Friday, November 24, 2017

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From: David
To: Francois Tremblay
Subject: Saying the term God is meaningless is problematic

I was reading your article about the article from noncognativism and noticed that you claim that the term God is meaningless. Now, this is false because clearly you can differenciate the word “God” from the made up word, shall we say “glaglmoere” Obviously, one has a meaning attached to it (God) and the other, does not (glaglmoere). Also, if something is meaningless, you can not say if it exists or does not exist. In order to assert something is true or false, it has to have a meaning attached to it. The concept of square circles is logically impossible, but we know this because it has a meaning.

Also, you definition of a Primary Attribute doesn’t really explain WHAT a Primary Attribute is. Here is what you have in your webpage as the definition of a Primary Attribute:

# Primary Attributes—or fundamental character of a thing, may be defined as the basic nature a particular thing is composed of. What a thing is, specifically, that it may do particular things or affect those around it in a particular way. The following two types of attributes provided below can only be applied to a thing if they can be related to an existant’s primary attribute and the primary attribute is positively identified (this will be explained more extensively later in this article). (17)

“that it may do particular things or affect those around it in a particular way.” this is talking about a relational property, not a primary one.

“fundamental character of a thing, may be defined as the basic nature a particular thing is composed of.” Such as what? This is a very broad.

P.S: I am an atheist, and a philosophy major. I am not a theist trying to debunk you, rather, it is my hope you will correct these errors so your case is stronger. Thank you for your time to read my email. I would appreciate if you emailed me back telling me what you think. Once again, thank you

Regards,
David

“Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.”

 —Bertrand Russell
British philosopher, mathematician, social critic, and writer.

 


 

From: Francois Tremblay
To: David
Subject: Saying the term God is meaningless is problematic

Thank you for your feedback !

I think you are referring here to our articles on Theological Noncognitivism. James Lazarus would be entitled to reply to your email, but unfortunately he no longer works with us. So I will address the issues you raise. Your argument seems to have fatal flaws on the first paragraph :

“I was reading your article about the article from noncognativism and noticed that you claim that the term God is meaningless. Now, this is false because clearly you can differenciate the word “God” from the made up word, shall we say “glaglmoere” Obviously, one has a meaning attached to it (God) and the other, does not (glaglmoere).”

Theological noncognitivism demonstrates that in fact, “God” has no meaning. Maybe you mean that “God” has a definition, which is a very different thing. We cannot differentiate between a God and a non-God any more than we can differentiate between a “glaglmoere” and a “non-glaglmoere”. Neither can we differentiate between a “God” and a “glaglmoere”, since both have no meaning at all.

“Also, if something is meaningless, you can not say if it exists or does not exist. In order to assert something is true or false, it has to have a meaning attached to it. The concept of square circles is logically impossible, but we know this because it has a meaning.”

Your principle is correct. Our claim is not as much that “gods do not exist” as much as “the word ‘god’ is meaningless, therefore you do not meet any burden of proof”. Strong atheism is the default epistemic position if no meaning for “god” can be presented, as we discuss in section 11 of “The Argument from Non-Cognitivism”.

Your example, on the other hand, is very bad. “Square-circle” is meaningless because its two properties (being a square, being a circle) contradict. There is no possible way for one to differentiate between a square-circle and a non-square-circle.