Friday, June 29, 2007

"Battleground God"

I have to admit it, this little game is right up my alley. I sustained two "direct hits", but that's due to some of the questions being impossible to answer True or False. A 3rd option would've been nice.
I'd be interested in knowing how this goes for others. I thought like a fairly dumb atheist and went thru the game a 2nd time and had to "bite the bullet" thrice.
W/o taking on a fairly Reformed worldview, it might be tough to make it thru as clean as I did. Maybe I should think like an Arminian and see how I do.

20 comments:

orthodox said...

93% of people can't sort through this test entirely rationally. Therefore God has not made people well suited to obtaining religious truth purely rationally. If we believe that God wants us to obtain truth, then rational tests such as this imply a false understanding of God.

rotsaP loeJ said...

The Loch Ness question was pretty cheesy. If I look into a room and see that it is empty of people, it's both absence of evidence and evidence of absence.

Chris Severn said...

Rotsap, the Loch Ness monster question isn't cheesy at all.

People do believe he exists. They think that when people look at the surface of the lake, that he's under water. That when they look under water with sounders, that he's gone for a walk. And they point to fuzzy photos of logs to claim that it's Him!

Looking in a room which looks empty is only proof that it looks empty. Did you check under the tables, behind the doors, in the cupboard, that there wasn't a false wall ?

You can't prove there is no loch ness monster. And you can't prove the room is empty. Do you think that it's fair enough to believe there's a monster, or someone in the room anyway ?

You should be able to separate the cheese from the apt analogy......

Chris Severn said...

I got the highest award by the way.. TPM Medal of honour. No bullets or hits.

I'd be interested to know how you think a "dumb atheist" thinks.

By the way, I found your blog from BBB&B... G'Day!

rotsaP loeJ said...

My congratulations on your award, sir.

To clarify, I never said it was convincing evidence, or that it put the thing beyond all doubt. But it's still a point of fact to be entered in discussion: 'Having examined the room in question, and having presumed Mr Johnson not to be possessed of trapdoors, secret niches, or occult powers... based upon the testimony of our eyes (which is what 'evidence' means, after all) we deduce him to be absent at this time.'

So no, it wasn't a very apt analogy. Not that it matters very much, but one likes to be clear. And I'm bitter about an unjust hit. Sniff.

Kyle said...

I took a hit on the Loch Ness question. I think the question was framed wrongly. Loch Ness does not equal Atheism. In this case the assumption of naturalism did not permit the Christian presupposition that God is self evident. Thus Atheism involves rejection of evidence which is available to the person not through exclusively sensory experience but through the image of God written into the soul and consciousness of Man. So, saying Atheism is faith is not equal to rejecting Loch Ness on the basis of non-evidence. Atheism is not a case of non-evidence.

d-mc said...

lochness was the only thing i took a direct hit on. the question is loaded because lochness doesnt have to exist for the universe to exist.

however, some form of deity, you can call it god, must exist in order for the universe to exist since we know the universe had a beginning.

Chris Severn said...

Kyle,
You say "Thus Atheism involves rejection of evidence which is available to the person not through exclusively sensory experience but through the image of God written into the soul and consciousness of Man."

Well, I've never seen such evidence. It's simply not there, and so I haven't rejected it. There's also no evidence of a soul...

It's possible the evidence you see of this image of God is just a natural part of the brain, like awe, love, beauty...

"Atheism is not a case of non-evidence."
My atheism is a case of non-evidence of any god, plus evidence that the God as described by the major religions does not exist..

d-mc, if the universe did have a beginning, it doesn't mean something intelligent made it. (I assume you think your deity was intelligent, and not a term to describe the natural process of the big bang).

There's one hypothesis gaining ground that the big bang was actually one of an infinite series of big bang/big crunch events. The universe didn't necessarily have a beginning...

I hope you guys don't mind me posting here. If you do, let me know..

Rhology said...

Chris Severn,

No, you are more than welcome to post here. Thanks for sharing.
Hope you don't mind if I disagree, though. :-D

Just b/c you don't believe the evidence is compelling or don't know of the evidence doesn't mean there is none, as I'm sure you'd agree. All you have is your pitifully small human brain, which can do a lot, true, but not very much in the grand scheme of things. I'm not trying to say that this is some sort of proof for God's existence; it IS, however, a defeater for your statement. Nobody can know that for 100% sure.

As for evidence of a soul, I'd say you're on very shaky ground there.
Such things as love, altruism, generosity, and the sense of the divine are not easily boiled down to "natural chemical reactions in the brain" or some such nonsense. Worse for you, your naturalistically evolved monkey brain cannot be trusted to produce thoughts that find truth but rather thoughts that are well-suited for survival and passing on your genetic information. Finally, how do you account for the Near-Death Experiences that turned Antony Flew to deism if there is no soul?

It's *possible* this evidence for God is part of the brain just as it's *possible* that your blindness to the evidence for God is just a product of your brain. In this case, a product that is a result of faulty, defective reasoning.

I'd be quite interested at what evidence you've uncovered that shows that the God of the Bible does not exist. Would you care to share any?

Finally, your escape from the Universe Had A Beginning idea is interesting, leading you to posit not one but two very problematical ideas:
1) There were an infinite amount of seconds before now, and we have just added a second, now two, now three, etc, to infinity.
2) To sustain your objection to a strong theistic argument, you just thrust aside The Laws of Thermodynamics; if energy is neither created nor destroyed and the universe is infinitely old, the finite amount of energy in the universe would have been a victim of entropy long before now.

rotsaP loeJ said...

yeah, I'd really like to see some evidence that God does not exist. It sounds like the logical equivalent of tiramisu soaked in chicken stock, which is to say a bowl of unappealing mush. But I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Chris Severn said...

Thanks Rhology, quite alright if you disagree. I rather suspected you would.

Yes, I should have been more careful in saying that there is no evidence for a god. Let me clarify to say that there is no evidence I have seen or heard of for a god which is compelling, or makes any better sense of the observed world than a world without a god.

I agree that the fact we have small brains is no proof for existance of a god.

Love, altruism, generosity are able to be boiled down to natural processes and can be explained through the game theory as it relates to evolution (Dawkin's books are great for that). Some other animals show behaviour indistinguishable from our behaviour due to these 3 things. I'm not entirely certain what the "sense of the divine" so I hesitate to comment, except to say that if it's anything like awe, I'm hit with it regularly as I contemplate the amazing universe. If I were religious, I'd probably say "Isn't God amazing to have made this", rather than my "Isn't the universe an amazing thing".

Very true that our brains have adapted to produce thoughts suited for survival, and not particuarly "truth". It's lucky for us that an understanding of reality, such that we can adapt to changing environment is such a aid for survival. Unfortunately, our brains can't be trusted completely and if we're not careful we can see patterns where there aren't any, and read intelligence into non-intelligent things. This is worse news for the religious than the scientific. It's the knowledge of this fact that requires scientific investigations to be careful, impartial, repeatable, and double-blind where appropriate.

I don't regard a feeling of the divine, or similarly explained brain experience as evidence of anything, given what we both agree about the non-trustworthiness of the brain. I do put more weight to other senses such as sight and hearing, because they have been shown to produce reliable results in a lot of circumstances, although they too must be treated with at least a modicum of suspicion.

My evidence of the lack of existance of the God of the bible are based on the bible being internally inconsistent, and inconsistent with what we know of the universe. I won't bother detailing these, I'm sure you know what sort of thing I mean. That people can ignore parts of it, and say other is metaphor just shows me that they don't believe in the bible and hence the God of the bible either. The best than can be done is for each person to imagine a god somewhat like the bible. I may not be able to disprove each one of those gods.

The escape from the Universe Had a Beginning idea isn't mine, and I don't claim to be an expert. In general though, hypotheses about the origins of the universe aren't helped by adding a god to them. There has to be an explanation to how he fits into the hypothesis, and any claim such as "God is outside time" can equally be applied to a non-intelligent cause.

Rhology said...

hi Chris,

I wonder if you've ever taken a look at the Bible's "internal inconsistencies" w/ the possibility of harmonising them where possible, taking into acct scribal errors, and keeping in mind historical context.

As for the universe being uncaused, we have a few choices:
1) infinite regress (the universe and time have always existed or have already been thru an eternity of cyclical bangs and crunches)
2) the matter and energy that eventually became the universe just appeared out of nothing *by themselves*
3) there was an Uncaused First Cause that created time, energy, and matter

#s 1 and 2 are logically impossible. #3 was distasteful to me for a long time, but since it's the only one that doesn't violate logic, I go w/ that one.

You said:
any claim such as "God is outside time" can equally be applied to a non-intelligent cause.

No it can't. Anythg that acts has to have an intelligence, a will, a mind.
These questions are not rhetorical - 1) how could a "non-intelligent cause" act? 2) What would be some examples of "non-intelligent causes"?

Chris Severn said...

Hi Rhology,

Whether they're scribal errors or other types of inconsistencies, it shows the bible isn't to be relied on for a consistent view of reality. Particularly when you actually compare to reality. All that people can do is go for a "best fit" which depends on how closely they want to read it, how happy they are to interpret, or claim as metaphor, how it compares to their own personal morality, and how much ignorance or denial of the findings of science they are willing to live with. (Please note I'm not claiming every Christian has all of these qualities.)

For the universe question, there's at least 1 more possibility, which is that time repeats itself. The big crunch at the end of the universe begins again as the big bang at the beginning....
I honestly don't know why you consider your first 2 choices to be any less likely than the 3rd.

In fact I can't really see the difference between numbers 2 and 3, except that there's an extra step in number 3. The extra step is "the Uncaused First Cause appeared out of nothing by itself" before creating the universe. If you're going to claim in response that an "uncaused first cause" is different to something that appeared out of nothing by itself, then please explain why the big bang can't be the "Uncaused First Cause".

I can see that the reason that you postulate this extra step is because you're going to try to claim it is intelligent. But there's no logical reason to do so.

Moving on to your last paragraph, you suddenly change from using a perfectly good word "cause" to a different one "acts". I can't see a valid reason for this change in terminology except that you are trying to use the baggage that comes along with the new word - which is that "act" does in some senses of the word imply an intelligence behind it. You then claim "anything that acts has to have an intelligence". That's circular reasoning at its best, and is also known as "begging the question".

With that in mind, your question about how a "non-intelligent" cause acts, isn't a valid one. As for non-intelligent causes, well, an example is the force of gravity causing a planet to accelerate towards a star so that it remains in orbit. Another is a virus causing the common cold....

I find no refutation to my statement that "any claim such as 'God is outside time' can equally be applied to a non-intelligent cause." I will also add another relevant claim, which is that based on what scientists know of the universe, it had relatively simple beginnings: a load of chaotic particles and energy being thrown out of a very small space. Through the probabilities of large numbers, and through natural selection, there exists an extremely small pocket of the universe which contains complex life. So far as we know, it's only one place, and it's our pale blue dot called Earth. Everything we know shows us that things start simple, and get complex. The hypothesis of an intelligent (and necessarily complex) god that didn't have simple beginnings is therefore not necessary, not helpful, and provides a lot more questions than answers.

(Dawkins calls this argument the "Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit", and he presents it far more eloquently than I. There's a page on it at wikipedia which it's worthwhile visiting)

I hope I'm helping you warm up for your debate with the atheist from the "BBB&B" website. I'm sure he will be a more formidable debater than I....

Rhology said...

Hi Chris,

You said:
Whether they're scribal errors or other types of inconsistencies, it shows the bible isn't to be relied on for a consistent view of reality.

Chris, you as an atheist have no basis for logic or rationality, so your criticism of the Bible is begging the question.
And your saying "consistent view of reality" is suspect. You mean "consistent as *I* see it"? That is very obvious - for an atheist, of course the Bible won't make sense. You've already disqualified it.
But does the Bible make sense in a Christian worldview? Yes. Here's the real question: Is the Christian worldview consistent w/ reality? Versus: Is the atheistic worldview consistent w/ reality?
Given that Christianity can account for reason, logic, and morality and atheism can't, thus forcing it to borrow those values from Christianity and then use them to criticise Christianity, that question has an answer too.

But I would also argue that the Bible gives many reasons to believe it and to abandon atheism. What about the Bible is in"consistent with reality"?


You said:
how much ignorance or denial of the findings of science they are willing to live with.

My denial of some of the findings of "science" is related strongly to the fact that science can't prove itself to be scientific by its own scientific method (how do you test the scientific method in repeatable experiments?) and can't even perform the scientific method on Darwinian evolution (which I suspect is what you are referring to).
How can you perform repeatable (and thus scientific) experiments on stuff that's already happened? Dead fossils? Why do at least some evolutionists tell us that the fossil record is virtually unimportant?


You said:
For the universe question, there's at least 1 more possibility, which is that time repeats itself.

So if there was a universe w/ 10 trillion hours, and then it repeated itself and another universe of 10 trillion hours appeared, etc...
You either still have a beginning, needing an Uncaused 1st Cause (to avoid the idiocy of something popping spontaneously out of void) or you have an infinite regress.
I would add that you are grasping desperately at straws which have *no* evidence to back them up and no conceivable way even to test this hypothesis. You're stuck.


You said:
I honestly don't know why you consider your first 2 choices to be any less likely than the 3rd.

B/c the other 2 are logically impossible. If you believe the existence of God to be logically impossible, I'd like to see your proof for that.


You said:
The extra step is "the Uncaused First Cause appeared out of nothing by itself"

Your clumsy restatement of this position is nothing more or less than option #2. Since I said that #2 is logically impossible, why would I then select option #2?
The Uncaused First Cause did not have a beginning. He always was.


You said:
please explain why the big bang can't be the "Uncaused First Cause".

Several reasons:
1) B/c "the universe" is not intelligent and can't act.
2) B/c the matter and energy that were included in the Big Bang had to come from somewhere and so we're still stuck at the original quandary. Infinite regress or spontaneous generation. Or God.



You said:
you're going to try to claim it is intelligent. But there's no logical reason to do so.

It's the only logical possibility.
Now, I will grant you that it's impossible to say "no other viable option exists in the universe somewhere," which would be a universal negative, which is unprovable. OTOH, you have so far presented several alternatives, none of which have been even close to possible. If that's the best you have, there's no reason why any rational person should reject my contentions.


You said:
You then claim "anything that acts has to have an intelligence". That's circular reasoning at its best, and is also known as "begging the question".

Please explain then how a statue can "act." Maybe you define "act" differently.

You said:
As for non-intelligent causes, well, an example is the force of gravity causing a planet to accelerate towards a star so that it remains in orbit. Another is a virus causing the common cold....

OK, that's a good point. Granted.

You said:
based on what scientists know of the universe, it had relatively simple beginnings: a load of chaotic particles and energy being thrown out of a very small space.

1) "Scientists" admit that they have no idea what happened before some fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
2) Where did the particles and energy in that small space come from? (I seem to remember asking this before.)

You said:
Through the probabilities of large numbers, and through natural selection, there exists an extremely small pocket of the universe which contains complex life.

1) Neither the universe's large size nor the amount of time that has elapsed since its creation according to your theory is sufficient for the coalescence of *proteins* to be anything more than an astronomically improbable event.
2) That's to say nothing of creating organic compounds. Which is to say nothing of a cell.
2) A tornado in an Air Force Base, even if it lasts 10 billion years, will not result in a functional 747.

You said:
The hypothesis of an intelligent (and necessarily complex) god that didn't have simple beginnings is therefore not necessary, not helpful, and provides a lot more questions than answers.

What questions?

You said:
I hope I'm helping you warm up for your debate with the atheist from the "BBB&B" website.

If ChooseDoubt and I were discussing rationality and origins, it would be immensely helpful. :-) As it happens, at least at this moment, we're talking morality. But you're welcome to continue interacting here too.

Chris Severn said...

Hi Rhology,

You claim that "you, as an atheist have no basis for logic or rationality" and "atheism can't ... account for reason, logic, and morality". These are strong statements that I of course completely disagree with. Those qualities are all part of our evolutionary heritage, and helped our ancestors survive and compete. There are many papers and books by scientists that explain the evolution of these qualities. I can see that you're having the debate with Choosedoubt on the subject of morality, so I'll say no more except to recommend reading Dawkin's "The selfish gene", and also his "The God Delusion" for good measure. "The God Delusion" addresses many of the arguments you're putting forward in this thread, so I recommend it doubly.

Remember that I got onto the subject of the bible because I am claiming that it is not self-consistent, or consistent-with-reality, and hence there is no such thing as the "God of the bible". People imagine their own god by interpretation of the bible. There is no consistent "Christian worldview", which is reinforced by the number of different Christian churches in the world. So, I can't tell you in general if the Christian worldview is consistent with reality, but in answer to your question about what in the Bible is inconsistent with reality, here are some things offhand. (You can get more from skepticsannotatedbible.com. Just click on "science/history" on the right. Clicking on "contradictions" is good too.)

1. Noah's flood didn't happen. We know because there were people that were living in other parts of the world at the time that didn't notice it. Plus there's no geological record of it. Or an explanation where the water came from.
2. There were no two humans that were the sole ancestors of the human race. Ie. no Adam and Eve.
3. Hares don't chew the cud (Deuteronomy 14:7)

Please only continue arguing about the bible if you think that it's 100% literal, without any requirement for interpretation, considering things metaphor, or fixing scribal errors. I didn't start this to diss the bible. Just to point out it's not 100% reliable in regards to a description of God, and that other considerations must be brought to bare to get a consistent view of God. If you agree with that, then we don't need to discuss individual "problems" with it. When I first brought this up, I honestly didn't think you'd disagree with me....

You're right that science can't prove itself scientific. That the scientific method is the best way of figuring things out is partially axiomatic, and also borne out by its track record. There is no better way of figuring things out that continually gets proven results. I realise my response isn't going to be good enough. The best I can do is point to the results..... On the subject of the scientific method as it relates to evolution, "repeatable" doesn't mean the obvious. When your hypothesis is that a particular gene is responsible for feathers and should therefore be present in every bird, a repeatable experiment is one in which you test birds for that gene. It doesn't mean you have to run evolution again. Note though that some evolutionary experiments are even repeatable in the sense you probably mean, such as breeding fruitflies in experiments on heridity.

I don't believe the existance of a god is a logical impossibility, just very unlikely.

Yes, I presented a few alternatives to the beginning of the universe, and I'm not too concerned with any of them. My point has always been that whichever one you choose, the addition of an intelligence doesn't help. You disagree as we've seen, but only because you've invented an intelligence that exists outside the universe, is not required to have a cause, and made the universe. All without any logical basis. Just wordgames about what it is to "act".

You say "Scientists admit that they have no idea what happened before some fraction of a second after the Big Bang". Some of them have some idea. But your average scientist is honest about what he says he knows. Regardless, someone else saying "I know - God did it" is only helpful if he makes testable predictions that turn out to be true...

You said "Where did the particles and energy in that small space come from?". I don't know, although I gave some theories. The point is that whatever hypothesis someone comes up with that has a god in it, the hypothesis can always be simplified by removing the intelligence from the "god" character without hurting the hypothesis.

Your points about the improbability of proteins and organic compounds, and the improbability of tornados resulting in functional 747s shows me you haven't read the wiki page on the "ultimate 747 gambit" I linked to. The major point of that is that the popping into existance of a god is about as likely as a 747 in a tornado. That makes it extremely unlikely that god was here first. The creation of proteins, and you and I, have no such problem, because we know such things didn't pop into existance. We evolved through natural selection. That's an extremely different thing. I wish I was better at explaining it. I really do suggest you read the 2 Dawkins books I mentioned previously.

Sorry my post is so long... Just a few yes/no questions, to know a bit better about your beliefs if you don't mind. I'm not going to start anything based on your answers... How old do you think the earth is ? Do you think we're related to chimpanzees ? Do you believe Adam and Eve really existed and were the first humans ? Do you believe God flooded the entire earth and Noah's family and 2 of every kind were the only animals that survived ?

Cheers,
Chris

Chris Severn said...

One more quick point I found after a reread of your previous post. You said "Why do at least some evolutionists tell us that the fossil record is virtually unimportant?".

I'd like to see a quote to be certain of the motives of the particular people you've heard this from.

However, it's probably the same people I've heard the same sentiment from, and the point they are making is that the evidence for evolution from molecular biology and comparison of living animals is so strong that we don't need the evidence from the fossil record to show us evolution is true. The fact that we do have these fossils, and they that they fit very nicely with the predictions of molecular biology is just gravy.

Rhology said...

Chris,

I responded to Dawkins' 747 here. I read it and was highly unimpressed.

"atheism can't ... account for reason, logic, and morality". These are strong statements that I of course completely disagree with. Those qualities are all part of our evolutionary heritage, and helped our ancestors survive and compete.

What I mean is that, on naturalistic evolution, humans are just bags of chemicals. We're cans of soda pop that have been shaken up and are now fizzing. We're monkeys. Why would I listen to a soda can fizzing? I can go to the zoo and listen to chimps 'eek-eek'ing back and forth at each other. Why should I listen to you or Dawkins more than a chimp? These are serious questions brought up by your own worldview.

People imagine their own god by interpretation of the bible

True, but that does not dispel the fact that the Bible has an objective presentation of Who God is. That's the one I'm arguing for, not Joe Blow's interpretation of it.

There is no consistent "Christian worldview", which is reinforced by the number of different Christian churches in the world.

Sorry, that won't fly.
Christian churches, at the least, hold these three creeds in common. Christianity reserves the right to define itself, and that's a barebones structure. And it's already pretty complex.

skepticsannotatedbible.com

There are zillions of answers out there.
Here are three. CARM.org is also a good place to start.
All that to say, I've looked over a LOT of those alleged contradictions and none of them wash.
For your own personal edification, here's what I asked:

I wonder if you've ever taken a look at the Bible's "internal inconsistencies" w/ the possibility of harmonising them where possible, taking into acct scribal errors, and keeping in mind historical context.

I'll guarantee you one thing - the Skeptics' Annotated Bible didn't do those things.

1. Noah's flood didn't happen.

Selective reading of the evidence.

Plus there's no geological record of it.

Sure there is.

2. There were no two humans that were the sole ancestors of the human race. Ie. no Adam and Eve.

1) You mean according to your soda pop can fizzing thinking?
2) Jesus Christ thought they were real people.
3) There's evidence for that too.
4) You're begging the question. On Christianity, the Bible is God speaking. He was there, so I trust Him more than I trust Richard Dawkins.

3. Hares don't chew the cud (Deuteronomy 14:7)

But they look like they do. The msg got across - God didn't want the ancient Hebrews to eat hares.

Please only continue arguing about the bible if you think that it's 100% literal, without any requirement for interpretation, considering things metaphor, or fixing scribal errors.

I'll help you out here, b/c (and I mean no disrespect) you don't know much about biblical interpretation.
This is my belief regarding the Bible.
"Literally"... I take the Bible according to the intent of the original authors. That's a better way to say it.

Just to point out it's not 100% reliable in regards to a description of God

You haven't even made an argument for that statement yet.

that other considerations must be brought to bare to get a consistent view of God

And what would be your argument for that?

When I first brought this up, I honestly didn't think you'd disagree with me....

Sorry to disappoint. ;-)

That the scientific method is the best way of figuring things out is partially axiomatic

You're partially right. The SM is the best way of figuring things out it can figure out. To know how to repair a car, I don't consult the Bible or pray. I read the manual. Etc.

When your hypothesis is that a particular gene is responsible for feathers and should therefore be present in every bird, a repeatable experiment is one in which you test birds for that gene.

That's a great example of the question-begging that goes on. Just b/c all birds have that one gene, what is that supposed to tell us definitively about the past billion years?

Note though that some evolutionary experiments are even repeatable in the sense you probably mean, such as breeding fruitflies in experiments on heridity.

Artificial selection is a far cry from natural selection.

I don't believe the existance of a god is a logical impossibility, just very unlikely.

On what basis?

My point has always been that whichever one you choose, the addition of an intelligence doesn't help.

Well, unless making one of them from logically IMpossible to POSSIBLE counts.

All without any logical basis.

You just a second ago agreed that God's existence is not logically impossible.
And since all the other possibilities are impossible, your statement is evidence of confusion.

Regardless, someone else saying "I know - God did it" is only helpful if he makes testable predictions that turn out to be true...

That's a great illustration of why I don't listen to "scientific" statements about the origin of the universe.

How old do you think the earth is ?

6-12000 years old.

Do you think we're related to chimpanzees ?

Not in the Darwinian mode, which is the context of your question I assume.

Do you believe Adam and Eve really existed and were the first humans ?

Jesus did. So do I.

Do you believe God flooded the entire earth and Noah's family and 2 of every kind were the only animals that survived ?

Umm, probably the whole earth.
It wasn't 2 of EVERY kind. 2 of unclean animals and 7 of clean ones.

I'd like to see a quote to be certain of the motives of the particular people you've heard this from.

It's all anecdotal from personal acquaintances who are knowledgeable. I can't argue it so I'll just let it go.

The fact that we do have these fossils, and they that they fit very nicely with the predictions of molecular biology is just gravy.

My acquaintances are of the same opinion as you, yes.

Peace,
ALAN

Benjamin said...

The test is unacceptably ambiguous and logically sloppy, at least for the more rigorous type, which makes the result neither very revealing nor surprising. A good example occurs almost immediately when the statement is made, "Any being which it is right to call God must be free to do anything."

What is meant in this sentence by free? Three possibilities arise in the form of moral freedom, physical ability or mental acumen. Is GOD "free" morally to do anything, "free" physically to do anything or "free" mentally to do anything? The very same ambiguity has made shambles of most discussions of the nature and freedom of the will and the moral responsibility of man.

The ambiguity is only later heightened when the statement is made that GOD can do "anything." Given that the logical Law of Identity is tied inextricably to any entity or "thing," one can easily argue that a "thing" must have identity and, therefore, be internally consistent. One-ended sticks, for example, are not "things" precisely because "one-ended" stick is a self-contradiction, a jumble of letters that do not express any propositional content. If you ask me, then, whether GOD can do "anything," I cannot later suggest he could make a "square-circle" precisely because a "square-circle" is not any"thing" at all.

There are numerous other problematic aspects to this "test" which leads me to believe that anyone scoring perfectly on it was likely logically sloppy themselves and it is absolutely certain that such an absurd showing by the test makers hardly reveals some deeper truth about the nature of human beings, GOD's design and religious truth, contrary to the hasty judgments of "orthodox" above.

All it demonstrates is that, of the refining of tests by hazier thinkers, there is no end.

Rhology said...

I agree.

On that same point, it makes you wonder whether Jesus could microwave a burrito so hot that He couldn't eat it...

Chris Severn said...

Benjamin said "There are numerous other problematic aspects to this "test" which leads me to believe that anyone scoring perfectly on it was likely logically sloppy themselves".

If it helps, here's my answers that got a perfect score.

1. false, 2. false, 3. false, 4. false, 5. false, 6. true, 7. false, 8. false, 9. true, 10. true, 11. false, 12. false, 13. false, 14. false, 15. false, 16. false, 17. false

Your points about what it means to be "free" are valid. When I answered, I assumed it meant "able". Pretty similar to the "... must have the power..." question, true. Lucky for me, whichever way it meant, my answer would still be "false".

Rhology, thanks for your latest comments. I have a good idea of your beliefs now. I didn't realise at the beginning how little common ground we have with regard to science and rationality. I'm going to have to take a few days off before responding.

I do look forward to your response to choosedoubt's questions about whether you follow some of the more scary instructions of the bible.

Cheers,
Chris