Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Absurdity of Atheism - You could be a Brain in a Vat

I was inspired to make this Brain in Vat (BIV) meme after listening to the following YouTube discussion / debate between Sye and Mathew Steele.


It's really worth taking the time to watch it, as it goes really deep and makes it clear why revelation from God is the only way you can't know that you aren't a brain in a vat. Sye uses the analogy of a mansion with 1000 rooms, and 999 of them are the BIV scenario, and only 1 of the rooms is a normal room where the person is actually experiencing reality as it is.

The reality experienced by a real person and a BIV would be exactly the same. A BIV would look at his hands and say "I've got hands" but in reality they don't have hands and the hands they think they see would just be computer generated illusion.

You could say that you are 99.99% sure that you aren't a BIV, however, where did you get that percentage of certainty from? You've just made that figure up based on your feelings. Given the fact that the reality experienced by a person who is a BIV would be identical to that of what we consider normal reality you've got 0% certainty that you aren't a BIV. Without God you can't even be 1% certain that you are not a BIV, in the Matrix, or in some other illusory reality.

God enables us to know with certainty by revelation knowledge that we are not brains in vats, or in some kind of weird reality that is illusory, because if we were the Bible would not be true, and nothing could be true.

The critic might say that God could be deceiving us to make us think that reality was real, but actually that is just part of the deception. But God cannot lie or deceive. (See The Deceptive God Argument Refuted).

The fact that professed atheists and professed unbelievers cannot know they aren't brains in vats shows the absurdity of unbelief. If you can't know you aren't a brain in a vat you can't know anything. You can't know the true nature of truth or reality to any degree!

 If you don't know that you aren't a brain in a vat, then you can't know that anything even exists outside of your own consciousness, as Negation of P admitted. He's not even sure if his own wife exists! 

Everyone assumes that they are not a brain in a vat, but without God they can't account for knowing they are not, or knowing the true nature of reality for certain to any degree. This shows that everyone does know that God exists but they are suppressing the truth about God. (Romans 1). Professed unbelievers are  willfully ignorant and deliberately forgetting God. (2 Peter 3:5).

Based on the certainty of God's existence and the truth of the Gospel I can echo the words of Paul in Acts 17 where he says that God "commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed." That man is Jesus Christ, and he died as a sacrifice for your sins. If you have not yet repented and trusted Jesus, don't leave it too late.

P.S. This is one atheists response...

My response is - how do you know that? What is considered common sense to some cultures is considered wrong in other cultures. For example in most countries it's considered "common sense" to not leave your bag and valuables unattended for more than a few seconds, but in Japan they often leave their valuables unattended without fear because the rate of theft is much much lower.

Common sense presupposes an ultimate standard of truth, and you can't get truth without God. It's not "common sense" to assert that there is no God - it's foolishness. In saying that something is "common sense" you are asserting the logical fallacy that truth is determined by majority opinion. While the majority is often right on simple issues, they can often be wrong too. If the majority of people in the world agreed that the Bible was true, would you then accept that it was true?

47 comments:

  1. Your logic is flawed. It is equally unknowable if we are a brain in a vat as it is unknowable if some supernatural being created the universe.

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    1. The funny thing is that the one living in fantasyland, the Christian, thinks that it is us who can't know if we're brains in vats or not. Irony has a brand new meaning.

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  2. "You can't know the true nature of truth or reality to any degree!"

    I have already went over this with you in the comments section of your TBS entry.

    All things which exist must necessarily exist in some manner. We know this because the world has revealed it to us such that we can be pretty damn certain about it.

    Now, feel free to answer the question I posed to you in your TBS entry:

    How could a thing which exists in no particular manner be said to exist at all?

    Again, until somebody comes along with a damned good argument against what this question is positing, I think I am fully justified in believing it to be true, and absolute, that all things which exist must necessarily exist in some manner.

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    1. If Christians have to pretend that reality is questionable, or an argument, then it is them who are in need of help. It means that they are so far gone into fantasyland that they rather pretend that everybody is as nuts as them.

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    2. Yeah well God and I both think you will not be getting to heaven if that's^ what you think. What's your point?

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  3. When you are saying those things Origen, how do you know that you aren't saying them as a brain in a vat? A brain in a vat could say exactly the same things. So until you can show you've got a way of knowing for certain that you aren't a brain in a vat you can't know anything and any questions are moot. If you can't give a basis for reality from within your worldview it means that you are stealing from the christian worldview in order to function - which shows that you do know God but are suppressing the truth because you prefer your sin. Given the certainty of God's existence and his call for all to repent, I urge you to repent Origen.

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    1. That is where you are wrong Brendan. Even if we are a brain in a vat, the world in which we experience must necessarily exist in some manner. The truth of this statement does not rely upon a mind independent world, it is true even in a mind dependent world. It is true in all possible worlds, it is a necessary truth...

      Again, answer the question.

      How could a thing which exists in no particular manner be said to exist at all?

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    2. The fact that you don't know if you're a brain in a vat according to your worldview shows that you can't know the true "manner" of this existence which you arbitrarily assert must exist. How can I be wrong if you can't know anything to be true, and have no way of knowing the true nature of reality in your worldview? How do you get truth according to your worldview? (How do you determine what truth is?) How do you get truth without God? I know that the Bible is true because without God you can't know anything to be true.

      //How could a thing which exists in no particular manner be said to exist at all?//

      I'm not saying that nothing exists. I'm asking you to account for knowledge of anything within your worldview. Even if I were to concede that you know that you exist in some form or another (perhaps as a brain in a vat) - so what? You've still not shown how you can know anything to be true beyond that - so where do you go from there? Knowing that you exist (which is something you can't know without God) is not an epistemic base for knowledge.

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    3. "Knowing that you exist (which is something you can't know without God) is not an epistemic base for knowledge."
      that is absolutely absurd we have been through this a person's existance is jusftied by the impossiblity of the contary

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    4. you didnt even understand what origin said Brendan, even if you cant know if you are a brain in a vat you still can know the existance of reality

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    5. In order to reason to the conclusion that 'I exist' you have to know that your reasoning is valid. And without God you're reduced to the vicious circle of reasoning that your reasoning is valid.

      Here's another question: How do you know that anything exists outside of your consciousness? Do you even know that this blog exists outside of your consciousness?

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    6. //you didnt even understand what origin said Brendan, even if you cant know if you are a brain in a vat you still can know the existance of reality//

      In order to know that I didn't understand Origin, you have to know that you aren't a brain in a vat, and you have to be able to know the true nature of reality to at least some degree. How do you know what is real?

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    7. "In order to reason to the conclusion that 'I exist' you have to know that your reasoning is valid"
      again like i told you its impossible for a person's reasoning to be 100% invalid to even come to an irrational conclusion you would still have to know how to use logic

      " And without God you're reduced to the vicious circle of reasoning that your reasoning is valid. "
      you mean like when you reasoned your reasoning is valid to reason about god's revelation? you see to reason about god's revelation you have to reason your own reasoning is valid first,so you're reduced to the vicious circle of reasoning that your reasoning is valid as you cannot understand god's revealtion unless you have valid reasoning which you cannot prove as you reason your own reasoning is valid

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    8. In order to reason to the conclusion that 'I exist' you have to know that your reasoning is valid. And without God you're reduced to the vicious circle of reasoning that your reasoning is valid.
      What makes you think that YOUR god, or ANY god is necessary for valid reasoning? Why can't reasoning be just something that we developed as we evolved? You do know that even other primates are able to, a smaller extent, use reasoning abilities, right?

      Here's another question: How do you know that anything exists outside of your consciousness? Do you even know that this blog exists outside of your consciousness?
      How do you know that your god exists outside of your consciousness? As for this blog? I'm typing on it, aren't I?

      As for that "brain in a vat" thing in your little cartoon up there?
      How would one know that this scenario is not the case even if any god exists?

      Anyway, time for you to learn something:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ1GzvLUBKQ

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    9. Wakawakwaka. You don't understand the nature of circular reasoning. I've written about circular reasoning in this blog post here http://godorabsurdity.blogspot.co.nz/2013/12/circular-reasoning.html
      Revelation from God breaks free from relying on ones own independent reasoning. The question for you though is - is circular reasoning absolutely fallacious? Without God you've got no basis for appealing to absolute laws of logic and saying that something is always wrong. The fact that you are appealing to laws of logic is because you DO know that God exists.

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    10. Reynold, you'd have to be intellectually dishonest to say that an all powerful God could not reveal to us with certainty that we aren't brains in vats. Anyway, really everyone does know that we aren't brains in vats, but without God you can't justify it, and that's the absurdity of denying God. As for the video, I've seen it before, and it's the usual nonsense. But I'll have a look at it and if I have time I'll write a review of it.

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    11. Reynold - have you seen this video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c60c-4CZ7Qo Sye debated Dan Courtney (informally). (Dan is the one who made the video you recommended I should watch).

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    12. "Revelation from God breaks free from relying on ones own independent reasoning"
      no it doesnt because you are reasoning your own reason to be valid to reason about god's revelation ! to understand god's revelation you have to have valid reasoning first! so again you are reasoning your own reasoning to be valid to then reason about god;s revelation and according to your logic since you are reasoning your own reasoning to be valid you cant know any reasoning that comes after wards is valid!

      " Anyway, really everyone does know that we aren't brains in vats, but without God you can't justify it, and that's the absurdity of denying God. "
      this begs the question and as well again even if god does exist you cant know due to the fact that god could reveal things to a person and that person could then upload things into a brain in a vat and you CANNOT know if you are that brain in a vat!

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    13. "you'd have to be intellectually dishonest to say that an all powerful God could not reveal to us with certainty that we aren't brains in vats."
      no you have to be intellectually honest to say that an all powerful God could not reveal to us with certainty that we aren't brains in vats because you yourself said if we became insane god will not tell us, so your beliefs destory all rationality if they were true

      "as for the video, I've seen it before, and it's the usual nonsense."
      if by nonsense you mean stuff that has refuted people like you a thousand times over then yeah i guess so, but the problem here is that you have been refuted many many times over on your own blog yet you jot out the same arguements over and over again
      "

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    14. "Without God you've got no basis for appealing to absolute laws of logic and saying that something is always wrong. The fact that you are appealing to laws of logic is because you DO know that God exists."
      begging the question and even more loaded statement fallacies, besides we have been through this logic is based on existance NOT god because god cannot exist unless existance first exists

      and i read your article on circular reasoning- you reasoned your reasoning is valid to then reason about god;s revelation the same of what you accuse non-christians of doing

      here is an example:
      "The circle transcends a mere vicious circular argument by acknowledging revelation from God. It transcends this earthly plane and thus breaks free from the circle. God has revealed certain things to us so that we can know them for certain (such as that He exists). "
      that is a "vicous" circle not a good circle you are assuming god's revelation to be correct to prove its correct!

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    15. You don't understand the argument. The presuppositional argument is not merely the conclusion of the argument - it is the necessary starting point. We start with the innate knowledge of God that everyone has and that bypasses merely being an intellectual knowledge. The other arguments are just putting forward the truth of the biblical God, but everyone already knows that this God exists - and you do too - so I urge you to repent. All of your points presuppose rationality and you've yet to account for rationality apart from God, but keep using the Tu Quoque fallacy and basically saying, yes I can't be sure I'm not a brain in a vat, but neither can you. Well I know by revelation from God that you're wrong. I know I'm not a brain in a vat, and because you can't know that you are not, you can't know anything outside of your own consciousness. As for circularity, the christian circle is more of a spiral that breaks free from circularity - and without it you remain stuck in the vicious circle of reasoning that your reasoning is valid. So how can you know anything at all outside of your own consciousness?

      I asked you: How do you know that anything exists outside of your consciousness? Do you even know that this blog exists outside of your consciousness?

      You said // How do you know that your god exists outside of your consciousness? As for this blog? I'm typing on it, aren't I?//

      I know that God exists outside of my consciousness by revelation from God. I know this many ways, as do you, innately, through creation, and through the Bible. How do you know that you aren't typing inside the matrix? You've got no way of knowing anything. Your answer is totally begging the question.

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    16. "You don't understand the argument"
      i do

      "We start with the innate knowledge of God that everyone has and that bypasses merely being an intellectual knowledge" you really are not getting it are you? to understand that knowledge you FIRST must have valid reasoning! so again you are reasoning your own reason to be valid to then reason about god's revelation! to understand or be aware of even "innate" knowedlge you must have valid reasoning, which you reason with your reason that its valid.

      " All of your points presuppose rationality and you've yet to account for rationality apart from God, "
      rationality is just the impossiblity to the contary its impossible for any person to be that irrational due to the self refuting nature of your argument, and my reasoning is in a LINE not a circle like yours

      "but keep using the Tu Quoque fallacy and basically saying, yes I can't be sure I'm not a brain in a vat, but neither can you. Well I know by revelation from God that you're wrong. I know I'm not a brain in a vat"
      no i am merely pointing out that you are using your own reasoning to validiate your reasoning to then reasion about god and that mental illness and christianity are not mutally excusive. Besides there is no reason for someone who got a revealtion from god who then puts a brain in a jar and makes it think that that brain is getting a revelation from god.

      "As for circularity, the christian circle is more of a spiral that breaks free from circularity - and without it you remain stuck in the vicious circle of reasoning that your reasoning is valid"
      no again you are reasoning your reasoning to be valid to then reason about god's revelation if you dont have valid reasoning you cannot understand what your god supposedly had revealed. You have to have valid reasoning to be even aware of the knowedge of god you supposedly have

      " How do you know that anything exists outside of your consciousness? Do you even know that this blog exists outside of your consciousness?"
      due to the impossiblity of the contary, and even if i was inside the matrix your blog still exists in one form or anther

      " Well I know by revelation from God that you're wrong"
      so then if you ever became insane would you get a revelation from God that your reasoning has become invalid?
      "You've got no way of knowing anything. Your answer is totally begging the question."
      we have been through this already christianity and mental illness are not mutally excusive ad i dont know this innately and you cannot prove otherwise it is just an assertion noting more then that, as well It only makes sense to talk about the world as an illusion (or 'computer simulation', ect) by reference to other possible experiences that would justify the label. Even if the experiences (of the 'true reality') are not in practice possible, they must at least be possible in theory, or else the term 'illusion' would not be applicable. If there is no way, even in theory, to tell that this world is not what it seems, then it is meaningless to claim that this world is not what it seems

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    17. also i didnt say // How do you know that your god exists outside of your consciousness? As for this blog? I'm typing on it, aren't I?//
      thats Reynold's comment, not me, remember what i said about you having bad comprehension skills?

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    18. Surfer Brendan
      Reynold, you'd have to be intellectually dishonest to say that an all powerful God could not reveal to us with certainty that we aren't brains in vats.
      Oh? Prove it. Show us just how your god, or any god could have done that, please.

      Surfer Brendan
      Anyway, really everyone does know that we aren't brains in vats, but without God you can't justify it,
      And I ask again: How do you know?

      Surfer Brendan
      and that's the absurdity of denying God. As for the video, I've seen it before, and it's the usual nonsense. But I'll have a look at it and if I have time I'll write a review of it.
      I'm sure your review will be as well though-out as your posts have been.

      Surfer Brendan
      You don't understand the argument. The presuppositional argument is not merely the conclusion of the argument - it is the necessary starting point.
      Presupp is both the ending and the "necessary starting point". That's why it's called circular reasoning.


      Surfer Brendan
      All of your points presuppose rationality and you've yet to account for rationality apart from God, but keep using the Tu Quoque fallacy and basically saying, yes I can't be sure I'm not a brain in a vat, but neither can you. Well I know by revelation from God that you're wrong.
      AGAIN: How do you know that this "revelation" is valid? Can you describe it? Can you tell us when you had this "revelation"? Can you tell us anything about it, other than just bald, unprovable assertions?

      How do we know that you are not lying about having this "revelation"? How you YOU know that "god" didn't lie to you in this so-called "revelation"? Remember: God is NOT above lying as portrayed in his own "bible". Read the story of the prophet Samuel and the reason god gave him to tell Saul as to why he went out to Jesse's place.


      Surfer Brendan
      I know that God exists outside of my consciousness by revelation from God. I know this many ways, as do you, innately, through creation, and through the Bible.
      How do you know that this revelation is valid? How do you know that the bible is valid? Remember: You need to make use of your senses in the first place to be able to read the bible. The point of the whole "brain in a vat" bullshit that you're spewing is that you claim that without "revelation" we can't trust our senses.

      Uh, "innately"? How so?

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  4. "The fact that you don't know if you're a brain in a vat according to your worldview shows that you can't know the true "manner" of this existence which you arbitrarily assert must exist."

    I do not assert that any particular world exists, the assertion is that no matter what the overall truth of reality is, the statement "All things which exist must necessarily exist in some manner" is true regardless. It doesn't matter if we live in an illusion/brain in a vat (mind dependent world), or a mind independent world.

    And I know this because existence has revealed it to me such that I can be pretty damn certain about it.

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    1. A brain in a vat could say all of the same things you've said. That's the absurdity of atheism. So my meme stands - without God you can't know you aren't a brain in a vat, and therefore can't know anything. How can you know that God doesn't exist and the Bible is not true if you can't even know you aren't a brain in a vat? That's the proof that God exists - without him you can't prove anything.

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    2. You admit you could be a brain in a vat, but assume that you are not - hence you assume the biblical worldview is true, because that worldview alone provides a way of knowing the true nature of reality and provides a basis for the reliability of the senses and a basis for truth. Admit it - you know that God exists, but you're not willing to admit it because you prefer your sin.

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    3. "You admit you could be a brain in a vat, but assume that you are not - hence you assume the biblical worldview is true, because that worldview alone provides a way of knowing the true nature of reality and provides a basis for the reliability of the senses and a basis for truth"
      this begs the question Brendan and as well even if Christianty is true you cannot know if you are a brain in a vat or not due to the fact that a person who has been revealed things by God can program brains in vats to think like they got revelations from god

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    4. brain in a vat could say all of the same things you've said, that God revealed it to them, That's the absurdity of Christianity, and again even if you are a brain in a vat you still know existance is real

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    5. I'm not the one begging the question and using circular reasoning. My circle is a virtuous circle that makes all knowledge possible. Your circle is a vicious circle that destroys all possibility of knowledge. It's not a reversible claim. Unless you are intellectually dishonest you have to admit that it's possible for an all powerful God to reveal to us with certainty that we are not brains in vats.

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    6. "Unless you are intellectually dishonest you have to admit that it's possible for an all powerful God to reveal to us with certainty that we are not brains in vats"

      no he cannot as you yourself admitted if we became insane god will not tell us

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    7. Surfer Brendan
      I'm not the one begging the question and using circular reasoning. My circle is a virtuous circle that makes all knowledge possible. Your circle is a vicious circle that destroys all possibility of knowledge.
      And you say that you are NOT "begging the question"? Uh no. How can you know that you are not a brain in a vat?

      How can you tell that this "revelation" of yours is not something that's been programmed into you by a computer scientist as opposed to god?

      By the way, a so-called "virtuous circle" is still a circle. Yet earlier you said that you are not using circular reasoning.

      I don't see much validity in your reasoning at all. That right there gives your "revelation" that you claim gives your reasoning validity, a strike against it already.

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    8. "A brain in a vat could say all of the same things you've said."

      And that brain in the vat would be absolutely correct to say that all things which exists must necessarily exist in some manner. I have told you at least twice now, the truth of this statement doesn't rely upon the world existing in a particular manner, just that it exists in some manner at all.


      "You admit you could be a brain in a vat, but assume that you are not - hence you assume the biblical worldview is true..."

      You keep telling yourself that. I am sure it makes you feel better about what you believe...

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  5. How do you know God's not the guy who's got all these brains in jars?

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    1. Because God is not a deceiving God. If we were brains in jars then that would mean that reality is nothing like God has said it is in the Bible and as we experience it. http://godorabsurdity.blogspot.co.nz/2014/03/the-deceptive-god-argument-refuted.html

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    2. From that site you linked to:
      "The biggest issue though is that the deceptive God argument is self-refuting. If God could lie then there would be no way we could trust any rationality, as everything could just be part of a deceptive illusion made up by God. So the deceptive God argument cannot be true, because if it were true nothing could be true - the argument is self-refuting and destroys itself, along with the possibility of knowing anything."
      No, the argument is not self-refuting; it's just showing how it shoots down your claim that your god is the only way that we could trust any rationality.

      All you've done is show that since you don't like the consequence of the "deceitful god" argument, you categorically reject it.

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  6. OK, well, since nobody can know for sure that they're not brains in jars whether they believe in God or not, I'm not really seeing what your point is.

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    1. The point is that without God you can't know the true nature of reality to any degree, and have no basis for your beliefs, which is absurd. With God we know by revelation from the God who cannot lie that we aren't brains in vats. Of course, proof doesn't equal persuasion, so feel free to keep sucking on the blue pill, and telling yourself that I'm wrong. If you want the truth, then repent and put your trust in Jesus.

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    2. Right, but I consider the probability that I'm a brain in a jar to be so ridiculously low as to not be worth worrying about. I experience my existence as if I am not a brain in a jar - if I'm walking down the road, for example, and there's a lamppost directly ahead of me, I have two options. I can assume I'm not a brain in a jar, and that the lamppost really is there, and adjust my course accordingly. Alternatively, I can assume that I am a brain in a jar, that the lamppost isn't really there because I'm just imagining it, and not adjust my course at all.

      One of these assumptions will result in pain and injury, which I find rather unpleasant. The other results in me getting where I was going without any bits of me being battered or broken. Based on what I can experience, while I'll grant you that I can't be 100% certain I'm not a brain in a jar, I think I can be 99.99999999999999999999% certain. Which is enough for me.

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    3. If you can't be sure that you aren't a brain in a jar, or in the matrix, how can you know anything about reality to any degree? Your whole life could be a big illusion. Hindus believe that is the case, and pain you feel is also part of the illusion. This is the proof that God exists - without him you can't prove anything, because you can't know anything for certain. This means you can't know anything within your worldview, which is absurd. The fact that you assume that your senses are reliable and that reality is real are because you do know God. That's why you need to repent of denying and sinning against the God you know.

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    4. Uhhh...nope. Not seeing where any god is required here. I'm quite happy with 99.99999999999999999999% certainty that I'm not a brain in a jar, and that I see the things in front of me because those are the things that are in front of me to see. And what I see in front of me isn't the inside of a jar.

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    5. If you can't know for sure with 100% certainty that you aren't a brain in a vat, then how do you know it to any degree given the fact that the reality experienced by a brain in a jar and the reality experienced by a normal person are identical? So your 99.9999% figure is just dreamed up and something you have no way of knowing. Without God you can't know anything. That's the absurdity of denying God.

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    6. Since I consider it ridiculously improbable that I'm a brain in a jar, I feel no need for a God to convince me of that. You can't prove that you're not a brain in a jar that believes in God, as opposed to one that doesn't.

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    7. "fact that you assume that your senses are reliable and that reality is real are because you do know God."
      we havbe been through this Brendan, reality is real due to the impossiblity of the contary , its logically impossible for a person to have their entire life to be one big illsuion

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    8. So it seems to come down to your feelings about what you consider probable and improbable. You have no way of quantifying the level of probability involved and thus no way of knowing that we aren't in the matrix or some other illusion to even 1% probability. That's the absurdity of denying God. I urge you to repent. I can and have proved that God exists, but proof and persuasion are two different things. (See my website www.godorabsurdity.com for proof that God exists, if you haven't or need a refresher).

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    9. no you havent Brendan all you did was mindlessly assert such a claim and Quarsphere even showed you how he/she quantifies the probablity invovled you just dont like it,

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