The Twin-Fallacies of Nothing-But Non-Belief & of Default-Atheism
The noetic frame finds various degrees and forms of belief populating the "Doxastic Experience". Therefore, before describing the fallacious claim of some that this or that belief, that ANY belief, either is or else can be "Nothing-But" Non-Belief, we first need to recall the Christian's actual definition of "Faith". For that see the following:
Then, with the proper definition of Faith in hand:
The reality of "Nothing-But" non-belief sums to a metaphysical absurdity in that any such vacuum is a logical, physical, and metaphysical impossibility. It is also a category error in that the claim too often mistakes Non-Knowledge (...have never heard of x....) for Non-Belief (...have heard of x, but given abcd etc., I do not believe x is justified....).
For a basic framework of the problem, here is an excerpt from a prior discussion on the Twin Facts of the Upstream and of the Downstream:
Isn’t it actually the case that you do in fact doubt and/or reject this or that belief(s) based on some other belief(s)? Or do you make such decisions based on No-Thing?
Is it the case that you have No-Belief about what counts as rational metrics and rational inquiry?
“.....total skepticism about ultimate beliefs is… impossible… no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief, [so] indifference is always in danger of giving place to …a fanaticism that can be as intolerant as any religion has ever been…...” (by L. Newbigin)You say you said as much in that you don’t believe X unless the evidence etc. convinces you.
Yet you deny that your (upstream) beliefs about what counts as rational metrics are in fact beliefs, and you deny that your (upstream) beliefs about what counts as rational inquiry are in fact beliefs.
When you evaluate evidence, do you employ No-Thing in order to evaluate the evidence as you arrive at your conclusion? Or do you employ what you consider to be rational metrics and/or rational inquiry?
If the latter, what is it that brought you to that place in which you came to consider [metrics a, b, c, and d etc.] to be rational metrics?
Recall that you are denying the second half of this:
"…..no belief can be doubted except on the basis of some other belief…...."You are so far disagreeing with that in that you are so far claiming that you doubt and/or reject this or that belief(s) based on No-Thing.
Why? Isn’t it actually the case that you do in fact doubt and/or reject this or that belief(s) based on some other belief(s)?
Well you later agreed that the upstream content described there does in fact precede the downstream content described there. Okay then. Given that you agree that it is impossible to deny this or that downstream [belief(s)] without basing it on some other, earlier, upstream [belief(s)], then why are you, now, denying that you affirm those earlier, upstream [belief(s)]? If that is the case then you've looped back to basing it on No-Thing (...and Etc...) and are therein not actually denying A-Thing (...and Etc...).
If you do NOT deny that you affirm those earlier, upstream [belief(s)], well then we arrive at the Non-Theist’s Twin Fallacies: https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2019/01/faith-non-theism-fallacy-of-non-theism.html
Regarding a few parts typically found within all of that, we find some raising the issue of the "One Fewer God" challenge or the "I simply believe in one less god than you" challenge, or the “One God Further” challenge, or:
"....my claim of not-your-god is "nothing-but" non-belief..."
The problem with that statement ("....my claim of not-your-god is "nothing-but" non-belief...") with respect to the doxastic experience which we all share in is looked at in the following:
Our Non-Theist friends often seek "immunity" by avoiding the actual content of the doxastic experience in general with respect to their claim of "Nothing-But-Non-Belief".
Unfortunately (...for that premise...) the existence of such downstream vacuums is impossible within the noetic frame as all downstream claims upon reality necessarily stem from those earlier, more basic, upstream affirmations. That becomes obvious if and when one actually attempts to demonstrate any such downstream vacuum, any such downstream cul-de-sac void of all such upstream current. On charity let's grant the Non-Theist his equivocation about "God-Does-Not-Exist" (A-Theism) and soften it to something more agnostic:
Q. "Do you believe the sun moves around the earth? Or is it that the earth moves around the sun?"
A. "Well I don't know. I just don't have enough evidence to say."
Q. "Really? How can that be?"
A. "Well because.... [enter the raging currents of perception... of metrics... of knowledge... of repeatable patterns... of (say) Mom's voice (for the toddler) ...of (say) Particle Physics (for some) ...and of Etc.] So I simply don't have any evidence to affirm the nature of the interface amid Earth/Sun."All of those downstream claims necessarily exist in and by and because of an ocean of earlier, more basic, more upstream affirmations. The proverbial "whole show", from the Child's "...Mommy's voice..." to the Adult's "...Robust T.O.E..." necessarily houses that continuity (...void of "vacuums"...).
In fact that seamless body of currents just is the Noetic Frame, just is the Doxastic Experience. Our Non-Theist friends are free to demonstrate otherwise.... are free to demonstrate their immunity, their Vacuum, their body of syntax magically void all such currents.
We all have beliefs about reality which inform us on how best to inquire about reality. Beliefs about reality drive our modes of inquiry with respect to reality. According to some, this or that cousin of physicalism gives us the most exhaustive explanatory accounting of reality, while according to others that is hardly the case. Offshoots or products of that lead into conflations of the descriptive for the explanatory, and into the nature of brute facts and the nature of the self-explanatory, and into several other downstream consequences of those initial, more upstream, more basic, affirmations (beliefs) about reality.
Therefore, once again: Those upstream beliefs about reality which give life to our downstream claims upon what counts for rational inquiry and what counts as rational metrics (...and *whatever* claims about brute fact or explanatory box or descriptive array or "X" or "Not-X" they happen to lead to...) are just that -- beliefs about reality.
One of the nuances here is that which D.B. Hart refers to as "....the metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility...." and there we come to a key or a fundamental Fountainhead or factual "Upstream Terminus" – namely that terminus as it relates to Reason Itself. The problem (there) which Metaphysical Naturalism inevitably faces is that it must – at every point in its voyage - forever seek to avoid its own Flat World and its fateful Edge of Reason which of course is impossible given Metaphysical Naturalism's available termini (...as per https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/ ...). There again we come to the landscape of those upstream and downstream referents:
“I think solipsism is always an interesting topic because if we start “mid-stream” in our epistemology by rejecting solipsism (as I think most of us probably do), it is then interesting to try to infer what “upstream” structure of our thoughts must have led to this rejection. There is some hope that by swimming upstream in this manner we will discover certain “first principles” that lie unrecognized at the wellspring of our vis-à-vis beliefs.“ (j.hillclimber)
"...But The Boy In Tibet Has Never Heard Of......"
Non-Knowledge is not identical to Non-Belief. First, recall the Christian definition of Faith from the get-go as per the list of links given at the start. Second, it is the case that either way, we find that the Non-Theist's hope of immunity requires that oh-so-impossible-to-demonstrate Vacuum within the Noetic Frame, that downstream cul-de-sac somehow void of all upstream currents.
It is not only the Christian's 4000 year history constituting the definition of Faith, but, also, it is Theism's and Non-Theism's own necessary "Upstream/Downstream" topography which prohibits the Fallacy of The Boy In Tibet. More on that fallacy in a moment, but first:
The proverbial Quad of belief:
- Irrational Belief
- Irrational Disbelief
- Rational Belief
- Rational Disbelief
Going even further downstream:
We can take, say, "ABC-X" which, say, the child in Tibet has never heard of.
To say that said child in Tibet lacks belief in ABC-X is an equivocation unless and until one actually traverses and interacts with the various interfaces of:
1. The child's own noetic frame and
But the irrational claim of Immunity, of the existence of that bizarre Vacuum, is only one swirling pool within the Non-Theist's muddied waters with respect to "Nothing-But".
However, our Non-Theist friends here over inside of this milieu are not that boy.
Their window is different. And we find – here – that (on the one hand) irreducible reason & irreducible logic vis-à-vis Infinite Consciousness along with (on the other hand) irreducible self-giving vis-à-vis timeless reciprocity in and of the Trinitarian Life somehow seem distasteful to him, while something else tastes better to him for where reason and love are concerned he chooses a bobble named Reductio Ad Absurdum and – in order to gain her – he trades away logic's relentless lucidity amid love's timeless reciprocity as such relates to those uncanny Trinitarian processions within GOD.
For more on the context of The Boy In Tibet see the following: Truth-Trading in the Human Stock Exchange at a. http://disq.us/p/1eqze1f and also at b. http://disq.us/p/1yd8pwb – A few overlapping themes are in a. http://disq.us/p/1mc0sp0 and also in b. http://disq.us/p/1xvkoyr and also in c. http://disq.us/p/1xu8j5f
Define "Examine" ....?
Define "Evidence" ....?
Define ..... (and so on) ...?
When we say "examine evidence" those are two downstream actions / words which are unintelligible but for all sorts of upstream premises, beliefs, and claims (Etc.). That's just obvious. There is no such state of affairs as "nothing-but non-belief".
The first error is to ignore all upstream content in that fashion. A second error is to conflate a. Non-Belief for b. Non-Knowledge
This second error is where the entire "The Default Is Atheism" fallacy goes off the rails. There are several reasons that is the case here at this second error. However, the reason that is of relevance here is the fact that the Christian God is not this or that "being" nor this or that bit of "reason" but is in fact Being Itself and is in fact Reason Itself and is in fact Goodness Itself and so on.
To deny both Being and Reason, or to claim that the Default is that we are unaware of and/or somehow floating free of both Being and Reason is a move which forces a reductio (…it's the whole Zeus is Thor is Celestial Teapot is Being-Itself is God silliness…).
For quite practical reasons we could easily flip the Default-Fallacy 180 degrees and claim that the Default is the Un-derived is the Undeniable is Being is Reason is….and so on.
Indeed. The amount of sheer intellectual gymnastics and tedious shoehorning it takes to expunge Reason Itself from one’s array of various cul-de-sacs and termini leaves the term “Default” in places quite unfriendly to our Non-Theist friends.
More currents arrive upon the shore:
E. Feser's observation from an earlier link:
"A reader calls attention to Bill Vallicella’s reply to what might be called the “one god further” objection to theism. Bill sums up the objection as follows:
“The idea, I take it, is that all gods are on a par, and so, given that everyone is an atheist with respect to some gods, one may as well make a clean sweep and be an atheist with respect to all gods. You don't believe in Zeus or in a celestial teapot. Then why do you believe in the God of Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob?”
Or as the Common Sense Atheism blog used to proclaim proudly on its masthead: “When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
I see that that blog has now removed this one-liner, which is perhaps a sign that intellectual progress is possible even among New Atheist types. Because while your average “Internet Infidel” seems to regard the “one god further” objection as devastatingly clever, it is in fact embarrassingly inept…""
 "I realize that there's a difference between the idea of Yahweh and the idea of the source and ground of all reality and I expect the other commenters here do, too. From my perspective it's mostly theists who equivocate in this area..."
 "...an atheist may or may not have beliefs about the "source of reality", the only thing you can say is that, if they do, they don't think said source is a god..."
Regarding the last two replies: First, with respect to our belief-states the following misses the point with respect to the question on the table:
“.....an atheist may or may not have beliefs about the "source of reality", the only thing you can say is that, if they do, they don't think said source is a god....”None of this is new information. We all have beliefs about reality which inform us on how best to inquire about reality. Beliefs about reality drive our modes of inquiry with respect to reality.
According to some, this or that cousin of physicalism gives us the most exhaustive explanatory accounting of reality, while according to others that is hardly the case. Offshoots or products of that lead into conflations of the descriptive for the explanatory, and into the nature of brute facts and the nature of the self-explanatory, and into several other downstream consequences of those initial, upstream beliefs. If we claim we have no such beliefs, then we may want to research the topic of the "doxastic experience".
“I realize that there's a difference between the idea of Yahweh and the idea of the source and ground of all reality and I expect the other commenters here do, too. From my perspective it's mostly theists who equivocate in this area – when it suits their argument, of course.”
- equates Privation to Wholeness, just as it
- equates the Privation of God’s Will to the Actualization of God’s Will, just as it
- equates the Privation of The Good for the The Good.
In the Christian metanarrative we find the Trinitarian metaphysic and, therein, love’s timeless Self-Giving and irreducible Diffusiveness of the Ontic Self with respect to ...being itself... and, thereby – once again – The Always and The Already, that which is ceaselessly Beneath and Above – namely “Love & Necessity” as an ontic singularity.
It is there that we find in the Christian metaphysic the intellectual and moral grounds for affirming the term, “Love Himself” vis-à-vis the A and the Z of the Trinitarian Life / Trinity with respect to the Decree of the Imago Dei, and all that comes with "that". That is to say, it is there that we find nothing less than the immutable love of the Necessary Being – and all that comes with “that”. That is to say, it is there in nothing less than Being that we find The Always and The Already constituting love’s timeless reciprocity and Self-Giving diffusiveness of the Ontic-Self in totum, and all that comes with “that”.
It is *that* explanatory terminus which is reality’s rock-bottom, reality’s irreducible substratum – the A and the Z of every possible ontic, of every possible sentence.
The topic of mapping reality carries us forward in our inquiry. The map of “Being Itself”, which of course is not the territory, begins to take shape:
[C] is not [A]
Both  Logic and  Love’s timeless reciprocity compel reason (…in her proper role as truth-finder….) into a thoroughly Trinitarian metaphysic.