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Quote:Who's "we"? And how did we decide that those were facts? It doesn't look to me at all that we, as a species, are capable of knowing that something does not exist, however much we may say it.We can "know" it in the same way we can "know" that evolution is true, or that non-tautological facts are true. Simply because we don't have complete and certain knowledge doesn't mean that we don't have knowledge at all! I think you are using a much too strong a sense of "know", one that implies an infalliblistic standard that is unreasonable. All of your objections about nonexistence claims could just as well be voiced for existence claims and other basic empirical facts we take to be true.Quote:The other use is social: that is, it allows a basis for establishing knowledge as a form of social control or power, whereby we can reject certain claims by reference to a certain criteria of knowledgeIt's not meant as a form of social control or a way to create "power" among people at all. The social form of epistemology allows for the accumulation of knowledge, and it provides standards that let us test them for truth value. Unlike you, I don't think there is any reason to suppose these standards are completely arbitrary and a matter of invidual preference.Quote:And that, as I see it, is a strategy for forcing a consensus. The question is why such a consensus is so imperative that it's worth attempting to negate the epistemic conclusions others have drawn.I don't see why my motives matter, or why I must demonstrate that this is imperative. For instance, if I were expounding on the theory of evolution to a creationist, for him to say that the question is really "Why such a consensus is so imperative that it's worth attempting to negate the conclusions others have drawn" is to evade the simple fact that the creationist's views are just simply wrong. It is worth attempting to negate belief in the supernatural realm for the simple reason that it is incomprehensible, unable to be validated, and absolutely warrantless as a hypothesis.Quote:So to argue that there is no reason to believe in God, because we're capable of knowing all evidence, because there is no reason to suspect the ecistence of evidence we cannot know, because anything we cannot no cannot be known by anything, and therefore cannot exist, presumes a priori that these is no GodI disagree with your assessment of my argument as circular. I am not "assuming" that there is no God--I'm demonstrating that there is no such thing by arguing that the concept itself is nonsensical, and that because our idea of "reality" can only encompass what would make sense to us, it is downright silly to say something supernatural "exists" or is "real". I'm not asking anyone to assume anything a priori. What I'm showing is that the alternative position that admits the existence of such a realm wouldn't even be stating anything meaningful, and therefore we couldn't say such a realm exists.