Responses to emails #1
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The Atheists



Responses to email #1

I like email. First of all, I like it because it's communication, and I like communication. Secondly, if it is in response to a page I made, or an article I wrote, it gives me feedback, and a chance to create a dialog, and dialogue is communication, and I like communication. Besides, what's the point of writing articles, and putting pages on the net if you don't want people to discuss the ideas you're expressing?

So I got this unsolicited email from a gentleman with whom I have never previously had the pleasure of communication. Apparently, he got my name and email from a page of FAQ's I placed on the Internet that related to a certain atheist-oriented chatroom I frequent. Now, I can't be sure of that since he didn't tell me where he got my address from. I can only assume that's where he got it, as at this time, that's the only place I have that address posted.

In any event, his email at first flattered me, because I got the impression that he looked at me as some sort of authority, and I like that. Then, the email bothered me, because there was something I didn't quite like about it. At first glance, his arguments seemed to make some sense, and troubled me with the message they sent. Then, upon closer inspection, I realized that it wasn't the message that bothered me, it was the arguments themselves that bothered me. The logic wasn't the best, and the arguments were strung together so as to appear to make a sort of sense.

Here's the email. Some bits of it referring to personal things were deleted, but not enough to change the intent of the message. Additionally, the person who sent it made all spelling and grammatical errors;I did not mis-copy it.


Some months ago, I was on the Atheist Chat and asked a question which caused a serious discussion. The Atheists seemed unhappy with the statments and questions I made and were willing to argue in circular fashion for some time. The following are the statements and questions:

1) Isn't it true that the only bases for the knowledge of all phenomena are our senses?

2) Isn't it true that, just on an empirical basis, we know that the senses can give false information (as with schizophrenia, etc...)?

3) Since it is possible that the senses are flawed, isn't it true that my (or your & everyone elses) senses may be giving us false information?

4) Since the senses are the only way of verifying the senses, is it not impossible to really determine a probability of the actuality of sense perception?

5) Thus, is it not true that only by prefacing any statements with the phrase "in relying on the senses..." can we actually base anything on sense perception?

6) If this is so, is it not true that in an absolute sense, the possibility of the veracity of the Bible, the Rg Veda, the Zend Avesta, Book of the Hopi, et al. is equally valid with the Big Bang Theory, et al?

Secondly, assuming the senses are correct, is it not true that in everything which man considers, (I am not looking at whether or not cause and effect is a priori or not!) he finds cause and effect. If this is so, does it not require that everything composed of finite material (since that is all with which he is truly familiar) must have a cause or the entire basis for science falls apart since it becomes theoretically possible for a man, a chair, etc... to spontaneously come into existence and it would seem that at least some chimerae would occasionally spontaneously create and magic would be perfectily natural?

I don't mean to consume too much time on this, so I apologize. . . but I wanted to finish the last set of questions:

Since our senses tell us that all phenomena with which we are familiar (i.e., finite phenomena, including the Universe), does it not follow that the ultimate cause must be infinite: ergo, God, or a Supreme Being?

P.s. I am somewhere between an agnostic and a deist in my beliefs.


I have to admit, this guy is a bit open minded, and willing to ask questions. He also has a bit of knowledge about different religions, philosophy and logic. Not all his ideas are correct, at least to my way of thinking, but at least they are ideas. He has some structure to his arguments, and they flow pretty evenly, for the most part. Unfortunately, for him, some of the things he says are wrong.

I must warn you, I'm no logician, and I'm no lawyer. I couldn't tell you a non sequitur from an a prori and could care less about ad hominem arguments. I suppose I should, as I have read a few debates, and read enough arguments to and fro that I have a general idea what they are. I just don't care right now. I'm sure the regular Joe reading this doesn't care either.

First, let's look at the six statements he made, and analyze them to the best of our abilities.

1) Isn't it true that the only bases for the knowledge of all phenomena are our senses?


If this means that we know what we know because of what we see, smell, touch, hear, and taste, sure.

2) Isn't it true that, just on an empirical basis, we know that the senses can give false information (as with schizophrenia, etc...)?


3) Since it is possible that the senses are flawed, isn't it true that my (or your & everyone elses) senses may be giving us false information?


4) Since the senses are the only way of verifying the senses, is it not impossible to really determine a probability of the actuality of sense perception?


5) Thus, is it not true that only by prefacing any statements with the phrase "in relying on the senses..." can we actually base anything on sense perception?


6) If this is so, is it not true that in an absolute sense, the possibility of the veracity of the Bible, the Rg Veda, the Zend Avesta, Book of the Hopi, et al. is equally valid with the Big Bang Theory, et al?




Copyright 1999, by Eric B. Ptak. All rights reserved. Any and all replications in part or in whole should give credit where credit is due.

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