Monday, March 31, 2008

Reality, A Scientific and Philosophical Perspective

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -Albert Einstein

David Hume tells us that a given system cannot be proven with the laws of that system itself, because that is necessarily circular. This is a consequence of “Hume’s Fork”, stated in his “Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”:

All the objects of human reason or enquiry may naturally be divided into two kinds, to wit, Relations of Ideas, and Matters of fact. Of the first kind are the sciences of Geometry, Algebra, and Arithmetic ... [which are] discoverable by the mere operation of thought ... Matters of fact, which are the second object of human reason, are not ascertained in the same manner; nor is our evidence of their truth, however great, of a like nature with the foregoing.

Hume is telling us that a priori, we can only decide upon relations of ideas, and that we cannot decide upon matters of fact a priori, but only a posteriori. (As an aside, it turns out that Hume’s Fork is self-defeating, since this is not really obvious a priori, and therefore we must determine it a posteriori. This is intriguing, and we’ll discuss it further below).

What does this mean about reality, then? It means that reality cannot be proven to exist using reality itself. That is, the subjective experiences we have cannot, therefore, be used to construct a purely objective reality. It’s always possible we’re living in a dream world of some other construction (such as the Wachowski Brothers’ film, “The Matrix”). We cannot accept our own personal subjectivity as an objective fact.

The question is, how do we salvage a meaningful conversation, then? Surely we can’t operate as if we were all glitches in some computer program, or that everyone else is a figment of our imaginations. It’s simply not practical.

So what we seek to do is to define a practical version of “reality” that we can describe by some means. To do so, we must make several assumptions. Those assumptions are:

  1. I exist.
  2. Others exist.
  3. Our mutual experiences are accurately represented.

From these three axioms, we can construct a practical version of “objectivity” that is simply meaningful (a priori, this would fall into the first of Hume’s Fork prongs above). That is, we can perform observations of pre-set experiments. The results from those experiments can then be compared. If they agree, and we assume that if we observe that they agree, then they do, then the reality that is evident “subjectively” (between the two observers) can be considered “objectively” to exist, because there are only two possibilities:

  1. They actually DO exist.
  2. They don't exist, but everyone experiences exactly the same observation in exactly the same way.

The case of (1) above is trivial, clearly if they exist we need not worry, and observation gets it right.

The case of (2) is more complicated. If our reality doesn't exist, but everyone experiences it exactly the same way, then our apparent reality is the only meaningful definition of "existence" that can be formulated without some “outside interference” from the “true” reality. For instance, let us imagine the most stressing case about proving reality exists, and assume that the truly objective "reality" is resides in Plane U. However, let us assume (the most stressing case) that the set of experiences our observers can undertake is described by a “non-reality", Plane X, and all of their observations are only consistent with Plane X, but not with Plane U (even though Plane U is the "true" reality). One would think that this eliminates our ability to determine the nature of reality, since everything we observe about "reality" (Plane U) is actually wrong (since it is all described by Plane X).

The actuality is, however, it doesn't even matter. In this case, Plane U (actual "reality”) becomes totally metaphysical with respect to Plane X. Common experiences of inhabitants of Plane X all point to the consistent set of rules intrinsic to Plane X. Predictions can be made about the behavior of Plane X by it’s inhabitants, and these predictions can be verified (this is part and parcel with observation, of course). This becomes a definition of what is “objectively real”. It is not truly objectively determined to be “real”, however it’s basically the best we can construct if all we observe is Plane X.

The only way the inhabitants of Plane X would know about the “true” reality in Plane U is if there is some intrusion onto Plane X from Plane U. For this, there are two cases: (1) when the intrusion only is experienced by one observer, and (2) when it is experienced by multiple observers. In the first case, we’re back to the limitations present upon our description of reality in the first place. The person is still subjectively experiencing something via their intellect and senses. They must process the information given to them by Plane U in their bodies, which remain in Plane X. So they are just as vulnerable to the pitfalls described above, in that they may in fact be mistaken. The second case, which is experienced by multiple observers, would actually be a case where one could draw a truly logical conclusion that “Something is wrong with Plane X.” What is observed to exist in Plane X is demonstrated (by some means) to be inconsistent with the “truth”. For instance, everyone would be experiencing “that chair exists”, but then they would all be shown that it is an illusion by the inhabitants of Plane U.

Without these “intrusions” by inhabitants of Plane U, the inhabitants of Plane X would simply conclude that Plane X is a self-consistent reality complete with it’s own rules. They can make predictions. They can construct things and form new ideas. They can study it and examine its consequences. Barring these intrusions from Plane U which clearly demonstrate that what they are experiencing is false, their reality becomes an objectively defined one, where one person can make a prediction about the course of events in a given “experiment”.

Therefore, given very simple assumptions about our existence and the existence of others, we can use observation to define a reality that is the only meaningful reality we can experience (i.e. the one that affects us directly). Could there be some other plane that exists? Certainly. However, pending further evidence of it (i.e. mass intrusions of that plane onto ours), we observe a reality that is consistent, predictable, reliably certain, and we can even estimate how uncertain our answers can be.

I shall now consider some questions that arise to elucidate the matter.

What does this mean about a scenario like The Matrix © (Wachowski Brothers film) where all of reality is only experienced via a simulated world for those in the Matrix? Is the Matrix real?

The answer is, in this particular film, actually no. The Matrix is not "real". In the movie, the "real" world (Plane U) actually impinges upon the "simulated" world (Plane X) regularly, and the occupants can become aware of the "real" world (Plane U) without any extra help (they can wake up spontaneously, as was described in the film, or given a stimulus to help them wake up... the “red pill”). Therefore repeated observations of similar circumstances will reveal different results for different people, which is a red flag (pun intended) that what they are experiencing is not actually real.

The case I'm discussing is if the creators of the "Matrix" made zero intrusion into the "Matrix" (Plane X) with their own reality (Plane U), and made it impossible for participants of the "Matrix" to ever understand that there is another "reality" outside their own. In that case, then yes, for the purposes of the people in the "Matrix", then reality would be defined as whatever the designers of the Matrix decided to put into place (Plane X), so long as the laws were universally applied to all the people in the "Matrix". There would be nothing to distinguish between their "simulated" reality (Plane X) from the "real" reality (Plane U). Any experiment performed in Plane X would give results consistent with Plane X's "reality", and hence the reality they observe is the only one that has meaning. The designers of the Matrix could make the Matrix arbitrarily complicated, and the laws governing the Matrix by its inhabitants would be consistent with what they understand. The designers could, for instance, make gravity not work in one specific place in the Matrix, so that you fly up into the sky if you walk over it. The observers in the Matrix (Plane X) would conclude that there is no invariance with respect to space in the laws of their nature. However they would construct a law that functions, and move on with their observations.

What does that mean about the assertions of science?

Of course, all of modern science is based on observations, in fact it is science's very cornerstone. I have already argued that this is not a limitation, per se, even in the most stressing case (where "reality" is entirely contrary to what we observe). The assertions that "I exist, others exist, and our mutual experiences are accurately represented" are very meager assumptions... regardless of anything, observations assuming these axioms are an internally consistent set of rules that, for all intents and purposes , describe our universe. Einstein realized this, and remarked "All of reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one". This sums up the basic ideas I have outlined above. We have no way of determining whether reality exists or that nature should be at all predictable, but it turns out that there is an overwhelming quantity of evidence to support that claim. It seems to us, for all intents and purposes, that reality exists, even though a priori there is no reason for it to do so.

As we can see, modern science is the best method of obtaining practical information about the plane of existence we live in, regardless of whether there is some plane or not.

What does that mean about metaphysical assertions (those about Plane U)?

It still means that assertions about Plane U are entirely metaphysical and don't impact Plane X in any repeatable way. Are they equally "correct" with observations observed in Plane X? Not really. There is no way to determine the validity of assertions about Plane U without experiencing it in some way (or possibly being instructed about it). The statements of utility that can be used to predict behavior and observable phenomena can at least be shown to be self-consistent with reality, and reap some benefit from them. For the inhabitants of Plane X, Plane U could be anything. Underpants gnomes playing video games with us, an omnibenevolent God, the Greek pantheon, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all your ancestors that ever lived, a group of apes banging on a keyboard who happened to get our universe on this time around, etc. There is no way to determine its validity. Therefore, statements about Plane U are necessarily of less utility than statements about Plane X, because the latter can be demonstrated to be true or false within the construct of that reality itself, whereas the former has no predictability whatsoever. Thus, asserting that metaphysical statements are "equivalently right" to statements about the reality we observe is simply false. Yes, there are assumptions inherent to both. No one denies that. However, the assumptions one must make to demonstrate science to be true are very small (three, to be precise), but the number of assumptions one must make to determine metaphysics to be true are unbounded (possibly infinite), and do not affect our observable reality in any way. In fact, the assumptions that must be made to make observations about Plane X also apply to inhabitants of Plane X who claim to experience Plane U! We’ll discuss this below. So arguments about the existence or nature of Plane U are, a priori, qualitatively different from the arguments that are made about observable facts in Plane X. The latter impacts the occupants of Plane X. The former does not.

What does this mean about "revelations”?

Ostensibly, the Christian viewpoint is that Plane U does exist, and has indeed impacted on Plane X (God regularly interacted with people in the Old Testament, Jesus came down to talk with people and was God, etc). So really, what this boils down to is: How seriously do you take people's assertions that they interacted with Plane U? That is a totally personal choice. We can dismiss them as lunatics, or dismiss the claims of those making them as falsehoods, or believe the stories and proclaim their divinity, but neither one can be demonstrated to be really true or false without some external verification. So expecting someone to simply believe that Plane U exists without demonstrating without a doubt why this is so, is an exercise in futility. It just won't happen.

Furthermore, as mentioned, even in this case, we must assume the same three assumptions present to describe Plane X (our reality). If there is some information “revealed” in some way, we must process this revelation in Plane X. Our brains reside in Plane X, and so do our senses. If God implants the knowledge in our heads, we still must use our brains to interpret what God is saying. We still must assume that what we are experiencing is accurate… God could be playing tricks on you, or you could be insane, or you could be mistakenly interpreting some ordinary occurrence of your brain to be a message from God. However, on top of those three simple assumptions, a large (possibly infinite) number of OTHER assumptions must be made about Plane U. The complexity of the epistemology builds without bound.

If actual, undeniable proof of God's existence were presented to each and every one of us, we would all recognize the existence of Plane U as an undeniable fact. However, in the entire sum of human history, no such undeniable evidence occurs, and therefore we cannot determine the existence of Plane U. Some choose to act as if it doesn't exist at all (i.e. U = X). There's no way to tell them they are wrong. The preponderance of direct evidence shows them that they are right. No unambiguous observations ever recorded have shown that they are wrong. Claims of divinity of people that lived long ago are basically of no actual evidentiary value for us, unless they are corroborated widely and supported by archaeological evidence (i.e. we can be very confident that Pompeii was burned by Mt Vesuvius, but we are doubtful that Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf). Equally incorrect is the denial of observations about Plane X based on assertions about Plane U impacting Plane X. It's patently wrong to denounce an actual observation in the only reality that is meaningful in order to make unprovable assertions about Plane U, which impacts Plane X. Therefore, denying things like cosmic inflation, evolution, the quark model, plate tectonics, radiometric dating, and the solar model are simply uninformed assertions that are shown to be wrong. Responsible people would abandon their assertions straight away when they are shown to be false. However, this is another cycle, one that needs to be broken in order for us to make practical progress in society.

The people who deny what is right in front of them are actually taking a big gambit. Rational information can be constructed to determine what reality is really like. Assuming that Plane X (our reality) was constructed by some entity in Plane U (“heaven”), the best bet (assuming this entity is benevolent) is that the entity would prefer that you be truthful. The truth is, reality is as we observe it. Imposing what you THINK reality involves is akin to telling God what to do. You are constructing a God that doesn’t actually exist, and worshipping that God instead. This is idolatry, and given the other assumptions people make about such an entity, this entity would be displeased at people for worshipping this idol.

Frankly, even from a theological standpoint it’s better to examine what is presented to you. There is always the position that God works through natural means, and that we should examine God’s workings and machinations with open minds. If you’re wrong, at least you were wrong for a good reason: that you rationally examined the facts and came to the wrong conclusion. However, if the reality is as you observe, and you assert that it is otherwise, contrary to the observation, the only excuse you would have is that you placed obedience above rationality and truthfulness. Perhaps God works this way, and would rather us be obedient than moral.

Frankly, if that is the case, I think I’d rather spend eternity elsewhere, thank you very much.

by Rappoccio of AvC

Full discussion of Reality on AvC

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No God Exists. Support of this premise using the scientific method

"To believe there is NO God when you can't prove that anymore than I can prove that there is requires faith."

This is a quote lifted off of this group. Neither this specific quote nor its author are being singled out here; It is simply the most recent quote I could think of. It is merely an example being used. Discussion about faith, its different meanings, and the equivocation often used when talking about it in regards to atheism and theism, is outside the scope of this document.

The focus of this document is the idea that the premises "God exists" and "No god exists" are equally valid (or equally invalid). That is, the truth value for both of those premises is the same.

A brief digression before getting into the meat of the matter:

The above sentiment is often expressed by Christians in an attempt to put atheism on the same logic framework as theism. The problem with this is two-fold:

1. It, essentially, is tacit acknowledgement of the weak logic theism rests on. By attempting to drag atheism down to the level of theism, you first have to accept that theism exists on a logically lower level in the first place. The only other possibility is the absurd notion a Christian would go out of their way to raise atheism up to the logical level they believe theism rests on.

2. By making theism and atheism equal, they do nothing for the cause of theism. A person must make a choice, and if the choice is not made on a logical basis (since they are now logically equal) what criteria can one use? The only thing left would be Occam's razor, but that would favor atheism.

The scientific method is a series of steps, based in rationalism and empiricism. It is used as a method to see whether or not hypotheses represent an accurate model of the universe. The scientific method rests on several logical principles, induction and reductio ad absurdum, are often used. If the scientific method is applied to a hypothesis, and the hypothesis survives, it can be said that it is logically more valid than the hypothesis' negation.

It is often acknowledged that science cannot prove anything 100% true. This is a bit of an exaggeration. There are things that science can, indeed, prove 100% true. But these things are usually trivial. For example, I can prove whether or not the volume, mass, or charge of some particle is a certain value. But the utility of that measurement is nil. Only when I use induction to extrapolate a general rule about the universe does it gain potential usefulness. It is also at that poin, that it becomes impossible to prove the statement 100% true, since we are now making a claim about all such particles and it is impossible (either literally or practically) to perform all the measurements required for such proof.

For this argument we will make two such general statements:

"All objects, under only the force of gravity, near the surface of the Earth, will accelerate at 32.2ft/s^2"

"No god exists"

Also, for the purposes of this argument we will address their opposites:

"Not all objects, under only the force of gravity, near the surface of the Earth, will accelerate at 32.2ft/s^2"

"God exists"

The first premise can be reworded as:

"At least one object, under only the force of gravity, near the surface of the Earth, will not accelerate at 32.2ft/s^2"

For simplicity we will assign these premises labels:

O = "All objects, under only the force of gravity, near the surface of the Earth, will accelerate at 32.2ft/s^2"

G = "No god exists"


O' = "At least one object, under only the force of gravity, near the surface of the Earth, will not accelerate at 32.2ft/s^2"

G' = "God exists"

O is an excellent hypothesis for application of the scientific method. It makes a general statement about all objects and how they will behave under certain conditions. That is, it addresses a significantly large number of potential events. Its support will provide us a great deal of knowledge about the universe.

Like all hypotheses tested by the scientific method, it is not 100% provable. In order to prove it 100% true, we would have to measure the rate of acceleration of all objects, everywhere, all the time, since the beginning of the universe, to the end of the universe. Even if that were practical, one could correctly argue that just because all objects did follow O, that does not necessarily mean they had to.

So how do we convert O from a hypothesis to a solid theory if we cannot prove it 100% true? We test it. It cannot be 100% true, but it can be anywhere from 0% to just shy of 100% true. So how do we test it? First, we must determine if it is testable. That is, there must exist a test that can be performed, or observation that can be made, that has the real possibility of showing that it can be false. This feature is called "falsifiability" and is necessary for all scientific hypothesis and theories to have it.

In the case of O, it is most certainly falsifiable: an object can accelerate at a rate other than 32.2ft/s^2 (while still only being under the influence of gravity near the surface of the Earth). That is very easy to test: drop a bunch of objections and measure the rates at which they accelerate. (If you're clever like Galileo, you can roll them down inclines, which is easier to measure, and achieve the same results)

Essentially, we are genuinely trying to prove the hypothesis false. Each test that has the real possibility of proving the hypothesis false, but doesn't, will increase our confidence in the validity of that hypothesis. By confidence I don't refer to some vague emotion, but that the hypothesis literally becomes truer. The more tests we perform and fail to prove it false, the truer it becomes.

Now, let us consider O'. First of all it is not a good hypothesis in consideration for the scientific method since it only makes a claim on at least one object. Second, it cannot be falsified. Even if we measure all objects to be in accordance with O, that will not be disproof of O'. The advantage it does have, though, is that it can be proven true: observe an object that falls at a different rate than specific in O. So it can be 100% true. But until it is, its truth value is unknown.

A summary comparison of the premises O and O':

O Truth values ranging from 0% to an asymptotic value of 100% (always approaching but never reaching) with the ability to test the theory, thereby increasing its value toward that limit.

O' Truth values are either "Unknown" or 100% with no way to reliably test. (Tests can be performed but are inconclusive unless they prove the theory true).

So, unless O' is proven (which necessarily includes the disproof of O) and we perform tests to increase the truth value of O (even by a slight degree) then we are correct in saying that O is a more true, logical, and scientific premise to hold than O'.

Now we translate that for G and G'. Like O', G' is a statement that cannot be disproved since God can always be claiming to be hiding in some gap somewhere. It can be proven, however, by evidence arising of god's existence. So, like O', G' is either 100% true, or unknown.

This also applies for O and G. G can never be proven 100%, thus its truth values range from 0% to just shy of 100%. The only thing that we need to do is to test G. What test can we perform? While some may see this as an impasse, god is often assigned the attributes of omnipotence and omniscience. In situations where we are dealing with an entity that has neither, then I side with Epicurus when he asks "Then why call him god?" Omniscience and omnipotence remedies this situation and alleviates the need for us to develop a test ourselves. God has the knowledge and power to present the evidence necessary to prove his existence. Our participation is passive, but this is not a problem. Thus all we have to do is sit and observe the universe. Every moment that passes by that is not validation of god's existence increases the validity of G.

In summary:

G Truth values ranging from 0% to an asymptotic value of 100% (always approaching but never reaching) with the ability to test the theory, thereby increasing its value toward that limit.

G' Truth values are either "Unknown" or 100% with no way to reliably test. (Tests can be performed but are inconclusive unless they prove the theory true).

So, unless G' is proven (which necessarily includes the disproof of G) and we perform tests to increase the truth value of G (even by a slight degree) then we are correct in saying that G is a more true, logical, and scientific premise to hold than G'.

Replacing back our original wording:

So, unless god is proven to exist (which necessarily includes disproving his non-existence) and we perform tests to increase the truth of god's nonexistence (even by a slight degree) then we are correct in saying that "God does not exist" is a more true, logical, and scientific premise to hold than "God exists".


First, the scientific method and the process by which a hypothesis becomes a theory are, admittedly, greatly simplified; though I contend I have hit all the major points. There are, of course, other issues that are taken in account (for example, the area that the theory addresses and its potential relationship with other theories, a more thorough analysis of its utility and the ability to test, etc.)

Second, one may wonder why, if the above is true, "God does not exist" is not officially made a scientific theory. This is answered by my previous caveat regarding the other issues. The utility of the hypothesis is nil since science already proceeds without assuming god exists. Furthermore, with actual scientific theories, tests require some sort of quantifiable measurement, even when using mere passive observation.

Third and lastly, even with omniscience and omnipotence we still run into the problem of god's will and some may argue that god can prove his own existence, he simply does not *want* to. This is not an issue for several reasons:

• The god typically involved is the Christian God, which has directly interfered in human affairs, thus cannot claim to not want to prove itself since such interaction would constitute proof.

• That the universe could exist in a fashion contrary to the will of an omnipotent, omniscience entity is nonsensical. As humans we have a keen awareness of the difference between our desires and reality because we lack the ability or knowledge to make them come true. This is not an issue for an entity that knows everything and can do anything. Thus the universe necessarily is what they desire. So, as far as any inhabitants of a universe are concerned, if the a god does not want to be proven, then that god does not exist.

• If god is necessarily worthy of worship, then who are we to disagree if it doesn't want to be proven?

AvC Thread : Support of the premise, No God Exists, using the scientific method.

by Drafterman of AvC

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Response To A Muslim Extremist

thewayofthetruth1 is a Muslim who posted recently to AvC and made the following comments:

it is obvious that this repulsive cartoons depicting the Prophet have violated the sanctity of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world and their feelings....

This has exposed those who are actually promoting extremism, violence and hatred between peoples and i emphasized the need to activate international resolutions that condemn and punish such crimes as defamation of religions and prophets.

and i think that any type of art that portrays the image of any prophet is an offense...we can observe and note the behavior that follows after such act.

Take for instance the picture of Jesus (pbuh) many times have you seen "his" image on the media being mocked at ? in many occasion "his" image has even been created into a cartoon to humor people...this is absolute any circumstances we should not allow any type of mockery of any prophet (pbuh and Allah's mercy).

and i belive also that Western countries and organizations were adopting double standards on the issue of Danish cartoons allowing abuse of Muslim sanctities and their Prophet by claiming that this the freedom of speech but where is this freedom when dealing with the holocaust not by denying it by just saying that the number of people killed in this sad accident is exaggerated !!!

My (Trance Gemini of AvC) response follows:

thewayofthetruth1. If you are truly seeking the way of the truth, I'd like to point something out to you.

We, in North America, have laws which respect the human rights and dignity of all.

This includes the Muslim community.

You, as a Muslim have the following rights:

  1. To practice your religion fully.
  2. To never be harassed because of your faith.
  3. To never be discriminated against because of your faith.
  4. To live in dignity according to your beliefs.

If anyone attacks you on this basis or physically attacks you because you are a Muslim or physically attacks your Mosque because it is a Muslim place of worship, that person will be not only be put in jail, but will receive a longer sentence because to launch an attack based on religious belief is a Hate Crime.

North American secular law gives you these rights if you live anywhere in North America.

You, as a Muslim, are afforded similar rights in Europe and the UK.

Now, to say that we do not respect Muslims and their beliefs as you can see by the facts I've shown you is simply not the case.

Not only that but, I as a non-believer have fewer rights than you because I'm not religious and therefore am not covered by the above.

If I'm attacked physically or for my beliefs the person will be jailed under normal criminal law.

Now, on top of this, you are demanding that those who are non-believers should also be required to recognize your laws and religious requirements and follow them.

That is what you are asking us to do when you attempt to restrict our freedom of speech in accordance with your religious requirements.

Not only do you demand this, but others in your community back your demands with threats of violence in the form of fatwahs against those who have stood up against these demands of yours. People have been murdered, forced into hiding, forced to live in fear of being killed or otherwise victimized.

We, in the West, respect the Muslim community and their right to their beliefs. That is a fact whether you agree with it or not.

You, as a Muslim, on the other hand, do not respect our right to not believe and not to follow your religious restrictions by making the demands on us that you make to restrict our freedoms.

Respect in any society is a two way street. It must occur both ways, if it doesn't inequalities occur.

Secular societies work to eliminate inequalities.

We respect you, your culture, your religion, and your rights.

We want you to do the same and respect us, our culture, our beliefs, and our rights.

Is that really too much to ask?

Why Does The Qu'ran Say Kill Infidels And Others? : The Full AvC Thread

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Westminster Confession Of Existentialism

As we all know, Brock Organ of AvC frequently relies on this document, The Westminster Confession of Faith, and presents it as "objective truth". Brock also likes to dismiss all other argumentation as invalid because he says they rely on "existential premises". The aim of this post is to discredit Brock's claim by showing that 1) The Westminster Confession of Faith is not objective truth and 2) The Confession relies on the very existential premises that Brock so despises, thus exposing his monumental hypocrisy.

First, how do we know the Confession is not objective truth? This one's easy. The Confession cannot be objectively true because it is an interpretation of the Bible. Written in the mid 17th century, it is an interpretation that is not even in the social or cultural context of 1st century Middle East. Rather, it was written by so-called "Divines" who were, in fact, a bunch of Puritan clergy organized for the purpose of reforming The Church of England. It was the abolition of Episcopalian for Calvinism in the Church of England. Basically, that means favoring one interpretation (Calvinism) over another (Episcopalian). Neither of which can be objectively true by virtue of the fact that they are "interpretations."

Having said that, how does that effect the veracity of the Bible? Even if one believes that the "propositions" of the Bible are objectively true (which they are not), the Confession is an interpretation of the Bible and thus a distortion of perceived "objective truth" (this begs the question as to why there is a need for such a document if the Bible is already "objectively true"). As an example of the Confession's methodology, I'd like to look at one chapter entitled "Of Creation":

"I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good."[1]

That is an interpretation of Genesis Chapter 1 and therefore a distortion of the perceived "objective truth" of the Bible--the "word of God." And, it brings me to my second point.

Brock is fond of repeating the phrase "existentialism is untenable." Unfortunately for Brock, existentialism is precisely what the Westminster Confession relied on in Reforming the Church of England (emphasis mine). As a rhetorical question, why would one need a reformation of objective truth? Does objective truth need reforming? Clearly, not. Yet, the synods are constantly revising and reforming their own document. For example, The Association of Reformed Presbyterian Churches states in reference to the Westminster Confession of Faith this qualification:

"Agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster as the same is received by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church including amendments approved by the General Synods of 1959, 1976, 1984, and 2001."[2]

It is strange "objective truth" would need so many amendments and revisions. Unless, of course, it is not objective truth. Rather, it is the existential interpretation of rambling morons who think they "know" objective truth.

What does this all mean? It means Brock is a hypocritical existentialist who bashes others for using the same skills of observation he uses.


[2] ArpSynod

Written by Scooter of AvC