"Dillahunty's Demise: The Problem Of Solipsism"
Christians have a simple, logical account for certain knowledge of external reality: God enables us to know that external reality exists.
Conversely, atheists have no rational means by which to know (via justification / proof) that an external reality actually exists outside of their own minds. This is known as the problem of "solipsism."
Wikipedia describes it this way:
"Epistemological solipsism is the variety of idealism according to which only the directly accessible mental contents of the solipsistic philosopher can be known. The existence of an external world is regarded as an unresolvable question rather than actually false."
Atheist-activist Matt Dillahunty concedes:
"We cannot ever solve the problem of hard solipsism... It's possible that everything I experience could be an illusion... I could be a brain in a vat... I could be stuck in the matrix... There is no solution to this currently and there may never be." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEETzt7JHMs (14:29 mark.)
...In the YouTube video clip referenced above, Matt Dillahunty goes on to state that the problem (of solipsism) "doesn't matter," on the basis that he "still experiences a reality" and is "forced by practical necessity" to "evaluate said reality by its rules."
...But is this true? In light of solipsism, Matt's claim is entirely nonsensical. What "practical necessity" is he referring to? Any would-be necessity could itself be a delusional or arbitrary result of his own thoughts. For the same reason, Matt has absolutely no means by which to know whether any "evaluation" of "his reality" is valid and reliable. Perhaps his methodology for evaluation produces a completely skewed result of what it "ought" to reveal - and where would any such "ought" derive from? And "rules" of a reality that may exist solely in Matt's head? ...Why do we care about Matt's rules, which "for all Matt knows" may again be delusional or arbitrary, and cannot be justifiably imposed on anybody external to "Matt's world"?
...And Matt's problems only get worse from here...
Per the "problem" of solipsism, the solipsist/atheist:
- Cannot account for knowledge of external reality. ...There goes science, scientists, peer review, evolution, abiogenesis, materialism, naturalism, etc. All of this presupposes an external reality outside of one's own mind! This alone negates virtually every atheistic worldview (aside from solipsism) that the atheist may wish to posit.
- Cannot (consistently and rationally) make claims "for or against" the actual existence of God; Jesus'
life, death, and resurrection; the Bible and Biblical history; creation/ism and intelligent design; etc. All of this again presupposes an external reality outside of one's own mind. This alone negates virtually every atheistic argument against Christianity.
- Cannot provide any rational, objective reason as to why they should believe that external reality exists. To appeal to the senses, or to experience, or to inductive reasoning ABOUT the external world all presupposes the external world. Thus, to offer this as reason to believe in external reality begs the question. If the solipsist/atheist cannot provide a valid reason as to why they believe that external reality exists, they likewise have no reason to appeal to it in argumentation!
- Cannot account for what OTHER PEOPLE KNOW. Because the atheist/solipsist cannot (consistently and rationally) claim to know what exists outside of their own mind, they cannot know whether other people exist, let alone what other people know! I.e., the solipsist/atheist gives up any claim to knowledge of what can or cannot be known by OTHER PEOPLE, and therefore cannot object to what other people know or do not know. They cannot argue that Christians "cannot know God." They cannot even argue that others are not omniscient. For all they know, a world full of omniscient people exists outside of their own isolated, illusory world. By conceding the problem of solipsism, the solipsist/atheist disqualifies themselves from making knowledge claims about anything aside from their own thoughts (and even claiming knowledge of their own thoughts becomes problematic, as will be demonstrated...).
- Cannot make sense of "skepticism." What is the solipsist/atheist skeptical of - their own thoughts? They cannot KNOW that they are truly skeptical of beliefs, views, and truths that are external to their own minds; it may be that these beliefs, views, and truths are their own thoughts - in which case they are indeed skeptical of their own thoughts!
- Cannot account for absolute, universal laws of logic. The solipsist/atheist can only appeal to their own mind in their would-be attempt to justify (their own) logic and reasoning, obviously necessitating a fallacious, viciously circular appeal. The question is: Are my thought processes logical? To address the question, the solipsist/atheist can only BEG the question by appealing right back to the thought processes in question. They've even removed themselves from appealing to external reality as a basis for logic (though such a basis is equally problematic).
- Cannot make objective claims and arguments. Everything is subjective per the problem of solipsism, where once again it is only one's own mind that is "known" to exist (and even that cannot be justified). All claims are relativistic: If other minds exist and come up with contradictory truths, rules of logic, rules of morality, etc., there is no (knowable) external, transcendent standard by which to determine "whose view" is correct. Thus, there is no "correct" or "incorrect." There are only "favorite flavors" (personal preferences). Any atheistic claims to absolute logic or objective morality are once again negated on this point.
- Cannot account for WHY "a mind" would have thoughts about anything at all. In the material worldview the postulated pathway to knowledge is sense perception and experience of nature. But again, for all the solipsist/atheist knows, external existence is illusory. So how does the solipsist/atheist KNOW what (if anything!) initiated their "first thought" - being that they cannot claim knowledge of (or access to) any external experience which may have prompted the first thought. The first thought couldn't be a thought about another thought, or it wouldn't be the first! Did thoughts stemming from nothingness arbitrarily start popping into the disembodied mind of the solipsist/atheist? ...Consider the concept of dogs, for example. Where would thoughts ABOUT dogs come from if dogs don't actually exist? ...Thus, again, the solipsist/atheist cannot so much as account for WHY they have thoughts about anything at all.
- The list continues!
By conceding the "unsolvable problem of solipsism," Dillahunty has effectively denied all knowledge ... as any "good atheist" must ultimately do.
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