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Atheist Experience
My thoughts on TAG: "Semantics exist. Therefore, God exists."

(Prepare for long-winded but worthwhile post...lol)

Hey guys, I'm glad I found your forum! I stumbled upon clips of your show on youtube and have since been an avid viewer and fan of the great work you do. Thank you very much for everything ACA does to raise consciousness in the areas of critical thinking, belief and atheism.

I recently watched the show where Matt Slick called in and (quite arrogantly) defended his version of TAG. Matt(D) admirably tried to explain the core fallacies and unjustified assumptions within Slick's argument, but I found myself screaming at my computer, desperately pleading for someone to see the deficiency of the argument from my point of view.

Matt was explaining (over...and over...and over...ugh) to Slick how just because logic is NOT physical, doesn't mean that the only possibility is that it is some magical, divinely created property of the universe that could only arise from a god (and somehow this proves the CHRISTIAN god? lol) But I think I have found an even more blunt (respond in kind when Slick is so obtuse...) way to understand this:

All that TAG says is that [1] we can observe and describe basic properties of existence (for the sake of my argument I am describing logical absolutes in these terms) [2] these properties are not dependent on imperfect, physical beings for their existence [3] therefore a god must exist in order to sustain these properties.

The problem, I suspect, is that Slick dualistically worships any perceived absolutes so blindly that he does not even consider alternative explanations. So what if there are properties to existence? Can Slick offer a scenario in which existence could possibly NOT have stable properties? All that TAG really tells us is that existence by definition has fundamental, absolute qualities. That's it. To me, it's as compelling as a theist coming to my door and pointing at the definition of existence in the dictionary...am I missing something here?

It seems obvious to me that the properties of existence, logical absolutes like A = A, exist whether or not a mind is around to describe it with elaborate semantics--mainly because, well, logic is just a way of viewing the universe which we understand in our PHYSICAL brains by using human language and cognition. But, when Slick claims that the conceptualization of these properties must somehow exist in some metaphysical realm outside of minds (or in the mind of god?), he is violating the law of identity: A is A, it is not the "concept" or "description" of A. Why can't the physical universe simply behave in a way that follows these absolutes without us needing to invoke a magical being in order to store the concepts of the absolutes in a metaphysical filing cabinet? Again, believers never cease to amaze me with the lengths they are willing to go to, the ad hoc supernatural fantasies they are willing to unquestioningly believe before looking critically at their religion.

I can't see why TAG is touted so strongly by apologists. Isn't it obviously just a fallacious word game? I think Matt mentioned Bertrand Russell's response to the argument, but I couldn't find any info on this when I searched. I think I am missing some details in the nitty gritty of this argument. I'm hoping someone can clarify. Until then, I hold to my version of TAG:

"Semantics exist. Therefore, god exists."

Matt Slick uses debate tactics to avoid having to prove his position. I personally wouldn't let him go on to explain his argument until he has provided a valid definition that could be "tested".

In the CARM debate he specified a definition that was contradictory. To me his argument is no better than any internet troll and I would not feed him by debating him. I would point out the inherent flaw and say its not worth discussing because your premise is flawed.

TAG is semantics. that is why you can always replace the god in their conclusions with any untestable claim. i think that is other matt's point: they are theorizing with the intent of creating an untestable hypothesis. sometimes they are just flat out obfuscating. using the same word to mean different things in what is presented as a logical progression.

Thank you for the clarification of what exactly the fallacy is....obfuscating the issue, that's exactly what they are doing. And yes, you can replace "god" with any untestable hypothesis, so why does Slick think this argument should be so convincing?

It's like he's saying that since there are rules to existence, god exists. So, since the universe exists, god must exist. The same old PRATT argument theists who don't like to do the hard work of thinking their own thoughts have resorted to for hundreds of years. I wish they would ask themselves, could there even be a universe without any basic properties which could be defined as logical absolutes? With or without a god, how could the universe not "be what it is" or cannot both "exist and not exist" (an embodiment of the law of excluded middle).

Again, I think the problem partially stems from the believer's regard of intelligence (human included) as divine and/or divinely created. They already believe in a whole supernatural realm, so to just pop the rules of logic in there and believe that, when we simply describe reality in those terms, we are accessing a metaphysical realm sustained by god through a divine connection to this supernatural, abstract level of reality (as opposed to just experiencing brain processes subjectively) is not much of a leap for them.

Does anyone see what I'm getting at?

i just wanted to clarify, i think there are two fallacies going on with TAG: Obfuscation AND Equivocation.

"Again, I think the problem partially stems from the believer's regard of intelligence (human included) as divine and/or divinely created. They already believe in a whole supernatural realm, so to just pop the rules of logic in there and believe that, when we simply describe reality in those terms, we are accessing a metaphysical realm sustained by god through a divine connection to this supernatural, abstract level of reality (as opposed to just experiencing brain processes subjectively) is not much of a leap for them."

many proponents of TAG do start with a false premise (the divine creation). i don't think that false premise is necessarily a part of the argument (although it is probably a part of the argument).

The Transcendental Argument for god (TAG) claims that logic; the laws of nature and morality can't exist without god. God and the entire universe are a manifestation of the "god consciousness." Nobody has explained which was first god or consciousness. Since, without god consciousness couldn't have existed, and consciousness couldn't exist without god!

They also claim that things are either physical or conceptual, they need to explain what image they conjure up in their minds when they think about God. To identify anything, requires an image of it in the mind. If asked if you believe in the existence of a rock an image in the mind of a rock will appear. This image has come from experience or knowledge of a rock in some way.

When we perceive a rock (perception is a firsthand form of awareness) I do not need to construct a proof in order to validate it. It is on the basis of perception that I can recognize that an object is itself, that a rock is a rock, not a mushroom. From this instance of perception, I already have the material to form the principle: If a rock should exist, it must be a rock (facts that are merged into a whole) discovered firsthand in reality.

The TAG'ers proof of God's existence lies in the fact that God's existence is the necessary presupposition for all human knowledge.

TAG is about the belief that there has to be a god or else man wouldn't know the difference in a rock and a mushroom. Even though men identified and named everything in all the many languages.

What modern man is learning from birth took millions of years for mankind to learn. So, our intelligence is also based on the fact that we are learning what it has taken millions of years to develop in terms of knowledge.

There are no logical absolutes. Something logically impossible today, may not always be impossible, period. It was also believed at one time that Euclidean geometry was a universal law, we now know that the rules of Euclidean geometry are not universal.

Absolute truths are whimsical but not useful. If a theory is sound it would be presented for testing. I do not know of a "God revelation" theory that has been submitted for testing.

Unless something is submitted for testing it is no more than an unsupported claim or pseudoscience.

When I was younger I used to like TAG... ( on of the many roads on my long path to atheism)

After I learned some Spanish, Chinese, computer programming, and actually experienced some other cultures - it is MUCH less appealing.

I'm positive there a logical connection....

When you say "logical absolutes like A = A, exist whether or not a mind is around to describe it" is an unfalsifiable claim. Rendering your entire argument invalid.

"Semantics exist, Therefore, your argument does not."

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