The transcendental takedown

I’ve decided that when the fancy strikes me I’m just going to make a post about some argument for the existence of God. I recently did it with the first cause argument (and it was incredibly easy). Today I am going to address the transcendental argument:

The argument proceeds as follows:

1. If there is no god, knowledge is not possible.
2. Knowledge is possible (or some other statement pertaining to logic or morality).
3. Therefore God exists.

This is another easy one. The very first premise is incorrect. Knowledge is simply a description of how accurately we perceive the world around us relative to any verification method. For example, a child has knowledge when his parents tell him the stove is hot. His verification method is his parents. They may be wrong, but that is entirely immaterial – remember, knowledge does not itself mean accuracy, but it is instead a measure of accuracy based upon any verification method. (Naturally, some verification methods will be better than others. For instance, verifying a contention using science will always be superior to verifying something using a holy text since the former case involves rigor whereas the later is merely faith.)

So what we have here is that knowledge is not something which is based upon the existence of any god. It is something which is defined by humans and which describes how we take in and process information. We can go further and look at the evolution of consciousness, but that would be getting into the gritty details, something which is not required in order to defeat the transcendental argument. So let’s rewrite it:

1. If there is no god, that has no bearing on whether or not we have knowledge.
2. Knowledge is possible.
3. Nothing has been said about any god.

University of Westminster gets rid of naturopathy

PZ has a post about quackery at two different universities. One is his own university, and he has a pretty good take down. The other is the University of Westminster where alternative ‘medicine’ degrees have been getting phased out over the years:

At the end of 2006, Westminster was offering 14 different BSc degrees in seven flavours of junk medicine. In October 2008, it was eleven. This year it’s eight, and next year only four degrees in two subjects. Since “Integrated Health” was ‘merged’ with Biological Sciences in May 2010, two of the original courses have been dropped each year. This September there will be a final intake for Nutrition Therapy and Naturopathy. That leaves only two, Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and (Western) Herbal Medicine.

I’m particularly happy about the demise of the courses in naturopathy given my familiarity with that non-science subject, but I’m just as happy about to hear the other programs that are getting shut down. I just wish more American universities and states would start putting bans on the spread of all this malarkey. It’s silly stuff that is based upon magical thinking. It needs to go.

Thought of the day

I bet I’ve had this as a Thought of the day in the past, but it’s still true: There is not a single good argument for the existence of God.


This is a piece of logic that most believers can’t seem to grasp:

Can we at least agree that this is racist?

I don’t know as there can be much debate on this one: