On Jul 11, 9:31�pm, backspace <stephan...@gmail.com
> On Jul 11, 8:47 pm, Burkhard <b.scha...@ed.ac.uk
> > > presumption of atheism (which I'll abbreviate as the PoA.)
> > > As he puts it, the PoA amounts to the claim that:
> > > The onus of proof must lie upon the theist .....''
> > > How must I prove or disprove perfection if I can't define it?
> > > ''....Presumption of Innocence: All defendants are presumed innocent
> > > until proven guilty. .....''
> > > A defendant defined as infallible isn't presumed innocent, he is known
> > > to be innocent can't by definition be guilty: this must be so by
> > > logical necessity.
> > There are two mistakes in thy our argument. The first is that in Flew'
> > argument, you, not God is the defendant (unless of course you think
> > that's the same thing). And it is your claims about God, not God him/
> > her/themselves that are the subject under dispute.
> > Second, definitions do not settle questions of fact.
> I believe God exists and is unfalsifiable
That is not even syntactically correct. Entities like "God" "Fridge",
"Cow" are not of the type that are falsifiable or not. Only sentences
and set of sentences (theories) are.
Do you mean something like: I believe that god exists, and that the
claim "God exists" is unfalsifiable?
>- defined as such by me -
You can't define something into existence. You can "claim" that "God
exists" is unfalsifiable, But that does not and cannot prevent then
others from asking: why do you think that is the case? The sentence
has not the form of a logical tautology, so one of the more obvious
reasons why a claim can be unfalsifiable does demonstrably not apply.
What you can of course do is to inform the reader/disputant that the
claim "God exists" is so central to your belief system that you are
willing to use any number of auxiliary claims and hypithesis to refute
any offered putative falsification. That is sort of helpful, as the
disputant will then not even bother to try, but "unfalsifiable" is
then simpy a property of your belief system, not of God.
> you can't therefore raise a series of questions, my premise doesn't
> allow you to raise. Since you don't believe God exists(your premise),
> the only thing
> under dispute is my claim about him, not your premise about his
> existence or not. You can't redefine my premises.
I don;t think the above makes any sense whatsoever, not even counting
that I'm not an atheist myself. Even when you discuss with an atheist,
the only thing the above says is: "I'm unwilling to even discuss
certain claims you may want to raise, which if true would falsify my
claim that God exists"
Fine as far as it goes, just not very interesting
> 1) Premise: My claim is that Perfection(God) is unfalsifiable, and
> therefore the question as to how to make my claim falsifiable isn't
> raised in the same manner that A or non-A defined as unfalsifiable
> does �*not allow* questions about how to make it falsifiable to be
"A or non-a" is not defined as unfalsifiable, it is unfalsifiable
(in certain systems of logic) That is an objective, testable property
the sentence has. Your claim that something is unfalsifiable is in
itself a falsifiable claim, nothing more, nothing less. OK, you can
turn (Perfection)God into an unfalsifiable claim (though doing this in
in a meaningful way in first order logic isn't straightforward.
Essentially, you need to define" God" :(def) "a being that is
necessarily perfect", and then you get indeed the unfalsifiable: A
being that is necessarily perfect is perfect. (Leaves open though if
such a being exists)
Or, as above, you can indicate that you have a lot of auxiliary and
not yet specified premises that will allow you to refute any attempted
falsification (trivially possible) "Perfection(God)" is then
unfalsifiable relative to a larger set of sentences that you accept
>Do you agree that the best explanation doesn't need an
I don't think that sentence makes much sense. If you think of the
inference to the best explanation, it is of course always possible to
question for any given explanation E that claims to be the best one if
it really is the best. That is often a difficult task, and the
criteria for what counts as "best" often very controversial and in
need of support themselves. What role, if any, parsimony has to play
to make an explanation the best explanation can be for instance
debated quite controversially.
So in that sense, you will often have to explain why a suggested
explanation is in your opinion the best explanation.
Secondly, and for similar reasons, what counts as best explanation can
be very context dependent. For the purpose of a criminal trial e.g.the
statement: "the suspect stabbed the victim" may well be the best
explanation for the fact that the victim is dead and has a knife in
his back. For the purpose of sentencing however, it may not be the
best explanation for the death of the victim, it may be that we have
to go a step further and say: "The victim abused the suspect for
years, which caused the suspect to stab him eventually in fear for her
life". For a historical explanation, we may have ot go even further
back in time, e.g.:The ambitions of her mother caused Janine to marry
the future king, which resulted in years of abuse, which she ended
with a knife, thus causing the revolution.." All three can be "best
explanations" of the same set of facts, it depends on the purpose for
which you need an explanation.
> Definitions of phenomena defined as possessing attributes prevents us
> raising questions the definitions don't allow to be raised.
> 1) A phenomena is defined as possessing traits. Thus the question
> isn't raised as to why it doesn't posses the traits, since the premise
> defines the phenomena as possessing the traits.
Well, within reasons. If you claim e.g. that "Penguins can fly", and
when challenged your answer is: i define "Penguin" as "a big white
bird with long neck often found in rivers in the northern hemisphere",
people will point out to you that your definition deviates from normal
usage and is very unhelpful and misleading, so please don't.
> > I'm not a great fan of Flew's argument here, mainly because I think he
> > misunderstands how burden of proof allocations work in law, but your
> > queries miss the mark widely.
> This is possible. I would therefore be helpful if you could either
> agree or disagree with the following:
> 1) The best explanation does not need an explanation. Like for example
> the explanation that A or not-A is unfalsifiable.
"A or not A is unfalsifiable" is on its own not an explanation for
anything, so no idea what you mean by this as for the rest, see