The Twin-Fallacies of Nothing-But Non-Belief and of Default-Atheism
The Twin-Fallacies of Nothing-But Non-Belief and of Default-Atheism
The noetic frame finds various degrees and forms of belief populating the “Doxastic Experience“. Therefore, before describing the fallacious claim of some that this or that belief, that ANY belief, either is or else can be “Nothing-But” Non-Belief, we first need to recall the Christian’s actual definition of “Faith”. For that see the following:
So, then, with that proper definition of Faith in hand:
The Impossibility Of The Doxastic Vacuum:
The nature of human belief (…which is described as “the doxastic experience” and so on…) isn’t Magic just as the nature of Mind & Consciousness isn’t Magic. On occasion our Non-Theist friends fail to address their own “Atheistic-Beliefs” by “Starting/Stopping” at the claim that “Atheism” is “nothing-more-than” a “lack of belief” or perhaps mere denial in the sense that it is not itself ALSO a statement and self-report that is the fruit of many affirmations — as in other beliefs/things-you-affirm-as-true.
The problem there is obvious: No belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief — that is to say that the problem is that the claim/self-report is at bottom the claim that the self-report of “I do not believe X” and/or “there is not enough evidence to justify X” or of “I Doubt Paradigm X” is/are self-report(s) which are NOT based on other beliefs/things-you-affirm-as-true — or that such self-reports are NOT based on other/prior beliefs as per the following nuance which our own contingent abstractions of our own contingent minds of our own contingent beings cannot evade:
“…..total skepticism about ultimate beliefs is… impossible… no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief, [so] indifference is always in danger of giving place to …a fanaticism that can be as intolerant as any religion has ever been……” (by L. Newbigin)
To deny that quote’s observation of “…no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief…” is to claim that “To Claim A Lack Of Belief In X” is NOT a conclusion which is ITSELF built atop earlier, or more proximal, or more upstream, or more fundamental “first principles” vis-à-vis affirmations and therefore the Non-Theist is left insisting on a “mid-air” fuzzy sort of “Doxastic Vacuum” of “nothing-but-non-belief”. But that is logically impossible given the contingent nature of ALL semantic intent — that is to say that it is logically impossible for our belief states to be otherwise — to be “vacuums” void of affirmations and a key reason why is because all of our knowledge is necessarily Contingent and not of our own Necessity.
It is NOT “only” Non-Theism / Atheism but it is ALL self-reports of doubt (Etc.) which constitute a belief state and NO belief state about ANY-thing is possible but for the floor beneath it — and that floor is a latticework of Affirmations/Positive-Claims — such that “…no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief…”
We are leaving to the side the role of Will/Insistence/Agenda/Fear/Etc. here and therein we are leaving to the side the role of self-deception in its many forms but, of course, the Will obviously has Her Say — there IS the demonstrable layer of the WILL woven into rationalization. Addiction Medicine is the painful proof of the interface of WILL/REASON. For brief segues into that whole arena of Rational Belief/Unbelief and Irrational Belief/Unbelief see the following brief list but recall, again, “that” is not the topic here but, instead, the nature of the doxastic experience and its unavoidable latticework ((Etc. Etc.)) is the focus here.
A— Psychoanalysis and the Coyne-esque as per both Part 1 http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/10/walter-mitty-atheism.html?showComment=1444541683395&m=1#c5184040431704814012 and as per Part 2 http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/10/walter-mitty-atheism.html?showComment=1444541694376&m=1#c6385469427809387454
End Brief Digression.
One’s own syllogisms regarding the Trio of Perception, Reason, and Reality are all in fact Affirmations of what counts as Rational Metrics and Rational Inquiry and, therefore, all self-reports are in fact based on beliefs about that Trio and about those Metrics of Veracity and Inquiry. The fallacy is that “Nothing-But-A-Lack-Of-Belief” can actually exist — as if a Doxastic Vacuum were possible. But such a vacuum of “Nothing-But” is impossible given the nature of our own doxastic experience and the nature of the contingent abstractions of the contingent minds of contingent beings.
“But Babies & Neonates Are Atheists”
Here we must ask this in reply to such a statement, “Do Neonates make claims of not enough evidence?” Also, it is trivially true that neonates are Atheists-About-Everything-Including-Mathematics-&-Physics-&-Etc. Therefore we can simply grant that mathematics and chemistry are also Non-Entity per this bizarre category of “Truth-As-Per-Neonates”. But of course our Non-Theist friends don’t mean to say THAT and are instead merely dancing to avoid addressing the veracity of “….no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief….”
Atheism is a claim with respect to Evidence & Metrics vis-à-vis our own Perception, Mind, and Reason and like ALL claims it too is inextricably woven together with multiple Affirmations. It is in fact a logical absurdity to claim that ANY belief or claim is itself based on no prior any-thing, as in based on no prior beliefs. Any such Doxastic Vacuum of “Nothing-But” is impossible given the contingent nature of our own doxastic experience ((….and the nature of the contingent abstractions of the contingent minds of contingent beings etc….)).
At bottom these lines of definition with respect to the term Atheism put our Non-Theist friends on record as denying the veracity of the following: “….no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief….”
Of course IF our Non-Theist friends agree with that claim ((“….no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief….”)) well then we can examine those Affirmations/Beliefs as we unpack Mind, Perception, Time, Change, and the First Person Experience of Self/Intention vis-à-vis our own perception of our own Rock-Bottom “i-am” ((….the Self…Etc…)) which so many Non-Theists assure us all sum to Illusion (…and given Non-Theism’s toolbox they’re correct of course…).
Faith vs the fallacy of “…atheism is “nothing-but” non-belief…”
The reality of “Nothing-But” non-belief sums to a metaphysical absurdity in that any such vacuum is a logical, physical, and metaphysical impossibility. It is also a category error in that the claim too often mistakes Non-Knowledge (…have never heard of x….) for Non-Belief (…have heard of x, but given abcd etc., I do not believe x is justified….).
Before Continuing To Unpack The Impossibility Of The Doxastic Vacuum — A Few Observations With Respect to Logic 101
“…More importantly, we can defend them by the method of retorsion, which involves showing that one cannot deny them on pain of self-contradiction or incoherence. This method is sometimes misunderstood. Some people think it merely involves showing that we can’t help *thinking* a certain way, but where this leaves it open that this way of thinking might nevertheless not correspond to reality. In other words, they think that retorsion arguments are essentially about human *psychology*. That is not at all the case. Rightly understood, such arguments are a species of *reductio* *ad* *absurdum* argument. They involve defending a claim by showing that the denial of the claim entails a contradiction, and thus cannot as a matter of objective fact (and not merely as a contingent matter of human psychology) be correct… …The word “proof” has, historically, been used in different senses.
Naturally, I don’t mean that the arguments are proofs in exactly the same sense in which a mathematical proof is a “proof.” They are mostly not *a* *priori* arguments, for one thing. But I used the word deliberately, and I certainly claim a high degree of certainty for the claim that God exists. For example, I would claim that it is as certain that God exists as it is that the world external to our minds is real and not an illusion foisted upon us by a Cartesian demon or the Matrix. How can I say that? Well, the point of the book to show this. The arguments are “proofs” in that, first of all, the conclusion is claimed to follow *deductively* from the premises. They are not mere probabilistic inferences, arguments to the best explanation, or “God of the gaps” arguments. (I hate “God of the gaps” arguments.) The claim is that the arguments show, not merely that God is the most likely explanation of the facts asserted in the premises of the arguments, but rather that God is the *only *possible *explanation *in *principle of those facts. Second, the premises are knowable with certainty.
The premises include both empirical premises (for example, the premise that change occurs) and philosophical premises (for example, the premise that everything has an explanation or is intelligible). The premises in turn can be defended in various ways that show them to be beyond reasonable doubt. For example, some of them can be defended via retorsion arguments (which, again, are a species of *reductio *ad *absurdum argument). That is to say, such arguments try to show that anyone who denies such-and-such a claim is implicitly contradicting himself. So in arguments of the sort I am defending, the conclusion is claimed to follow necessarily from the premises, and the premises are claimed to be knowable beyond any reasonable doubt. That sort of argument fits one traditional use of the word “proof.”
Naturally, I am aware that some people will nevertheless challenge the arguments or remain doubtful about one or more of them. But that’s true of every single argument one could give for any conclusion, even mathematical proofs. A determined and clever enough skeptic will always be able to come up with *some* grounds for doubt, even if the grounds are bizarre or far-fetched. That doesn’t mean that the grounds are, all things considered, going to be reasonable ones. Anyway, my calling something a “proof” doesn’t entail that I think every reader, even every fair-minded reader, is immediately going to be convinced. What it is meant to indicate is the nature of the connection between the facts described in the premises and the fact described in the conclusion. It is a *metaphysical* claim, not a *sociological* claim. Too many people mix these things up. They think that as long as a significant number of people are likely not to agree with some argument, you can’t call it a “proof.” That just misunderstands the way the term is being used…”
End Excerpts ((…from https://strangenotions.com/ama-dr-feser-answers/…)) ((…star * & bold added…))
Continuing To Unpack The Impossible Doxastic Vacuum
For a basic framework of the problem, here is an excerpt from a prior discussion on the Twin Facts of the Upstream and of the Downstream:
Isn’t it actually the case that you do in fact doubt and/or reject this or that belief(s) based on some other belief(s)? Or do you make such decisions based on No-Thing?
Is it the case that you have No-Belief about what counts as rational metrics and rational inquiry?
“…..total skepticism about ultimate beliefs is… impossible… no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief, [so] indifference is always in danger of giving place to …a fanaticism that can be as intolerant as any religion has ever been……” (by L. Newbigin)
You say you said as much in that you don’t believe X unless the evidence etc. convinces you.
Yet you deny that your (upstream) beliefs about what counts as rational metrics are in fact beliefs, and you deny that your (upstream) beliefs about what counts as rational inquiry are in fact beliefs.
When you evaluate evidence, do you employ No-Thing in order to evaluate the evidence as you arrive at your conclusion? Or do you employ what you consider to be rational metrics and/or rational inquiry?
If the latter, what is it that brought you to that place in which you came to consider [metrics a, b, c, and d etc.] to be rational metrics?
Recall that you are denying the second half of this:
“…..no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief…….”
You are so far disagreeing with that in that you are so far claiming that you doubt and/or reject this or that belief(s) based on No-Thing.
Why? Isn’t it actually the case that you do in fact doubt and/or reject this or that belief(s) based on some other belief(s)?
Well you later agreed that the upstream content described there does in fact precede the downstream content described there. Okay then. Given that you agree that it is impossible to deny this or that downstream [belief(s)] without basing it on some other, earlier, upstream [belief(s)], then why are you, now, denying that you affirm those earlier, upstream [belief(s)]? If that is the case then you’ve looped back to basing it on No-Thing (…and Etc…) and are therein not actually denying A-Thing (…and Etc…).
If you do NOT deny that you affirm those earlier, upstream [belief(s)], well then we arrive at the Non-Theist’s Twin Fallacies.
Regarding a few parts typically found within all of that, we find some raising the issue of the “One Fewer God” challenge or the “I simply believe in one less god than you” challenge, or the “One God Further” challenge, or:
“….my claim of not-your-god is “nothing-but” non-belief…”
The problem with that statement (“….my claim of not-your-god is “nothing-but” non-belief…”) with respect to the doxastic experience which we all share in is looked at in the following:
The upstream beliefs about reality which give life to our downstream claims upon what counts for rational inquiry and what counts as rational metrics (…and whatever claims about brute fact or explanatory box or descriptive array or “X” or “Not-X” they happen to lead to…) are just that, beliefs about reality.
Despite the Non-Theist’s claim, no one is immune.
Our Non-Theist friends often seek “immunity” by avoiding the actual content of the doxastic experience in general with respect to their claim of “Nothing-But-Non-Belief”.
Unfortunately (…for that premise…) the existence of such downstream vacuums is impossible within the noetic frame as all downstream claims upon reality necessarily stem from those earlier, more basic, upstream affirmations. That becomes obvious if and when one actually attempts to demonstrate any such downstream vacuum, any such downstream cul-de-sac void of all such upstream current. On charity let’s grant the Non-Theist his equivocation about “God-Does-Not-Exist” (A-Theism) and soften it to something more agnostic:
Q: “Do you believe the sun moves around the earth? Or is it that the earth moves around the sun?”
A: “Well I don’t know. I just don’t have enough evidence to say.”
Q: “Really? How can that be?”
A: “Well because…. [enter the raging currents of perception… of metrics… of knowledge… of repeatable patterns… of (say) Mom’s voice (for the toddler) …of (say) Particle Physics (for some) …and of Etc.] So I simply don’t have any evidence to affirm the nature of the interface amid Earth/Sun.”
All of those downstream claims necessarily exist in and by and because of an ocean of earlier, more basic, more upstream affirmations. The proverbial “whole show”, from the Child’s “…Mommy’s voice…” to the Adult’s “…Robust T.O.E…” necessarily houses that continuity (…void of “vacuums”…).
In fact that seamless body of currents just is the Noetic Frame, just is the Doxastic Experience. Our Non-Theist friends are free to demonstrate otherwise…. are free to demonstrate their immunity, their Vacuum, their body of syntax magically void all such currents.
We all have beliefs about reality which inform us on how best to inquire about reality. Beliefs about reality drive our modes of inquiry with respect to reality. According to some, this or that cousin of physicalism gives us the most exhaustive explanatory accounting of reality, while according to others that is hardly the case. Offshoots or products of that lead into conflations of the descriptive for the explanatory, and into the nature of brute facts and the nature of the self-explanatory, and into several other downstream consequences of those initial, more upstream, more basic, affirmations (beliefs) about reality.
Therefore, once again: Those upstream beliefs about reality which give life to our downstream claims upon what counts for rational inquiry and what counts as rational metrics (…and *whatever* claims about brute fact or explanatory box or descriptive array or “X” or “Not-X” they happen to lead to…) are just that — beliefs about reality.
One of the nuances here is that which D.B. Hart refers to as “….the metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility….” and there we come to a key or a fundamental Fountainhead or factual “Upstream Terminus” – namely that terminus as it relates to Reason Itself. The problem (there) which Metaphysical Naturalism inevitably faces is that it must – at every point in its voyage – forever seek to avoid its own Flat World and its fateful Edge of Reason which of course is impossible given Metaphysical Naturalism’s available termini (…as per https://metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/ …). There again we come to the landscape of those upstream and downstream referents:
“I think solipsism is always an interesting topic because if we start “mid-stream” in our epistemology by rejecting solipsism (as I think most of us probably do), it is then interesting to try to infer what “upstream” structure of our thoughts must have led to this rejection. There is some hope that by swimming upstream in this manner we will discover certain “first principles” that lie unrecognized at the wellspring of our vis-à-vis beliefs.“ (j.hillclimber)
“…But The Boy In Tibet Has Never Heard Of……”
Non-Knowledge is not identical to Non-Belief. First, recall the Christian definition of Faith from the get-go as per the list of links given at the start. Second, it is the case that either way, we find that the Non-Theist’s hope of immunity requires that oh-so-impossible-to-demonstrate Vacuum within the Noetic Frame, that downstream cul-de-sac somehow void of all upstream currents.
It is not only the Christian’s 4000 year history constituting the definition of Faith, but, also, it is Theism’s and Non-Theism’s own necessary “Upstream/Downstream” topography which prohibits the Fallacy of The Boy In Tibet. More on that fallacy in a moment, but first:
The proverbial Quad of belief:
Irrational Belief & Irrational Disbelief
Rational Belief & Rational Disbelief
…..all exist, but that is not the question here, nor do any of those house that mysterious Cul-De-Sac vis-à-vis that mysterious downstream vacuum within one’s noetic frame.
Going even further downstream:
We can take, say, “ABC-X” which, say, the child in Tibet has never heard of.
To say that said child in Tibet lacks belief in ABC-X is an equivocation unless and until one actually traverses and interacts with the various interfaces of  The child’s own noetic frame and of  ABC-X.
To do “that” (…to traverse…) is straightforward: reality and/or life’s experience of perception in some form and mode asks the child, “Do you believe in ABC-X?” There, even in the mind of a child, we do not find the Non-Theist’s bizarre Vacuum, that immune cul-de-sac somehow void of all upstream currents, that bizarre “void” somehow disconnected from and floating free of all upstream content.
The earlier example of the Earth/Sun moving around one vs. the other finds no such cul-de-sac, and, here with the child in Tibet, we now find something even less like the Non-Theist’s Vacuum (…at worst…) while (…at best…) we find a lack of knowledge, which lands us once again back in the arena of the Earth/Sun example.
But the irrational claim of Immunity, of the existence of that bizarre Vacuum, is only one swirling pool within the Non-Theist’s muddied waters with respect to “Nothing-But”.
The boy in Tibet who can’t read will not come upon this or that mode of choice or option beyond his own line of sight – because he can’t understand it. For him the immutable love of God will pour in through some other window and God will saturate that with both grace and truth as only God can.
However, our Non-Theist friends here over inside of this milieu are not that boy.
Their window is different. And we find – here – that (on the one hand) irreducible reason & irreducible logic vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness along with (on the other hand) irreducible self-giving vis-à-vis timeless reciprocity in and of the Trinitarian Life somehow seem distasteful to him, while something else tastes better to him for where reason and love are concerned he chooses a bobble named Reductio Ad Absurdum and – in order to gain her – he trades away logic’s relentless lucidity amid love’s timeless reciprocity as such relates to those uncanny Trinitarian processions within GOD.
For more on the context of The Boy In Tibet see the following: Truth-Trading in the Human Stock Exchange at a. http://disq.us/p/1eqze1f and also at b. http://disq.us/p/1yd8pwb – A few overlapping themes are in a. http://disq.us/p/1mc0sp0 and also in b. http://disq.us/p/1xvkoyr and also in c. http://disq.us/p/1xu8j5f
Define “Examine” ….?
Define “Evidence” ….?
Define ….. (and so on) …?
When we say “examine evidence” those are two downstream actions / words which are unintelligible but for all sorts of upstream premises, beliefs, and claims (Etc.). That’s just obvious. There is no such state of affairs as “nothing-but non-belief“.
The first error is to ignore all upstream content in that fashion. A second error is to conflate a. Non-Belief for b. Non-Knowledge
This second error is where the entire “The Default Is Atheism” fallacy goes off the rails. There are several reasons that is the case here at this second error. However, the reason that is of relevance here is the fact that the Christian God is not this or that “being” nor this or that bit of “reason” but is in fact Being Itself and is in fact Reason Itself and is in fact Goodness Itself and so on.
To deny both Being and Reason, or to claim that the Default is that we are unaware of and/or somehow floating free of both Being and Reason is a move which forces a reductio (…it’s the whole Zeus is Thor is Celestial Teapot is Being-Itself is God silliness…).
For quite practical reasons we could easily flip the Default-Fallacy 180 degrees and claim that the Default is the Un-derived is the Undeniable is Being is Reason is….and so on.
Indeed. The amount of sheer intellectual gymnastics and tedious shoehorning it takes to expunge Mind Itself and the Intentional-Self Itself and Reason Itself and one’s own Being Itself vis-à-vis one’s own “i-am” itself from one’s array of various cul-de-sacs and termini leaves the term “Default” in places quite unfriendly to our Non-Theist friends.
“Babies are born as Atheists! And I didn’t have to LEARN to Reject/Embrace anything about “God….. and also humans will innately use math and physics without being taught. They will understand gravity, even if they don’t know its name…..”
Of course that is true of ALL Categories of Knowledge given the nature of Learn / Discovery / and of course every human being lives and moves and has their very being subsumed in Gravity v. Physics and know intimately the UPs/Downs of Gravity just as every human being lives and moves and has their very being subsumed in the brutally repeatable First Person Experience of Reason Itself vis-à-vis the Intentional Self/Mind and also in the brutally repeatable Moral Experience of Man.
The Non-Theist is in fact denying the undeniable v. being, reason, the identity of Self void of illusion, and the brutally repeatable moral experience of Man. Logic & Love are therein rejected for a bobble named reductio ad absurdum. He is also affirming the absurdity of scientific realism with respect to Perception & Mind. When we ask the Non-Theist, “Are you as the Conscious Observer experiencing the 4D Block Universe…?” we find, still, a wide array of equivocations with respect to the embedded conscious observer vis-à-vis Perception & Mind. Until the Non-Theist is willing to unpack his own paradigm’s Means/Ends of Perception, Mind, Being, Moral Facts, and Reason Itself v. the Intentional Self/Mind then he has not even left the proverbial Gate of “Know/Knowing“.
More currents arrive upon the shore with one of E. Feser’s observations from an earlier link:
A reader calls attention to Bill Vallicella’s reply to what might be called the “one god further” objection to theism. Bill sums up the objection as follows:
“The idea, I take it, is that all gods are on a par, and so, given that everyone is an atheist with respect to some gods, one may as well make a clean sweep and be an atheist with respect to all gods. You don’t believe in Zeus or in a celestial teapot. Then why do you believe in the God of Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob?”
Or as the Common Sense Atheism blog used to proclaim proudly on its masthead: “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
I see that that blog has now removed this one-liner, which is perhaps a sign that intellectual progress is possible even among New Atheist types. Because while your average “Internet Infidel” seems to regard the “one god further” objection as devastatingly clever, it is in fact embarrassingly inept…
Before Closing — A Few Key Observations
All of THAT in that quote still remains to be addressed in another time and place. But, for now, a few excerpts from another discussion which provide context before closing….
Following are 6 comments beginning with a. http://disq.us/p/1gxarix and also b. http://disq.us/p/1gxarix from the link on the nature of the Non-Theist’s claim about his own belief-state for more general context here:
Excerpt 1 of 5:
The nature of belief or of the doxastic experience precludes the Non-Theist’s fallacious vacuum there of “nothing but“. The downstream products can be capitalized or lower-case given that products are simply products. Whereas, ingredients which give life to products are not identical to the product. And there is no such thing as this or that G or g or X or Not-G or Not-g or Not-X — and so on — but for all those earlier, upstream ingredients which gave (…give…) life to them.
2 of 5:
I have addressed your concern about this or that claim of belief or non-belief or brute fact or explain vs. describe by reminding you that they are irrelevant in that they are merely the end result of a long series of beliefs about reality.
3 of 5:
From what I can tell, based on your general approach, for you it seems to be a kind of soft-physicalism in and by the physical sciences as what counts for rational inquiry. It is a belief of mine that you do *not* have some kind of bizarre vacuum void of beliefs about reality driving you to think that way.
4 of 5:
Note the observation: “…your metrics which seem to…..” The reason that is worded that way is because I’ve not been given any other metric other than that  science is explaining everything while  theology is explaining nothing. Here in this thread. But that is not the whole show, hence it “seems” and so on….
The reason I repeat the business of the physical sciences is because that is a (downstream) product, which is relevant in so far as it is a product of (upstream) beliefs about the nature of reality, and “that interface” of belief/inquiry is what I’ve kept coming back to. You keep forgetting that my interest is to make observations about the Non-Theist’s statements about his own belief-state and how those statements relate to the fallacious claim of, “….my claim of Not-Your-God / X is nothing-but non-belief….“.
5 of 5:
Whether it is the claim of “not-your-god” or “not-your-God”, the A-Theist / Non-Theist claim of “…my claim of Not-Your-X is in fact “nothing-but” non-belief….“ is, hopefully, not something you’re trying to defend here. It does not seem you are given that nothing you said has anything to do with the incoherence or coherence of that claim.
You stated, “If your model of Yahweh does not entail the values of some physical constant, then by definition it does not explain it. No metaphysics up my left sleeve. No metaphysics up my right sleeve.”
It’s not clear what this “minimum criterion” is. Is it the one where you’re confused and assert that it is *necessary* that Being Itself create or yield or cause-to-be that which is contingent for you say that “Being Itself” must entail a value of a physical constant? You seemed to have looped back into your earlier confusion. Again, there *is* a (…necessary…) relation between the Necessary and the Contingent, but your approach is confused.
I don’t see any smokescreens. Of course Non-Theists don’t believe in G/g/X/x and so on. I’m merely defining A-Theism’s / Non-Theism’s own claims as to its own stopping points in its own inquiry into reality. I’m sorry but there is nothing there that counts as me calling Non-Theism’s claims of not-believing-in-x as fraudulent or a smokescreen to hide belief. Of course they don’t believe X.
The A-Theist’s / Non-Theist’s beliefs about reality are the necessary ingredients to all of his own downstream modes of inquiry into the fundamental nature of reality and to the resulting claims and stopping points which he demonstrates so often in threads such as this one. More to the point, it’s those pesky upstream beliefs about reality which actually make the show. The show isn’t the downstream products. The actual ingredients which give rise to the products…. that’s where the Non-Theist’s fallacious business of, “…my claim of Not-Your-God is in fact “nothing-but” non-belief….“ is debunked.
Let’s make it 6 of 6 excerpts with http://disq.us/p/1h06j3a in order to look at the following two comments made by our Non-Theist friends:
 “I realize that there’s a difference between the idea of Yahweh and the idea of the source and ground of all reality and I expect the other commenters here do, too. From my perspective it’s mostly theists who equivocate in this area…”
 “…an atheist may or may not have beliefs about the “source of reality”, the only thing you can say is that, if they do, they don’t think said source is a god…”
Regarding the last two replies: First, with respect to our belief-states the following misses the point with respect to the question on the table:
“…..an atheist may or may not have beliefs about the “source of reality”, the only thing you can say is that, if they do, they don’t think said source is a god….”
None of this is new information. We all have beliefs about reality which inform us on how best to inquire about reality. Beliefs about reality drive our modes of inquiry with respect to reality.
According to some, this or that cousin of physicalism gives us the most exhaustive explanatory accounting of reality, while according to others that is hardly the case. Offshoots or products of that lead into conflations of the descriptive for the explanatory, and into the nature of brute facts and the nature of the self-explanatory, and into several other downstream consequences of those initial, upstream beliefs. If we claim we have no such beliefs, then we may want to research the topic of the “doxastic experience”.
The nature of how our beliefs about reality impact our inquiry is an interesting slice of the proverbial pie that is the doxastic experience. Removing the term “god” and/or “God” and replacing it with “reality” or “reality’s rock-bottom” and so on clears out some of the clutter and helps us focus on that interface of belief/inquiry.
Several initial, upstream beliefs held by Non-Theists compel them into some rather unfortunate downstream consequences. The intellectual price tag some are willing to pay becomes evident as they trade away logical lucidity for this or that (…ultimately…) self-negating possibility.
The proverbial reductio ad absurdum finds it way in through the likes of Brute Fact and through the likes of the ultimately illusory bedrock of the “useful but not true” syntax of Poetic Naturalism, and through various other examples of those downstream consequences. The ultimately self-explanatory is (…obviously…) juxtaposed to those sorts of choices. As to how to proceed, the physical sciences may or may not be the only rational mode of inquiry with respect to reality’s “rock-bottom”.
Most Non-Theists and Theists who are well published come to the end of the physical sciences and reach beyond those X’s. The proverbial “Y” in the road pretty much always carries us into [A] Brute Facts or else [B] the Self-Explanatory.
The “self-explanatory” is interesting. The “Absolute’s” reference frame cannot be defined in terms of the finite and so cannot land in anything other than Self-Reference. A few insightful theologians have followed that logically compelled premise and on several intriguing levels it begins to force X’s which have overlap with specifically Trinitarian premises.
Regardless of where our line of inquiry takes us we find the Non-Theist’s and the Theist’s initial, upstream beliefs about the nature of reality fully in-play, driving their respective downstream claim-making as to just what counts as rational inquiry, as to just what counts as rational metrics.
With respect to that word “regardless”, Non-Theists too often attempt to claim immunity for their own belief-state and we see this best exemplified or demonstrated in the affairs of their “one-less-god-than-you” claim of, “….my claim of Not-Your-X is “nothing-but” non-belief….”
Non-Theists want to claim immunity and therefore want to claim that some sort of magical (…inexplicable…) or non-porous barrier between those interfaces exists – vis-à-vis their own belief-state. It’s fine if they want to claim, and believe, that such a thing exists. That claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting occurrence (…in this series of observations…). That is to say that that claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting belief – itself the downstream product of a long series of upstream beliefs about reality.
Reality’s continuum ruins claims of immunity. There are consequences for trading away lucidity in favor of claiming – gaining – the Brute Fact option. That move sets all lower levels as the inexplicable and that is *not* an agnostic claim *nor* a claim that we are simply limited by our tools. Then, from there, the consequences on all claim-making moves which take place in all distal locations which stream from that metaphysical fountainhead — all downstream consequences — suffer an intellectual price tag. Non-Theists in general fail to account for that continuum.
Now, that continuum and those downstream consequences are fine if Non-Theists want to believe in those and in their claim-making, however, it is the upstream beliefs about reality which lead Non-Theists into those unfortunate tar pits which are of interest here with respect to the fallacious nature of the Non-Theist’s claim of “….my claim of Not-Your-X is “nothing-but” non-belief….”
With respect to that continuum, the Non-Theist’s claim-making-move to assert and/or argue that such a magical (…inexplicable…) or non-porous barrier between upstream beliefs and downstream claim-making-moves actually exists (….presumably within that continuum….) is in part motivated by the Non-Theist’s desire – want – to claim that his claim-making is constituted of “nothing-but” the stuff of “no-beliefs” with respect to reality.
Observational reality therein seems to affirm that Non-Theists want to claim immunity and therefore want to claim that some sort of magical (….inexplicable….) or non-porous barrier between those interfaces exists. Again, it’s fine if they want to claim, and believe, that such a thing exists. That claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting occurrence (…in this series of observations…). That is to say that that claim itself (…of immunity…) is another interesting belief – itself the downstream product of a long series of upstream beliefs about reality.
Lastly, a final comment from one of our Non-Theist friends:
“I realize that there’s a difference between the idea of Yahweh and the idea of the source and ground of all reality and I expect the other comments here do, too. From my perspective it’s mostly theists who equivocate in this area – when it suits their argument, of course.”
The concept that the conceptual ceilings of contingent beings define the actual ontological referents upon which Christian premises actually “land” is misguided. It’s akin to conflating Physics / Cosmology for Ontology. In fact that same conflation leads many to reason and argue “As-If” it is actually possible that Sinai was, is, or even can be God’s Eternal Ideal for Mankind. The Cruciform Lens is the only logically possible lens there (and in the rest) and that is because “The-Good” cannot be defined by, land in, ANY contingent set of counterfactuals in this or that Possible World. On the Christian Metaphysic, and on the bite of the bulldog of logic, “The-Good” is nothing less than “GOD”.
And of course that is “why” all which constitutes “Sinai” is defined by both the Old Testament and the New Testament as that which lacks the Far-Better which is up-head. Given that the Means and Ends under review here are NOT in Sinai and given that Scripture itself claims just that fact, and given that it is logically impossible for “GOD” to in fact “condone” in any meaningful sense this or that slice of “Privation” as “The-Good”, and given that Man’s true good, his final felicity, is in fact “The-Good“, and that “that” just is God Himself, we find that Scripture’s definitions with respect to the Means and Ends of Moral Excellence never would come though Sinai but must come in and through nothing less than All-Sufficiency’s Own Self-Outpouring (…as per http://disq.us/p/1y85jdc …).
All of that forces a logical impossibility & secondary to an kind of Ontic-Cherry-Picking which weaves its way through the polemic of our Non-Theist friends as it in fact:
Equates Privation to Wholeness, just as it
Equates the Privation of God’s Will to the Actualization of God’s Will, just as it
Equates the Privation of The Good for the The Good.
All of which sums to one, far-reaching logical impossibility (… http://disq.us/p/1n7loqb …).
In all of the above there is one, common error, and that is that our Non-Theist friends reason and argue “As-If” The Trinitarian Life is “malleable” or mutable (Etc.). Of course as we unpack “Being Itself” (and so on) that is revealed as yet one more metaphysical absurdity. That is off topic here but is looked at in the following:
Lastly – Regarding Reciprocity, Being, and Closure
In the Christian metanarrative we find the Trinitarian metaphysic and, therein, love’s timeless Self-Giving and irreducible Diffusiveness of the Ontic Self with respect to …being itself... and, thereby – once again – The Always and The Already, that which is ceaselessly Beneath and Above – namely “Love & Necessity” as an ontic singularity.
It is there that we find in the Christian metaphysic the intellectual and moral grounds for affirming the term, “Love Himself” vis-à-vis the A and the Z of the Trinitarian Life / Trinity with respect to the Decree of the Imago Dei, and all that comes with “that”. That is to say, it is there that we find nothing less than the immutable love of the Necessary Being – and all that comes with “that”. That is to say, it is there in nothing less than Being that we find The Always and The Already constituting love’s timeless reciprocity and Self-Giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum, and all that comes with “that”.
It is *that* explanatory terminus which is reality’s rock-bottom, reality’s irreducible substratum – the A and the Z of every possible ontic, of every possible sentence.
The topic of mapping reality carries us forward in our inquiry. The map of “Being Itself”, which of course is not the territory, begins to take shape:
[A] is not [B]
[B] is not [C]
[C] is not [A]
Each is Being in totum, each is *GOD* (…that proverbial “Map” is the topic of https://metachristianity.com/thoroughly-trinitarian-metaphysic/ ..).
Both  Logic and  Love’s timeless reciprocity compel reason (…in her proper role as truth-finder….) into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.
— End —