CVS Live Guest - 2021-08-21 - Alex Randall

Author Streamed Saturday August 21st, 2021

There are 57 episodes in the Guest:Solo series.

Streamed May 14th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-05-14 - Joe

Streamed May 1st, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-05-01 - Ben

Streamed April 12th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-04-12 - Joe

Streamed February 10th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-02-10 - Aidan Lisney

Streamed January 30th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-01-30 - TJ

Streamed December 31st, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-12-31 - Zackery

Streamed September 26th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-26 - Nikola Krcic

Streamed September 18th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-18 - Bill Whatcott

Streamed September 17th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-17 - Nathan

Streamed September 3rd, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-03 - Chad Ellis

Streamed March 21st, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-03-21 - Ben

Streamed February 28th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-02-28 - Nikola Krcic

Streamed February 23rd, 2020

CVS Live Guest - 2020-02-23 - Pykris

Streamed February 22nd, 2020

CVS Live Guest - 2020-02-22 - Aidan Lisney

Streamed January 25th, 2020

CVS Live Guest - 2020-01-25 - Kalen R.

Alex reached out to me on my Atheist Experience video and asked to come chat about our different worldviews. He is a 16 year Australian who is interested in theology and philosophy. He identifies as an Agnostic-Atheist, but he has a problem with the Abrahamic God.


CVS Live Guest - 2021-08-21 - Alex Randall

Author Streamed January 11th, 2020

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transcript
These transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
okay so we are live i'm here with alex alex are you there i am there how are you doing my friend i'm pretty good how are you i'm great i i'm excited to talk to a young man from australia what's happening there i know things are rough in australia now because of the so-called pandemic can you talk just a tiny little bit about how that's going for you there are you safe and healthy and happy um yeah luckily i am um i am i know there are you know it's getting worse uh numbers recently hit 800 cases a day that's uh i don't i think we may have had that in the last you know the quote-unquote first wave um but you know it's uh we haven't had anything like this since like i said you know i'm very lucky to uh you know have two parents who can work from home um a lot of people aren't and you know i have my own space and my own computer but and are your siblings there at home too um yes all three of them wow two or two older sisters and one older brother do you get along generally um yeah i mean for the most part it's like especially like you know even even when we're all in the same house we don't see each other much we generally keep toronto oh okay so it's a big enough house you have space and everything and uh are you which season in which of the four seasons are you and do you have four full seasons there we do it's not narnia um i think yeah i think we're in winter now coming up on getting out of winter oh okay so i i assume it's summer for you yeah it's very very hot here and we we sadly we don't have a lot of seasons here we have basically really hot and really cold and uh a lot of snow in the winter yeah we mm-hmm you don't have snow oh um so some kind of much southern parts of australia have snow um not my area for me it just kind of like you know you use celsius right yep not okay cool so it gets down to like five degrees for us maybe four degrees at night at the kind of like coldest wow but then at the hottest it can get up to like 45 degrees in summer yeah it's about 40 here now in montreal so that's pretty hot for us and it's humid the difference is it's humid here i don't know what it's like there if it's dry or humid uh there the heat yeah um it's i don't know it's like not particularly dry or humid at the moment okay um so let's talk about uh god and i see you're i see your uh avatar is on the origin of species by darwin i don't want to get into my young earth creationism versus your theory of evolution but somewhere near the middle or the end we can we can sort of get into it a little bit if you want yeah sure but first uh i know that you mentioned that maybe you had a couple of ideas maybe a list of of topics or something like that did you want to did you want to go through it quickly in overview uh just before we pick and choose which topics are most interesting to get into or do you just want to dive right into the first yeah so so the first one is in my opinion actually pretty interesting um it is basically christianity is built on the idea of free will free will doesn't exist therefore christianity is wrong um that's interesting you know it also um i just have like a bunch of kind of debunking notes quote unquote on like you know things like the kalam cosmological argument ontological argument just kind of common things that are brought up and how i think they don't work okay um i don't think the bible is a reliable historical source um that's less interesting that's less interesting because it's only people who believe in god who take the leap of faith into religion okay so let's focus on uh free will that's the most interesting thing that you mentioned from all the topics so uh you're a hard determinist is that fair to say no i'm not necessarily a determinist because i know that there are certain um ideas in quantum mechanics and we don't know if they're actually determined yet or not so there is a chance that things can be truly random um but that has nothing to do with my ideas of of free will okay a lot of people bring this up hoping there's some wiggle room to opt out of her determinism uh but there is the little problem of the principle of sufficient reason which i mentioned in my call to matt on the atheist experience had you had you looked at my main thesis which is that the psr plus naturalism equals heart determinism and what did you think of it well um so the principles of sufficient reason as i understand it is basically everything has a cause right well no it goes beyond that but that's a subset of the ramifications is that everything every every natural effect has a cause yeah well well i think it's um everything has a reason yeah everything has a reason and everything has its reason in itself or in another and there's only one being who has its reason in itself and that's what we call the uncaused first cause or god the first move or the unmoved mover yeah so if you want to talk about the cosmological argument we can get into that um but i don't necessarily i mean we don't know if the principle of sufficient reason is true yeah well i mean like like i said i mean there are um kind of things that happen in quantum field which i'll admit i'm in no way an expert on but they seem to be truly random and we haven't found causes for them yet right but the scientist always asks questions and the answer to every question can be phrased with a sentence that begins with the word because okay so that's true yeah and because it just means it's that there's a cause right from the cause it comes from the french and uh from the latin so uh the the fact that a scientist will never not ask why or how or what or when proves that they believe implicitly at least tentatively at least in the psr and if you want to yeah yeah if you want to prove the validity the universal validity of the psr all you need to do you can prove it logically and rationally and deductively all you need to do is assume the opposite and then follow that assumption to its logical conclusions which will always entail a contradiction so assume that there is an uncaused effect in this natural world and then zoom in on that hypothetical uncaused effect in this natural world and zoom in in particular not only on the uncaused natural effect but in the interface between that and everything else that we encounter in the laboratory or even in our day-to-day experience which is well ordered which is subject to cause and effect which is constantly never well never violating the law of causality the principle of causality which says that every effect has a cause so we would need to look at the mechanism that provides for an interface between an uncaused natural effect and then the natural world that we're always bumping into and always interacting with which always obeys cause and effect and we would need to ask a simple question is that mechanism is that interface itself uncaused or caused and so if you want to avoid an infinite regression you're going to at some point you're going to have to say that part of that mechanism that interface obeys the laws of causality and do you see where i'm going with this there is no possible way because it is manifest that cause and effect sometimes exists the the the possible the postulation that you're making is that there may be effects that are uncaused but the problem that i'm trying to zoom in on here is that there's an interface there is necessarily an interface for example like in the quantum world every macro particle every every macro event that we can look at and examine using newtonian newtonian mechanics is comprised necessarily of subatomic subatomic particles and these quantities so i agree with you there um i guess i things can have mechanisms and still be truly random like let's imagine a world where i roll a dice right and ignoring the fact that we can calculate the dice roll with newtonian physics right imagine we couldn't this is some kind of quantum dice role um i can still cause the dice to roll but not predict the uh the out come right like it's possible in the same way that like maybe in quantum mechanics sure it has it has a cause but those causes um can still lead to random events right but the the problem that you face is that every exception that you want to smuggle into the natural world is participating in something that is always predictable okay okay so if i were to grant the principle of sufficient reason yeah right i'm not necessarily convinced but i'll entirely grant it for the sake of argument sure um okay so i guess i'm locked into high determinism that doesn't change my view that free will doesn't exist yeah like so so i guess where are you going with this well if you want if you want to live in a world where uh your reasoning is not free and the love that you mime or mimic or theatrically perform with your loved ones like for example your mother presumably loves you and you love her and your siblings there's a there's a sort of sibling rivalry but there's also sibling love there presumably with your friends there's a certain platonic friendship you have for your friends and if you i don't know what kids get up to these days but if you have a significant other girlfriend or whatever they call it in australia if you've ever had one then uh if it went beyond physical attraction and lust then there was a possibility that you could have had love a romantic love right and you would you would not want to say you would never want to admit that this is just the mechanical working out of the inevitable you would want to say that i loved her and she loved me and it didn't work out but there's always that hope for the future don't most people though admit that love is uh kind of irrational i i mean i mean like i don't think i don't think most people would agree okay i don't think most people would say that they choose to love someone but like you just fall in love it just happens right but once you've been married for 26 years as i have you'll see you'll see different phases in love first there's that initial attraction which you didn't expect and it's a surprise and it's wonderful and uh this was the last human on earth that i would ever have guessed that i would be attracted to but she was the one that just happened to be the one and when you know you know okay i resisted her she pursued me and i was interested in her on a subconscious level and uh you know i had i had been putting up a resistance i don't want to i don't want to fall in love with this woman because she's not what i expected right i expected a long-haired hippie and a long flowing silk skirt and sort of thing and but i just gave in to it because uh because she's the one right and actually i actually had a dream where i was in a position where i had to make a choice either kiss her and commit or refrain from kissing her and that would end the relationship so there's something magical mystical and mysterious about those early days but then you go into the honeymoon period and there's lots of good stuff in there and then you have your first little conflict and then you know 26 years later it's it's it's something completely different and it's much better and there's a lot more choice in it it's like i choose to put you first i choose to cater to your needs even though those needs are bizarre i choose to avoid annoying you even though the things that annoy you about me i think are perfectly rational insane and this is how you're supposed to roll up the toothpaste tube right but uh you know there's a lot of choice that goes into it at that point i choose to will only the good for you and this is what the catholic definition of love is choosing to will the good for the other just as you will the good for yourself so when jesus said to love your enemies he didn't mean that you have to really really really really like them because that's absurd what you have to do is you have to will for them the highest good just as you will for yourself the highest good so this is a misunderstanding i think uh that atheists have a hard time grasping do you mean do you mean more just like kind of hoping the best for them and hoping that they'll kind of fix themselves and change and you know turn into better people yeah like if you want to use simple terms like i would rather that everyone had knowledge rather than ignorance and health rather than sickness and beauty rather than ugliness because beauty goes with health and health goes with justice and justice goes with unity and unity goes with peace and peace goes with they're all they're all united in god from my perspective all of the transcen transcendentals like uh unity goodness justice beauty um and all the other perfections health everything else peace love they're all they're all identical with themselves they're all identical among themselves and they're all identical with that uncaused first cause that i call god i know what you mean um i i i guess so you basically you told me kind of at the start though was it like um isn't it kind of depressing to live in a world where you don't get to choose right that's how it sounded but i don't i'm not willing to base my beliefs on what sounds depressing and what doesn't because i i feel i i again i guess i don't choose to feel it but i feel a sense of responsibility to only hold true beliefs regardless of how depressing they are yeah but don't you intuitively know that the truth is better than any lie any fantasy any mistake any error any do you not intuitively know that the truth is better that's why you pursue the truth truth is better yeah so the truth is better so it's by definition it's never truly depressing if that's the word you want to use it's never it's never it it's always a good thing to pursue the truth and to be honest and uh no christian i think will deny that there is a lack of goodness in this world in this fallen world from our perspective it's a fallen world it's a good world ontologically but it's fallen but no one would be so foolish as to deny that they're suffering and there's corruption and politics and there's corruption in medicine guess what there's corruption in medicine people wake up so um you know we're not naive at least most of us those of us who are sane and religious we're not naive about the evils of this world but evil is defined as a privation of the good it's a lack of goodness and so you are you are ontologically good good good by nature evil by choice this is what uh santa guston said about humans um that's that's interesting um i would well i mean you know my my positions on morality get a little bit complicated but um i guess i would just say like yeah i mean yeah people are evil people do suck i don't see how this is entirely relevant to my point that uh free will doesn't exist yeah well the my point was that the truth if you uh first of all jesus said if you seek the truth you'll find the truth if you knock you'll you'll be answered okay so i was uh not only an atheist for 25 years i mean longer than you've been alive but i was uh an atheistic satanist which means that i mocked and ridiculed christian christianity above all the other religions i mocked it the most and i mocked and ridiculed the bible and i understand perfectly well why the atheist has disdain for christianity above all the other religions actually fully understand talk about that in particular so what made you go from an atheist to a christian because i think that would be probably a really interesting point of discussion yeah for sure i mean my my listeners have heard this a million times but i'll just share it with you as briefly as i can it was philosophy it was the pursuit of the truth and i was when i was your age you're 16 right i was actually a couple years younger than me i was 14 years old i was a good little protestant christian boy who went to church said his prayers and in my family i was the one the most excited and eager sunday morning to go off to church and i was i loved god and i pray every night fervently and then one night when i was 14 years old i said my prayers i went to bed i closed my eyes i went to sleep and i woke up an atheist what happened in the middle of the night well i had a dream about jesus and there were no words exchanged jesus was standing on a desert isle like you might see in some old-fashioned cartoons where it's a small island with one palm tree in the center of this perfectly small island and jesus is there waving to me in a very uh friendly manner his look is one of love and kindness patience just acceptance seeing me for who i am and accepting me as i am and the wave i guess was a wave goodbye because when i woke up from this pleasant dream in which nothing really was communicated other than he sees me and he acknowledges me and he loves me you just didn't believe i just didn't believe anymore and so from the age of 14 i started diving into philosophy so when you turned what was it 25 did you say you no no no 25 years later at the age of 39 oh wow okay yeah so so what i'm assuming you say you dived into philosophy so is this some kind of philosophical argument that you heard no no no no no i was not i was not pursue i was not pursuing god as far as i knew i was pursuing the truth and this is why i encourage you to pursue the truth and this is why i'm not terribly worried about you i'm not going to lose any sleep tonight about you and your eternal destiny okay because if you do if you can promise me that you love the truth even if it's uncomfortable even if it's awkward even if it's unexpected if you can promise me that you will pursue the truth that's all you need okay that's that's that's more than most atheists can promise but you're young you're young you're relatively innocent i'm not saying that you're perfectly innocent because i know kids these days lose their innocence are very very young um you know it was my pursuit of the truth was very much in an atheist track i was pursuing right from the very beginning sort of some dead ends in terms of free will free will was the first thing on the table and the um you know determinism i explored the first um i was going to say religion but the first philosophy that i explored actually is the most refuted of all the modern philosophies which is logical positivism do you know about this no but i have google okay it's basically saying that everything is either tautologically true meaning true by definition or nonsense those are the two categories for the logical positivist okay yeah and it's very very attractive to the young i the young man who's idealistic is searching for the truth and who does not want to compromise his principles it's very attractive and i i dove into that and of course wrestled with some of the obvious problems and paradoxes because i knew that deep down i knew that there's more to the story than that because it's a messy affair life with all of its you know complications and exceptions and it's not just a nice neat rulebook of logic life is very complicated and there is undeniably a mysterious spiritual element even as an atheist i was aware of it i tried to suppress it i tried to ignore it and just focus on rock solid logical deduction right there are only there are only three things that i really have is like quote-unquote principles um they're basically induction deduction and the three laws of logic nice the laws like that's um i don't know the you know not a contradiction yeah non-contradiction identity and excluded middle yeah nice amazing so that's that's that's my grounding basis i don't think you can get anywhere without those but i also think you can get everywhere with them yep for sure for sure for sure for sure that is amazing that is absolutely amazing and i personally don't put a lot of stock in induction i would just i would just focus on deduction and the laws of thought as i call them the laws of thought and you can get if you can get along you don't have to you kind of have to have induction though because like otherwise how do i know that my computer screen is even real i have to assume that given everyone says it's real i can kind of logically conclude that it's probably real no i think the problem of induction is insurmountable and you have to go beyond naive realism now your realism says that well everyone says this reality is real so it must be real that's that's naive realism it's the most important philosophy i wouldn't say it makes it real i would say that it's reasonable to conclude it's real i disagree but anyway i went through hard solipsism as an atheist uh i don't know if you're aware of what that is nope okay hearts all of some says only i am so i think therefore i am well that's the that i think therefore i am yeah that's that's like i am and i can't prove anything else exactly yeah so descartes was influential uh one of the main turning points in my conversion was rene descartes i think therefore i am but this idea of i am does not include you see on your screen you can see my fingers moving and you can see my head again my shoulders okay i did not believe in my physical body it's a it's a disembodied i am okay okay and because you know to believe in my own body is begging the question it's assuming that my sense perceptions correspond with some sort of reality in an attempt to prove that my sense perceptions correspond to some sense of reality so if you read descartes and the problem of solipsism and how he resolves the problem he may not be satisfied with the way he resolves the problem and i don't know if you've read uh have you read descartes yet no okay if you read meditations on first philosophy it's fascinating and it it's interesting if you're interested in natural science it will be of interest if you're interested in philosophy it will be of interest and if you're interested in monotheism it will be of interest now he was no saint he was no orthodox catholic but he had a grounding in the faith and he strayed from the faith in terms of what he believed but he had enough of that catholic philosophy running through his veins just sort of by default anyone at that time would okay even if you're the biggest enemy even voltaire had catholicism coursing through his veins i mean his his book kandid was dedicated to the pope at the time and he had just he had a certain respect for certain people in the church and certain ideas in the church and i i don't think you can really honestly look at the history of the church with its education with healthcare with everything that's contributed to natural sciences and everything and seriously in your heart of hearts uh not give it what it's due in terms of credit right so um but all of this to say that there's a sort of default uh catholicism that dominated the middle ages even the late middle ages i think the high point was the 11th 12th and 13th centuries that to me is the golden age of catholicism in terms of philosophy with people like uh anselm i don't know if you know if you've read the oncologist oh the ontological argument yeah it's yes in my opinion i'd love to talk about that with you which one was that we'll put a pin in this we'll come back to anselm that then which nothing greater can be conceived that is this one yeah so it's like um you know i'm maximally being uh would exist in every possible universe kind of thing i've never heard a phrase that way but we'll discuss it did you did we did we go off tangent a little bit so i guess i was just i was just asking specifically what kind of turned you back to christianity and this time it was roman catholicism instead of probably it was it was the it was the um problem of induction that led me to hard solipsism okay i applied radical doubt to my atheistic satanism i doubted everything that can be doubted and that includes you and that includes my alleged sense perceptions and these sense organs and everything that goes along with that and um and then i uh you know in the course of reading i actually remember the exact moment where i converted back to god i was in the middle of reading descartes meditations on first philosophy right so i guess i'm just asking like so there are there are a few different steps to go from atheism to uh roman catholicism first you have to go from atheism to theism then from theism to the christian god then from the christian god to specifically the roman catholic to nomination i can talk about that if you want yeah so i guess my main question here is i think it is reasonable to unless evidence is presented to default to the position of no god existing and i am yet to hear from anyone any sufficient evidence for a god to exist so i default to atheism yeah can you can you in any way relate to the headspace which is an ironic term because i didn't have a head but when i was a heart when i was a hard solipsist i just believed that i was disembodied spirit and that the this fantasy of the external world and the other including my mother is just that a fantasy and an illusion of my own creation because there is no one else to create this illusion it is just from myself right because the principle of sufficient reason i wasn't aware of this at the time the psr was not on my radar at that time but the psr says everything has its being either from itself or from another so as a hard solipsist i believed that everything i was the source of everything and everything comes from me and uh i always was and always will be and that i am infinite in every perfection but i've just really done a really good job of fooling myself into thinking that i'm that i'm this dweeby loser in canada so i can relate i can relate to an extent um i i mean i've thought of this for a long time maybe since i was like 10 i've thought like basically it is theoretically possible that everything i see is just me being absolutely insane and i'm in a mental ward um but i'm not convinced that it even matters well the you're going you're going to a soft solipsism and that's really toxic because you're you're assuming that there is a mental institution in the first place for you to inhabit and that you have a head a torso and four limbs so what i mean is um even if right this whole place was just kind of like a even if everything i see and experience is just all a construct of my mind whatever my mind may be um it doesn't matter because that is what i'm experiencing and so unless i can find a way to change it or you know quote unquote break out this is just how i'm living and it unless unless i can uh kind of make the argument that if i question it enough i'll see the real world then it doesn't matter because what i'm seeing is real to me yeah when i believed that i was the only being it was not it was not just a pleasant little thought experiment it was an overwhelming existential angst like i am it's like so incredibly powerful are you you have not stared obviously into the abyss that i stared into as a hard solid sister you've toyed with the idea of hard solipsism as anyone who's watched the matrix probably has but you know to to it's one thing to it's like they say about the pig who ate uh an egg an egg sandwich versus a ham sandwich the ham sam which is complete commitment but you know to make the full commitment to hurt solipsism and this is just by the the sincere application of radical doubt to my worldview i didn't want to have existential angst but i found myself in that position and it wasn't a pleasant place to be the loneliness of it the blackness of it the the responsibility of it i think i have stared into the abyss i just brought a flashlight um because uh i like i've thought about this a lot but i don't understand why it matters because even if let's imagine for example that everything i see and experience is a construct of my mind i can't change that right it is that way anyway well you you don't feel that your awareness is shifting and and there's a feedback based on what you choose to meditate on for example if you never found yourself spiraling into pessimism or negative thoughts and then you definitely have bullying yourself up by purposely and consciously turning your thoughts to edifying thoughts or positive thoughts or optimism have you not seen the sort of feedback loops that you can get into consciously yeah i i um would reject the idea that i did it can't well i would reject the idea that i chose to do it because i don't believe in free will um but you know but there's a feedback there's a feedback that you've observed so this is the this is the thing about uh but even so let's imagine that like i observed that feedback i don't quite get how that relates the to i guess my question is i don't understand how it is in any way relevant to what i experience whether or not what i experience is fake because at the end of the day this is what i'm experiencing i can't change what i'm experiencing so um even if it was true there's this philosophical idea that i've forgotten about um i don't know the name but it's basically that like something is only true or even like worth considering if it has practical application and i fail to see how hard solipsism has any practical application well it's a false worldview but the thing is that the the can you prove that yeah yeah i can i can prove it using deduction pure deduction without induction and without any faith i can prove okay so if so imagine that so if i'm the only being right and i'm you know everything is a construct of my mind how can you prove that that's not the case well because if there's only one being it's not you it's me but see okay okay fine imagine let's let's think of it like this if you're the only being how can you prove that's not the case because uh let me let me put it to you this way i've got a cute little um i've got a cute little thing here that i can actually pull up uh just bear with me for one second i've got something here that is relevant i wish i had it on the tip of my tongue but i don't so i'm going to pull it up on my channel saw lip is um okay can you hear what's playing either i'm god or god is god so if god is not god then i am god are you life but i know that i am not god and that god is god because this is i'm playing it's unfortunate you can't hear it but the listeners could hear it it's the little um meditation i do the proof that solipsism is false and monotheism is true so basically the argument goes that um either listen listen to my argument either i'm god or god is god right you agree with that so far okay so if god is god so sorry excuse me so if god is not god then i am god but i know that i am not god and that god is god because if i am wrong then i am also not wrong so this is the reduction to absurdity test so i'll start i'll start from the beginning here either i am god or god is god so if god is not god then i am god but i know that i am not god and that god is god because if i am wrong that i am also not wrong since if i am wrong when i say that i am not god then i am god and god cannot be wrong therefore i know that i am not wrong when i say that i am not god therefore i am not god but if i am not god then god is god therefore god is haven't you started the assumption that yes okay so isn't it possible it's not an assumption it's not an assumption it's you you need to understand what her solipsism is heard solipsism is can you just send this to me in like a text form so that i can read it sure yeah or like if it's if it's not in text form you can just like uh screenshot it and send it to me yeah i'll do that right now and i'll send you the link to the meditation because it's kind of funny is there a chat feature right here on um if you just bring up discord i guess you can send it to me on there or i can send it to you right here on oh can you oh that's awesome are you able to see that on the screen yes okay so you said either your god or god is god right but you need to understand where i'm coming from as a solipsist i am yeah only so it's like either only you exist um or see this is this is a problem you said either i'm god or god is god doesn't that not only presume the idea that god can exist but that he does exist or that a god exists because you're saying either i'm god or god is god that seems to me a false dichotomy why can't no god it's like what it seems to me is either i'm god or i'm not god no no what you need the the hidden hidden um key to this proof i am i i know as a as a hard solipsist i believe that i'm the source of my own existence right so yes okay so that is the definition that is the definition of god the self-existent being that is the definition of god so i'm coming back i'm coming that's a place i'm sure yeah so okay it's it's the and i would have met the definition of i was i was aware of i was aware of anselm's ontological argument i'd been thinking about it as an atheist for eight years every day thinking about it i didn't like it i didn't believe it i didn't think it was uh sound or valid as an argument but i was obsessed with it and it was like a little koan like these zen mind puzzles that uh sort of elevate the mind beyond itself right so i was chewing on that and i was aware of the ontological argument but i was living it as a hard solipsist i'm really sweating here sorry it's fine um i was living it as a hard solipsist and the i understood palpably what it is to be to have being to have etern to have eternal being like there's no beginning and there's no end and i felt the full force of the weight of that and the isolation and the loneliness of god not not the god not the real god but the fake god david ross like the fake god that i was i was i was giving myself this this godhood that didn't belong to me and that is a horrible place to be but uh i just want to reassure you and the listeners that uh the true god is not lonely he's not uh he's not crushed by the weight and his responsibilities or the absurdity of it i was crushed by all of that but the the key to understanding my proof and i don't expect anyone to take this seriously or really to benefit from it but it's just an exercise in entering into the the mind of that one hard solipsist and to to to confront because i think it is therapeutic to confront the idea of being the idea of being itself i am and no one can deny subjectively speaking like i mean i can deny your existence you can deny mine but you cannot deny your own existence and i cannot deny my own existence if you try it you will be affirming your existence by the very act of denying it and this is this is the genius of descartes so this is um reading this again so did you say something like god is simply defined as a self-existent being like the being that created itself the source of his own existence yeah yeah so how do you know that there is a being with such a source that seems like an assumption to me that can't be logically grounded well i doubted everything that i could possibly doubt and i was still left with the fact that i am okay but what if consider the following um what if the universe is real right and and great i'm glad so do i um what if what if i am real um and everything is real and so there is no necessary self-existent being or maybe you could just say the universe is in and of itself the self-existent being yeah this is the naive realism that i that i hate so much because you have not yet you have not yet doubted to the extent that you actually firmly believe that i am is the only truth right but it doesn't matter because if i am that if if i am the only truth what's real all that matters is what is real to me right my my perception and given that my perception leads me to the universe being real in a kind of more subjective are you saying that as a hard solipsist the experience the subjective experiences are just as real as they are well my point is that nothing can be um i don't know how to put this um nothing can be real other than what you experience right like there is no way to ground anything unless you assume some level of reliability in your own experience and if you're gonna if you're gonna start doubting um things like your own experience right if that takes you back to hard solipsism well then you just say well okay then i've created this universe and i'm living in it so this if if i've created this universe as a construct of my mind then this universe is real to me and if you really want to doubt you just go back to the point well where how do i prove that the you know law of non-contradiction isn't real like if you actually go full full-blown hard solipsism you cannot get anywhere with anything yeah i should still i should i should point out by the way that the laws of thought were not subject to doubt and the uh you know obviously deduction was not subject to doubt uh they were involved in my journey to and from hard solipsism so that's it's important to note but in terms of tangible realities the only tangible reality i had in terms of uh being a being a conscious being is the fact the undeniable fact that i am and the the maybe maybe the way of coming at this uh less rigorously and more intuitively would just be to say that i was struck in that mode of hard solipsism where i sincerely believe i was the only being i was struck by the reality it's it's like i could see in my in in my mind's eye if you want to use that word uh the the eternity of i am the the fact that there must necessarily be a necessary being one and only one necessary being i was struck by that so i wanna i just wanna i want to emphasize with you this idea of the contrast between apprehension and comprehension so it was a miserable dark phase in my life but it bore fruit luckily and i'm happy to have gone through it but it was an existential angst but in that in that darkest moment there was an apprehension meaning that in that groping in that dark spiritual existential place i con i was confronted with the reality that there is a being whose essence is existence and who does not depend he's not contingent he does not depend for his existence on the existence of anything else i was struck by that i apprehended that it doesn't mean that i comprehended it in that darkest moment so i think it's important psychologically to sort of get into that head space where you are bumping against hard bumping up against hard truths without comprehending them but you're apprehending them in a very very real way because you've got nothing else you've literally got nothing else you can't run to mama because your mama doesn't exist you can't go look in the mirror because you know that's just more illusion and so there's a certain um there's a certain nakedness that you have as a genuine hard solipsist where you can face the reality you can apprehend this this shocking reality that there is necessarily one and only one necessary being and that it turns out uh he's gonna use the word being i'm so you're just saying that there is a thing that must exist that uh is not caused but can cause right yeah well in kind of the prime mover idea in that existential angst of my my journey into and through hard solipsism i was that god for all for for lack of a better word you concluded so but in this argument though that you've presented um are you defining god as just a being that can cause without like there's so many different interpretations of the word god alone right right but just i don't want you to sort of quickly brush over the fact the context you think about me i'm a i'm a human being like a physical human being who is going through uh sort of psychosis here where i'm confronting this existential angst of being the only the only being now that it's very important that you understand that i am a human being i have personality i i did not say free will i said i have will and i have reason and there are many philosophical proofs by the way that hinge on the will of the human without without needing to emphasize the free will of the human being we can talk about that in the context of blessed john dunst he has a wonderful proof i think and a posteriori proof a deductive proof of the existence of god and it relies on it's his one and only it's his one and only it's called the modal argument i don't know if you've read it um definitely should look into it yep um yeah it's an a posteriori proof it deals with the manifest reality that we see you can choose any example you want okay you can take anything you want your pet dog start from there you want to use your cup of coffee that you're holding on to you can start from there you can start from any manifest reality obviously you can't be a hard solipsist it's not going to work you need to get out of hard solves i want to just briefly tell you how i got from mono sort of generic monotheist to catholic okay just very very briefly so that i don't neglect to answer your question even though uh you know i'm not uh like wanting to talk about myself but you did ask and i think it's important that i tell you the journey because it might be interesting in the future when you think about your own journey and how your journey is unfolding okay so i went from uh heart solipsist to a generic monotheist thanks in large part to rene descartes um from there i said well i hate christianity so i can't be a christian i'm not jewish so i can't be jewish you can't just join judaism that was that was my sort of general hunch even though people do convert to judaism but no one i think no one really takes them that seriously when you convert to judaism so i said i am a muslim because there are only three monotheistic religions that dominate this world there may be other little little crazy ones but it's basically judaism christianity and islam so i said okay well i'm a de facto muslim even though i don't believe any of the tenets of islam for example i don't believe that muhammad is the last and greatest prophet i don't believe in the quran but i have an impulse which is bigger than i am which is urging me like as my top priority in life now that i'm a generic monotheist my top priority what is it just like the man in the desert one monotheist no i at some point i'm a monotheist but the desire is i mean i mean you need to like find a religion no i need to publicly worship god this is the drive this is the impulse okay and so i said okay i'm a muslim i'm gonna like it's gonna be awkward telling my family because they're christian or whatever but i'm gonna have to tell them i'm a muslim and uh go find a mosque and i guess find out about muhammad and i don't didn't have a good impression of muhammad anyway but uh you know i kind of liked zakir naik i don't know if you know zakir naik he's a televangelist for islam oh i know this guy i don't like him you don't like him okay i liked him but anyway uh he may have changed over the years this bear in mind this is uh 11 12 years ago right so um anyway i just said okay well it's islam for now tentatively and uh then i was just going about my business not terribly excited to uh be um sort of a bad muslim because i didn't really believe anything but i just wanted to worship god so it just so happens that at my workplace randomly if you believe in randomness a monk walked in a catholic monk walked in so i said hey i just discovered that i that i believe in your god i want to worship your god like how can i worship god he said well just come to the monastery and we'll talk about it so i said well i don't have a car where's this monastery he said it's right across the street so i'd never noticed this monastery i went and i walked across the street went to the monastery and he gave me instruction for like six months eight months and uh i just told him i said look i'm when we first met i said he showed me the catholic mass and i said i want to worship god with the catholic mass i don't i don't know what's going on here i have no idea what's going on i just have this impulse to worship god and uh so i'd like to become catholic uh is it okay that i don't believe in the trinity or in jesus christ the incarnation the redemption the crucifixion the death resurrection is it okay i don't believe in any of that stuff he said sure well we're gonna sort of go step by step and i'm gonna teach you over the next several months and if you accept the teachings then you will become a christian and if you don't then you won't it's that easy you know so i said okay well i'm open-minded give me some books to read so i read the catechism i read different uh books i was already familiar with uh in a sort of as an enemy of the church through my history of western philosophy i was sort of familiar with catholicism anyway but now that i believed in god and i had a completely different sort of perspective on god it gave me a different perspective on religion and i eventually dropped my bias against christ and his church and i accepted all the teachings always putting the truth as my top priority and ready to abandon jesus christ like i said to you at the beginning of this always ready to reject jesus christ at the drop of a hat if if that's what's true if he's a false prophet so uh i just used used my god-given reason to examine the teachings as they were presented to me and there are many things of course that go beyond reason but nothing that contradicted reason that's a big that's a big distinction that needs to be made by any monotheist who's examining which of the monotheistic faiths that he wants to join so in retrospect i can say that i am a monotheist because of pure reason and philosophy i am a christian because of history if you look at the history of the monotheistic religions history leads you to once you're a believer in god you history will lead you to jesus christ and then once you're a christian the question of authority will lead you to catholicism and so it's sort of a three-step thing like that of course you as an atheist yeah are not ready to accept that i do want to focus actually just quickly um what history are you talking about because there is not too much significant evidence to even suggest jesus existed well i disagree i mean uh i look at the even if you take as uh even if you take the the sort of um creeds of the different religions the different monotheistic religions if you take the creed of judaism christianity and islam they all talk about uh the messiah okay and if you examine historically the story they talk never mind proven that jesus basically lied in an attempt to make people think he was the messiah demonstrably proven i disagree i think it can be demonstrably okay so jesus claimed i assume your belief is that jesus said he was born of a virgin right yes yes um so why do you think he would say that because to me imagine for a second um that he was the messiah right he didn't need to be born of a virgin that was a mistranslation into the language he spoke it just said he it just said in the original kind of old testament verses that um it would be born of a young woman they mistranslated that into a virgin i disagree then i disagree that's true nobody no no no no that's one that's one school of thought and that's that is if you read if you're trying no no no no if you're telling me that is not contested amongst bible old testament scholars you're completely mistaken you're completely you've been you've been sold a bill of goods if you believe that you need to go and look at the competing voices in in uh biblical uh academia it's not unanimous you're deluded you're diluted anything is if you think that anything is unanimously accepted by the scholars you're completely deluded okay let me ask you this if if jesus was god why would he pick a method of transmission to tell everyone that can be so easily misinterpreted because if there is debate among scholars that implies that there is some way to interpret it differently correct why would he pick a method by the way this isn't even to mention the fact that uh the books of what was it matthew mark luke and john weren't written by matthew mark luke and john they were written by second or third hand accounts of matthew mark luke and john you know you can we we could talk to the cows come home about all the different pet theories of your favorite theologians and uh no scholars most new testament scholars even the christian ones except the idea that the earliest book was written 20 or yeah well i mean you're you're talking about the dating of the you don't think mark was written by mark and matthew was written by matthew and jonathan in fact in fact uh i don't have the exact verses on me but several of the books so first of all um i know several of the books directly quote i think it's like luke has verses that literally are just copy pasted from mark yeah this is this is uh this i don't know what you've been reading but this is out of coming out of vogue now this is really going this is like passe now what you're talking about you're regurgitating something from uh like that was popular 15 20 years ago this is outmoded this whole uh historical criticism that you're talking about it's completely outmoded now it's like you need to get up with the times with the recent scholarly research because that's completely outmoded and all of the all of the faithful catholic scholars today are completely abandoning that historical criticism they're going to new methods and they're taking what was good from historical criticism and there was historical criticism going on in the second third fourth fifth centuries if you go back and actually read people ask do you think that the gospels of matthew mark luke and john were written at the time by matthew mark luke and john it's not a dogmatic teaching of the church we're free to we're free to debate that you believe i mean i don't i don't i'm not a scholar so i don't know i prefer to believe i can tell you that the scholarly consensus is that the they are the work of unknown christians um after it was passed on by word of mouth composed from 68 to 110 a.d yeah which is that may be 30 years after jesus's death that may well be the uh the popular opinion but so is evolution i mean evolution is true most peop most catholics today including possibly the six most recent popes have possibly i hope not but possibly have believed that they that jesus christ and mary evolved from apes right and they were that they were eight you want to know i can tell you the official position of the roman catholic church is that evolution happened no no it's not it's not that's not the official position it's not not by a long shot the the overwhelming weight of the magisterial weight of the documents on the side of creation far outweigh any sort of offhand personal opinions of the six most recent popes and speeches that are given by speechwriters at the scientific academy and these sorts of things you need to examine the magisterial weight on the one side of the issue versus the handful of personal opinions and offhand comments of uh okay okay these are evidence what evidence do you have well i am taught by my i'm taught by my religion this is the thing you need to understand is that i'm not putting natural science above philosophy much less above theology much less above god almighty so i have a hierarchy in the sciences that i s that i submit to and that i that i keep in the proper order god is science with the capital s beneath him we have theology beneath theology we have philosophy and belief beneath philosophy we have the natural sciences beneath the natural sciences there are all kinds of other uh soft sciences okay so i will never ever ever put the hard evidence so-called evidence and evidence you know but listen evidence needs to be interpreted right so i mean if you show me a fossil and we go like let's go we hike we go hiking in the desert of australia and we dig for some reason we dig into the sand and we find a bone of an animal and i don't think that i have a good reason to think someone just planted it there so i think it's naturally occurring and we can both speculate about what it means the bone we can tell how old it is if you're naive enough to believe in the circular reasoning of carbon dating which is basically naive enough to believe in the thousands of scientists who have spent 10 plus years learning about this stuff they're committed to a worldview they're committed to a worldview this is what you don't understand right it's just like so are you trying okay so i'll ask you this so you believe that the world is what somewhere between six to ten thousand years old correct because i have what i would consider to be okay great eight to ten thousand so we have um so we can observe ice layers being put down in antarctica lots of interpretation already you're assuming a lot already you're assuming a lot over no this is the fact that we can observe them being laid down no you don't you don't know the the thing just the ones that we've seen we can watch them happen that is true okay we can watch something today happening right right so then we can we can you know we're online with this we can you know i'm going with this no but we can roll back time with a uniformitarian assumption yes because if you don't you get nowhere no if you don't you get back to the creation so i was just saying this i can just say that this whole universe and including this conversation was created five seconds ago if i reject you uniformitarianism last thursday is some right yeah exactly what your religion is unless you assume that the laws of nature are always the same and always have been you can basically propose any hypothesis what it could be right you you it's a dogma of the church it is a dogma of the church take that for what it is it's a dogma of the church that god created a good world but it's not the best world god did not god could have created a better world so it really is arbitrary the size the complexity the the the beauty that's all arbitrary because it's neither perfect nor non-existent it's somewhere in between it has an ontological goodness but it's not the best world that god could have made a better world but it is ontologically good so that whole question of how many multiverses are there and how many i didn't bring up multiples but they're they're questions that the atheists bring up about the the possibilities and how complex the universe is and quantum physics all this stuff it's all red herrings to distract from the undeniable fact that there is one and only one and only one uncaused first cause and that we can know the attributes many of the attributes of this so are you talking about the cosmological argument here i'm not familiar with the column okay so the column basically goes like this everything that ex that begins to exist has a cause the universe began to exist therefore the universe has a cause and then from there and then from there they try and it doesn't actually i'll explain why in a second um but then from there you go like well um you know it must be spaceless and timeless because it exists outside space and time because it chose to create something it must be personal and that's how they try and derive stuff like that um the reason the problem that i have with it is it assumes okay so let's let's think about this right um everything that begins to exist has a cause okay that's absurd because what has ever began to exist everything so for example you right when you learn something new synapses in your brain change did you begin to exist again or did you just change what was already there yeah yeah so everything is just a change state of the universe which was already there and if you go back far enough um like you know assuming um let's say got out of the equation and you know assume like big bang and evolution yeah if you go back far enough you just have the universe which is to say the only thing that ever the entire list of things that has began to exist is the universe so the premise that uh everything that begins to exist as a cause literally restated is the universe has a cause yes that's the definition of like what is it uh begging the question i'm not sure but circular reasoning right yeah well john you're assuming let's let's do the uh let's do the uh reduction to absurdity test so either the universe is caused or it's not cause if it's not caused it's uncaused okay so yeah let's assume i think it's more reasonable to say that the universe is caused but let's assume you know that it's not caused what does that mean there are implications to that for example are you willing to throw out some of the most fundamental laws of naturals the natural sciences the laws of thermodynamics all three laws of thermodynamics are in jeopardy if you want to say that this universe has no beginning all three are in jeopardy my understanding of the laws of thermodynamics is that they describe what already exists they don't say anything about what exists outside of the universe i mean if you're trying to tell me that you're trying to tell me that god exists does that also not violate the laws i'm playing i'm playing into your fantasy where the universe is uncaused all there is is the material universe and it had the potential to become what it is today obviously it had the potential and it's actualized into today and today will actualize into tomorrow and tomorrow will actualize into the next day okay so if we go back to like you said if we go back in time and you want to say that it is uncreated then what you're saying is that the we have to throw out the laws of thermodynamics because the laws of thermodynamics say number one there's a fixed amount of energy there's about there's four laws all the time okay so you're willing to throw them out no i'm i'm willing to reinterpret i mean okay so let's think about it like this right newtonian physics but we reinterpreted it and used it at different times because we understand that lords of newtonian physics break down once you enter the quantum realm in the same way we can say thermodynamics only applies inside the universe or not outside of it you don't you don't understand you didn't study physics and quantum physics and newtonian mechanics at university the way i did i know you haven't because you're too young to have studied i studied newtonian mechanics and quantum mechanics at university i've worked at the asian space agency i've worked i worked in quantum physics and i have my name on a published paper in quantum electronics okay so i know i know what i'm talking about and i can tell you i can tell you i can tell you listen listen listen to me i can tell you that in our first year quantum mechanics course okay which is in second year we were walked through as a as uh as an educational sort of uh mind opening experience for the students during just one lecture we were walked through just to expand our minds and to understand the history of science we were walked through two demonstrations one was the application of newtonian wave newtonian wave mechanics to a subatomic subatomic uh quantum context and the opposite a quantum mechanics approach schrodinger wave equation applied to a macro object a baseball thrown at 100 miles per hour okay so what's when you talk about the breakdown of newtonian physics what you need to understand by the breakdown is the clumsiness the awkwardness the incredible uh cumbersomeness of using newtonian mechanics at the small scale it's ridiculous it's absurd and it was blackboard after blackboard of newtonian equations and the same thing when we applied the schrodinger equation well the schrodinger equation applied to a macro object was not as long but it was absurd for another reason it was absurd for the reason that we would never ever in a laboratory be able to detect such a small wavelength and a an amplitude of the wave of baseball being thrown at 100 miles per hour because it's just it's a it's just too bulky and big to to be observable okay but my point here is that when you talk about the breakdown of classical newtonian mechanics you completely have misconstrued it it's not a breakdown meaning that it's not true it's a breakdown meaning it's inappropriate it's it's it's not apt it's not it's not applicable in the sense that it's just unworkable so i think you and my listeners i hope you understand that there's a lot there's a lot of misinformation going around by people that want to sell books just like krauss wants to sell books and he'll say that this is pretty qualified a quantum field is quote unquote nothing a quantum field is not nothing and if you actually read his book you'll see that he admits that a quantum field is not nothing so when he wants to have his concept nothing is ridiculous to begin with i think so because i believe in i believe in an uncaused being a being who's necessary so i don't think i i i think it has a limited usefulness this concept of nothing but that's beside the point but my point is that there's a lot of pseudo-science going around there's a lot of people trying to sell books with bad philosophy that they attach to their their credentials as a natural scientist i think natural science is good let's okay so if i were to concede the idea that the universe had a cause yep that doesn't make it god but well we have no idea what was before it's a it's a the universe is a fancy word for everything that is okay so everything natural that is so if you want to say that everything that is taken together has a cause what do you suppose is more likely that that cause is powerful or not powerful that it's power implies personality it's it's the source of everything no power power just means the ability to take something from actuality to potentiality that's it uh sorry for potential improvement potentiality if we specifically define power as basically like ability and not necessarily implying you know personage then yes it would be powerful relative to the universe yeah and it's it's anyway but also we can't necessarily demonstrate that the laws of the universe would apply outside of the universe so i don't like maybe it's not maybe it's like super counterintuitive i can tell you i can guarantee you it's a dogma of the church that the laws of nature do not apply outside of nature that's that's that's not only a dogma of the church it's common sense there can why does it necessitate that it's powerful well because it's the rules of nature don't apply well it's power it's power because it is the source of everything it took it took education the laws of nature don't apply yeah they do not apply it's not a natural process not a natural cause why do we need to assume that something would need to be powerful to create something massive because the lead from nothing to something is infinite so that requires i'm not sure the the leap from nothing to something is however much that something is i mean the leap from zero to one is one not infinite what is uh what is one divided right but we're not talking about like how many times does zero go into one we're talking about um how much more do you need to add from zero to get one they're completely different questions well you can you can add it if you have it right you can't add it if you don't have it i'd like you to produce one grain of grain of sand for me go for it you yourself produce a god you yourself admitted that you cannot produce anything you can only move things around you admitted that you said the only thing that was created is the universe right and i agree with you i agree with you the only cree there's only one creation and since then things are shifting around and it evolving in the proper sense of the word meaning changing according to their their their natures right so you can't you can't obviously you can't get a higher nature from a lower nature like when you picture the cold dead universe 14 billion years ago according to your world view it had the potential according to you to bring about rational and i would say free creatures like the human beings and and or even you want to talk about go back to free will actually because i do think that i can demonstrate that free will sure sure okay so here's here's my my argument basically all actions um either have a grounding in what i would call like a want like a desire right um or they don't so so like either you do something to attain a goal or you don't right now if you do something to attain a goal you don't decide what the goal is the goal is already deciding like if i go and eat ice cream i don't decide to enjoy ice cream i just hey man like ice cream is delicious right um versus if i did it completely randomly well that's not really free will either so it doesn't matter which path i'm taking i never chose my decision yeah have you ever decided not to decide something or have you ever been sure okay so it's not even just an example have you ever decided to decide something no and i'll explain why um so like let's imagine that i wanted the ice cream but i was on a diet right so i decided to not eat the ice cream yep but why did i decide to not eat the ice cream well because i wanted to stay healthy my decision there is still ultimately based on something something like i want right why do i want to stay healthy well because society has put expectations on me and i want a long life neither of those are things that i can control right but if you say if you say for example um let's say your family wants to go on holiday okay and traditionally you go to one of three places blah blah i'm just making this up so it's your turn the family says okay um alex it's your turn this year you get to decide uh but we're going to give you lots of time you've got until the summer to decide uh just come up with your decision whatever you decide will go there so you know that you have a choice to make you know there's no real pressure on you in terms of what you choose and you know there's no real pressure in terms of when you choose it you also know that sometimes they're more convenient than others for example if like you're in the middle of an exam at school that's probably not the best time to like start deciding where you're gonna go for holiday right so and you also know that uh there are times that are very amenable to making a decision like that like for example when you're at the uh you're talking to your friend who happens to be a travel agent and she's been all over the world and she has lots of good suggestions for you and you say you say to yourself well this might be a good opportunity for me to bring up the question about where i could bring my family for holiday um and so you just sort of work it into the conversation without being rude you work it into and conversation right so there are lots of little small decisions that go into when not to decide and when to decide why would i work it into the conversation without seeming rude or selfish well it's because i don't want them i want them to like me for example and i've spoken to this person specifically because i know that they will give me a good spot to go you said that there's some kind of travel agent right which means that well why am i talking to them because i want to have a good holiday these are all these all come down to wants that i can't control no no you're not you're not talking to her because uh you can use her to get something from her you're talking to her because you love her you like her she's your friend and your dog you're talking about other stuff it just shows that you know her like for example i'm sure i've spoken to a million people before i started talking to her why wouldn't i bring this up to someone else right why am i actually bringing it up to her well okay i bring it up to someone else why do i do that because i think they have good opinion on it why like would i bring it up to someone who i think has no input in this have you ever found yourself okay let me ask you something have you ever found yourself uh talking and then you're like why am i talking to this person about this like this is inappropriate you know like uh did i just say that out loud like what am i doing you know have you ever found yourself in that situation i have okay and so there's this sort of background um mode that we're in where we have things on our mind like i've got things on my mind i've got a some issue here in my in my shoulder i guess i would say like unless you consciously actively decided to talk to this person about it like if it kind of happened randomly by accident i wouldn't really say that that counts as a choice anyway like did you have free will to um bring this up to them by accident that's absurd yeah that's a good point but um the sorry can i just go to the bathroom because i've been drinking a lot of water yeah yeah yeah go for it i'll talk so we are going to wrap it up here i've got a hundred i've got a one hour 17 minutes already on the clock here i'm gonna probably wrap it up this uh pretty shortly when alex comes back from his little bathroom break so uh so far pretty interesting chat with this nice young man obviously i disagree with him about free will obviously i disagree with him about entropy and the laws of thermodynamics about the universe having no cause and if it does have a cause i think it's obvious that that cause is uh has got some attributes that uh involve pure perfections perfections that it's better to have than to not to have when it comes back i think i'll ask him about the ontological argument and so on just gotta touch briefly on a couple of things hey that was quick yeah sorry i tried to make it quick i was talking to my listeners and uh well basically talking to myself and uh i thought you know we can we can come back to this i don't think we're making a lot of headway where we're where we're spending our lives right now but i was thinking about ann selman's ontological argument i'd like to hear your sort of uh analysis of that this is the thing i don't i forgot to write it down so i don't um have the kind of refutation on hand yeah yeah just talk about it well okay so let's let's bring so how do you pronounce and so is it just a regular ontological argument or is it a i don't i don't know i mean it's no and ontological argument optional there we go um let's see if i can find it so it's deductive right or it's something like that yeah okay so it says enzo began with the concept of god as that than which nothing greater can be conceived right okay so like do you think he has infinite power yes okay so can he create a burrito so hot he can't eat it no because that's a lack of power to not be able to eat okay so that means that he doesn't have infinite power no it's a lack of power like it's uh i mean eating eating is kind of a weird example because god god took like god took on our human nature okay so let's do the classical one like rocky can't lift type deal yeah that's a that's a lack of power to not be able to lift it's not a power it's a lack of power right so he's created the rock he can't he can't have a lack of power right so here's the problem though right so he's created a rock and he's lifted it right yeah this is but the presumption was can he create a rock so heavy he can't lift it and if he can't create the rock oh he can he can create he can create a rock that that no one can lift except himself including him no no no he he can't he it is not a perfection it is not a perfection to be weak it's not a perfection to be weak it's not a strength to be weak this is my point you you can say that like um he has certain limitations but it doesn't have any limitations okay so can he create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it no because that would be that he's not invitation no no no that would the the inability to lift something would be a limitation and he doesn't have any limitations so you know right so he's created the heaviest possible rock and he can lift it yeah so he has not been able to create he has a limited power in creating rocks he can't make himself weak his own nature that's that's in and of itself limited power correct if he can't make himself no it's not it's it's the abundance of power that he can never be weak okay so if he has infinite power yeah can he create a rock so heavy he can't lift it no because he's not not being able to eat the rock he can create the rock but he can lift it because to not be able to lift he hasn't created this specific rock yeah because that would that would be creating if you want to use this where i mean it's absurd to say this but it would be creating weakness right because there's no there's nothing he can't move he's the unmoved mover he can move anything and everything just like the programmer can move the virtual objects in his virtual game world that he creates and if he were unable to if he were to create a virtual rock in his virtual video game and he were unable to manipulate it using his code that would be a weakness on his part not a strength right so in this video game you have to think about it like a video game the programmer can create anything he wants create a rock that takes up like can can the program create a rock with a virtual size so big that he can't move the rock in the game so that is not infinite power and no one's saying that programmers have infinite no no because it's not it's not a limitation of a power of his power it's an example of creation creation is a necessary part of power like if you're saying that he can't create something that there's a certain thing you can't create can we at least agree then that he does not have technically infinite power no we can't say that because he has infinite power infinite means not finite it means not bounded not limited and if he were to be limited then he would by definition not be unlimited do you see so it's a trick of it's a trick the problem is with the grammar of saying can he create can he uses power to limit his power right can he use his power to limit his power no he can't because that would be a limit on his power by definition so getting back to logical positivism everything is either a topology or nonsense and what you're saying is nonsense and when i say god is infinite in his power that's a tautology because the very definition of what god is is unlimited power okay i disagree but we're just gonna have to move on we can move on yeah because we're gonna have to wrap it up so let's get through all the exciting bits that we haven't touched on yet so he then says yeah are we do you want to go back to them yeah yeah i like i like and sounds on top and it says to think of such a being as existing only in thought and not also in reality involves a contradiction since a being that lacks real existence is not a being then which none greater can be conceived yeah that to me sounds truly absurd well which one is which one uh so it's basically which one's greater the one that is your fantasy or the one that's a reality which one's greater um the one that is reality i guess there you go that's all he's saying that's right okay so he's saying that in theory a maximally great being would also exist in practice but again then it says a yet greater being would be one with the further attribute of existence thus the unsurpassably perfect being must exist otherwise it would not be this to me sounds truly absurd because it's saying that um so it's saying so he has the concept of god of which nothing greater can be conceived um that i don't understand how that gets you any closer to god's existence because like i have the concept of dumbledore and that is like the most dumbledorian thing that can exist have you read that yeah go ahead i can cut you off right now actually it would be efficient to cut you off now because uh he sent his writing to a monk who rebutted or refuted anselm's argument by saying well i can envision an island it's the most perfect island and therefore it must exist because the one that doesn't exist is not as perfect as the one that does it yes exactly okay and and anselm corrected his friend the monk and said well my argument only applies to god because god is immaterial god is not a spiritual god god is not uh subject to change and the it's it's a category error like no one's saying like i mean first of all we can say with certainty that an island even uh the best one that you can imagine like i mean i don't know i don't even know what the criteria are for the best island but um i'm starting to picture women in bikinis but um but uh it's subject to change right how can it be how can even how can you even say that it is a pure perfection when it's subject to change i would actually argue that god is pretty imperfect um to begin with like at least the god as described by the bible is pretty pretty imperfect yeah well there if you read the the saints the catholic saints this is my bias as a catholic obviously but if you read the catholic saints and how they interpret the anthromorphic images in the bible and the for example when god says he's angry we know that god does not he's not subject to the passions uh he doesn't get angry uh it's just talking in human terms there's a technical term for this attribution or condescension okay the the christians have always understood this to this with uh god being actually angry it has more to do with his moral commandments it has to do with uh it has to do with exodus 21 if you know what i'm talking about it has to do with karma basically cause and effect like if you uh if you want to have life then you need to love god know god and serve god in this life and then you'll be happy with them forever and if you don't right you know it's the promises and the curses the promises and the curses in the old testament why would he punish people for no reason there's a good reason no in in this life why would he punish them to correct them okay but that's to bring them to repentance right like why why does god allow evil no i mean i mean i mean why would god punish someone for no reason god would not do anything for no reason that's for sure okay so um god allows people god allows people to do immoral things to people are you aware yeah are you aware are you aware of the distinction in christian theology and catholic theology between because god's will is always done right but are you aware of the distinction between his permissive permissive will that which he allows and his ordaining or positive will that which he ordains positively are you aware of that distinction no okay it's very important because everything that happens is god's will but the two categories of his will it's his position to be slaves he allows evil he's never the source or cause of evil but he does allow evil and it's always for the greatest good of each individual everything that happens is your greatest good for my greatest good for everyone's individual greatest good do you think that free will and suffering is better than no free will and no suffering of course yes okay is there free will in heaven yes can i cause people to suffer in heaven no then there is no free will in heaven there is free will in heaven you just never choose to do ill that's called not free will no you just don't choose that like right now you could i i mean i i it's no point talking to this someone that doesn't believe in free will but if i were talking with someone that would bring it through yeah okay for the sake of argument if you believed in free will like you know that i believe in free will so yes let's use me as an example like i could eat uh dog extra excrement okay i could it's on the sidewalk like i could go out and pick it up and put it in my mouth chew it yes i do that in heaven listen listen i'm not complete i haven't completed my thought yet the thing here is that it would never occur to me to go out on the sidewalk collect the dog doo doo and eat it okay even though i'm free to do that it's the same thing in heaven it would never occur to me to hurt anyone in heaven is literally restricting your thoughts no am i restricted am i restricted right now from this thing right so um it's wisdom and knowledge and why wouldn't god uh create a world i guess okay so first of all um i don't understand how anyone can defend exodus chapter 21 at all the ten commandments um no things like um you know slavery not not very cool uh anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death not very cool well i mean do you remember do you remember when moses permitted divorce do you remember that part um it's in the same chapters i remember the part where moses permitted child rape do you remember the part do you remember the part where he said an eye for an eye tooth for truth remember that part uh yeah okay so just think about divorce never mind slavery and rape okay let's think about an eye for an eye tooth for tooth and divorce okay because jesus addresses those in the new testament okay you're not a christian there's no point talking about the bible with you but i just do it for the sake of the listeners okay so jesus said what does moses teach about divorce they said well he taught us that we give her a paper and we send her on our way and jesus said well that was because of the hardness of your hearts i was that was a concession made to you by god to you through moses okay same thing with eye for an eye tooth for a tooth he says what did jesus he says jesus says what did moses teach you he said eye for an eye two for tooth but what do i teach i teach love your energy on the other cheek turn the other cheek okay so we don't have to we don't we we can never forget that we have to so if i was jesus the first thing i would do when i came down would be like hey remember that slavery thing that everyone's been doing yeah it turns out like you're all going to hell for that right the only mention of slavery in the new testament is um i believe it was paul saying to obey your masters that to me no that's not the only mention of slavery paul says very in a very loving and moving way in the shortest one of the shortest i think it's the shortest epistle in the new testament i think you should go and read it now where he's talking to a slave owner and saying look i found your slave who ran away and you owe me your very life but instead of repaying me paul i want you to repay your slave i'm sending him back to you and i want you to love him i want you to be like a brother to him i want you to care for him i want you to feed him i want you to treat him right now brother you think okay so do you think that it is in any way ever moral to own another person's property regardless of how you treat them no question question so is that not bad i mean when in ephesians chapter six verse five through eight says slaves be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling yeah but you know you need to understand the the sort of i think that today i joke i joke today that i'm a slave okay because uh you're 16 you probably don't understand and you you have a job right you have probably a part time driver full-time job uh well technically it's casual work so my shifts change but yeah it would be like part-time okay when when you i mean i'm uh i'm not a good example because i'm a very lazy person and i hate work but i joke that i'm a slave because it's painful for me it's painful going to work my whole life is long it's always been painful going to work and i've always felt like a slave like why do i need to go and give my time to this guy or this corporation or this group or whatever it is it's like i don't want to do that i want to have fun so i've always felt like a slave when i'm giving my precious time just so i can even pay my bills and pay my rent that just seems like a crappy deal for me i don't like that but my church teaches me to be a good employee aka a good slave and it also tells my employer aka my master to treat me well i don't see a difference i don't see a difference i don't see a difference i really don't see a difference it's like slavery when it's done well the best the best treatment of a slave the best life of a slave i think is better than the best job i've had in north america working for a corporation okay i think it's either okay but exodus does not teach you to treat your slaves well yeah but the existence also teaches you all sorts of other stuff that was concession for example divorce eye for was so exodus was wrong about this stuff ask jesus i can't well you can read the bible and he says i came not to uh abrogate the law but to fulfill the law right he came not to does that mean that doesn't that mean that this is correct it means that there's stuff in the there's stuff reported for example there's a reported speech in the bible where people say things like there is no god right but we know oh we don't we don't just open the bible at random and then read the part that says there is no god and say oh i just opened the bible and today would you learn the bible today billy all right today i opened it randomly i learned that there is no god no you need to understand that parts of the old testament are wrong there's wrongness reported there's a reported speech there's there's a history of for example unjust things that are done by all of the patriarchs right like they're doing some good stuff and they're doing some bad stuff aren't these supposed to be kind of commandments from god well yeah but they're concessions just like well i don't i mean i can't uh i can't speak for everything i can't filter everything the reason i focus on divorce and eye for 92 for tooth is because jesus christ who is god incarnate according to my worldview he told us that moses was making a concession for the hard-hearted because of your hardness of heart he was making concessions with those and some other examples okay so there's a perfection of the law that takes place over time as these stupid selfish stiff-necked people the chosen people the jews were going through this journey learning how to know god and to love god and to serve god in this life so that ultimately so they can be happy with god forever in the next life so you can't just look at it like uh that everyone is a hero in the bible and everyone's doing the will of god and when it's reported that god said this and god said that that it's necessarily the case you can't assume okay but isn't isn't it also reported that god said the world was created in six days like how can you trust that it seems very nice that's because that's what the overwhelming magisterial weight of hundreds and thousands of years of the saints and the early church fathers and the documents of the church and the encyclicals and the and the ecumenical councils which are infallible and the infallible pronouncements of the the biblical commission the manchester versus a few offhand comments by some recent popes they also think that uh well people also thought that slavery was wrong like you can't just say people used to think it so it's true people thought the earth was flat the bible teaches of the earth right right but you what you don't understand is that church has three attributes the church has indefectibility it will always be here like every other corporation organization government monarchy is all crumbled but the church is still here indefectability we believe that the church will be here until the very end okay the other one is authority a god-given authority the third one is infallibility the church is unable to air when teaching truth and pertaining to faith in morals okay in very specific contexts in a very limited way there's a way where the church is able to teach and it's guaranteed not to fall into error that doesn't mean that individuals in the church can't be wrong it doesn't mean that popes can't say things that are just opinion it doesn't mean that you need to understand the three attributes of the church and then you understand that it is an infallible teaching of the living magisterium throughout all the ages that the early church fathers are infallible when they have a moral unanimity right a moral consensus what if in the future um so you're saying i'm sorry so you're saying that the early church fathers were wrong sorry we're right but the new ones are wrong there are no i mean they're they're council fathers right they're bishops imagine imagine for a second um a hypothetical future where everyone in the church agrees that evolution happened what does that say uh are you talking about a dogmatic pronoun pronouncement by a pope or a i mean like let's say let's say for the next hundred years all the popes all the bishops all the archbishops all said that they believed that evolution happened they're expressing that how did they how did they express that how do they communicate in public and in private they tell everyone when they're asked they say i'm asking you i'm asking you a very technical question is it taught as dogma that must be believed or is it just expressed as a personal opinion because up until now well if it started as dogma then it's true right but then okay but then what if it was how does that make it i just don't understand how you can trust that because it's also taught as dogma now isn't it no no no it's not no it's not creationism is not totally no no no no no no no it's not it hasn't been defied dogmatically it happens to be my preference but if the church says it's wrong then i just go with the church right i just i just don't happen to think the church is going to go that way but so do you think that the church can override the bible no the truth okay so it gets it's it's the church gets all of its truths all of its saving truths from the what's called the sacred deposit of faith which includes the sacred scriptures and sacred tradition sacred tradition because the bible was given to us by god through the instrumentality of the church the infallible church who defined this book is in this book is out and these are this is the canon and uh these are the infallible uh this is the infallible canon of the inherent word of god right so you really need to if you want to understand my catholic faith you need to understand indefectability the church will always be here and it was founded by christ authorities infallibility yeah of course there are apparent contradictions in the bible and there are genuine contradictions reported in the bible just like if you do a newscast about what the prime minister of canada said right you're going to see contradiction it's a reported it's a report it's a news report so if you say you know uh king so and so said something to a prophet the king could be having a million and one different political reasons why he's lying and manipulating uh the jewish people like there are plenty there are plenty of examples of that and you could even have the patriarchs like david lying to his neighbor and saying oh why don't you get drunk tonight so uh you know so that you and and have sex with your wife so that you don't figure out that i screwed your wife you know what i mean like there are lots of examples of corruption among the patriarchs who are now in heaven reigning gloriously right because they repented and the ones that didn't repent sadly uh are probably not in heaven i mean depending on how what was on this here's another question why would god create hell and why not just create people and put them in heaven wouldn't that be better well there's this basic idea it comes back to free will again you can you can only love freely that's what i tried to emphasize with you earlier on about it but you said that there's free will in heaven so wouldn't everyone what is being put in heaven realize how good god is and love him freely well apparently not i mean there are people in hell what does that tell you about their will their will was ill they have no will tells me that god created a world that makes it very difficult to love him freely you said that there is free will in heaven correct correct so if i so if he put me in heaven could i love him freely could i choose could i choose to hate him once you're in heaven you can't choose to hit him because that's not free will because you've been perfected right this is why we have purgatory not only the supernatural purgatory after death but we have a purgatory here we have suffering here we have tragedy here we have uh we also have uh little tastes of heaven here we have the saints here we have we have the spiritual writings here we have the church here we have the sacraments we have prayer we have all sorts of things good and bad a little taste of heaven a little taste of hell right a little bit of purgatory here and now so we're able to be perfected we could be perfected here that's what the saints did they were perfected here in this life and then they went straight to heaven okay so same thing with martyrs when they suffer and die for jesus christ and for their faith they go straight to heaven they don't need to go to purgatory even if they're sinners there's stories about priests who are great sinners hanging out in the whorehouse and someone came into the horror house and was killing everyone and he repented and he did a great heroic act of of virtue and he saved some lives and this and that the other thing and he did it out of love for christ and he went straight to heaven as a martyr he's canonized as a saint even though he was hanging out in whorehouses as a priest and being a bad priest but he he made a choice he made a choice for christ at that existing all you have to do in your life is love jesus and you get infinite reward and you could be the best person possible not love jesus and not get and get eternally punished no no no it's not like that you have to have you have to work with the light that you're that you're given and work with your conscience what do you know how educated are you if i was a fantastically great person right decided that i didn't believe in jesus but i like donated all my money to charity unless i had like a billion dollars and i gave it all away versus you presumably not having a billion dollars but believing in jesus you could um yeah but you know like dude what happens do i still go to hell if you you can you because you don't have the supernatural gift of faith hope and love the gifts of the virtues of faith and open love the theological virtues you don't have those you only have natural virtue so when you do something good it's not for god you're not doing it for god so it's worthless it's absolutely worthless you give away all the money it doesn't matter you could it's like saint paul says if you don't have love then it doesn't matter how much good stuff you do it doesn't matter you have to have love you have to have love of god first and love of neighbor for god's sake so it doesn't matter what you do but if by the grace of god you have a conversion because god sees that you are good you have this natural virtue and you're a very virtuous atheist and your your heart is soft for your fellow man right but the main reason why i'll give you the gift of god is because he there's so many contradictions in the bible why would he create a book with so many contradictions apparent apparent contradictions and reported genuine contradictions but my advice to you if you don't have to take advice from me this is unsolicited advice you don't have to take it sure i would say i've been where you are in terms of atheism i've been an atheist and i've been a christian i've been a monotheist i've been a catholic and um i would ignore my advice to you is to ignore religion and to ignore the religious books the quran the bible the torah i would advise you to ignore those until such time as you believe in the uncaused first cause then you can start shopping around for religion to believe in an uncaused first cause well because everything that you encounter that's not god is contingent and it is dependent on for its very existence on other contingent beings right so the the i don't have time right now i've been an hour and 46 minutes on the phone with you and i do have to go back to my to my wife here but i would leave you with i would leave you with a little bit of homework it's not mandatory homework and you've got a lot of other stuff on your plate i'm sure but since you're interested in theology and since you're interested in philosophy i would recommend and i'll send you some links after this that you look into the blessed john don scotus modal argument which is that post a posteriori argument which is a strict demonstration and i would recommend you look into that i'll send you some links because it it the reason i'm suggesting it is because it's not uh it's not a um a priority argument such as the ontological argument and it's not it completely avoids the issue of free will and it completely avoids the issue of how old is the universe when did the universe begin and you could have an eternal universe it's completely sidesteps those issues so basically it gives you a laser focus on the essential things to get what you need to get to the uncaused first cause and then if you're honest with yourself if you love the truth and you are willing to follow the truth no matter where it leads if you really truly believe in the uncaused first cause then you will acknowledge okay i am an uh a generic monotheist i don't i'm not a jew i'm not a christian i'm not a muslim sure but i believe in for lack of a better word i believe in god and from there you're going to have all kinds of graces i assure you how do i know that because that's where i was and i felt i felt uh infused knowledge i felt great send me those those resources um on discord or something yep i will read them do you mind if you know whenever you're free again we can yeah yeah yeah for sure for sure we could now we could have talked a lot longer tonight i i love talking with you it's just that i was late coming to the meeting and we had scheduled we had previously scheduled to do it two hours earlier just things happened as or sometimes happen you know you said you were detained do you mean like by a person or by the police no just my circumstances no no it was just by circumstances there was an issue i had in the family i had to deal with that's fine is everything okay now uh yeah i don't think it's it's complicated i don't even want to get into it it's just that's fine i had some things happen and then i went uh in a long roundabout that sort of delayed my day and then i had to go to church i went to confession and then when i got home i had things in the plumbing situation and it's just you know sometimes you have a day like that where things just uh i hope i hope things get better for you i appreciate it really nice to meet you alex thanks for taking the time and uh you're a pleasant young man uh you seem bright and you seem like you're uh uh you know interested in ideas and the truth and questioning things and reading and studying and and i'm interested to see if we could go a little bit deeper and maybe clarify some of the ambiguities where we weren't able to make progress with either free will or with with uh some of the questions where maybe my answers weren't uh satisfying to you and or maybe where i wasn't able to be clear enough and maybe we can next time we can sort of uh use this first talk that we did to set the stage for going deeper into what's most essential for you where you are right now in your journey and your understanding of ontology because i think ontology is key uh obviously obviously i'm of the opinion that epistemology depends on ontology so i think if you get your ontology right then your epistemology will fall into place we can talk about that too as a separate sort of a side note philosophic we have metaphysics generally uh but we'll try to go deeper and we'll try to get a more satisfying uh resolution to some of your questions because i feel like to today we sort of screwed it over a couple of very important issues and maybe uh you gave me some stuff to think about maybe give you some things to think about but we didn't really make we didn't really make any great breakthroughs either way so next time we'll try to just focus a little bit more and go a little bit deeper about the things those particular topics that you're most interested in but uh if you do if you do listen back to this you can sort of hone in on those next time we talk but when's your next opportunity did you want to touch base again in a week two weeks a month or how are you feeling um yeah well send me those resources i'll read them at like you know when i can and then okay maybe from there like same time just like whatever week it happens to be so like if it takes me a week to read them then the week after okay this is a good slot for you it's your sunday morning right it's your sunday morning okay and um yeah so uh take good care it's uh right now it's 12 midnight here it must be oh wow 2 p.m there yeah it's coming up on two yeah okay so have a great day enjoy uh enjoy your time and we'll i'll send you those links and we'll talk very soon okay awesome and we'll talk very soon okay awesome thanks you too thank you bye