Ten Questions for a Secularist
1. What is your answer to the Pre-Socratic era of Greek Philosophy, and Zeno’s Paradox? Zeno of Elea (490-430 B.C.) brought the Pre Socratic era to a close with his devastating arguments against sensation, space and motion. First, was his famous Paradox. To be brief, Zeno’s argument, in essence, is that in order for Achilles to move from point A to point B he must come at least half the space. If so then he has to come at least a tenth; a hundredth; a millionth, etc. He must pass through an infinite number of points in a finite segment. Motion is therefore impossible and space is indefinable. (The essence of his argument is not a relation of motion to time but the impossibility of exhausting an infinite series. Neither is his argument that Achilles has to exhaust the series to the last point for there is no last point. Also, one cannot divide an infinite series. To do so one must assume that the object in motion stops in mid-motion to create a mid-point. The mid-point then is only potential and not actual. I admit that it is possible to exhaust an infinite series of potential points, but not actual points. Also, you cannot appeal to imaginary, indemonstrable units of measurement like Plank Units to answer this paradox.) In a further complaint against the concept of space, Zeno argued that if atoms and motion required space there must also be super-space for space to exist in and another super-space for that, ad infinitum. Zeno also refuted the idea of sensation in the Atomistic system which denied qualities to atoms. In an exposition of Zeno’s criticism of Democritus’ Atomism (Later to dominate the Scientific Revolution) Dr. Clark says,
“When an ocean wave ‘thunders’ against the rocks, no atom produces an audible sensation; but the wave is nothing but atoms; therefore, it produces no sound.” (Ancient Philosophy, 272)
This failure to construct a material/corporeal reality was the formal cause of the atheistic Sophist movement that immediately followed. Protagoras’ Man Measure Theory was the new fad and the idea of truth was buried as impossibility. If Zeno cannot be refuted, the entire Anti-Christian scientific secular enterprise is impossible to demonstrate and should be removed from the category of demonstration and kept in the category of operation.
The Christian answer to the Pre-Socratics is found in Saint Augustine’s Book Concerning the Teacher, where he admits the impossibility of empirical knowledge and asserts that knowledge comes from the Second Person of the Trinity (The Teacher): an immediate and uncreated revealed light.
There are two fallacies in this statement. First is attempting to use philosophical paradoxes to define reality, instead of taking reality on its own terms. For example, it is possible to imagine many things which are impossible (of which Zeno's paradox is but one), yet nothing that is impossible can happen. It is impossible to exhaust an infinite series, yet movement is quite possible, therefore movement does not require the exhaustion of an infinite series to happen (infinities themselves are not possible in reality, therefore any argument predicated on them is invalid when used to describe something in reality). And Zeno's statement about ocean waves and atoms is simply wrong. Sound is by definition the motion of atoms against other atoms. Whether a sound is inaudible to humans or not is irrelevant, as many sounds are inaudible to humans, yet can still be proven to exist with sensitive enough detectors. Therefore, it stands to reason that even two atoms can make a "sound" if they move against each other, and could be detected with a sensitive enough instrument.
The second fallacy is your assumption that Christian belief (the source of knowledge coming from the "Trinity") has any bearing on anything. Even if you were able to disprove something possible with something impossible, it would not demonstrate any alternate belief in any way. The fact that you could not discover truth would not justify believing that you could get truth from some unproven source.
2. How did science recover from the second refutation of atomism (Zeno produced the first) in the 1930s, namely the splitting of the atom? This question is by no means intended to question the existence of atoms. Atomism is a philosophy of reality developed early in Greek philosophy primarily by Democritus to buttress the possibility of corporeal unchanging objects of knowledge. If you want to say something that means the same thing 5 minutes after you say it you need something changeless through qualitative change. My question hits at science’s objects of knowledge. What are they now, post-split? The question has to do with the nature of reality and the objects of knowledge.
Science was not predicated on atomism in the first place. Science was predicated on discovery of things which are progressively more true. Even if it is impossible to absolutely confirm something as true beyond the shadow of any doubt, you can prove it true beyond any reasonable doubt based on existing knowledge, and thus approximate truth even if you cannot actually reach it. The fact that it is not unchangeable is irrelevant, as science does not depend on "objects of knowledge" to begin with. It simply depends on observing something, then coming up with an explanation that is not contradicted by anything previously known. If it is later contradicted, then you come up with a new explanation that is non-contradictory, and so on. And thus, you more closely approximate truth.
3. How can the planet earth qualify for the laws of physics since it is not in uniform motion?
Because an object need not be in uniform motion to be affected by the laws of physics.
4. How do you explain the universe? Dr. Clark in an exposition of Parmenides presents an ancient dilemma for all philosophies saying,
“Being cannot have originated or come into being. It cannot have come from non-being, for non-being never has existed for anything to come from it. Nor can Being have come from Being, for Being is Being without any coming. Therefore origination is impossible and Being is eternal, immutable, and changeless.” (Ancient Philosophy, 269)
The Christian answer is found in the Trinitarian debate with the Arians where Athanasius distinguishes between God’s nature and God’s will. How do you answer this?
Again, you repeat the fallacy of assuming that Christian belief has any bearing on anything. As for the universe, it can have always existed (in the sense that the energy that is bound up in everything that exists cannot be created or destroyed, only altered). Or, contrary to your statement, it can have come into being in the same way that virtual particles come into being, as in a zero-sum universe. In fact, the entire universe could have happened because of a virtual particle-pair which lasted long enough to initiate the inflationary process which allowed matter to exist, and which we can still observe today.
5. How do you define sensation and show how sensation produces perception and abstract ideas?
Sensation is simply something that triggers receptors in the human body. Perception is the ability of the consciousness to observe sensations. Abstract ideas represent things which can be conceived of but not sensed.
6. What language should we use to talk about the material world? Mary Louise Gill refuted all attempts made to provide a theory of individuation in Aristotle (Making Logic [The Law of Contradiction] impossible; thus making language impossible.) in her article: “Individuals and Individuation in Aristotle” (Unity, Identity, and Explanation in Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).
i. If we take matter to be the principle of individuation how do we individuate one unit of matter from another? Some will say, “the spatio-temporal location”. Yet this is circular. How do we individuate spatio-temporal locations? By the matter contained in that space. So the matter is individuated by the space and the space by the matter.
ii. Some have tried to use matter and quantity as the principle of individuation. Gill replies, “this criterion will not work for identical twins, two drafts of water from the same fountain, or Max Black’s pair of spheres, which have qualitatively identical matter.” (pg. 62)
iii. Another attempt has made material continuity the principle of individuation. Gill speaks to this issue on page 66,
“If two statues of Socrates are made out of the same bronze at different times, the statues are distinct because the time during which the matter constitutes the two is interrupted. In the interval the bronze survives the destruction of the first statue and the generation of the second…If this is Aristotle’s answer to the puzzle about material migration, then continuity of matter is not sufficient even to account for weak individuation. Continuity of time is also required.”
iv. Some have tried to use form as the principle of individuation. Gill replies,
“But it is not very good evidence…Some defenders of the thesis will respond that the forms of Callias and Socrates differ because they are realized in different parcels of matter. But then form is not after all the principle of individuation, since the matter, rather than the form, differentiates the particulars.” (pg. 68-69)
You can determine whether something is individual by observing it. If you can observe it as a separate entity, no matter what that entity is, it is individual. It does not matter if you lose track of that individual entity later on, as long as you can observe it at some point. For example, if you take a cup of water from a fountain, you can observe it as separate from the water in the fountain. If you then dump it back in, it stops being separate, but that does not mean it was never separate. If you then take another cup of water from the fountain, you can observe it as separate as before; the fact that you could not observe it as separate before then does not mean it is not then separate.
7. How the philosophy of science known as Operationalism (My position as a Protestant Christian) would eliminate the possibility of utility in the different fields of science?
First, you must define operationalism for this question to matter. Second, you must explain how operationalism has anything to do with science. Third, you must then state why operationalism would eliminate the possibility of utility in scientific fields, as it is your position and your philosophy. At that point, you can ask us a question based on those things, but until then, this question is so poorly-phrased that it is effectively invalid - you are asking us to make your point for you, it seems.
8. If all knowledge comes through sensation, and if behavior and genetic progression is caused by universal laws, why is it that humans (Whose sensory capacity is often inferior to other creatures) are the only species that has the rational capacity to have written language, grammar books, dictionaries and mathematics, etc.? This was the fundamental problem Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913 A.D.) faced. He was a British Naturalist who proposed the first theory of natural selection that Darwin, a colleague through correspondence, praised and used to promote his own theory of natural selection. In the year 1858, Wallace was thoroughly convinced of natural selection. In 1861 he wrote a letter to his brother-in-law, stating his utter disbelief in God and the soul stating they were not beliefs from “intelligent conviction”. However, Wallace began studying Spiritualism in 1865 and soon after rejected the theory of Natural Selection. Outside of the racist implications of the theory which Wallace was very troubled by, Wallace argued that natural selection could not explain a number of phenomenon in the world and Darwin was quite distressed by it.
Because humans have historically eliminated or subjugated competitor species. It is certainly possible that there may have been other species with the rational capacity you describe, but they would have gone extinct or been subsumed into the homo sapiens genome over the 200,000 or so years since humans came onto the scene.
9. Do you have a complete theory? Traditionally, human Philosophy is divided into 4 main heads: 1. Metaphysics (Theory of Reality-Includes the Philosophy of Science) 2. Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge- Includes the Philosophy of Language) 3. Ethics 4. Politics (Includes a Philosophy of History). As a Protestant Christian, with the writings of Early Greek Christian Fathers, Protestants like Gordon H. Clark, the Protestant Westminster Assembly (1640s) and the accompanying Political Revolutions that Presbyterianism produced (The exposing of the tyranny of Roman Catholicism [Which has again been openly vindicated by their cruel and unforgivable protection of child predators in America in the last 10-15 years], the refutation of the Divine Right of Kings, and the affirmation of representative rule: that rulers must have the consent of the people to rule lawfully through lawful elections-per Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex) I have a complete Philosophy to guide, protect, progress and unify a human civilization. Our country is fragmented into thousands of confused pieces. We live in a nation that has no clue what to believe and its politicians deceive the people as they argue over arbitrary tastes and opinions with no absolute objective standard of law (Protestant Absolutism) to appeal to. This has left the door wide open for the Roman Catholic Church (Tyrannical Absolutism) to once again gain influence in our country. This leads to my next question.
Science does not need a complete theory, and the concept that there can be a complete theory in the first place is unnecessary and in fact dangerous. I am quite sure that the Roman Catholic Church, which you excoriate here, also has a "complete philosophy" to guide, protect, progress, and unify a human civilization. I am also quite sure that your own "complete philosophy" can be abused in a similar manner as the RCC's in order to create a tyranny. This is because a "complete philosophy" presumes that there is nothing more to be learned, and this is and has never been true, nor is it likely to ever be true. It is the error of pretending that one's answer is The Answer, with no further discussion required.
10. How you are going to unify the American people in an effort to remove the Roman Catholic Church from our country? The Roman Catholic Church with its Jesuit Assassins has been kicked out of dozens of countries in the past few centuries for political intrigue and attempts to overthrow these nations’ governments. They are doing the same thing again, as their Roman Catholic, once Professor at the Jesuit Georgetown University, Viet Diem wrote his tyrannical Patriot Act which was passed by that Papal coadjutor George W. Bush. This legislation basically overturns Basic Human Rights that have been acknowledged in both The United Kingdom and the US for over 300 years. Right before our war of Independence we had the Great Awakenings, which were Protestant Christian religious revivals. This was important to identify what King George was up to with his Papal coadjutating Intolerable Acts, which clearly revealed to colonialists (Now revived by Protestant principles) that he had been bought by Rome; especially his Quebec Act. Protestant revivals provided the unifying energy to overcome Roman Catholic tyranny over 200 years ago in our country. Do you seriously believe that Secularism is going to do this for our country? If you cannot provide a principle of unification for our country, you should again see how inhuman it is. How are you not taking us back to the dark ages? Also, if you take Bart Ehrman’s criticisms of the New Testament how is this not a complete denial of human literature and historiography in toto?
If this is the result of your "complete philosophy", I question whether it has any bearing on reality whatsoever. You seem to have made the mistake of assuming that the symbolism you use to describe things is an accurate descriptor of the actual and complete nature of those things. It is not; this is the error of The Answer.