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DEBATE: Matt Slick vs Fatfist on LOGICAL ABSOLUTES
Matt Slick of carm.org is a Christian Apologist whose claim to fame is that no atheist on the planet has refuted his TAG Argument which proves the existence of God. His TAG argument asserts that Logical Absolutes exist and were ultimately authored by God. Here is a link to his argument:
The term “Logical Absolutes” is an oxymoron invented by Matt Slick. This terminology is nowhere to be found in academia, including the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Because logic is not absolute! Here is a reference from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth
“Logic is concerned with the patterns in reason that can help tell us if a proposition is true or not. However, logic does not deal with truth in the absolute sense, as for instance a metaphysician does. Logicians use formal languages to express the truths which they are concerned with, and as such there is only truth under some interpretation or truth within some logical system.”
Logic is always systemic, i.e. within the context of a pre-defined system of rules (axioms). Logic has its limitations. Axiomatic rules are pre-defined by humans for use in a specific context and can never be absolute. There are hundreds of systems of logic which are independent of each other and not absolute, like: Classical, Fuzzy, Intuitionist, Quantum, Mathematics, etc.
NO ATHEIST HAS EVER REFUTED SLICK’S TAG ARGUMENT
Matt Slick is correct in stating that no atheist has been able to debunk his argument. And I am willing to go the extra mile and state that no atheist will ever be able to debunk Matt Slick’s argument. Atheism is an irrational Religion. There is no difference between a theist, an atheist and an agnostic. All three are divorced from reality. The three believe in the existence, nonexistence, or that it’s not possible to know the existence/nonexistence of X, or they claim to “lack belief” in X. Some go even as far as saying that they can prove or disprove the existence of X, or that they have “truth” about the existence/nonexistence of X.
In nature’s reality, these are ridiculous positions. One’s beliefs, disbeliefs, lack of beliefs, proofs or truths have nothing to do with reality. Reality is observer-independent. The existence of X (i.e. moon, God, star, Big Foot, etc.) does NOT depend on a human’s feelings, emotions, beliefs or lack thereof, intuition, wisdom, knowledge, truth, proof, experiment or testimony. X either exists or not, irrespective of these observer-dependent positions.
Existence falls exclusively in the field of study we call Physics. Physics is the study of existence via the Scientific Method. In Physics, we take the existence of God at face value as an actor (i.e. a Hypothesis). Then we try to rationally explain our Theory of Creation using God as the actor of the creation event. If the Theory of Creation is rational, then we conclude that it is POSSIBLE that God exists. If our critical analysis shows the Theory of Creation to be contradictory, then it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to exist. It’s that simple. There is no other option.
Here's how a rational human can use their critical thinking skills to explain why it is impossible for a God to exist:
If the so-called atheist is of the LACK OF BELIEF position, then he is no different than a Religionist who has belief. Lack of belief is a meaningless negative predicate which has nothing to do with existence. Lack of belief is not even a coherent position. It is lame. It’s no different than Negative Theology where God is purported to have negative attributes (incorporeal, timeless, spaceless, etc.). This stuff is the Hallmark of Religion....NOT of an intelligent human being. Atheism is a Religion that has nothing to offer humanity. It cannot explain anything. It has no intellectual foundation to answer any questions regarding reality.
I had the privilege to have a short debate with Matt Slick in Oct. 2011 in the comments section of my article on Absolute Truth:
Matt Slick is known for never losing any debate with an atheist. And I applaud him for that because he is several notches higher on the intelligence scale than any atheist out there. I mean, he ate Matt Dillahunty for lunch on live TV on the Atheist Experience Show. But Matt Slick was not as fortunate when he came here to argue. In the end, he abandoned his argument on Logical Absolutes because he had no rational argument to defend or justify his claims. I actually still encourage him to come back if he has any new argument to offer.
DEBATE BETWEEN MATT SLICK AND FATFIST
MATT SLICK Posts ---------------------------------------------------------------
I would assert that the following is absolute truth.
"It is always morally wrong for you to torture babies merely for your personal pleasure.” (TBMP: Torture Babies Merely for personal Pleasure)
The statement is either true or it is not true – which itself implies an absolute truth.
If it is not true that ‘the statement is either true or not true’, then how would you demonstrate that the statement is or is not true?
If you say that it is not true that ‘the statement is either true or not true’, then you are asserting an absolute truth about the statement.
If you assert that the statement is not absolutely true, then you would need to demonstrate that it is not true.
To do this, you would need to provide an absolute truth to the contrary where it would be morally right for you to torture babies merely for his personal pleasure. But to do this is to assert an absolute truth.
If you do try to prove the statement false, you are advocating the torture of babies merely you’re your personal pleasure. Are you absolutely sure this what you want to do in order to deny absolute truth?
If, however, you provide a statement that proves the TBMP is false, then you are establishing an absolute truth; namely, that it is absolutely true that there is a condition in which it is morally right for you to torture babies merely for your personal pleasure.
However, if you cannot provide a falsification for the statement, then the statement stands as being an absolute truth.
If you say that there are no moral truths by which the assertion can be validated or falsified, then you are offering an absolute truth that there are no moral truths by which the assertion can be validated or falsified and this refutes your position.
If you say that the statement is ridiculous, illogical, stupid, or isn’t a proper subject of examination, then you are admitting you cannot refute it…because if you could, you would.
FATFIST Responds ---------------------------------------------------------------
"It is always morally wrong for you to torture babies merely for your personal pleasure”
Morals are opinions. They are subject to one’s personal taste...i.e. YOU are judging the behavior of another..hence subjective..i.e. opinion. What is morally RIGHT for you,..is morally WRONG for your neighbor. Morality is resolved through consensus of opinion.
“The statement is either true or it is not true”
So you are qualifying opinions/morals as either ‘true’ or ‘not true’??
In that case your definition of the word “truth” (which you have yet to provide) would be subjective, as it resolves to nothing but OPINION. Your use of the concept of “truth” requires an observer to make a decision based upon their personal taste on the issue at hand.
But Matt, you are welcome to provide an OBJECTIVE definition for the word “truth” so the audience understands what YOU are talking about whenever you invoke this crucial term which makes or breaks your argument.
“which itself implies an absolute truth.”
No. It implies an ABSOLUTE OPINION, as per your statements above. All you’ve said so far is that “truth” and “morals” are synonyms for “opinion”.
But please feel free to enlighten the audience by providing an objective definition for “truth”. This would allow you to instantly resolve this issue.
“If you say that the statement is ridiculous, illogical, stupid, or isn’t a proper subject of examination, then you are admitting you cannot refute it…”
Nahhh....haven’t said any of that, and they are irrelevant to the instant issue. Your argument for “absolute truth” is self-refuting because it is predicated on truth = opinion.
But you are welcome to show otherwise.....just define the term which makes or breaks your argument, ok?
MATT SLICK Responds ---------------------------------------------------------------
If you say that morals are just opinions, then you are only giving your opinion that morals are just opinions which is the fallacy of begging the questions and does not refute TBMP. In addition, to say that morals are just opinions, is an absolute statement since it must mean that all morals are just opinions and this would imply a universal truth (which against refutes the idea that there are not absolute truths). If it were not true that morals were opinions, then TBMP is true (unless you can prove it false) and refutes the idea that there are not truth absolutes. Furthermore, to state that morals are just opinions is to say that the morality of TBMP is only up to someone’s opinion and you’d be supporting the idea that due to a person’s subjective moral code, it would be morally good for him to torture babies merely for his personal pleasure. Is this what you want to advocate?
As far as what truth is, there are different appeals: coherence theory, correspondence theory, concensus theory, liguistic theory. So, instead of debating what truth really is (Red Herring), tells us all what YOU believe truth is and I will work with that.
FATFIST Responds ---------------------------------------------------------------
“If you say that morals are just opinions....”
No! It is YOU and YOUR argument which is saying that morals are opinions. What is morally “right” to you, is morally “wrong” to somebody else. Which part don’t you understand?
All I have to do is find one person who disagrees with your TBMP statement; one whose tastes are different than yours; one whose morals are different than yours. And since his morals are DIFFERENT than yours, then who is right and who is wrong?
Q: What objective means do you use to resolve this?
A: There are no objective means....everyone’s morals are different. This means that your TBMP statement can only possibly be resolved to that of one’s OPINION, and nothing else.
If you disagree, then please DEFINE this crucial term (morals) which makes or breaks your argument. Then we’ll BOTH know whether your definition resolves to opinion or not, ok? Here you go.....
“then you are only giving your opinion that morals are just opinions which is the fallacy of begging the questions”
No. This is your fallacy. You are using “circular reasoning” and surreptitiously making an “argument from ignorance” in the hopes that the audience won’t notice. But you fool no one. Whether the concept of MORALS resolves to OPINION or not, is objectively settled when the proponent of the argument (i.e. YOU) DEFINES this crucial term to show that morals are resolved without injecting the opinion/subjectivity of a human observer....got it? I already explained to you that your TBMP statement may be morally right for you, but completely rejected as wrong by another person. This means that YOUR use (i.e. operational definition) of the term “morals” in YOUR argument is predicated upon OPINION, and OPINION alone! Which part are you having trouble with? Tell me and I’ll explain it to you with the luxury of detail.
“to say that morals are just opinions, is an absolute statement”
No. This is your strawman. Circular reasoning and fancy logical sophistry ain’t gonna help you here. This has nothing to do with what I say. This issue is resolved objectively. This is an issue of DEFINITIONS, and DEFINITIONS only!! The term “morals” is a concept. All concepts are defined. This is the only objective criterion by which you can resolve this issue right here and right now.
READ MY LIPS: Whether morals = opinions or not, is an issue that is objectively settled by DEFINING the key term which makes or breaks YOUR argument. This term which YOU must define is “morals”.....and the onus is on YOU to show the audience that YOUR definition of morals does NOT resolve to one’s personal taste/subjectivity/opinion/etc. So here you go.....
“since it must mean that all morals are just opinions and this would imply a universal truth”
No. You are missing the boat. This is NOT an issue of truth, lies, beliefs, etc. This is an issue that falls squarely on the DEFINITION of the key term which makes or breaks your argument: morals.
And btw....your operational definition of the term TRUTH also resolves to OPINION, as I explained to you in my last post. And you have yet to objectively define “truth”.
“Furthermore, to state that morals are just opinions is to say that the morality of TBMP is only up to someone’s opinion”
Exactly! This is exactly what YOUR argument resolves to. If you would like YOUR argument to state otherwise, all you have to do is DEFINE “morals” objectively, where this term does NOT resolve to someone’s personal taste/subjectivity/opinion/etc. So here you go.....
“and you’d be supporting the idea that due to a person’s subjective moral code, it would be morally good for him to torture babies merely for his personal pleasure. Is this what you want to advocate?”
What I support and what I advocate is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to this argument. Subjectivity plays no role here. Arguments should be objective and not invoke the opinions of observers. Arguments from opinion, authority, popularity, red herrings, you toos or me toos, etc....shall not divert the proponent’s responsibility from demonstrating to the audience that their DEFINITION of their key term (morals) does not resolve to one’s opinion.....especially since their operational use of this term thus far has demonstrated the opposite.
Matt: “As far as what truth is, there are different appeals: coherence theory, correspondence theory, concensus theory, liguistic theory.”
Matt: “tells us all what YOU believe truth is and I will work with that.”
So you don’t know what “truth” is, huh? How can somebody make an argument which is predicated on this crucial term (truth, absolute truth, etc.) and not be able to objectively define it?
And asking me what I BELIEVE truth is....is irrelevant to this argument. This is not an issue of belief or opinion. This is an objective issue....an issue of objective DEFINITIONS. Otherwise, how is the audience supposed to understand what you are talking about whenever you invoke this crucial term which makes or breaks your argument?
I will stick with your original use of this term “truth”, which resolves to opinion. What is “true” for you, is a “lie” to someone else. Truth is observer-dependent. You cannot demonstrate otherwise.
TRUTH = OPINION.
But you are free to show the audience otherwise....here you go...objectively define the crucial terms which make or break your argument:
MATT SLICK Responds ---------------------------------------------------------------
It is obvious that you don't have the money to pony up. Therefore, you're going to continue to ignore the facts, ignore absolute truth, and say whatever you have to say in order to bolster your opinion.
It is YOUR argument that says morals are opinions. Not mine. I don't believe that all morals are opinions. Now, if you want to call me on my radio show sometime so we can have a live discussion on this, I would be quite happy to engage you, www.carm.org/radio
Finding someone who disagrees with TBMP isn't the issue. It'd be like someone disagreeing with the concept that 2+2=4 and saying "See, I proved you wrong!
Someone disagrees with you." Finding a hypothetical individual doesn't refute the argument. But, if you think it does, then produce such an individual. Back it up.
Of course, you assume absolute truths in your arguments at various points in order to try and make logical statements. You assume the validity of logical inference, the axiomatic truth of the law of identity, and you presuppose the validity of to the law of non-contradiction, etc..Of course, the law of excluded middle is something you probably don't realize you are validating over and over again.
NOW...In order for you to argue rationally, logically, you have to assume the validity of the absolute truths of logic by which proper discourse can occur: 1) The Law of Identity, 2) The Law of Non-Contradiction, 3) The Law of Excluded Middle, and 4) The Law of Proper Inference. If you want to argue that these laws are not absolute truths, then I have two things for you. First, if you deny the absolute truth of the logical axioms upon which proper discourse is based, then upon what non-absolute/relative principles do you base your attempt at logical discourse? Second, if you were to deny the absolute truths of the logical absolutes upon which proper logical discourse is made, then I offer following sentence for your viewing pleasure, "Blue sleeps faster than Wednesday."
Of course absolute truth exists. You have presupposed the absolutes of logical truths upon which logical discourse is built when you've tried to argue against absolute truth! You are self refuting! If you want to deny the logical absolutes exist, then...well.... again, "Blue sleeps faster than Wednesday."
Where's my money?
FATFIST Responds ---------------------------------------------------------------
“ignore absolute truth.... you assume absolute truths.....absolute truth........absolute truth........absolute truth.....blah blah “
Ummmm.....what do you mean by “truth”. Unless you define this crucial term which makes or breaks YOUR argument, you’ve said nothing! All you’ve said so far is...”absolute X”....totally meaningless without a definition, agree?
“It is YOUR argument that says morals are opinions.”
No! It is YOUR argument on your INITIAL POST....you are on the record....go and re-read it....I have explained it to you many times. You gloss over the fine points and then end up chasing strawmen....and round and round in circles you go!
But YES, I concede that I AGREE with YOUR operational use of morals as opinions. You have not shown otherwise in any of your posts. You CANNOT even define this simple term. No wonder you haven’t the slightest clue of what you are talking about.
Morals is a concept that was conceived by religionists – i.e. human observers.
Whenever a human observer, like a theist (and a stupid atheist too) renders a decision regarding their PERSONAL standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is, and is not acceptable for THEM to do in their lives....they will attribute this to their “morals”. What is personal to each person is SUBJECTIVE. What is morally right for you, is morally wrong for your neighbour. Ergo.....MORALS = OPINION!!!
Please cut and paste here ANY definition of “morals” from any source, your BIBLES, even from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy....you will instantly see that morals resolves to an individual’s OPINION. Please....be my guest....
READ MY LIPS: It is impossible to objectively decide who is right and who is wrong in one’s personal choice for a standard of behavior/beliefs (i.e. morals)....got it?
Which part are you having trouble understanding??
Morality was invented by religion. Morality is an OPINION! Raping a baby and killing it is NOT immoral. It simply IS! It's an event that happened. It's an objective fact. Mother Nature cleans her ass with our opinions about the event. All she sees is some atoms that are no longer struggling against gravity (i.e. dead body). You put too much emphasis on the 'opinion' side and assign little weight to the 'fact' side.
“I don't believe that all morals are opinions”
Who gives a rat’s behind what you or anyone else BELIEVES or doesn’t believe? This is an OBJECTIVE issue...not an OPINION (i.e. belief) as you constantly gravitate towards.
This is not an issue of belief or knowledge, faith or wisdom, truth or lies, observers or experiments, opinions or proof, testimony or evidence, like or dislike. This is an issue of rational definitions. I have already defined “morals” for you. If you don’t like my rational definition, then you are free to offer YOUR rational definition, ok?
I have already explained to you what morals are......you haven’t offered anything to support your counter-argument. All you’ve said so far is:
“Duh...well....I don’t like it when you say that morals are subjective to an individual.....I don’t want them to be the same as opinions.....and therefore what I say stands....so says I”.
“if you want to call me on my radio show sometime so we can have a live discussion on this”
Why? Are you too ashamed to put your responses on the record here on HP, where they are instantly accessible by Google and its affiliates? A radio show comes and goes. Here, our conversation is instantly and permanently accessible via search engines.....it even gets prioritized to the top of search hits because of Google adsense.
I am not embarrassed by what I post here on the record.....are you?
“It'd be like someone disagreeing with the concept that 2+2=4 and saying "See, I proved you wrong!”
Nonsense to the N-th degree!!! Argument from ignorance.
2+2=4, NOT because of what someone believes or agrees or opines....beliefs/opinions are irrelevant.
2+2=4 because it is tautologically derived from the DEFINED axioms/rules of base-10 arithmetic. It is within the context of a system.....the rule-based axiomatic system that is DEFINED in base-10 arithmetic.
And btw....2+2=11 in base-3 arithmetic, and not 4 as you allege....so your sweeping statement above, is WRONG....again, because it is within a different system of rules encompassing digits, operands, and derivations.
You see, my dear Matt.....you cannot avoid DEFINITIONS. It is irrelevant who agrees or who disagrees with the pre-DEFINED rules of Arithmetic. And by disagreeing, you are NOT proving anything wrong (as you allege).....you are simply proving your IGNORANCE of concepts. These rules are not opinions.....they are tautologically objective within their defined context of usage...outside that realm, they are inapplicable...got it?
“But, if you think it does, then produce such an individual. Back it up.”
Ummmm....have you ever heard of this nice search engine called Google? Read the instructions on how to use it to produce a list of baby torturers in your local area....ok? Perhaps you can get one to call your radio show.
“1) The Law of Identity, 2) The Law of Non-Contradiction, 3) The Law of Excluded Middle, and 4) The Law of Proper Inference. “
There are no laws in reality. Apparently, you confuse reality with the legal profession. Law is a discipline that is full of liars... I mean lawyers. In reality, we have explanations, not laws. 'Laws' means that YOU adopted a statement as being dear in YOUR heart. That doesn't concern reality in the least.
Reality does not enact laws, which are human concepts. There is no legislature, no Parliament, Matt. There are no lawyers in Mother Nature’s realm. She doesn’t take people to trial or ask them for their testimonies. She just moves atoms from one location to another.
“If you want to argue that these laws are not absolute truths,...”
Ummmm.....what do you mean by “truth” ....define it! Are you SCARED that I will instantly rip it to shreds before your very eyes???
Indeed....they are axioms...rules DEFINED by man.
“upon which proper discourse is based”
Only within the context of Classical Logic!! They are NOT applicable in many other logical systems which humans use, like Quantum Logic, for example. This means that they are without question, NOT absolute....got it? Your whole argument is self-refuting because it is an argument from IGNORANCE.
“Blue sleeps faster than Wednesday."
Indeed my Blue does!!! You see, my dear Matt.....Blue is one of my dogs. My other dog is Wednesday. Blue always falls asleep faster than Wednesday. If you don’t “believe” me, please come here and time them for yourself, ok?
You don’t have the slightest clue of what you are trying to argue. You are attacking strawmen at every turn. You are chasing your tail in circles because you don’t understand the basics of concepts, grammar (context and syntax), and most importantly....you don’t understand that ALL concepts are DEFINED!
“Of course absolute truth exists”
Ummmm....what do you mean by this formidable term “exist”?? You’ve said nothing, my dear Matt.
Physics IS the discipline that studies existence - Physics IS the Science of Existence. Physics ONLY studies those things that exist. Anyone claiming the existence of an entity (object) has knowingly or inadvertently encroached into Physics. He will be met head on.
Therefore, the crucial words that anyone discussing matters of reality (existence) must be able to define are the words ‘object’ and ‘exist’. If you cannot define these two words, you are NOT talking about reality. You are talking about Religion. So here goes...
Please fill in the blanks, Matt.
Here, let me help you....here are the scientific (i.e. rational, consistent, unambiguous) definitions.
Object: that which has shape
Exist: physical presence
The 'physical' part alludes to an object. The 'presence' part invokes location. An object exists if in addition it has location. Superman is an object (has shape, can be illustrated). Superman is an object that does not exist. So is an ideal cube or a tribar.
I mean, if you don't agree with the scientific definition of 'object' or 'exist', your job is to point out what is wrong with them and propose alternatives. So far you just made unsubstantiated statements about a concept (absolute truth) existing, because you don’t understand that all concepts presuppose the presence of objects. Objects precede concepts. A sentient observer (object) is necessary to conceive of a concept. Also, the definition of the word object precedes the definition of the word concept.
In the absence of a sentient being, no concepts can be conceived. Concepts do NOT exist! But, you are free to argue otherwise with YOUR definitions.
Q: In your Religion, is “absolute truth” an entity/object, or a concept?
Matt: “You have presupposed the absolutes of logical X upon which logical discourse is built when you've tried to argue against absolute X!”
Ummmm......what do you mean by X, Matt? Where is your DEFINITION of X? You’ve said NOTHING! But please, keep on evading the issue.....it’s quite amusing to see you dance while your shoes are on fire!
“If you want to deny the logical absolutes exist, then...well.... again, "Blue sleeps faster than Wednesday."
That my dog Blue sleeps faster than my dog Wednesday (as explained above) is not an absolute, and neither it is a truth.....it is a CONSUMMATED EVENT of reality. Do you understand the difference? Perhaps you should take an introductory course in Reality 101. Reality has objects which perform events. An event (i.e., motion) takes up two or more locations of an object. For instance, the explosion of a star, the single beat of a drum, my dog sleeping, a car collision, etc.... without exception take up no less than two frames in a film.
Where do truths, lies, morals, beliefs, absolutes and opinions fit in Mother Nature’s realm?
Reality has NO concepts like beliefs, absolutes, opinions, morals, truths and lies. Only human apes invent such nonsense.
“Where's my money?”
Oh, you didn’t know? I have it right here.....$5000 USD in my PayPal account. I will gladly TRANSFER it to the account of YOUR CHOICE if you can rationally define the following terms which make or break your argument....and I expect nothing from you if you can’t define them. Losing your argument is good enough for me.
Are these 4 petty terms too much for you to swallow? Ok, then please tell me how much money you would like after you define all 4 of them, ok? I mean, what more incentive do you want for taking 4 minutes of your time to define these simple terms (WHICH YOU OBVIOUSLY UNDERSTAND..nudge nudge...wink wink) for our audience?
I am on the RECORD with this offer.....everyone take note!!! I can’t turn back now, for if I default on the payment to Matt Slick, then I will have to delete this article and remove my account from HP out of sheer embarrassment.