-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
In a recent interview, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) rejected Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism as atheist. Instead, Ryan prefers the epistemology of Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas adhered to the correspondence theory of truth, which says that something is true “when it conforms to the external reality.” This sounds a lot like Rand’s Primacy of Existence wherein consciousness is subordinate to reality – wishing doesn’t make it so.
Rand’s and Aquinas’ worldviews quickly diverge after that brief congruence.
Aquinas claimed that certain truths were only available through supernatural revelation. Aquinas’ first problem is to resolve this supernatural transmission to a human mind with external reality. Calvin postulated the “Sensus Divinitatis,” but this revelation wasn’t available to Aquinas. How does one distinguish a supernatural revelation from a mere product of one’s imagination?
Rand’s Objectivism separates consciousness from the objects of consciousness. These objects exist independently of any cognition of them. Reality is not subject to the mind, any mind.
To postulate divine revelation is to postulate the divine, that is God. Aquinas wrote “The Five Ways” to prove the existence of God, of which, the second one, is the Argument from Efficient Cause:
- There is an efficient cause for everything; nothing can be the efficient cause of itself.
- It is not possible to regress to infinity in efficient causes.
- To take away the cause is to take away the effect.
- If there be no first cause then there will be no others.
- Therefore, a First Cause exists (and this is God).
This argument is self-refuting. If everything has a cause other than itself, then God must also have a cause other than God, so God cannot be the first cause. If the first premise is true then the conclusion must be false.
Has Paul Ryan ever received knowledge via divine revelation? If so, what was this knowledge, more tax breaks for the wealthy?