Monthly Archives: January 2016

You Cannot Claim BY Your Existence That You Do Not Exist: The false ideological paradox of human free will and choice, and the implicit determinism of physical or natural law

1.

[Please note that in this essay I will use the phrases “laws of physics”, “physical law”, and “natural law” interchangeably.]

“Since there is no distinction between man and the laws of physics, it is impossible that man should know and assert that he is determined by them, these laws.”

-Me

This is an axiom I have made countless times before, and yet it doesn’t seem to get much traction. Perhaps it’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the claim without a substantial amount of rumination, and experience with the underlying arguments. This is understandable, since the assertion runs ostensibly paradoxical to an ontology and frankly dubious scientific philosophies that are taken by the vast majority of people as given. But what is also difficult, and more like impossible, is its refutation. And this makes sense, of course, for you cannot refute–at least objectively (which is to say reasonably)–an axiomatic truth. A truth perfect in its rational consistency, and irreducible in its conclusions, which have been derived from a comprehensive and carefully reasoned examination of the premises it answers.

I do understand that the axiom I aver is not necessarily intuitive given the heavy influence of Platonist thinking in western culture, but nevertheless it is perfectly consistent to state the following:

If a man is absolutely determined to think what he thinks and believe what he believes and say what he says, then it must be because he is absolutely determined to BE what he is.

And if man is absolutely determined to be what he is, then there really isn’t any distinction between man’s Self and the determining force, ITSELF. For that which is absolutely determined must be an absolute function of that which determines it. In which case, there is no real or relevant distinction between the two. If man is absolutely determined by the laws of physics then man cannot know he is absolutely determined because there is no man which independently exists in the first place. There is no one to KNOW anything.

Nevertheless, it is often asserted and assumed that the laws of physics are not actually abstract, but are real, actual, and causal, and possess a power to govern and mathematically order all things (which makes math also non-abstract, being the “code” or “language” through which the determined order is set). And it is by this rationale that it is asserted, without as much as a blush toward the irony and contradiction, that human beings, their choices, and actions, and thoughts are determined by these physical laws. Or stated another way, there are many (if not most) people who claim that they and everyone else have no actual “free will” from the place of consciously autonomous, moral, volitional and self-aware agency; that bodies and brains are fully determined by natural law–by the mathematical constructs which dictate all processes; and therefore no one actually chooses or thinks or acts for themselves. Conscious existence is an illusion (an illusion of what, exactly, cannot be answered). There is no will. There is no choice. There is no doing. There is only the all-compelling force of physics.

And yet, somehow, without will or choice or volitional action, or self-existence, there IS knowledge. We are told that though man cannot actually think, he can know, and can possess understanding with respect to his categorical determinism. He is not existentially sufficient to individual action, nor does he possess an individual, independent capacity for learning. And yet he can know . He can know and assert with un-ironic certainty that he is absolutely determined by physical law.

People convinced of their own natural determinism declare with unequivocal surety a thing which their own logic and their own admission cannot possibly be true. To say that you can know that you cannot choose what you do and cannot choose what you think and cannot choose what you feel because what you ARE is an absolute function of determinative natural laws OUTSIDE of you is a contradiction so obvious that one must assume that the only reason it is not immediately recognized as self-negating is that it is completely obscured by the smoke of two thousand years of gnostic, Platonist philosophical convention which demands the “enlightened” determinist position. This and the evolution of the specious presumption that the scientist–many or most of whom conflate and infuse their false determinative philosophy with and into what is considered the empirical essence of the natural universe–is the final arbiter of Truth.

2.

To put the assertion more concisely: man knows that he is determined by the laws of physics because he is determined by the laws of physics to know.

How is it that one knows?

Because he is determined.

And how is it that he is determined?

Because he knows.

This is an outrageous and shocking bit of purely circular “reasoning”. And it is shocking because it is so quickly asserted and accepted by people who are otherwise to be considered to possess above-average intelligence.

(Short side note: If the above assertion is true then there can be no consciousness. Man can have no frame of reference for “he”, because “he” or “self” is a concept, and concepts are cognitive, and cognition is determined. And certainly if his thoughts are determined then his brain, which is part of his body is equally determined. In which case ALL of man is subsumed under absolute determinism. There is no individual consciousness because there is no individual body because all bodies are direct products of the all determining laws of physics. More explication of this below.)

Here is the real maliciousness and mendacity of the circular logic:

One knows that he is determined to know; and the knowing is the very, and ONLY, proof possible that he is determined to know. In this case, ultimately, it must be the root EXISTENCE of man which is the very PROOF that everything about him is determined, because what man knows is a direct and absolute function of his existence. Again, this makes man’s knowing of his determinism a function of his utterly determined existence by physical law. And of course it isn’t just knowing, or knowledge, but ALL that man does and whatever capabilities and capacities he possesses is a function of his root, irreducible existence. Therefore, determinism as a function of physical law is unfalsifiable because no matter what man does, or thinks, or asserts, it is proof of the veracity and efficacy of determinism. And this is why this circular reasoning (and circular reasoning in general) is so vile. It co-opts the entire argument by rendering ideas, and thus the argument itself, meaningless. It consigns ideas and all discussion and reason and cooperation into oblivion by making every counter point ipso facto agreement with the premise because it is only possible because of the POWER of the premise to effect it. Man exists–man IS–because he is determined to be. And therefore he knows whatever he knows because he is determined to know. And since ALL assertions, beliefs, ideas, presumptions, assumptions, opinions, hypotheses, theories, confessions of faith, affections, passions, sympathies, inclinations, inferences, and even queries etc. are a function of what man thinks and this a product of his full sum of knowledge and man’s knowledge is determined by the laws of physics, then ALL contrary arguments to determinism become affirmation and proof of it by fiat.

People, this is artifice.

Man’s knowledge is determined because man’s Self is determined. And is absolutely determined by that which is absolutely NOT man. Which…cannot be true. That which absolutely determined man IS absolutely man. Thus, there is no man. THAT’S the only way he is determined. In which case, what is man?

Man is nothing. So man cannot say that he knows. For “he” has been summarily removed from the existential equation.

3.

Man is absolutely determined by the laws of physics, so he knows. Because he knows, he is absolutely determined by the laws of physics. His conscious knowledge of his own absolute determinism by the determinative force–in this case, the laws of physics–is itself likewise by definition an absolute product of the determinative force. Man knows, somehow, that both he and what he knows are a direct and absolute function/product/derivative of natural law which must by its very definition and very purpose render any distinction between itself and man impossible. The tautology thus renders to us this equation:

Man’s knowledge via man, himself = the laws of physics.

Proceeding from this equation is what I call the Law of Absolute Context:

Because of this axiom rooted in the logic of determinative natural law, man does not and cannot possess a frame of reference–which could only be an independent, distinct, autonomous Self–by which to observe and thus define the ABSENCE of determinism as a function the laws of physics. Without being able to define a distinction between what is determined by the laws of physics from what is not determined by the laws of physics, and without being able to claim an individual identity or agency of Self because any such agency must be a direct function of the determinative laws of physics, he cannot possibly know that he is determined by the laws of physics. It’s the same false logic utilized by those who insist that the universe must have been consciously created by God due to the ostensibly non-chaotic, mathematically ordered nature of it. But one only has to point out that without the frame of reference of a DISORDERED universe, which is not possible because of the ABSOLUTE and ipso facto nature of the ORDERED universe, it cannot be claimed that the universe is necessarily ordered and thus must have been consciously created by God. A disordered universe is merely a theoretical abstraction, predicated upon the constant of the material, ordered universe, and a direct function of it. In which case, there is no actual, empirical distinction at all by which to make the comparison that would lead to the conclusion.

It is for this reason I submit that if the laws of physics determine man, man cannot possibly know he is determined, and thus he cannot claim it. The tautology makes it impossible. Man is determined by the laws of physics and therefore, by logical extension, his consciousness is determined, and from that determined consciousness he knows and claims that he is determined by the laws of physics. This necessitates the following corollary: man is determined by the laws of physics to claim what he knows, as a function of his consciousness which is a function of his being which is a function of the determinism of the laws of physics. Man’s Self and therefore ALL of his Self-expression IS nothing more than the EXACT natural law which determines him. By definition then, man is impossible. There is no distinct agency or identity to him. He has no Self and therefore no Self consciousness, no Self-awareness, no Self-knowledge, and no Self-expression–no ideas, no beliefs, no opinions, no assertions. This is why we must vigilantly resist taking seriously anyone who claims our free will is an illusion and our independent, conscious choice impossible because of the determinative power and nature of the laws of physics. Because if man has been entirely subordinated and subsumed by natural law, then he doesn’t actually exist and therefore he cannot know and thus claim that he does not exist.

The context is absolute determinism, you see. There is no context of non-determinism, or conscious agency free from the determinative power of the laws of physics which then creates the comparison that can lead to the conclusion that an independently conscious, moral agent is determined by the laws of physics.

And thus, again, the irreducible axiom must remain, and remain in perpetuity:

“Since there is no distinction between man and the laws of physics, it is impossible that man should know and assert that he is determined by them, these laws.”

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God’s Categorical Knowledge is Both Irrelevant and Impossible for Humanity to Know and Claim

God knows everything because He is God.

This translates logically to: God = the knowledge of everything.

Said another way: He is God because He knows everything. Only one agent can know everything, and it is by virtue of BEING that agent that all is known. God’s knowledge is not acquired…it is a function of his nature. Omniscience cannot be separated from the very essence of God…His God-ness. Therefore it follows, again, that not only does He know everything because He is God, He is God, because He knows everything. This is a fundamental truth–an axiomatic statement regarding the very foundational natural essence of God–held by all of Christian orthodoxy, and even most non-orthodox factions.

Conversely, man does not know everything. And why does he not know everything? Because he hasn’t yet acquired all knowledge? No. It is proclaimed by orthodoxy that, just as omniscience is a function of God’s nature–that is, a function of being what He is–ABSOLUTE INCOMPLETE knowledge is a function of being man. What man knows will always be incomplete no matter how much he learns because his incomplete knowledge is a function not of what he knows or doesn’t know by virtue of what he has sought to learn or information to which he has been exposed, but of what he IS.  Man does not and cannot know everything because he is man. Thus, we have the following maxim:

Man = the incomplete knowledge of everything.

Man does not know everything because he is man. One agent (or one collection of agents of the same nature–humanity) does not know everything. That agent is man. So, in the same way we declare that man does not know everything because he is Man, we can also declare that He is man because he does not know everything.

*

God = absolute knowledge. Or, God = the possession of absolute knowledge.

Now, ostensibly that sounds pretty reasonable. No red flags are necessarily immediately raised. But look at what happens when we state the logical existential/epistemological corollary of this maxim:

Man = incompleteness of knowledge.  Or, Man = the possession of absolute incomplete knowledge.

See the contradiction? You cannot possess an absolute amount of what is absolutely not absolute. Or said another way, you cannot completely possess that which is incomplete. Or even more concisely, there is no such thing as a complete incomplete.

And yet this is the very pointed logical error the vast majority of Christians and other religious people commit constantly. It is a false assertion that is not supported by the Bible, nor reason. And even worse, it leads to the perpetual undervaluing of human beings which in turn has led, and will surely continue to lead, to the to manipulation and abuse, even outright slavery and murder, of millions, even billions, of innocent people.

Since man is the possessor of absolute incomplete knowledge (which makes his knowledge fundamentally “insufficient” when we apply this epistemology to morality and ethics), it is impossible for him to claim that God knows everything. But here is where it gets even more interesting. In the same way, it is impossible for God to claim that man does NOT know everything. This is because the metaphysical/epistemological frames of reference of God and man are mutually exclusive. Absolute complete knowledge is utterly and infinitely exclusive of absolutely incomplete knowledge, and vice versa. God wouldn’t and couldn’t know–by definition–what a state of incomplete knowledge looks like in order to claim that it exists and is true.  And man wouldn’t and couldn’t know–by definition–what a state of complete knowledge looks like in order to claim it exists and is true. The reason for both of these axioms is that according to the presumptions undergirding the concept of omniscience, knowledge is not a function of learning–it is not a function of possessing an ABILITY to know–but a function of BEING; the static axiom of the root existence of the agent IS the full sum and substance of the KNOWLEDGE of that agent. You see, the folly is in the fusion of metaphysics and epistemology…what man is BECOMES what man knows, and the same is true for God. Knowledge is inexorably fused to that which does the knowing. This is a shocking bastardization of philosophy; not to mention a strangling of reason.

What it does, ultimately, is eradicat the relevancy of knowledge by destroying the agent which does the knowing. By fusing metaphysics with epistemology both are eliminated. Knowledge has no meaning nor purpose–it is ossified in pointlessness–because what man and God are as agents who are ABLE to know but in essence fully distinct from that knowledge, is erased.

In other words, the moral and volitional agent–God, man–is removed, and thus we make the concept of “knowing” irrelevant, since there can thus be no agent to know anything.

One final nail in the coffin of the perfectly absurd notion of divine omniscience:

If we claim that God knows everything, then this must of course include the fact that man does not know everything. Or rather, God knows the incomplete knowledge of man.

Hmm…that doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

What man knows becomes by definition a part of the “everything” that God knows. So then man’s categorical incomplete knowledge–his absolute LACK of knowledge–becomes a part of God’s complete knowledge.

Ummmm…no. This has ceased to make any sense whatsoever. It’s not even ostensibly rational. We aren’t within a hundred miles of even convincing  sophism at this point.

If we say that God has an absolutely complete knowledge which includes the knowledge of man’s absolutely incomplete knowledge (his “completely incomplete” knowledge), we have attempted to integrate an absolute negative–NOT knowing–with an absolute positive–knowing. Which is a contradiction.

But wait. It gets even better. And by “better”, I mean “more egregious”.

If God’s absolutely complete knowledge is a part of the absolutely incomplete knowledge of man, to the point where man can say with confidence that “God knows everything”, then God’s absolutely complete knowledge becomes part of man’s absolutely incomplete knowledge.  We have attempted to integrate an absolute positive–knowing–with an absolute negative–NOT knowing. So we’ve committed the same logical blunder, only this time with a level arrogance that only the rationally challenged, “humble”, orthodoxy-devoted, “doctrinally sound” followers of God, seem to possess. The idea that a lowly, totally depraved, wholly unrighteousness and violence-worshipping human worm can make some sort of claim as to what GOD knows is the very hypocrisy, presumption, and rebellion of which these people regularly accuse everyone else.

It is a staggeringly offensive doctrine, is my point.

At any rate, the entire idea of omniscience is stillborn. It cannot survive its birth because its mother is contradiction.

The conclusion then of the claim of divine omniscience is clear:  it is a rational failure.  It cannot be true.  There is no way that man can know that God knows everything and thus claim that God knows everything. I hope that I have sufficiently explained why doing this is a lie.