Helen & the Scissors

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
That supposed foolish is based on whether or not God exists. In your analogy, you have built that in, by declaring the scissors are there.
Correct. He is there. And here.

As long as we are clear this analogy only works for those who already believe God exists.

WRONG. It works for anyone smart enough to realize he MAY be limited in what he can sense of all things true.

Or a magically raised Jesus.

Correct. No one should believe me if I claim to have magically raised Jesus
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Another analogy to consider.
You and Helen Keller are tied to chairs bolted to the floor six feet away from a table with nothing on it. However, you are suffering from delusion, and are utterly convinced there is a leprechaun on the table. Your hands are free and your chairs are close enough together so that by the sense of touch your are able to communicate some hope to Helen with regard to the existence of the leprechaun. But Helen thinks you are hallucinating - and of course she is right. She demands empirical proof. Your inability to offer any is disparaged by Helen as indicative of your deception regarding the scissors. What do you do?​
If I'm suffering from delusion as you claim, I MIGHT try to talk the leprechaun into getting off his butt and setting me free.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
WRONG. It works for anyone smart enough to realize he MAY be limited in what he can sense of all things true.
No it does not, because in the analogy there is no doubt. The scissors definitely exist, because you set it up that way.

For "anyone smart enough to realize he MAY be limited in what he can sense of all things true", it may be that God exists, and it may not.

The leprechaun might be on the table, as you claim, but it might that you are deluding yourself. What evidence can you produce - other than the conviction that you are right? None as far as I can see.

If I'm suffering from delusion as you claim, I MIGHT try to talk the leprechaun into getting off his butt and setting me free.
Right. And if you are a Christian, you might pray to God to get off his butt and bring peace on Earth.
 
D

Diogenes

Guest
You and Helen Keller are tied to chairs bolted to the floor six feet away from a table upon which sits a pair of scissors. Your hands are free and your chairs are close enough together so that by the sense of touch your are able to communicate some hope to Helen with regard to the existence of the scissors. But Helen thinks you are either hallucinating or lying. She demands empirical proof. Your inability to offer any is disparaged by Helen as indicative of your deception regarding the scissors. What do you do?

Ask the person(s) who tied us up to hand me the scissors.
 

Gus Bovona

Well-known member
I gave you an example where it was.
Yes, in your example, it is. But your example is a poor analog to the actual epistemological question, because there is no reason why empirical knowledge is limited to what any individual person can know. ETA: But I think your fundamental point is where you end up below:
I have no beef with the validity of your valid but quite irrelevant example. But just as in my example, Helen's knowledge IS limited, you and LHA cannot rule out the possibility that there is an unseen realm which y'all are currently incapable of discerning and that others are.
What conclusions are warranted to draw from a raw sense experience, even of a realm that only some can see, are the same whether the person drawing the conclusions is the person who has the raw sense experience of the proposed unseen realm or is the person who does not have this raw sense experience.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Yes, in your example, it is. But your example is a poor analog to the actual epistemological question, because there is no reason why empirical knowledge is limited to what any individual person can know.

My example doesn't imply there is. It merely illustrates the fact that the lack of empirical knowledge does not preclude the possibility of the reality of things not discernible via the limited senses possessed.

What conclusions are warranted to draw from a raw sense experience, even of a realm that only some can see, are the same whether the person drawing the conclusions is the person who has the raw sense experience of the proposed unseen realm or is the person who does not have this raw sense experience.

The conclusions drawn will be a function of the discernibility of the phenomena, itself a function of the organs of discernment possessed.
 

Lighthearted Atheist

Well-known member
You and Helen Keller are tied to chairs bolted to the floor six feet away from a table upon which sits a pair of scissors. Your hands are free and your chairs are close enough together so that by the sense of touch your are able to communicate some hope to Helen with regard to the existence of the scissors. But Helen thinks you are either hallucinating or lying. She demands empirical proof. Your inability to offer any is disparaged by Helen as indicative of your deception regarding the scissors. What do you do?
I tell Stevie that I can see scissors that will cut his ropes. He then feels the scissors and confirms that I was able to describe them accurately by using sight, not touch. Then I cut his ropes.

I may have some of the premise wrong - I apologize if I do. But that is how you prove an extra sense to someone. You do something with your extra sense, sight, that they can confirm with their sense, touch.

So if you have a sixth sense that allows you to see God you need to observe something with that sense and then present it to us for our five senses. For example if you saw the cure for Covid with your sixth sense and described how to make it to doctors that would work. You would see something they could not and the functioning cure would prove that your extra sense delivered something real.

But if I tell Stevie there are scissors and he cannot touch the scissors and I never use them to free him then I have proven nothing. I am claiming to see a way to free Stevie but I cannot do anything to prove it - Stevie remains in the chair as though my extra sight does not work at all.
 

Gus Bovona

Well-known member
My example doesn't imply there is. It merely illustrates the fact that the lack of empirical knowledge does not preclude the possibility of the reality of things not discernible via the limited senses possessed.
Sure, but you have to verify the existence of this special sense to those who don't have it, just like I showed in my scenario how it's possible to verify even to the blind that there is a sensory mode that the sighted call "sight." Otherwise, you're just making claims that not only does this special sense exist, but that certain individuals have it, and others don't - without any justification. Which means anyone can claim anything in a similar fashion. That is not a good basis for an epistemology.

The conclusions drawn will be a function of the discernibility of the phenomena, itself a function of the organs of discernment possessed.
First "conclusion" is distinguished from the raw sense perception. A conclusion is a claim based on what is discerned, as well as logic, as well as at least some sort of minimal consistency with other perceptions. For instance, I have the raw sense perception of a ball of green with individual elements and then a solid tube of brown, sticking up from the ground. My conclusion is that there is a tree in my backyard.

Given that, discernibility might be a sufficient criterion for a raw sense perception, but it can't be the only criterion for a conclusion, as that will allow for mirages, delusions, mistakes, and the like. Necessary, sure, but not sufficient.
 

Lighthearted Atheist

Well-known member
Oh - I think I get it now. If I can see the scissors but I have no way to prove to Stevie that they exist then there is no reason for Stevie to believe me. I have not demonstrated that sight works at all. I have made a claim to know that scissors exist but I cannot prove it to anyone without sight.

Stevie would be right to reject my claim that scissors exist until I could prove it to him in some what that his senses could validate.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Sure, but you have to verify the existence of this special sense to those who don't have it, just like I showed in my scenario how it's possible to verify even to the blind that there is a sensory mode that the sighted call "sight."

But look how you verified it. By getting a third party involved. I can do the same by pointing to my brother who shares my ability to discern the realty of Christ.

First "conclusion" is distinguished from the raw sense perception. A conclusion is a claim based on what is discerned, as well as logic, as well as at least some sort of minimal consistency with other perceptions. For instance, I have the raw sense perception of a ball of green with individual elements and then a solid tube of brown, sticking up from the ground. My conclusion is that there is a tree in my backyard.
And.... ?

Given that, discernibility might be a sufficient criterion for a raw sense perception, but it can't be the only criterion for a conclusion, as that will allow for mirages, delusions, mistakes, and the like. Necessary, sure, but not sufficient.

My example says nothing about the exclusivity of confirming criteria. The delusion of Joseph Smith hardly indicates a delusion of Paul.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Oh - I think I get it now. If I can see the scissors but I have no way to prove to Stevie that they exist then there is no reason for Stevie to believe me. I have not demonstrated that sight works at all. I have made a claim to know that scissors exist but I cannot prove it to anyone without sight.

Stevie would be right to reject my claim that scissors exist until I could prove it to him in some what that his senses could validate.
BINGO! (Unless he found you to be credible.)
 
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Gus Bovona

Well-known member
But look how you verified it. By getting a third party involved. I can do the same by pointing to my brother who shares my ability to discern the realty of Christ.
The problem then becomes the issue that there is nothing external to your mind that you can point to about your experience of Christ. When I see a tree, the tree is external to my mind (although my perception of the tree is internal). That means that others can verify the tree. But your experience of Christ is completely within your own mind. This means there's no way to tell if your brother and you are actually experiencing the same thing, as opposed to the errors to which everyone is subject. Now, if both of you, separated from each other, could relay a completely unique message from Christ (not anything already in the Bible) that was delivered to both of you at the same time, along with other experimental controls, you might have something.

And.... ?
There's no specific point in there, but it is a necessary distinction on which my entire approach relies. Just included for clarity, though it may prove relevant later, who knows.

My example says nothing about the exclusivity of confirming criteria. The delusion of Joseph Smith hardly indicates a delusion of Paul.
If you are saying that mere discernment is not enough to reach a legitimate conclusion, then I agree. I'm not sure why you brought it up, then, especially as a rejoinder to my point about a valid conclusion not dependent upon who is doing the perceiving.
 

Gus Bovona

Well-known member
But look how you verified it. By getting a third party involved. I can do the same by pointing to my brother who shares my ability to discern the realty of Christ.
Oh, there's another problem with this, too. Because it's all internal to your mind, there is no way to challenge anyone else who makes a similar claim on a similar basis but which claim is contradictory to yours, and now we have no way to adjudicate things because everything is internal to your mind. In other words, if it's all in your head, it's all in your head.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
The problem then becomes the issue that there is nothing external to your mind that you can point to about your experience of Christ. When I see a tree, the tree is external to my mind (although my perception of the tree is internal). That means that others can verify the tree. But your experience of Christ is completely within your own mind. This means there's no way to tell if your brother and you are actually experiencing the same thing, as opposed to the errors to which everyone is subject. Now, if both of you, separated from each other, could relay a completely unique message from Christ (not anything already in the Bible) that was delivered to both of you at the same time, along with other experimental controls, you might have something.

You are wrong. Christ is just as external to me as a tree, and equally if not more real. To expect God to cooperate as a guinea pig in a controlled experiment isn't going to happen. He is not an errand boy to satisfy out wandering desires. He is no more a mere product of my mind than is this keyboard on which I type.
 
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