if he doesn't leave office? What if he's re-elected. There is a statute of limitations on the crimes he would be indicted for, and I believe it's 5 years. And what if he contests a close election and claims the election was rigged and he wants an investigation into voter fraud and has an AG that is willing to accommodate him. What would stop him from doing that? Congress? No because the Senate would never do that. They won't vote to convict him, they certainly won't stand in his way on the election results. The justice department won't block him since Barr heads up the DOJ. The court might order him to leave, but he already believes that he's above the law and ignores the constitution. He's done that on several occasions. This president would know that once he leaves office, he'll be indicted. So why leave? As long as he remains in office, he can't be indicted. So he has every reason to stay. Only the constitution and the DOJ might stop him, and he has the DOJ in his pocket.

He can't be removed through impeachment because of the tribal nature of the Congress. So if he can't be removed, he can't be indicted. If he can't be indicted then justice is not served. I don't believe that the framers of the Constitution ever anticipated this situation. They couldn't foresee the tribalism that would take place because there were no political parties at the time of the ratification of the constitution. Washington warned against the emergence of parties and feared exactly what we are seeing today.


"P2 is not strictly true. The president can be indicted; there are no laws forbidding it. All that is preventing it is Department of Justice policy."


that's true. In a strict sense. However, Trump has installed am AG that believes that a sitting president cannot commit a crime. Meaning that he can't be charged ( indicted) In the strictest sense, he can be. There is nothing in the constitution that says he can't. But in a practical sense, he can't be indicted because his AG won't go there.

"Even though, according to our legal system, P2 is true, per the previous discussion, P1 is not true. Therefore, the conclusion does not follow."
According to our legal system P2 is true. We agree. But I would say that in a practical sense as I've laid out, P1 is true as well.
I used a shortened statement in the syllogism. The original said:
If a sitting president can't be indicted, then he is above the law. I left out sitting in this post.
According to OLC policy at the DOJ a sitting president cannot be indicted or charged with a crime which is why Mueller did not charge Trump with obstruction of justice. DOJ wouldn't allow it. Barr doesn't even believe that a sitting president can commit a crime. So in order for justice to be served, we'd have to wait until he either loses an election of leaves office after serving two terms. Neither of which is guaranteed. He could start a war and bank on the public not wanting to change administrations while we're at war. So what protects us from any unforeseen actions that Trump might take to avoid prosecution. The longer he stays in office the longer he avoids prosecution. Justice delayed is justice denied. There is no protection for the public in case Trump demonstrates instability as president and decides to override the constitution or the courts. He has a compliant congress and DOJ to support his actions. If it sounds like I don't trust him....I don't. If our president sides with a Russian KGB officer over our own network of intelligence professionals, then I have serious questions about his loyalty to American values and interests.

"As other people have stated, the argument boils down to definitions of "cannot be indicted" (while he is President, or ever?)"

"Obstruction of justice is not one of them."
But according to the report he has obstructed justice at least 11 times. He needs to be held accountable as you and I would.
Apparently, cannot be indicted means while serving as POTUS. Once he leaves office he's not President. He's a Former President.

""above the law." I would say most of us see that as meaning beyond the reach of the laws that you and I are held to.

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Jim Tarsi
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 10:15:41 AM
Maybe if you rephrased your argument as "If the current President cannot be indicted, then he is above the law."

If Trump loses in 2020, he will leave, one way or the other. Secret Service will be called on to physically remove him, if necessary. Anyone in government who follows his orders would be breaking the law.

Has the Southern District of New York indicted Trump yet, or are they too waiting until he leaves office?

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 11:48:23 AM
@Jim Tarsi:
Actually I did originally phrase the conditional in previous writing as,
Modus Ponens:
If a sitting president cannot be indicted, THEN he/she is above the law.
A sitting president cannot be indicted
therefore, he/she is above the law.
https://adagio4639.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/presidential-powers/

By shortening the question it just created confusion.

"Secret Service will be called on to physically remove him,"
It wouldn't be SS. They're job is to protect the POTUS. And until the issue is resolved in some way, they'll do the job they're assigned to do. US Marshals would have to remove him, but they serve under the DOJ. (The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is a federal law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice (28 U.S.C. § 561). and the DOJ is headed up by AG Barr, and Barr is Trumps lawyer. If you've read Barrs 19 page memo on the legal powers of the President, you'd understand that Barr is totally deferential to Presidential power. He'll never authorize the Marshals to remove the POTUS. Trump can issue an EO as a national emergency ( he's done that with the border wall) and declare Martial Law until the election results are investigated after claiming voter fraud. He could then tell us that until the matter is settled to his satisfaction, the Martial Law will be enforced.

"Has the Southern District of New York indicted Trump yet, or are they too waiting until he leaves office?"

Right now he's an unindicted co-conspirator in the Michael Cohen case of paying off the porn star. I don't think he's been indicted yet. We'd know it by now. I think they are following the DOJ guidelines for now. All of this can be avoided by simply removing the policy of not indicting a sitting President. That's the only thing that guarantees that Justice is served. If there is any way around this Trump and Barr will stay in office. IF the tribalism didn't exist in congress, then the impeachment process could take care of the matter. But if he can't be removed through those means, then he can't be indicted as long as he stays in office, and he knows that. That's all the motive that he needs to make that happen. Trump has a deep affinity for autocratic leaders. He demonstrates that all the time. I have no doubt that if he can find a way to stay put, he'll do it.

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keyes.mj
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 08:22:05 AM
The President cannot be indicted while in office. Since a person cannot remain in that office indefinitely and the person can be indicted after leaving office, justice may be delayed but not denied.

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Larry Allen Brown
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 11:27:41 AM
MJK, Can you guarantee that the current POTUS will leave if he loses the election, or serves out his legal term? This POTUS has demonstrated his willingness to defy the constitution. You're assuming that he'll follow the constitution. What if he doesn't? He knows that an indictment will be waiting for him if he leaves office. Why would he leave? He opens himself up to jail. If he can stay in office and avoid an indictment, he will. He has no respect for a document that he's never read. We can argue back and forth about whether he will or won't, but the solution to this is staring us all in the face. Remove the policy imposed on us by the OLC. There's nothing in the constitution that says a sitting president cannot be indicted. That's a policy in place by the DOJ. It's not binding to anything. If we do that, we remove the potential of a Constitutional Crises and possible violence in the streets from those demanding that he leave, and those demanding that he stay. This guy is not worth the possibility of bloodshed over his behavior.

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Jim Tarsi
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 08:55:40 AM
I realize I need to amend my answer. The first argument is valid, but it is not sound. The second is also valid but not sound.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 05:10:00 PM
Assuming that all things fit nicely into the legal system, you'd be right and I wouldn't be posting the question. However, I don't think that things are fitting nicely into the legal system due to a rogue element in the White House and a compliant AG that will serve the interests of the POTUS over the interests of the people, not to mention a Senate that allows the POTUS to get away with anything he wants. I've read his ( Barr's) 19 page memo that served as an audition piece to get his gig. It was music to Trumps ears. He's acting as Trumps personal lawyer and not the lawyer for the people. The law is being bent by AG Barr to aid in Trumps unconstitutional attacks on our democratic institution. We shouldn't be surprised by this. Steve Bannon announced to everybody that their intention was the destruction of the administrative state. We're seeing it happen in real time.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 11:59:42 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
There are a number of ways to word this:
As a conditional; If/Then Modus Ponens. Mode that affirms.
P1. If a sitting president cannot be indicted, THEN he is above the law
P2. A sitting president cannot be indicted
C: Therefore he is above the law.

Apparently the president is the only person in America that cannot be indicted for any crime he may have committed. That would place him above or beyond the reach of laws that apply to you and I. In layman's terms., 'above the law" means that the law doesn't apply to him. I think that would be the conclusion that most people would understand it to mean.
If Modus Tollens proves that the sitting president CAN be indicted because no person is above the law, then the policy of the Dept of Justice contradicts the most basic, fundamental principle of this country. This policy is not found anywhere in the constitution. It's a memo drafted by the OLC in the Dept of Justice. So, the policy defies the Law of Non-Contradiction. If our laws contradict our stated principles, and we know it, then we are allowing our justice to be irrationally applied. No? I don't know what kind of fallacy you would call this, other then contradiction. You cannot be A and be NOT A at the same time in the same context.

BTW...I've had you book for a long time. Very enjoyable. Thanks for compiling it. It's amazingly useful in arguments in many different forums.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 12:11:45 PM
I get where you are going with this, but I think you are trying to make a legal argument into a logical one. Even if your first premise is true, you would need another argument that that proves that nobody should ever be "above the law" in any case. Then, perhaps, we can say that people are acting irrationally.

BTW...I've had you book for a long time. Very enjoyable. Thanks for compiling it. It's amazingly useful in arguments in many different forums.

Thanks!

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 01:04:59 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

>"but I think you are trying to make a legal argument into a logical one."<
I am. Oliver Wendelll Holmes Jr. who was an associate justice on the SCOTUS said this: “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”

In his book, The Common Law, Holmes said the life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time the prevalent moral and political theories intuitions of public policy of even the prejudices which judges share with their fellowmen and had a good deal more to do than the syllogism .

I disagree with Holmes take. Being a Supreme Court Justice doesn't make his views infallible. I think he was totally wrong on this. I firmly believe that our laws do follow logic, as opposed to normative views on what "ought to be as opposed to what IS. Allowing personal views on what our laws "should" or "ought to be, invites prejudice and bias that impacts one segment of the population or another. Logic has no bias. No prejudice. It equally distributes the law to everyone.

So yes, I am indeed looking to make the legal argument a logical argument. I firmly believe that if the law is not grounded in logic, it will invariable result in contradictions and prejudice that can be avoided by requiring logical justification. If the premises are true in a deductive syllogism then the conclusion must follow. If a sitting president cannot be indicted, then he is above the law. We are seeing that taking place today. Right now. And that contradiction needs to be addressed. If nobody is above the law, then the Justice Department is wrong and violating the law of non-contradiction. So, despite Holmes views, logically this is blatantly unacceptable and needs to change. It's not personal views or prejudice that prevails. It's the logic of the syllogism that demonstrates that the law is wrong if the principle of no person is above the law is true.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 01:30:05 PM
@Larry Allen Brown: Points well taken. If law could be grounded in logic alone, that would be great. The problem is, personal values is a large of part of law where values and rights often come into contradiction and moral/legal dilemmas are too common. Again, I don't know the legal reasons for not being able to indict a sitting president but I would guess that are reasons for it that, in at least one person's view, justify making at least one person "above the law".

Think about gun rights... Conservative talk about the 2nd Amendment and liberals argue that this was not meant to apply to automatic weapons. Rights to not get shot vs. rights to shoot if needed.

A larger problem is that the law (both legal and morality) transcends logic because logic cannot get us to an ultimate "should." Some think obeying God's laws is the ultimate "should," some thin human well-being, some thing sentient life well-being, some think their own well-being, etc. Think law as logic with a missing and unfalsifiable first premise. By all means, if you can create premises with which everyone agrees, great. But ultimately persuasion is needed which includes the non-rational and non-logical.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 02:28:57 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

" A larger problem is that the law (both legal and morality) transcends logic because logic cannot get us to an ultimate "should.""

But "should" is a normative argument that depends on a subjective viewpoint, and that will always bring it's bias and prejudice into the argument. Should is completely subjective and has nothing to do with the Truth so how can it concern itself with any moral consistency? In that case, whoever argues loudest wins. That's just winning an argument through intimidation. In law there are Normative arguments ( Ought) and Positive Arguments ( IS) You can't derive OUGHT from IS. ( David Hume )
The Scottish philosopher, David Hume, argued that no ought to claim could be correctly inferred from a set of purely factual premises. This result is sometimes referred to as Hume’s Law, or as the is-ought problem.

" But ultimately persuasion is needed which includes the non-rational and non-logical."

Demonstrate for me what makes that true. What kid of argument can you make that doesn't involve some form of either inductive or deductive reasoning? Show me how a non-rational or non-logical argument can withstand criticism. What does it appeal to that can't be debunked as a fallacy? Can you give me an example?

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 03:12:44 PM
@Larry Allen Brown:

But "should" is a normative argument that depends on a subjective viewpoint, and that will always bring it's bias and prejudice into the argument.

Welcome to the morality!

Should is completely subjective and has nothing to do with the Truth...

It does when truth is subjective. If you are arguing for a religious/metaphysical capital "T" truth then I don't know where to go from here.

In that case, whoever argues loudest wins.

It is not about being loud, it is about being persuasive. But those who don't get heard cannot persuade.

What kid of argument can you make that doesn't involve some form of either inductive or deductive reasoning?

You misunderstood... it is not that arguments don't involve inductive or deductive reasoning; it is that there is a non-rational component at the foundation of virtually every argument (non mathematical). Should abortion be legal? Should guns be banned? Should anything... are all examples.

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Larry Allen Brown
Tuesday, July 09, 2019 - 01:10:06 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

" Welcome to the morality!"

Do you think that we should legislate subjective morality? Whose should we choose is the right one? What methodology should be used to determine the best morality for a free society to adopt?

"It does when truth is subjective."
I don't subscribe to relative truth at all. When is truth Subjective? What demonstrates it as being true?

" If you are arguing for a religious/metaphysical capital "T" truth then I don't know where to go from here."

Oh no. Not arguing for any religious or metaphysical T. I'm only concerned with those things that can be demonstrated as true or false. I'm an atheist. However, I do recognize objective Truth. I don't think that it's some thing that you can own or put into your pocket. I see it as revealed when we determine what is false. Without it, we wouldn't know what to compare those things that are false with. For example; how do you know when something is false? What do you compare it to in making that determination? Do you agree that if in a deductive syllogism, if the premises are true that the conclusion is infallibly TRue? I would subject any statement to criticism to see how it holds up. That means deductive reasoning. Is there a contradiction that hasn't been resolved? How do we know when Trump is lying? What do we have to compare his statements to? We have a series of facts. When his statements don't correspond to what we objectively recognize as factually true, then we know that what he says is false.

My approach to things is to falsify a statement. If that can be done, then what is left over is the truth. And that process continues with each and every statement. I think that locating the truth is a subtractive process and not an additive one. I tend to reason more deductively than inductively. Remove the crap that obscures the truth.

"It is not about being loud, it is about being persuasive. But those who don't get heard cannot persuade."

I think the loudest argument tends to grab the headlines. And more often than not I see arguments break into shouting matches and ad hominem attacks. I've seen many a well thought out argument get smothered by a loud belligerent. Clearly a skilled con-artist can be very persuasive. We see it every day.

"it is that there is a non-rational component at the foundation of virtually every argument (non mathematical). Should abortion be legal? Should guns be banned? Should anything... are all examples."

Is that a fact? What do you base that on? All of those are appeals to emotion. and logical fallacies. Should abortion be legal and should guns be banned are not only appeals to emotion but normative argument about what should be as opposed to what is. The abortion argument is a moral argument and as such most likely has a religious view. However, to argue against it on moral or religious grounds would be unconstitutional since we cannot use religion as the basis for a law which violates the first amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." To make a law banning abortion because the religious reasons stated, establishes religion as the basis for the law. That violates the Establishment clause of the first amendment. The normative argument is Should abortion be legal. The Positive argument is that Abortion IS legal. It's regarded as "settled law".

"it is that there is a non-rational component at the foundation of virtually every argument (non mathematical)."

There is no reason that I can think of that would accept an irrational component to justify a law. I don't see that at all. At the foundation of every argument is a question usually offering a moral view on some topic. I think what's required in that case is to determine the moral worth of the solution to the question. There are moral foundations to our politics. So what is the criterion used to determine the moral worth of the thing in question? I would say that there is no moral worth to anything that is self serving. Every time the motive for what we do is to satisfy a desire, or a preference that we might have, to pursue some interest, we’re acting out of inclination. In so far as our actions have moral worth, what confers moral worth is precisely our capacity to rise above self-interest and inclination and to act out of duty. Ex: A young boy walks into a store to buy a loaf of bread. He's too young to understand the concept of making change, so he gives the store owner his money. The store owner sees that the boy wouldn't know if he short changed him or not, but then he reasons that if the word got out that he cheated a young boy he'd lose customers for sure. So he gives the boy the right change. Question: is there any moral worth to the store owners actions? Answer: NO. He may have done the right thing but for all the wrong reasons. The moral thing to do is simply give the boy the right change because that's the right thing to do. Do the right thing. It's his duty to do the right thing by the boy. Certainly our moral compass can determine that much.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 01:25:09 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

"The (logical) debate would be around premise #1. Premise 2 could be debated by lawmakers."

And what would be the basis for the debate of Premise #2? I would submit that the argument in that debate would follow logic. How can it not without demonstrating a bias/prejudice that defies a core American principle? The premise (#2) would have to demonstrate that it's a true statement. If the premises are true then the conclusion must follow.
If a sitting president cannot be indicted is true, and the law that applies to you and me does not apply to him/her, then Premise #2 is a true statement.
That places him/her outside the reach of the law
As it stands, a sitting president cannot be indicted. That is a true statement.
So the conclusion that the law does not apply to him/her necessarily follows.
A sitting president cannot be indicted

Example: "All men are created equal". Obviously that statement presented a glaring contradiction for a nation that allowed slavery to exist. How did it resolve that glaring contradiction? It decided on a 3/5 compromise. Slaves were only 3/5 of a human being, therefore they didn't meet the standard of "Men". Clearly that contradiction could never hope to stand and we fought a civil war over the issue of slavery. Logic prevailed and slaves were freed. The bitterness of that period still impacts all our lives today.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 01:39:22 PM
How can it not without demonstrating a bias/prejudice that defies a core American principle?

Again, you can make this argument, but it is a political/legal one, not a logical one. What you are doing is arguing for the truth of a premise. You can make a new argument to demonstrate that this "defies a core American principle" but just stating it won't do (at least for people who disagree with you). Ex:

P1. Excluding anyone from indictment defies a core American principle.
P2. POTUS is excluded from indictment
C. Therefore, a core American principle is being defied.

Now, the argument would shift to P1. What about people with diplomatic immunity? Criminals who make deals to catch "bigger fish"? Other? Again, the legal aspects here are above my pay grade, but the point is there is nothing illogical unless the argument is sound (all involved in the debate agree that the premises are true).

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 02:50:47 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
"Now, the argument would shift to P1. What about people with diplomatic immunity? "

They don't live in America. They're connected to an embassy that is sovereign soil to their native country. When you step into a foreign embassy in DC, your are stepping into that country. Our laws don't apply to them. I'm not sure that they could claim diplomatic immunity on a murder charge. That would create an international incident and I'm sure there are international laws that cover that. I have to leave for a while. I'm enjoying this discussion.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 08:13:23 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: "Again, you can make this argument, but it is a political/legal one, not a logical one." You are speaking of this as P2. "P2. The president of the US cannot be indicted."
Ok. Tell me why he can't. What is the basis for the law that says he can't be indicted. What is the reasoning process that was used to justify that law? Then tell me that when describing the reasoning process you are not telling me the logic the you are using to inform you? Are you using inductive reasoning or deductive reasoning? It's going to be one or the other. Critical thinking is going to require it, and critical thinking is essential to making any law. So what I'm saying is that calling it a political argument and not a logical argument can't be true, because logic had to come into play in order to inform the people as to how they can justify that law.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
moderator
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 09:18:13 PM
@Larry Allen Brown: I think we are getting caught up in definitions. When I say "logical argument" I mean deductive. All arguments should use reason and logic, of course. Creating a syllogism with premises that people will disagree with doesn't make disagreeing illogical or irrational, that is my point here. You presented two syllogisms to attempt to prove the law of non-contradiction is being violated (I believe that is what you were doing). But this only does so others find both arguments sound. The real argument is "can the president be indicted?" and "if someone cannot be indicted (temporarily as Michael pointed out) does this mean they are 'above the law'?" These are legal questions, not ones that can be answered by syllogisms. These legal questions have subjective bases to them where legal experts might offer different opinions and nobody is violating any logical laws. Hope that is more clear.

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Larry Allen Brown
Monday, July 08, 2019 - 10:28:14 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:

"When I say "logical argument" I mean deductive."

So do I.

"Creating a syllogism with premises that people will disagree with doesn't make disagreeing illogical or irrational, that is my point here."

In a deductive argument, I would expect the premises to be demonstrably true. If they aren't then the argument is going to be pretty weak against one in which the premises are conclusively true.
All Men are Mortal
Socrates is a man
Therefore Socrates is Mortal

Can you see where there could be a disagreement with that deductive syllogism? Arguing against that in my view is illogical and to continue asserting an argument opposing that would be irrational. If rationality means being in agreement with reason and fact, then I would see it as irrational to not recognizing that truth.

"The real argument is "can the president be indicted?" and "if someone cannot be indicted (temporarily as Michael pointed out) does this mean they are 'above the law'?"


I don't know what Michael means by temporarily. That needs to be explained. I'll go back and read his comment. I know what the question is, since I presented it. "Is it true that no person is above the Law in the United States?" The argument is if a sitting president cannot be indicted, then he is above the law.

In logic we can say that
If a sitting president cannot be indicted, then he is above the law.
A sitting president cannot be indicted
Therefore he is above the law.

P>Q
p
Therefore Q.

The policy stated by the OLC in the Dept of Justice says he can't be indicted.
Now what does it mean to be above our outside the law. It means that the law does not apply to a person. I'd love to hear another definition. But I think that states the case.

Michael says this: "I believe Barr agrees that once a president is removed from office they most certainly can be indicted."

But suppose he doesn't leave office. Suppose he gets re-elected. Suppose he decides to violate the Constitution. ( He's done that before, why should I assume that he won't again, especially when he knows that an indictment is waiting for him when he leaves.) I've learned not to trust the man in the White House to not try anything to avoid the consequences of his actions. How is justice served if he can't be prosecuted because he can't be indicted while in office and doesn't that demonstrate that one person is indeed above the law?

"So this would have to amend to The President is only temporarily above the law".
Temporarily? No. I don't think so. I wouldn't get that kind of deal and neither could you. If he's above the law, temporarily or not, then one person is above the law with no guarantee that justice will ever be served.

"This might also apply to other statutes of limitation as well, such as in many crimes a person may be above the law after a certain amount of time. "

He could stay in office long enough to ride out any statute of limitations. How than is justice served. My view on this is that the framers never saw this coming because at the time of ratification of the Constitution, we didn't have political parties. There was no tribalism within the congress. Parties didn't arrive until 1801. So the impeachment clause never anticipated that Tribalism would overrun congress and make it impossible to remove an criminal in the White House.

"Another consideration is that the House could impeach the president entirely on its own and not submit it to the senate. This is known as the Tribe solution."

That would be a mere formality that solves nothing since he can't be removed that way. If he can't be removed, he can't be indicted and avoids justice entirely.

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