Detecting Zeus

Hey @polemicablog!

The point of using Zeus was to show that I wasn’t making a case. Twice now I have gone out of my way — which Twitter makes a chore! — to tell you that I’m not making any positive assertions of any gods.

Here’s how we could put the argument:

  • All real interaction with material things is detectable by material things.
  • The purported activity of Zeus, an immaterial being, has not been detected.
  • Thus, Zeus cannot exist.

The Zeusian could find fault with premise #2, claiming private religious experience of Zeus, and offering the following refinement:

  • The purported activity of Zeus, an immaterial being, has not been reliably detected (like through scientific observation).

But if this refinement takes place, then the conclusion is a non sequitur.

You could counter, fixing the argument to logically-follow, by modifying premise #1 in reaction:

  • All real interaction with material things is reliably detectable (like through scientific observation) by material things.

But then you’d be begging a question the Zeusian would dispute.

Let me know if you find any flaws in what I’m saying. Remember that I’m just calling out a non sequitur; I’m not making a positive case for any God or gods or spirits or what have you. That’s why I use “Zeus” in the example: A thing we both agree is nonexistent.

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