Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Response: An Argument from Inherent Value for God's Existence

My fellow seeker at Truthbomb recently made An Argument from Inherent Value for God's Existence.

The following is my response:

Against premise one: The defense of premise one seems to be presenting either 1. a false dilemma or 2. an argument from ignorance.  If self-consciousness and moral agency hasn't been explained by natural selection, or if it is not known how natural selection produces self-consciousness and moral agency, it doesn't necessarily mean God did it.  

Against premise two: The argument implies that every human is a self-conscious moral agent, but are babies? The mentally handicapped/disabled? The comatose? Psychopaths? The insane? No.

The argument makes two seemingly superstitious claims.
  1. Humans are self-aware and make moral decisions, therefore humans transcend the material universe.
  2. An eternal, ultimate person transcends the material universe and bestows self-consciousness and moral agency on human bodies.

    These seem superstitious for several reasons:
  1. The first claim is a non-sequitur (and vague)
  2. unfalsifiable
  3. Violate Ockham's Razor
  4. make no predictions
  5. lack objective, repeatable evidence
  6. incoherent – What is the causal connection? How does that ultimate person cause human bodies to have self-consciousness and moral agency? How does it “reach in” and bestow upon our human bodies, specifically? Just by magic?

I originally thought the argument made logically contradictory claims: Inherent value is value that does not come from something else, yet God gives inherent value to human bodies.  However, I misunderstood the claims - the former means "inherent value doesn't come from objects", and regarding the latter, inherent value comes from personhood, not God, and God did not choose for inherent value to come from personhood.

Friday, August 10, 2012


As I've gone through the process of deconverting from my previous faith-based religious views, I've often wondered what in the world I'm supposed to do with my life.  If I'm not going to serve God and devote my life fully to His will, then what am I going to do? How is one supposed to live after going through life thinking I'm a child of God, chosen by Him to accomplish His purposes on this earth?

At times I would think I'd devote myself to my job.  I'd do the best I could, learn the IT industry inside and out, learn to code, try to help a lot of people, make lots of money, give lots away, and live life for my work.  I've also thought about just living for what makes me happy.  To explore, go out, go on adventures, travel, eat, drink, and be merry.  I've thought about just living normally, having a few hobbies, getting three square meals a day, 8 hours of sleep per night, flossing at least once a day.  But, as the days go by, I continue to have the desire to do something big.  Something similar, in a sense, to what I used to do.

I used to live life as a child of God as best as I could.  I read the Bible a ton, studied religious books, prayed as much as I could handle, learned and taught Hebrew, moved across the country several times, traveled to places across the globe - all for my devotion to serving God as best as I could.  Now that I don't consider myself a child of God anymore, I do not live this way.  But I still have the desire to live that way for something.  And I think I have realized (again) what that something is.

The truth.

When I was living for the Lord, I was doing it because I really believed it was true.  As I learned and changed my mind both as a believer and then as a non-believer, I did so because I thought I learned more truth.  And so, as I find myself again contemplating my life's direction, I realize that I need to continue on the path that I've always attempted to travel: the path toward truth.

I need to get psyched up again about living as best as I can for the truth, about reading a ton, not the Bible and religious texts, but my new "bibles": logic books, science books, philosophy books, epistemology books, etc.  I need to be willing to move across the country again, to travel the globe, to take risks and live my life to the fullest - all for the sake of seeking the truth. 

So, in a sense, I should travel the the same path, and still serve my "god", just not see things exactly the same as I did before.  And that the whole point: to find out what is true and what is not true - and then change my life accordingly.  But what should never change is the goal: to seek and know and do what is true.

So, I hereby rededicate my life to the truth.  Let's get 'er done.