Monday, September 23, 2013

Ah, the Rich Irony of It All!

Over at Rod Dreher's blog, one "Prof. Woland" explains why he doesn't believe in God:

“because my epistemological stance towards the world asks for kinds of evidence that don’t really work with supernatural entities”

What he means is that he will only accept as evidence the kind of things offered as evidence in, say, physics. Well, of course, since the God of philosophical theism is not a physical entity, not an item in the world, the kind of evidence physics uses will by definition "not really work with him." It as though one asked for physical proof of the fundamental theorem of calculus  or the existence of justice. Perhaps those things don't exist, but asking for physical evidence of their existence, e.g. "Show me them scattering x-rays or attracting a mass," simply illustrates that you are confused and have no idea what you are talking about. And if you simply declare that only the things physics can detect are real, well, you are not basing that conclusion on any non-question-begging evidence, but simply declaring an a priori metaphysical belief.

An analogy:

“I don’t believe in pink things!”

“Why not?”

“I only accept things that aren’t pink as evidence, and so I’ve seen no evidence of pink things.”

NOTE: And please, please, don't be so tedious as to come back with, "Well, the fact that we use the fundamental theorem of calculus in physics is good physical evidence for it!" That is just the sort of evidence we have for God, and not at all the sort we have for x-rays.


  1. "That is just the sort of evidence we have for God"

    I'm not at all trolling, but what is that evidence or where can I read a presentation of it?

    1. Read Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Abelard, Averroes, Avicenna, Maimonides, Aquinas, Leibniz, Berkeley, etc.

    2. I guess the argument Gene is refering to is sketched here:

    3. Well, sklien, that is one amongst many such arguments. In fact, we have a massive tradition of reasoned argumentation for the existence of God.

    4. So it turns out Bill was trolling.

  2. Woland is as wrong as your analogy. To say "I don't accept pink things as evidence," when we all know that some things ARE pink, is to make an artificial and wishful distinction. When it comes to metaphysical questions, like "Is there a God who made all that is, seen and unseen, the first, the last, who was and is and ever shall be... I can't establish that the answer is YES nearly as easily as I can establish that there ARE pink things.

    That's why we walk by faith and not by sight. The fallacy in Woland's argument is that he can't prove a negative. He can't prove from within the physical universe that there is nothing outside of that universe. However, he is entitled to set aside a consideration that cannot be proven affirmatively. He just has no basis to ridicule those of us who sense there IS something out there.

  3. I hardly new, but how'sabout this?

    Nondecreasing, and bound above,
    The sequence must converge, my love.

    No, in all seriousness, you know, math stuff...



"If your approach to mathematics is mechanical not mystical, you're not going to go anywhere." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb