Skepticism

 

Some quick thoughts on Skepticism. 

Skepticism when followed to its logical end denies the law of noncontradiction.Thus, any worldview whose epistemology is observation is not capable of knowledge period, because it leads to skepticism. Such a worldview cannot produce truth. They cannot speak against the Christian Worldview in an intelligent manner. They have no teeth to their argument; yet, it is even worse. One needs terms  in order to argue; yet, they do not have grounds to speak one term.

Skepticism denies the law of contradiction because it knows for certain there is no certainty. This is self-refuting stupidity. In order to be true, it must be false.

Some morons for example will say that “there is no definite meaning to words.” However, unless these words are definite, then this statement’s conclusion does not have a definite meaning; and thus, it could as easily mean, “words do have a definite meaning.” If words are not univocal then the conclusion is not a valid inference.  And so, to say there is no definite meaning to words is to say words do have definite meaning. If it is true, it is false. It is to affirm both and deny both. It is to affirm nothing and to deny nothing.  See post on the Law of Contradiction and see Vincent Cheung.

Yet, other morons who see this problem will fall back on the position of agnosticism, which is nothing more than a more roundabout position of skepticism. It is a way to hide their moronic skepticism. It is certain that it is uncertain that there is no certainty. This is total stupidity. It is self-refuting. That is, in order to be true, it must be false. Because they both deny and affirm each other, they cancel out each other. There is no subject or predicate to deny or affirm. It is nothing. It is a void of knowledge and intellect. If one is thinking something it means it is not skepticism or agnosticism, for they are knowldge-less.

“The skeptics call propositions false, doubtful, probable, and plausible. Their basic principle, however, does not in consistency permit them to use any of these terms. A false proposition is one opposite to the truth. How then can one say that a proposition is false, unless one knows the truth? A doubtful proposition is one that might possibly be true; a probable or plausible proposition resembles or approximates the truth. But it is impossible to apply these terms without knowing the truth by which they are determined. Or with respect to everyday living, is it probable or doubtful that eating lunch today is wise? Again the skeptic could not know. A theory of probability must itself be based on truth, for if the method of determining the probable wisdom of eating lunch is false, the conclusion that it is safe to eat lunch could not be known to be probable. Without the possession of the truth, therefore, it is impossible to act rationally even in the most ordinary situations.”  [Gordon H. Clark, Thales to Dewey, The Trinity Foundation, 2000, pg.178.]

If the method of using probability is not known to give truth or not known as truth —which it cannot by its own principles—then one cannot know if things are even probable. Christianity does not have such an embarrassing  problem.  The bible puts inductive logic separate from deductive logic and truth. The bible puts induction for changing, useful pragmatics. Truth is converges with revealed premises and deductions from these.

It is impossible to know if something resembles the truth, or is probable of the truth without knowing the truth to begin with. This is simple, but people make a profession out of missing the obvious. If the truth is known then there is no need for having a conversation about trying to find the truth.  It is self-refuting to have a conversation about what the truth is if one already knows the truth.  Now, if one does not have the truth, then it is self-refuting to say we have probable or approximation to the truth Without knowing what the truth is, these terms are unintelligible.

Take for example, it would be similar if I said, “I am approximately two feet away from the stake, when playing a game of horseshoe, when there is no stake in the ground. It is unintelligible.  The open conversation (i.e. free thinkers or agnostics, theologically as liberals) system-of-thought is a self-refuting position.  If it were true, then it will be false at the same time. It is nothing. To even speak their nonsense they must presuppose the Christian epistemology and use Christian metaphysics and Christian logic.

“Not always the immediate concern, epistemological principles are hidden beneath a facade of history, politics, or religion. In the chapter on history, this was first met with in the theory of progress, which was formulated as the law of history. The human race was pictured as improving, particularly in respect to liberty, justice, and equality. These and other aspects of a good society were criteria by which to judge the degree of progress. Then, because liberty and justice seemed to be too static, these criteria were dropped and the goodness of a society was identified with the progress itself. And finally, to generalize the theory, it was stated that everything must progress, including the criteria themselves. But if this is so, then progress as a criterion must progress into something else, with the result that if progress is the law of history, it must soon be repudiated as antiquated. Or, to divest the argument of its historical application and to consider its epistemological status, it could be compared with the view of Protagoras. Protagoras said all statements are false. The theory of progress holds that all theories become false. From which it follows that if progress is now the truth, it will soon not be. Perhaps it is already false.” [ Gordon Clark. A Christian View of Men and Things. 2000. 207-210.]

 

“Relativism is always contradicting itself. Spengler ostensibly wants a view of history that applies to all past cultures. He aims at a comparative morphology and at general laws of cyclical development. But if his theory is true, and if the categories and intellectual equipment a man uses are products of and relative to his own culture, then the categories of Becoming and the Become, products of Spengler’s civilization, apply just as little to ancient societies as the contemporary concept of number does. If a statement is true only within a given culture, and if there are no eternal truths or unalterable objectivity, and if rational theories are only threadbare school‑exercises, Spengler’s theory itself is only a temporary phenomenon. It cannot therefore be the law of history because if it is true, it is false.

Another instance of relativism, also in the chapter on Politics but more directly applicable to moral standards, was T.V. Smith’s assumption that what Americans think is moral is moral. In this connection were quoted the lines from Oliver Wendell Holmes, “truth was the majority vote of the nation that could lick all the others,” and, “I am so skeptical as to our knowledge about the goodness and badness of laws that I have no practical criticism except what the crowd wants.” This means that everybody is right, or if the principle is taken to apply not to individuals but only to nations or societies, then every society is right. Again, a paraphrase of Plato’s reply to Protagoras may be used: If the Communists think the Americans are evil, and if every society is right in what it thinks, then the Communists are right in thinking that American standards are evil. American standards, therefore, are both good and evil. But if a standard is called both good and evil simpliciter, or if a statement of that standard is said to be both true and false, the words good and evil, true and false, have no meaning. That is, T. V. Smith’s theory, if it is true, is meaningless. A relativist might attempt to reply that moral standards are not good and evil simpliciter. Protagoras might have said that a statement is not both true and false without qualification. The statement is true to or for one man, and false to or for another; Plato omitted the all important relativity, and asserted simpliciter what Protagoras had asserted only with qualifications. This standard defense of relativism, however, does not withstand analysis. Protagoras may begin by saying that the wind is exhilarating to one man, but he intends his relativism to be true not only to and for himself, but for everyone. Relativism is always asserted absolutely. If it were not intended to apply generally, it would have no claim to philosophic importance. But if it is asserted universally, then its assertion contradicts what is being asserted. An absolutistic relativism is a self-contradiction. If it is true, it is false.

The same criticism holds of Hans Kelsen’s theory of democracy. The theory of absolute truth is a basis of totalitarianism, he said; and therefore democracy must be based on relativism. “What is right today may be wrong tomorrow.” As was pointed out, Kelsen asserts philosophic relativism as a philosophically absolute truth. If he is correct, he is mistaken….

Subject‑matter as such, let us say truth, is not affected by sin [or stupidity] precisely because sin is personal. And because sin is personal, men make mistakes in logic as well as in theology; not only in other volumes, but in logic textbooks also, formal fallacies have unintentionally occurred. Logic, the law of contradiction, is not affected by sin. Even if everyone constantly violated the laws of logic, they would not be less true than if everyone constantly observed them. Or, to use another example, no matter how many errors in subtraction can be found in the stubs of our checkbooks, mathematics itself is unaffected.”

[Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, The Trinity Foundation, 2000, pg.208-210. [] added by author.}

Can one’s feelings (their self-truths so-called) save them from skepticism? No. A feeling is not knowledge. Forgoing the issue that one must have knowledge to understand they have a feeling, feelings make an invalid jump from premise to conclusion. Feelings would be a private observation of feelings. To then go to any category other than descriptive statements of personal feelings would make any syllogism invalid. It is a logical blunder, thus, to go to I “feel” this, to conclude in a different category I “ought,” to do this: which is normative statement. This would lead to skepticism. Such, an epistemology, if it were true, it would be false. It would give no subjects or predicates. It make thinking impossible.

The big idea is this. Any First Principle of a worldview that leads to skepticism is a false worldview: they do not have the right to speak knowledge.  It is not that some knowledge might be true and some might not; rather, if their worldview were true it makes all knowledge impossible. The whole system becomes: if it true, it is false. The system would produce a knowledge-less system. But then, can we even call it a worldview or system of  thinking anymore? But I digress.

 

Approximate to Truth