Re: Vital Essence

From: Robert Owen (
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 16:41:28 MST

Robert Wasley wrote:

> Max More wrote:
> > If you are a nontheist, that means you lack theistic belief. An atheist is
> > someone who lacks theistic belief. ("a-" means without.) So, I would say
> > you *are* an atheist.
> Whether God exists or not is a
> non-question, in the same way whether Zeus exists or not is a non-question.
> This is not true of the atheist position as clearly evident in recent
> postings.

Not at all. "God" exists and "Zeus" exists as words in the above paragraph.

THIS is the basis of all the confusion in this and similar threads. Ontological
questions are asked as if they were NOT propositions or sentences. If,
instead, logical questions were asked about STATEMENTS which include
such words as terms. Instead of asking if there were some empirical method
by means of which such entities could be observed if in fact they exist, that
is, turning the question into one of designing an experiment and thus asking
empirical statements about this issue, it is necessary to formulate logical
statements which are amenable to Truth-analysis, e.g. reductio ad absurdum.

We don't want to ask empirical questions about the existence or non-existence
of something --we want to make STATEMENTS which assert or deny the
existence of something, and then see if we can determine their truth, falsity
or undecidability. Put differently, there is no way to KNOW if "God" exists
but there is a way of knowing whether "God exists" is true or false, once
were decide what we mean by "God" [above, I took "God" and "Zeus" as
"words" to falsify your statement].

There is ABSOLUTELY no way to prove by empirical induction or logical
analysis that the word "God" as the subject of a sentence has or does
not have a real objective referent. But when I state"

        "IF everything in the universe, and therefore the universe itself,
        is the effect of at least one cause, AND IF the universe is finite
        with respect to space and time, THEN the universe must be the
        consequent of at least one original cause which cannot be an
        effect of anything but itself, AND cannot be a part of the uni-
        verse, AND cannot be finite in space and time."

if you cannot demonstrate that the proposition itself contains contradiction,
or if you cannot rigorously derive from this proposition two statements
which are mutually contradictory, then the proposition is TRUE. Only
THEN, will I assert that the term "God" is equivalent to the phrase "original
cause", meaning I define the word "God" as "Original Cause, then I can
substitute God in the proposition and it will remain true. Of course this
only proves that "God" in this sense IS if the antecedents in the conditional
statement are granted.

NOTE: In the above statement, "the universe" means "the Domain of all
          possible human experience".

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:32 MDT