Dialogues on the Existence of the Supernatural
|October 4, 2013||Posted by Koanic under Christianity|
I have defended my proof of the existence of the supernatural for some time now, and am satisfied with its strength. However, I grow tired of batting away the cogitations of those unable to syllogize their way out of a Euthyphran dilemma. Therefore, I have converted the proof into a more accessible, dialogue form.
Cartesian: I doubt all. Yet doubting, one fact remains: Cogito ergo sum. For if I did not exist, then I could not be deceived.
Hippie: The mind is simply a manifestation of physical properties. My impressions are neural states. Qualia are an interpretation of the real world, but are themselves merely physical.
Cartesian: Hold, Hippie. Physical world? What ingenuous babble is this? I doubt it exists. You are a credulous fool, to speak of it with such certainty.
Kantesian: Indeed. The physical may merely be an illusion. How do we define the physical? Ask any physicist. It is made of atoms, quarks and whatnot. Relativistic space, wave particles, and whatever. Has anyone experienced such? No.
Hippie: We do not experience the atom qua atom; the ding an sich. Of course! But it is the substrate of our qualia. If we subdivide consciousness sufficiently, we arrive at neurons, then atoms, electrons jumping synapses, and so on. Turtles all the way down. You cannot see the electrons in consciousness for the same reason you cannot see the scales on a butterfly’s wing.
Kantesian: Dimwit. Have you already forgotten the definition of consciousness? Or did you never define it at all? Here is the definition: Consciousness is that which I am aware of, that which I experience. And nothing more.
No doubt, Hippie, you would like to define consciousness as "the process by which the mind interprets reality" – or somesuch. A tautological definition, pandering to your cause: Next you will tell us the mind is the physical brain, and voila, you win. Why not simply say it outright in the definition: "Consciousness is a physical process, and nothing more."
Hippie: Whatever, man. Fine, consciousness is what you experience, and nothing more. Doesn’t change a thing.
Kantesian: Certainly it does. Subdivide your consciousness. Do you find an eyeblink awareness of a synapse? No. Therefore consciousness contains no synapsi.
Hippie: Well that’s just because I don’t have the processing power to subdivide it sufficiently, man. A neuron can’t be aware of itself.
Kantesian: One could say the same for a Hippie, yet this changes nothing. If you’re not aware of it, it’s not in your consciousness. See the definition. Therefore, no synapsi in consciousness.
Hippie: That’s retarded. Everyone knows that it takes a brain to be conscious. I have a brain. That’s where my consciousness is. It’s science.
Kantesian: You pile of ignorant horse crap, that is neither epistemology nor philosophy. Go watch your daytime television, and trouble yourself no more with matters beyond your ken.
(Aside) He would only lose himself in this maze, if he was ever unlucky enough to find its entrance.
Kantesian: Now that the fool has departed, let us review our knowns:
1. Consciousness is what I experience, and not what I don’t experience.
2. I find no "matter" within my experience.
3. From 1 & 2, if I don’t find it, it isn’t there.
4. Thus consciousness is not material.
Sophist: Your proof follows, granted. But it is a tautology.
Kantesian: No, you idiot. The ontological argument is a tautology, because existence is implicit within the definition of an omnimax God. Existence is not implicit within the definition of consciousness as that which I experience, and nothing more. The knowledge that I experience is available only a posteriori. My proof of the supernatural fails if written in a book that no one reads, or if stored in an AI bereft of spirit. Only when comprehended by a conscious subject does it hold.
Sophist: [bla bla bla... it's still a tautology]
Kantesian: Fuck off.
Engineer: You’ve forgotten operator error.
Kantesian: I haven’t mentioned it, true. So?
Engineer: Humans are fallible. Your proof is complex. It’s possible you made a logical error somewhere. Therefore you haven’t proved anything.
Kantesian: Do you believe in math?
Engineer: Well, yes.
Kantesian: Then believe in my proof. Assign it the same level of confidence you give to complex geometric proofs you haven’t personally verified. Granting of course that mine has not yet received the acceptance of the academic community, and thus remains controversial to those unqualified to follow it themselves. Go your way, and peace to you.
Serpent: Hail, my fine fellow.
(Aside) Sssso, a classicist would bring those unfashionable colors, black and white, into my postmodern nest. How gauche. Let us hypnotize him, and then devour him sssslowly.
Kantesian: Finally, someone intelligent AND qualified. What say you?
Serpent: A fine effort, fine indeed. Let us explore this interesting space.
Serpent: [bla bla bla ]… and thus we cannot be certain that any "I" exists. And failing that, we must doubt the appended "o"’s in cogito ergo sum.
Kantesian: Clever but irrelevant. Qualia, erg sum. That is sufficient for my purpose.
(Aside) which is to prove the existence of the supernatural. A gauche goal indeed, against which every blackheart will rebel.
Serpent: Ah, well, perhaps. In any case, we are making progress, finding sssome common ground.
Next, I must object [bla bla bla bla, something somehow invoking the possibility of illogic, e.g.:
And thus, as flawed and limited observers, it may be possible that we are deceived by the strictures language itself, and thus your proof does not hold, being merely a linguistic artifact, which need not correspond to reality.]
[here follows much wriggling and writhing, as Kantesian demands that Serpent do one of two things:
1. Grant that the proof holds, given language, or
2. Identify a specific logical error
At some point Serpents agrees to forego 2 and entertain 1 "for the sake of argument".]
Kantesian: Wonderful. So my proof holds, but does not necessarily correspond with reality, for x reason, x being irrelevant.
We may restate thus: Something which is logically necessary may not be actually true. Or, A must be A, but is not actually A. Thus, in some way, for some reason, in some specific qualified condition, in a certain possible scenario, with whateverthefuck other qualifications, we reach the statement: A!=A.
Let us examine this scenario/possibility/substrate/ding-an-sich/whatever. A!=A. Of course, if this statement is true, then it itself does not hold. Therefore, (A!=A)=(A=A). Logic restored. Or perhaps you are just babbling incoherency.
[A battle of regression here ensues, with many drawn and redrawn brackets. We mercifully elide.]
Serpent: You are unreasonable, impolite, maleducated, and a boor. I depart to my laurels, my kin, and my livestock.
Kantesian: Yes, leave. I have your rattle on my doornail.
And now, let us review our knowns one last time:
- Consciousness is what I am aware of, and isn’t what I’m not aware of.
- Consciousness certainly actually exists.
- I’m not aware of matter.
- Consciousness is not matter.
- That which actually exists, but is not matter, we must call supernatural. A real incorporeal entity with personal characteristics is the quintessence of "supernatural".
- Just as we can be certain that something (Descartes’ "I") exists, we can also be sure that the "supernatural" exists.
- Materialism is therefore epistemological illiteracy.
Perplexed: I didn’t follow all that. You seemed quite rude for no reason. Do you really believe that we don’t have physical brains?
Kantesian: I was rude because the greatest evils of the last 200+ years stem from Materialism. Every corpse in Communism’s pile, every body heaped on the WWI-WWII pyre of European Christendom, cries out for retribution against the snaketongued philosophers who lead the West astray. Hippie or hackademic, they must all be intellectually eviscerated.
Of course we have physical brains and physical bodies. Of course our synapsi correspond exactly with our experience of consciousness. We are amphibians, half spirit, half flesh. By supernatural means, God knit body and soul together. We are mud made in His image. Some golden continuous strand, stronger than steel cables, subtler than spider silk, binds us to fleshly prisons – for a time. Like the jaunty protagonist of a Clockwork Orange, we are strapped, eyeballs prised wide, into our seat on Theatre Earth – bound to suffer every pleasure and terror on the screen.
That is, until the brain halts with death. Then the strand rebounds like a severed suspension cable, and the spirit, so closely bound to this material world, hurtles off to Judgment and Void.