Welcome all who have visited and browsed. My apologies for the slow start. It has been a combination of finding the time to gather my thoughts and type as well as avoiding topics that I think about very often but simply don't have the energy to dive into just yet (we'll get there...). I have, however, been contemplating the idea of original sin to a certain degree lately, and I'm thinking I might start there.
But first, I've been having a conversation with a very good friend of mine on a MySpace blog that he actually started (I don't want to take the credit). So far, I've been the only one to reply, so it's been limited to a two-way conversation thus far. So after the last post, I asked him if I could re-post the conversation thus far over here to see what interest it may spark. Please join in and share your thoughts. Let's learn from each other (although I really mean that, I concede that it does sound a bit like an after-school special :) ).
"...atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there is no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I am not sure anyone ever reads these blog things, however I am interested in what people think. I am not looking for "Christian" answers I want real thoughts based upon this quote I found while reading. Please critically think about it and write. If you are not a Christian, please write write write. I really what to know what you think. Thank you, hope I get some good well thought statements.
As a philosophy major I am forced to think about this sort of stuff every day. Approaching this from the subject of logic, here's what I have to say:
"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning". This argument implies that humans need to have meaning in order to be able to think and reason. It's an interesting notion, but one would have to prove that first, and I'm not sure that it could be done.
Also the comparison that is being made here is committing a classic fallacy known as Weak Analogy. It is suggesting that there is an accurate correlation between "meaning" and "light." This is hard enough to do when comparing two things that might both be physical objects. Here, it's even more difficult because the two things being compared are 1) an idea and 2) a form of energy. The same problem arises with the Teleological argument for the existence of God, also known as the argument from design. To suggest that the complexity of a watch inferring the existence of a watchmaker is the same as the complexity of the universe implying the existence of a universe-creator is another classic Weak Analogy. The primary focus here is that we have a very good understanding of how a watch is made because we (humans) invented the watch, whereas we have no proven idea (only a few theories) of how universes are made. It's certainly possible that there could be a correlation between the two, but it isn't proven as of yet and therefore isn't enough to make an analogous claim.
As I think about it, it commits yet another fallacy known as Begging the Question. It poses a premise that implicitly relies on the conclusion that it is trying to prove. In other words, if the universe has no meaning --> we shouldn't be able to find that out because we wouldn't have meaning --> but the reason we wouldn't have meaning is because the universe doesn't have meaning --> but if the universe has no meaning, we shouldn't be able to find that out because we wouldn't have meaning.....and so on. It's simply a circular definition.
For the record, I don't believe any of this necessarily disproves the existence of God, it's just an evaluation of an argument.
"This argument implies that humans need to have meaning in order to be able to think and reason."
What are we reasoning about if or thinking about if there is no meaning? When thinking about something aren't we trying to understand the meaning of that thing? Asking the why?? Question at least modern science continues to ask that question and modern Christianity. Most are lost if there is mystery. I also could be talking out of my butt.
<> Tony-I am still thinking about the rest. I will answer soon enough. But this is my initial though after a couple of days. :)
And with regard to meaning and reasoning, I'm not suggesting that our ability to reason isn't the result of our having meaning. I'm only saying that you cannot logically use something to define itself.
Premise + Premise = Conclusion.
If one of the premises relies on the conclusion (which by the definition of logic must rely on its premises), you end up with a circular definition. You would have to go back and think more about why reasoning implies meaning (whatever "meaning" means). But you can't say that reasoning implies meaning simply because that seems to make sense.
This is a circular definition.
C: existence of god
P: existence of god
C: why we're able to reason
I will admit, I could also be talking out of my butt, this is a tough one to digest, mostly because words like "reasoning" and "meaning" are really difficult to define.
You are right that it is circular reasoning, however in this case what's the problem with that? I also agree that it is hard to define "reasoning" and "meaning". Go ahead and post this on your blog and lets keep talking about it.
Tony-I am still thinking about the rest. I will answer soon enough. But this is my initial though after a couple of days. :)