Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Followup to "What is god?"

Well, it seems my last post was met with incredulity. Lou responded with the following:

"Given this model of reality" nothing exists. You don't exist. By that logic, your existence is subject to my perception and interpretation of you. That is the kind of useless drivel that you hear from philosophy majors (a/k/a future McDonalds workers). You do exist. Trust me on this one.
Yes, I do exist. My existence is not subject to your perception and interpretation because I also exist outside that context, just like you exist outside mine.
Let me ask you a question: Who was the first president of the United States? George Washington, you say? Are you sure?

How can you be sure that there even was a George Washington? You couldn't have met him - he died 200 years before you were born. Yet you still believe that, not only did he exist, but he was the first president? What a shocking leap of faith!
You're right, it is faith. I never experienced the existence of George Washington personally. I rely on my belief in the accuracy of historical record -- which, as Nineteen Eighty-Four teaches us, may not resemble actual events at all -- for my belief that George Washington was the first president of the United States. That historical record exists both within and outside my bubble, so it meets the qualifications for objective existence in the context of that bubble, whether it is true or not.
Another question: You have blogged about President Bush. Do you really believe that he is president? How do you know? Have you ever met him? Sure you see him on TV, but you see lots of things on TV that aren't real, don't you? How can you be so sure that there even is a George W. Bush? What? Another leap of faith?
That brings up another question. How would meeting him make me any more sure of his existence than seeing him on TV? Sure, it may be more difficult to pass fiction off as truth under those circumstances, but those experiences could just as easily be some sort of hallucination. He exists either way.

I have also quoted Apollo from Battlestar Galactica, whom I've also seen on TV but never met. Apollo exists in the form of a fictional character, both within and outside my bubble, but I rely on historical records of more recent events for my knowledge of that existence. If those records were false, Apollo could be real and Bush fictional (and we'd all be a lot better-off), but I have faith that that's not the case.
Put down the symbolic logic textbook and come back to earth for a minute. Three facts: George Washington was the first president, George W. Bush is the current president, and God exists. People who don't believe the first two facts are called uneducated. Why is the third any different?
The difference, of course, is that those who claim to know about the first two facts almost unanimously agree, but the existence of the christian god (as a true being, existing outside of humanity rather than as fiction) is much more widely disputed.


Lou franklin said...

I see. So if more people believed in God then you would too.

whosawhatsis? said...

No, if more people believed in God, the existence of God would be more widely-believed. If it was more widely-believed, not believing would be more likely to make a person appear uneducated.