The Tentative Apologist
12/31/09 at 02:14 PM 0 Comments

“God Exists” ... still properly basic after all these years

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In my last post I pointed out that certain claims do not require evidence. Rather, their denials do. Such is the case with

(1) There are minds other than my own.
(2) An external world exists.

The solipsist who denies (1) owes us an argument as does the idealist or antirealist who denies (2). But then I pointed us to (3) God exists. Is it at least possible that it could be the denial of (3) which shoulders the evidential burden as is the case with (1) and (2)?

This is part of AnAtheist.Net's reply:

"Neither [(1) or (2)] can be proven beyond any doubt - but we experience the evidence for both so frequenlty that rejecting either is far more extraordinary than accepting them."

Unfortunately AAN completely missed the point. Both solipsism and idealism explain everything that we experience as well as the view that there are other minds and an external world. So appealing to the frequent confirmation of evidence is a complete non sequitur. The only difference is that (1) and (2) go beyond the immediately available evidence by positing other minds and an external world. So the problem remains.

AnAtheist.Net then says this:

"So why don't (1) and (2) carry a burden of proof? Technically they still do, but both are so evident to anybody that nobody seriously needs to ask what the evidence is! We all know what that evidence is and we accept that evidence as we carry out our everyday life."

Unfortunately, the first two statements are muddled. Is AAN saying that (1) and (2) are properly basic because they are self-evident? He must be since to claim that they are evidentially supported over-against solipsism and idealism (which is what the last sentence suggests) is, as I have noted, false.

But here's the problem. As I noted, (1) and (2) are not, as AAN supposes, "so evident to anybody that nobody seriously needs to ask what the evidence is!" There are highly rational, intelligent people who dissent from (1) and (2). At the very least, AAN owes as an argument for why these *apparently* rational people (like philosopher Howard Robinson) are not rational.

So at present AAN has no reply at all for why (3) cannot be accepted apart from evidence just like (1) and (2).

(For a defense of the proper basicality of (3) the intrepid reader can wade through the back catalogue of this blog.)

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