On the relation between toilet brushes, subjective existence and gods or: How I learned to deny material gods and debunk the illogical claims of shit-for-brain know-it-all pricks

Abstract

This is a brief attempt to clarify certain ideas that deal with observers, their observations, physical objects and certain traits that require a mind to exist.

Objectively true statements are true whether they are observed or not; subjectively true statements require an observer, thus they are never objectively true.

If a certain trait requires a mind to exist, then it is a trait that logically doesn't exist outside the mind; it is a subjective trait.

If a certain trait doesn't need an observer in order for it to exist, it is an objective trait.

Examples

”A square has four sides” is an objectively true statement by definition; this is not something that is dependent on observer because a square by definition is a geometrical construct with four sides.

”That painting is beautiful” is not objectively true; it is a certain perception that exists (=is true) only in the mind of someone who observes the painting and states that to be the case (a painting without an observer doesn't have any traits that require an observer).

Thought experiment

If we define ”god” as something that is the most important part of somebody's life (the most essential part of it), something that one is fully dependent on, how can I – as an outsider – describe the situation (in which this trait is given to a material object) to its full extent without adhering to the mentality that he actually has a god?

Consider someone with a keen affection towards his toilet brush (simplified: person x claims that object p has a certain trait q). Acknowledge the fact that this affection does not exist outside the observer's mind; thus it is a true statement within his mind and that only. It is true in the same sense as it is true for him to state that objects that he finds attractive are (by his definition) attractive.

The reason for why this affection doesn't exist outside his mind is that if we either remove the observer or substitute the observer with a second observer that does not have said affection towards said object, then the ”god” or ”attractiveness” trait is no longer present. And upon understanding this we can immediately deduce that the trait is not inherently ”there.”

So how would we describe the situation? The easiest answer is to say that the person claims that his toilet brush is his god. Similarly, if he was to claim that his girlfriend is attractive, we could very well agree to the fact that he indeed does claim this. After all, this is what we do observe. We do not observe the trait because it doesn't exist in our mind. The reason why this is important to take into account is because should the original statement by person x (=object p has a certain trait q) be false (=person x lies), then we would find ourselves in a tricky situation.

If ”person x claims that object p has a certain trait q” allows us to conclude that ”object p has a certain trait q” is objectively true (that is, ”person x claims that object p has a certain trait q” and ”object p has a certain trait q” would be saying the same thing, which they in reality are not), then a following problem would occur: we would have to draw the same conclusion regardless of the truth value of the original statement, as there doesn't exist any means to determine whether it is true or false.


Conclusion

The most satisfying and truthful answer to our problem is that we can only describe the situation as it is presented to us. Thus the only satisfying answer is: ”person x claims that the toilet brush is his god.” This is everything we can know for sure. In other words, ”he claims that p is q” is not the same as ”p is q.”

Views: 6

Tags: atheism, god, logic, materialism

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Comment by Tapio Kortesaari on August 1, 2009 at 5:41pm
Yes, in the end we are talking about concepts and in that sense yes, they exist only in the mind. However, in here I am talking about the trait of a square (the trait being that it has four sides) and not so much the square itself. The square is, just like you correctly pointed out, a 2-dimensional construct and more importantly, an abstract construct that exists within the human mind. However, the statement which I presented as an example has to be true by definition; the trait exists within the definition of a square, which exists in the human mind.

I'm sorry if I fail to verbalize my thoughts clearly. At this time of night I've got tons of things going through my mind and I'm trying my best to make some sense out of it. What I would like emphasize is that the two examples that I provided differ from each other in the sense that first of them relies on deductive reasoning, thus we know a priori that it is true. To be talking about a square is the same as to be talking about a construct that has four sides. The latter example, however, relies on inductive reasoning and that is the reason why it isn't objectively true statement.
Comment by Scott on August 1, 2009 at 11:30am
I agree. But wouldn't the square also be subjective? How can a 2 dimensional geometric construct exist outside of the mind? Wouldn't you agree that any geometric "shape" is conceptual and that it requires a mind to define it as such?
Comment by Tapio Kortesaari on August 1, 2009 at 10:26am
This is a short writing in which I assess the somewhat crazy notion that "atheism can be proven irrational by the means of material gods." A year ago I came across this essay, titled "Jumalat ovat todistetusti olemassa" (English translation: The existence of gods is proven), in which the writer (who shall remain anonymous) humbly stated that he has destroyed the very foundation of atheism. Of course, this statement has nothing to do with reality, as his only argument is that the existence of material gods cannot be disproven. Hopefully I've managed to prove that this isn't true.

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