I’ve proven God to myself! | Proof vs Prove

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We have arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”  – Carl Sagan

                   I’ve proven God to myself! | Proof vs Prove

I recently got into a dispute at my college with a group of Jehovah Witnesses (JW) about the existence of God. I asked “show me your proof of God“, her response was initially to shift the burden of proof. I called her out on this because the one making the positive assertion is required to provide evidence and demonstrate it to be true. You may have heard of the old philosophical adage, you can’t disprove a negative. But the conversation quickly turned dull as I kept persistently asking her to provide physical evidence for her God. But I always got this nonsensical reply,“I don’t need to prove God exists, I’ve proven it to myself.” This honestly stumped me, because I didn’t know how to respond? Firstly, I pointed out that that is not a factual proof. Then quoted a passage from the Bible (1 Peter 3:15). But this woman simply repeated, ad-nauseum, that she basically didn’t need to prove her belief in God for it to be true.

I left feeling frustrated and somewhat confused. I felt this person wasn’t trying to have an honest discussion but was trying to shut down the conversation and avoid contradiction. I spent the next few days trying to stay productive but something kept bugging me about that conversation so I decided to do a bit of research into how I could respond. I came to the definitions “proof vs prove“. See I was initially correct when I first stated that the claim “I’ve proven it to myself” wasn’t factual… it was logical(ish).

To prove something is not the same as saying to provide proof of a thing. To prove something (verb) would mean to provide a logical proof as to demonstrate its validity and soundness; however, to provide proof of something (noun) is to show it as factual – providing physical evidence for it. I didn’t catch it at first but she was equivocating these terms.

I’ve looked around and haven’t found much; if any, responses to this argument. I wonder how many people have come across this idk non-argument?! I know I’ve dealt with this debate tactic in the past but never to this degree. The correct response would have been to give evidence, such as the Bible or creationism. It still would have been invalid but at least we could have ingressed into such topics without obfuscating the issue. So I guess in hindsight, our conversation should have gone something like this, 

(Me) What is your proof and evidence a God exists? 

(JW) I don’t have to prove God exists, I’ve proven it to myself!

(Me) That’s not what I asked, you’re equivocating terms. I asked if you could provide proof not whether you’ve justified it. 

I was never at any point trying to convince her of atheism or agnosticism, I just wanted her to critically analyze her pre-suppositions she so arrogantly held. But I’m glad I could address it here. No person or idea should be above criticism. I firmly believe everyone must sip from the cup of reason.

The woman I spoke with from the JW group was suffering from cancer. We all wish her the best in her recovery and self-care. Personally, I hope she accepts her mortality instead of just wasting it on these dogmatic beliefs.

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Gender Dysphoria vs Transgender | The Disorder vs the Condition?

Gender Dysphoria vs Transgender | The Disorder vs the Condition?

There’s been an ongoing debate happening, a lot of deliberation as to validly of transgender as a rational position. The first issue I hear come up a lot in these debates is the assertion that being transgender is a mental illness? And I’m here to say that is completely false. This is a manipulative/fallacious tactic called gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of an ad hominem (i.e. attacking the person, not the argument). Gaslighting is usually done by manipulative people who may attack others by calling into question their sanity. But its been proven that being transgender is no more a mental disorder than drapetomania, but genderist would still say otherwise.    

People who normally use this argument equivocate the use of the term’s transgender with gender dysphoria and treat the two terms as if there synonymous, they’ll usually quote old, now defunct, studies or rehash well-known misnomers from the DSM series or the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in support of this claim. But what they don’t understand is that the two terms are indifferent, and regardless of the political-climate surrounding the current stigmata, the APA does not treat transgender as a mental psychosis.

The truth is not all Transgender people have gender dysphoria, gender dysphoria is a mental illness when it becomes dysphoric – a distress for the person who may be struggling with accepting or understanding their gender identity. This definition is reflected in the official term “Gender Dysphoria” which gives emphases on dysphoria – a distress for the individual. This is distinction is clearly stated in the DSM5 fact sheet which states the following,

“It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”

And if you go through the APA classification of transgender vs gender dysphoria fact sheet it states quote.

A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder.

This is also reflected in the APA standard treatment for Transgender individuals helping them cope and accept who they are, it is in no way treated as a mental psychosis! And now psychologist are accepting the fact that gender dysphoria may not necessarily present in a person who is transgender.

In fact, clinical psychologist Dr. Robin Rosenberg is quoted as saying it does not cause the individual distress! For instance, many transgender people, those who identify with a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth, are not distressed by their cross-gender identification and should not be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

If you think this is some wild supposition or conspiratorial theory tell me if this sounds familiar. When the APA struggled to update the DSM2 in 1973 with newer progressive views on homosexuality. An updated was made to the DSM3 in 1980 which replaced homosexuality with “ego-dystonic homosexuality”—homosexuality that causes distress for the person; that diagnosis, however, was completely removed in 1987 and now homosexuality is obviously no longer considered a mental disorder.

You see this is the same playbook we see here with gender dysphoria. Call me Nostradamus, but its likely gender dysphoria is going to be phased out in much the same way. But for now let’s treat the term as it’s officially used and practiced by the APA and by the British Psychological Society, that gender dysphoria happens when you’re distressed over being transgender not because of the fact that you are transgender.

– Jubilee Nunnallee

 

Euthyphro Dilemma | Epidemic2020 Response

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    Euthyphro Dilemma | Epidemic2020 Response

    This is going to be a response to an old friend of mine Epydemic2020 and the Euthyphro Dilemma, a theologian and an assistant professor of philosophy. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SoyuRJncKg Now as you watch this video notice how Epidemic simply dismiss the Euthyphro Dilemma as a false dilemma-dichotomy by claiming a 3rd option, and this ‘3rd option’ is what is in question. The classical version of the argument can be found in Plato’s Dialogs and appeals to the pious of the Gods, but the modern version raises the question as to the validity of God and morality. The argument goes as such,

    “Is an action good because it is good or is an action good because God commands it to be?”

    – Plato

    Now this dilemma is meant to be a counter rebuttal to the argument of divine command theory, in that moral law is commanded by a divine being (God). So since it’s inception this argument has often presented a vexing problem for theist because no matter how you answer it’s still going to run contrary to divine command theory. If you answer the first proposition, an action is good because it’s good, then we can reason that actions are inherently good within themselves and we would not need a God or divine being to determine them. If you answer proposition two, God commands moral acts, then morality is simply subjective and arbitrary to God’s will; if God commands it to be moral so shall it be.

    But the common theistic response to this argument is to claim that God can command what is moral because it’s consistent with his own moral nature, with this theists may claim victory and say at the very least they’ve shown it to be a false dichotomy by claiming a third option; but the problem may still remain. Let’s take a closer look at this response. Epidemic says if it is even possible that there is a 3rd option then the Euthyphro dilemma is a false dilemma.

    “God’s nature, aka his essential properties, is the standard of Goodness”.

    – Epydemic2020

    So what Epydemic is saying here is that God can command moral acts because it’s consistent and/or essential to his own moral nature, so let’s consider that assertion for a moment – that being God’s moral nature. Now does this escape the problem or is this even a possible 3rd premise (P3); no, not at all! What Epydemic has done here, as well as many others who uses this argument, is what’s known as a fallacy of suppressed-correlative. A fallacy of suppressed-correlative is committed when given a dichotomy of X or Y one makes a definitional argument to which includes both X & Y thereby avoiding any mutually exclusive option from being made, similar to the Nordic based fallacy Loki’s wager.

    The theistic response of God commanding what is moral because it is consistent with his moral nature, is just proposition one & two thrown together. So God both commands and is the embodiment of morality. But If God commands what is moral because he is moral by his very nature then this is not only fallacious but also reaffirms the same problem of how we judge moral claims. Remember proposition one, an action is good because it’s good? To say that God can command what is moral because he acts morally means that moral acts are still the basis in how we judge moral claims. A good follow up question to this response would be, well how do you know that God is moral? The answer is obvious, well it’s because God acts morally. BAM! We’ve fallen right back into proposition one.

    So we can see that even if we try and avert the problem by making an entirely new claim by including both proposition P1) & P2) together, the problem of P1) still remains. If God’s ‘nature’ is to mean that it is simply consistent with moral acts then moral acts are still inherently good in and of themselves, God is simply consistent with them. But even if a theist tries to obfuscating the use of the term nature and its meaning, as to say it is not how God acts but what God is… then this is just a semantic word salad that just creates more problems for the theist because I would then ask what God’s moral nature is and if they even try to use terms like virtue-moral characteristics then BAM! they’ve again fallen right back into proposition one or the problem of proposition one: moral acts being the basis of how we judge moral claims. So we’ve demonstrated that this 3rd option (P3) does not exist. To anyone who uses this argument, must realize, they haven’t escaped Euthyphro’s Dilemma at all they’ve simply reworded it.

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Philosophy of Transgenderism – Birth and Plurality

Introduction to the argument

“You weren’t born that way!”, a simple statement but used ad nauseum in opposition against several different issues.  And it’s not just transgender people which this argument is mainly used against. I mean we could bring up other issues, such as racism, immigration, classism, even feminism and women’s rights.

But let’s take the statement by itself. Like what is the statement saying? Well firstly it’s arguing a causal relation of a cause and its effect. X is inconsistent or immoral because you weren’t born that way. Or, in other words, X is inconsistent or immoral because that to which is effected wasn’t caused a certain way. Now the fallaciousness of this argument any philosophy student could point out is by dismissing or affirming a thing by stating its origins commits a genetic fallacy but that’s a different argument altogether. What we’re arguing is the assumption that certain effects are immutable and necessarily relational to its cause. Immutable meaning that it doesn’t change and necessary of its cause as it argues that effects themselves are somehow necessary of a singular cause and cannot be caused any other way.

Now I use cause and effect sort of interchangeably, so I hope I don’t confuse anybody. But what I mean by cause is the determining factor of a thing, and effect as the end factor of a thing; just so there’s no confusion.

The argument I’m going to present is sort of a counter argument or counter rebuttal in using said proposition. Now originally presented by John Stuart Mill, this is a metaphysical heuristic principle known as plurality of causes. Plurality of causes challenges the notion that while causes are relational to their effects, effects however are not necessarily relational to their causes. And for clarity I’ll provide a brief definition. Plurality of Causes: though the same cause must have the same effect, the same effect however need not have the same cause. Now let me re-emphasize that this principle is only stating that it is not necessarily the case, that causes are necessarily relational to their effects. So I’m going to be arguing here is that a particular effect, such as sex is not necessary of a singular cause, like natural reproduction.

So that said, let’s jump right in. Now I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard the statement or you may have heard the statement, “Because you weren’t born a certain way or because you weren’t conceived of a certain way, then what you’re doing is wrong or unnatural.” I’ve heard this argument come up several times in private and public discourse and it comes in various forms. Now to some it may seem convincing, and while I do think it’s meant to be persuasive, it’s far from being rational!

First we have to attack the preconceived notion of naturalism within causation. What makes a thing a thing shouldn’t not simply be determined by propagation. I think it goes without saying that many things can be affected by unnaturalistic means. But to use a naturalistic argument is simply fallacious by the very nature of the argument alone. That is to say that naturalistic arguments are descriptive, they cannot lend any sort of moral and normative justification for a thing they can only tell you what a thing is; this is why naturalistic arguments are fallacious.

We have to point out the fallacious assumption being made here when it’s asserted that the effect of something is inconsistent or not acceptable, because it wasn’t caused a certain way, this is a fallacious argument. Since effects can again have a multiplicity of causes then it’s perfectly rational to state a different kind of cause that affects a thing, either natural or unnatural. Sex, as we know it to be, is caused whether it be through propagation or insemination sex is caused into being. But the question is is sex necessary of these causes? I would argue no, because the metaphysical principle still applies here. Here I gave you two examples of how sex is normally caused, so it’s fallacious to make the assumption that what affects someone’s gender can only be caused a certain kind of way and should infact only be caused that way. For example we can look at other scientific methods of sex determination which are proven methods that have a direct effect on determining a fetus’s gender, such as fertility treatments and genetic engineering. In the genetic engineering portion there is a method called preimplantation genetic selection in which embryos are artificially fertilized by exposing them to predetermined sperm cells. So the sex of the fetus can be determined by other means other than naturalistic. But this is only one example amongst a plethora of genetic treatments and biological studies that effect sex determination.

But of course what kind of cause are we speaking of? It’s easy to assert other causes or scientific methods of which affect sex determination, but can we speak of Transgenderism within the same realm. In other-words what kind of cause is Transgenderism and does it follow the same mode or method of other gender determinants? Now to tackle this we’ll go back to Aristotle. Aristotle stated four kinds of causes, the one we will be discussing here is an ‘efficient cause’. The efficient cause, states the agent cause and the principle that to which brings something about.

Now remember an efficient cause is stating two things here,

1) The producer of an effect that follows a principle that guides its creation. As for one to be a producer of something one must follow a principle that brings about that effect, such as the art of making a table.

2) And the agent cause – the initiator of the change which first started it (the artisan).

Now in terms of Transgenderism it follows this concept to the letter. When we look at Transgenderism the efficient cause is already stated, we have the principle affect that guides its creation (clinical) and the agent cause, the initiator of the change which first started it (physician).  So the method or cause by which effects transgender determination is not only no different than other scientific sex determination methods but also fits in with a particular kind of cause that can account for its particular effect (efficient causality).

Conclusion

So when we look at the argument again, X is inconsistent or immoral because you weren’t born a certain way or because you weren’t conceived of a certain way really becomes absurd when thrown in the face of logic. Firstly we know that naturalism is not a precursor for any kind of normative justification for an argument, secondly if it can be demonstrated that a ‘plurality’ or multiplicity of causes exist that produces the same kind of effect then a singular cause is not necessary, and 3rdly if the cause which states the effect is logical (efficient cause) then the cause is both rational and justifiable. This in all would irrefutably demonstrate the contradiction in ‘asserting’ that there is a necessary cause for an effect.

– Jubilee Nunnallee

Philosophy of Transgenderism – Birth and Plurality

Argument from Contingency – Theologica37

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For in everything there is a portion of everything – Anaxagoras

Argument from Contingency – Response Theologica37

Introduction

This is going to be a response to Theologica37 and his video entitled Arguments from Contingency: Thomistic/Leibnizian. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsEvxew8YOs

Theologica37, which from this point on I’ll be referring to as Theo, puts forth the argument from contingency as he uses both Leibniz and the Thomistic versions of the argument. The argument from contingency goes as such: “For every contingent entity that exists requires an explanation for its existence. Since an explanation for all contingent entities cannot be itself contingent, it thus requires an explanation that exists by necessity, this necessary explanation is God”.

The PSR Defined

The main presupposition within this argument is in the form of a reductio ad absurdum as it argues the absurdity of an infinite regress of causal explanations, which cannot go on ad infinitum, so therefore we must posit a necessary explanation. Now I will grant that Theo is correct in that we must posit a non-contingent explanation in order to explain why contingent entities exist. But what I do reject is the regression argument. Theo seems to view existence as some sort of succession and from what we know of existence this is simply not true.

The regression argument is sort of self leading, as it wants you to use or keep using sufficient explanations which we eventually have to do away with using, because a sufficient explanation would require an explanation that is dependent, and therefore contingent upon something else to explain it, and that in turn would require another explanation, and eventually we’ll have to come up with an infinite series of explanations that could go on ad infinitum. Now this may seem frustrating and it can be, philosophy can be a scary thing. But the questions within the argument from contingency are obviously fallacious as its rhetoric presupposes a causal oversimplification. It’s responses are limited to singular explanations of causal events rather than a multiplicity of causal events, when the person asks “well what causes this event and then what causes that event“? If you didn’t catch it you should already see the problem within the initial question, you could not possibly account for existing entities using an infinite series of causal explanations. What the theist is trying to do here is get you into a position where you’re forced to omit that since an infinite series of causal explanations is impossible to account for pre-existing entities we must therefore conclude that there was this singular explanation that is contingent upon a necessary being (God). 

My Rebuttal

So basically casual events occur and since they occur then they must be explained by an external cause that is contingent upon it. The argument presupposes the idea of predeterminism. Now predeterminism, not to be confused with determinism, would argue that contemporary states of events are ultimately determined by a chain of prior states of events leading back to its origins. Now I think this is where me and Theo part ways metaphysically. I think the disagreement lies mainly in how we view existing entities to be accounted for, which is either sequentially, as he would put it, entities being sufficient upon prior states of events, or in a monistic manner, as I would put it, entities being relational to its foundational properties. Now to put it simply my rebuttal to this argument is that… to account for existing entities is non-sequential as existing entities have unity within essence and are also limited within essence; & I’ll of course explain what this means.

But first let me show the logical implications I’m working from, when I speak of unity within existence I’m of course speaking of the monistic idea of reality. Monism or more specifically substance monism fundamentally is the idea of substance having universal qualities within every kind of existing thing, every kind of thing is relational in some sense. All entities have some form of relatable substance that is foundational, this is quintessential of existence. The laws of physics even complement substance monism. I’m sure we’ve all heard the old mantra energy may not be created nor destroyed it simply changes. You may have heard of other laws based off this, such as the conservation of energy and the conservation of mass, these laws of physics are monistic in the sense that they all agree that change is constant and is not quantifiable. So we can understand at least on both an axiological and scientific sense in how the monistic theory of metaphysics shows that substance/essence is axiomatic for all contingent entities to exist because substance/essence is the primary state of existence.

Now the idea that entities are both limited and have unity is where we get the concept of potency and act. Theo mentions the Thomistic version. But for clarity I’m going to use the original Aristotelian version. We can understand potency to be the potential or foundational substance that to which can remain itself while taking on new modifications. And the act, or actual properties, is the change by which the potency becomes actualized or overtly present within itself. So potency is the essence that persist within every kind of change that is potential for every kind of actual property and act is what limits potency within an actual property.

But as Aristotle points out, potency is necessary for any act, in that act can only occur if there is some foundational substance in which it is capable of becoming another kind of existing thing. You may have heard the saying “there are no contraries to substance”, this is Aristotle. Substance has no contraries to itself. There must be a foundational substance for any potency to be possible in becoming another existing thing.

So potency is this foundational substance, and it is itself axiomatic because nothing that exists or nothing that which could exist could be caused without a preexisting foundational substance to account for it. So potency can be said to have unity within every Act; it is the foundation that persists through every actual existing thing. And act, the thing that is modified or formed, is what becomes limited through potency. So this is where again we get the idea of entities having unity within essence, as there are no contraries to substance, every kind of existing thing is related to substance. And entities also being limited within essence as entities, or actual existing things, are limited by what makes it distinct, given its accidental properties.

Now I don’t think Theo himself even disagrees with this concept as he even admits in his video that a foundational substance is necessary, as he uses the metaphysical Thomistic version of potency and act: “Contingent beings are composed of potency of act and essence of existence, there must be a proportion between any act and the potency which receives it”. Now we see that Theo freely acknowledges that there must be some form of proportion as he puts it, that must exist between potency and any act which receives it. Now he defines potency as, or I should say rather, the principle by which the proportion/substance is obtained in the act. And the act or the accidental property is well pretty much the same in the original Aristotelian version – the change by which the potency becomes actualized or overtly present within itself.

In Closing

So the very fact that a contingent entity requires a necessary explanation ‘granted’, than that necessary explanation is potency the foundational substance for all existing things; for there can be no act or cause without first establishing some aspect of a necessary foundational substance which could have influenced it.

Given that there is this potency/foundational substance that persist through any & all actual existing properties, then there is no reason to assume that there is this sub-sequential limit to existing entities, and this is really the only point I’ve been making, because all existent entities can be accounted for by a universal foundational substance found in all existing or potential properties, therefore the argument from contingency fails, because to ultimately account for existing entities can be explained through its relation, not causation.

– Jubilee Nunnallee