Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another failed attempt

Those who would point out a "contradiction" in the Bible usually forget a couple of things:
1) NO harmonisation can be possible for the scenario to qualify as a contradiction.
2) An author doesn't often completely lose his total train of thought just a few chapters later after writing something.

We see an example of that in Rintintin's attempt in John 5 and 8. He must think John suffered an aneurysm or something in between.

In John 5, Jesus states if he were to testify on his own behalf, his testimony would not be valid
In John 8 he then goes on to state that 'these claims are valid even though I make them about myself'

In John 5, Jesus refers to His submission to the Father and the Father's authority. He does nothing of His own initiative. Neither does Jesus' testimony stand alone nor His judgments b/c the Father is the One making those judgments first.
Jn 5:31: If I ***ALONE*** testify about Myself, My testimony is not true.

Jesus was talking about the requirement of the Law to have 2 and 3 witnesses. He was not saying "If I speak this testimony, then my testimony is untrue." He was saying "If I speak this testimony then my testimony is unconfirmed" b/c the Bible requires independent confirmation as the context makes plain.

John 8:

He was saying that His testimony is true and you need independent confirmation to know that His test is confirmed.
The 2nd witness confirms it. My own testimony does not stand alone. If the 2nd witness is making a true testimony, then how could Christ's testimony be untrue?
Jn 8:16 - for it is not I ***ALONE*** who judge, but I and the Father who sent Me.


Moving on...
in John 7 he states that 'you work on the Sabbath too when you obey Moses law of circumcision' - this is wrong as it is in fact Abraham's covenant with God that is the reason for circumcision, not Moses', as stated in Genesis.

1) Your sentence structure leaves a bit to be desired.
2) Jn 7:21-23 - "Jesus answered them, 'I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?'"

Why not quote the whole psg? Probably b/c you got these out of some lame source like the Skeptics' Annotated Bible or some atheism.about.com or some such. Shoddy.

In John 1: John explains that noone has ever seen God except for Jesus
yet in Genesis 32, Jacob names Peniel after the fact that he has seen God face to face (Peniel = face of God)


1 Timothy 6 helps us understand that it is the *Father* Who dwells in unapproachable light.
John 1's whole point is to express the deity of the Word, who is Christ, and who is with "God" in the beginning. Who is this "God" a reference to? The Father.
"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." (John 1:18)

an example of God changing his mind is in Exodus 32:14 - "So the Lord withdrew his threat and didn't bring against his people the disaster he had threatened"

Where does it say anything about Him changing His mind? It says He didn't do what He had threatened. A threat is not necessarily a promise of action. In this case it acted as a stimulus to self-correction.

God is capable of changing his mind, so even if someone does exactly what God wants, they might still be looking forward to a pretty warm afterlife if God can change his mind whenever he wants for whatever reason.


God's decrees are eternal and He has decreed whatever comes to pass (Ephesians 1:10-11).
If you had brought up something like where God "repents of making man" or sthg like that, I'd've been happy to remind you that "to repent" there can also mean "to be sad".

Best of luck in your next and final attempt (since you seem to have used up 4 of your 5).

27 comments:

Rintintin said...

Those who would point out a "contradiction" in the Bible usually forget a couple of things:
1) NO harmonisation can be possible for the scenario to qualify as a contradiction.
2) An author doesn't often completely lose his total train of thought just a few chapters later after writing something.

1) somewhat of a loaded dice - if the bible doesn't explicitly say something, then you are merely speculating - under the same terms I could probably defend the existence of santa Claus quite convincingly

"We see an example of that in Rintintin's attempt in John 5 and 8. He must think John suffered an aneurysm or something in between."

In the Genesis story (authorship attributed to Moses, but in reality apparently it's of mosaic authorship) you have the 7s and pairs of animals arriving at the ark contradictions within a few sentences of each other, so it's hardly uncommon.

But Jesus and the father are 'one' eg John 10 states this (although it can also be interpreted as 'one' in the sense of purpose', although the idea of the trinity depending on which denomination of Christianity a person chooses would seem to indicate they are different 'dimensions' of a single entity)- If the law requires 2 witnesses as also stated in John, how can 'one' witness for themselves? And how can he claim that he will not witness for himself, which is exactly what he's doing by saying the Father, which is actually himself, is his witness?

In John 5, Jesus refers to His submission to the Father and the Father's authority. He does nothing of His own initiative. Neither does Jesus' testimony stand alone nor His judgments b/c the Father is the One making those judgments first.
Jn 5:31: If I ***ALONE*** testify about Myself, My testimony is not true."





Jesus was talking about the requirement of the Law to have 2 and 3 witnesses. He was not saying "If I speak this testimony, then my testimony is untrue." He was saying "If I speak this testimony then my testimony is unconfirmed" b/c the Bible requires independent confirmation as the context makes plain.

John 8:

He was saying that His testimony is true and you need independent confirmation to know that His test is confirmed.
The 2nd witness confirms it. My own testimony does not stand alone. If the 2nd witness is making a true testimony, then how could Christ's testimony be untrue?
Jn 8:16 - for it is not I ***ALONE*** who judge, but I and the Father who sent Me.


Moving on...

in John 7 he states that 'you work on the Sabbath too when you obey Moses law of circumcision' - this is wrong as it is in fact Abraham's covenant with God that is the reason for circumcision, not Moses', as stated in Genesis.


"1) Your sentence structure leaves a bit to be desired."

It's a blog post, not the next submission for the Nobel prize for literature

2) Jn 7:21-23 - "Jesus answered them, 'I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?'"

Why not quote the whole psg?
Probably b/c you got these out of some lame source like the Skeptics' Annotated Bible or some atheism.about.com or some such. Shoddy.

Despite my stating that I have a copy of the New Living Translation bible in front of me (which is a more 'anglicised' version than eg the King James)? Even then, skeptics bibles still have the actual words of the bible on their websites.

In John 1: John explains that noone has ever seen God except for Jesus
yet in Genesis 32, Jacob names Peniel after the fact that he has seen God face to face (Peniel = face of God)


"1 Timothy 6 helps us understand that it is the *Father* Who dwells in unapproachable light.
John 1's whole point is to express the deity of the Word, who is Christ, and who is with "God" in the beginning. Who is this "God" a reference to? The Father.
"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." (John 1:18)"

The words noone has seen God are fairly explicit - in another chapter someone has clearly seen God, as must Adam and Eve as he walked in the garden of Eden, which you missed off (I'll assume you were just in a hurry and missed it).


an example of God changing his mind is in Exodus 32:14 - "So the Lord withdrew his threat and didn't bring against his people the disaster he had threatened"


Where does it say anything about Him changing His mind? It says He didn't do what He had threatened.

A threat is not necessarily a promise of action.

In this case it acted as a stimulus to self-correction." - in your personal interpretation. Again, you load the dice in your favour. It's easy to defend any claim if you get to choose your preferences of interpretation every time.


"God's decrees are eternal and He has decreed whatever comes to pass (Ephesians 1:10-11)."

He changed his mind. It's clearly there in the text.He threatened action then decided not to pursue it. And you quote a passage that states essentially whatever God says will happen - yet he said something would happen then it didn't. If that is not changing his mind then what is?

If you had brought up something like where God "repents of making man" or sthg like that, I'd've been happy to remind you that "to repent" there can also mean "to be sad". - again, personal interpretation (not to mention the possibility of changes by translators over the years resulting in the original meaning being uncertain). I assume you will of course reply with the 'perfect computer manual' argument - how much of a free lunch does God get in these debates? even when he's wrong he's right, just blame it on the reader!

Best of luck in your next and final attempt (since you seem to have used up 4 of your 5)."

"At least 2 of your replies there relied on 'but God could have meant this, or could have meant that' based on your personal preference- again a completely loaded dice.

OK, as I have 1 more -

On a few occasions God states that the son shall not be punished for the sins of the father and vice versa

eg: Deuteronomy 24 and Ezekiel 18.

Why are we all being (supposedly) punished for original sin (hence the need to accept Jesus as a saviour) given that none of us could have had any control over the actions of the man who is apparently our original earthly father?

Rintintin said...

"Jn 7:21-23 - "Jesus answered them, 'I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?'"

Why not quote the whole psg?
Probably b/c you got these out of some lame source like the Skeptics' Annotated Bible or some atheism.about.com or some such. Shoddy."

Oh I should clarify on this part - as the version I have is written in more modern English, the part in brackets looked more like an addendum as way of explanation by the translator rather than what Jesus was actually saying (after all, why would someone 'speak in brackets' ie as it is actually quoting what Jesus said)

Rhology said...

Hi Rintintin,

if the bible doesn't explicitly say something, then you are merely speculating

That's hardly what I mean at all.
This is not a question of explicit vs implicit statements.
And it's not loaded dice - you use the exact same standards for any other written text you read. Shall I act the same towards your own comments as you apparently would like to do towards the Bible?

under the same terms I could probably defend the existence of santa Claus quite convincingly

From what? The text of the Bible? Or something else? I'm not following you here.

In the Genesis story (authorship attributed to Moses, but in reality apparently it's of mosaic authorship) you have the 7s and pairs of animals arriving at the ark contradictions within a few sentences of each other, so it's hardly uncommon.

Is that your 5th attempt?
Very well, I wouldn't've picked that one, but I'll respect your wishes.
And you're welcome to keep trying to substantiate your claims regarding the 5 you've named, but I have no patience for others if you can't even substantiate your best 5.
1) Prove it's not of Mosaic authorship. Have fun.
2) Here are God's instructions to Noah in Gen 7:2 -
Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.

7 of every kind of clean animals and birds, 2 of every unclean.
I don't even see that to which you refer in the rest of the chapter. Hmm, the memory lapse doesn't appear to be on Moses' part...

But Jesus and the father are 'one'

No, Christ was not saying one in the sense of purpose. They are one in ESSENCE (ousios in Grk). That is the doctrine of the Trinity.
Neither are they the same person, however. They are 2 different persons, hypostases in Greek.

If the law requires 2 witnesses as also stated in John, how can 'one' witness for themselves?

B/c they are two different hypostases.

the Father, which is actually himself

Your ignorance of the doctrine of the Trinity is breathtaking.
This is why I have patience to discuss 5 "contradictions" and no more. You know barely the 1st thing about what you're critiquing.

Despite my stating that I have a copy of the New Living Translation bible in front of me (which is a more 'anglicised' version than eg the King James)? Even then, skeptics bibles still have the actual words of the bible on their websites.

OK, you get points for not going to such a pitiful project as those I mentioned.
You lose points for using a New Living "Translation". I'd suggest a NASB or ESV or, if you must, NIV. NKJV or KJV are better than NLT. Heck, RSV is better than NLT.
And I didn't see any response to my points about John 5 and 8. Does this mean you concede the point?

in another chapter someone has clearly seen God, as must Adam and Eve as he walked in the garden of Eden

Jesus is God. Jesus is not, however, the Father.
Have you ever seen this graphic?
And here's a good primer on the doctrine of the Trinity.

It says He didn't do what He had threatened.

OK, and I explained that.

Again, you load the dice in your favour. It's easy to defend any claim if you get to choose your preferences of interpretation every time.

1) What did I say about harmonisation and contradiction?
2) If you disagree, why? You made a mistake, I'm correcting you. You apparently don't have the decency to acknowledge you were wrong. Either present your argument or concede the point.

He changed his mind. It's clearly there in the text.He threatened action then decided not to pursue it.L

Why does the explanation that the threat was meant to stimulate the threatened to self-correct? Why doesn't that work? Just b/c you don't like it? B/c it means you're wrong?

yet he said something would happen then it didn't.

"Saying" sthg as a threat to stimulate to self-correction is not the same as "decreeing" in Ephesians 1. Context, my friend, context.

not to mention the possibility of changes by translators over the years resulting in the original meaning being uncertain)

If your knowledge of the Trinity is any indication, you have no idea what you're talking about as far as textual transmission and criticism go. And yet less about translation.

how much of a free lunch does God get in these debates?

I explained that already. As much as you yourself get, and as much as you give ANY OTHER written text.

On a few occasions God states that the son shall not be punished for the sins of the father and vice versa

I'll indulge you and go one more. this makes 6. But no more.

Why are we all being (supposedly) punished for original sin (hence the need to accept Jesus as a saviour) given that none of us could have had any control over the actions of the man who is apparently our original earthly father?

I recently blogged about this very thing.
1) God has decreed that it be, fundamentally.
2) This enables the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sin of humanity and brings glory to God.
3) Adam is the federal head for all people. Read Romans 5.

Now as for Deut 24. Context.

14 Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns. 15 Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.

17 Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.

1) The context is civil law for the Israelite nation.
2) And children shall not be "put to death"... this is legal execution, the death penalty. If the child or father commits a capital crime, put the offender to death, not the child or father of the offender.

Ez 18:

12 He oppresses the poor and needy.
He commits robbery.
He does not return what he took in pledge.
He looks to the idols.
He does detestable things.

13 He lends at usury and takes excessive interest.
Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head.

14 "But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things:

1) Again, the contrast is between the evildoer and TEMPORAL disobedience.
2) And giving an incentive for the son to turn away from the disobedience of his father, which could be hard given that's the example he's seen most of his life.


Now, verse 20 says: The soul who sins is the one who will die.

1) Every human being carries the guilt of Adam and thus deserves death. They will all die. We will all die.
2) Every human being also ratifies the sin of Adam by sinning themselves. We will all die for this as well.
3) Some humans, however, don't die THEMSELVES but rather their punishment of death is borne by the Substitute - Jesus Christ.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

the part in brackets looked more like an addendum as way of explanation by the translator rather than what Jesus was actually saying (after all, why would someone 'speak in brackets' ie as it is actually quoting what Jesus said)

To ease the understanding in English.
If you think it's an addendum, can you produce a manuscript that substantiates that?

Rintintin said...

"the part in brackets looked more like an addendum as way of explanation by the translator rather than what Jesus was actually saying (after all, why would someone 'speak in brackets' ie as it is actually quoting what Jesus said)

To ease the understanding in English.
If you think it's an addendum, can you produce a manuscript that substantiates that?"

Im not saying it is or isn't a addendum, Im just saying that it doesn't seem clear whether it is or not - my point was just to clarify why I picked it. If we are reading the bible 'like any other book' then that is how I would look at brackets within quoted speech. You might read it differently, and I may well be wrong regardless of your opinion of it.

"1) The context is civil law for the Israelite nation.
2) And children shall not be "put to death"... this is legal execution, the death penalty. If the child or father commits a capital crime, put the offender to death, not the child or father of the offender."


"OK, you get points for not going to such a pitiful project as those I mentioned.
You lose points for using a New Living "Translation". I'd suggest a NASB or ESV or, if you must, NIV. NKJV or KJV are better than NLT. Heck, RSV is better than NLT.
And I didn't see any response to my points about John 5 and 8. Does this mean you concede the point?"

Sorry for not having your preferred version :) How does one decide which one is the 'best version'? Personal preference? If it fits best with what they want to believe? For an infallible text there are a lot of different versions...I have the KJV on my computer in PDF format, but Ive seen people critcise that also (a criticism I saw levelled at it was that it states the commandment as thou shalt not kill, which is replaced by 'murder', as atheists criticise God for hypocrisy by killing, whereas murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human by another - God can be a killer but not a murderer using these definitions).

I thought I responded to the points on John (it may be above).

As for the trinity, an analogy I read was that a book has length width and thickness yet although those all form part of the same thing, they are obviously not the same. Those are different parts/aspects of the book. However, the gif you posted of the trinity states that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy spirit is God - not simply parts or aspects of God, but all are actually God. How can 3 be the same thing, yet separate at the same time? Jesus also does things only God can do (eg relieves a man of sin where he provides visual proof by also relieving his paralysis in Mark 2).

So the Son is God according to the trinity, as is the father (and the holy spirit). This seems to be shown to be true by his ability to forgive sin. Yet they are not all the same from what you say, in which case John 10 doesn't make sense. So either John 10 where Jesus states "I and the father are one" is wrong as is Mark 2 where Jesus does only things God can do, or John 5 and 8 are contradictions.

"Why does the explanation that the threat was meant to stimulate the threatened to self-correct? Why doesn't that work? Just b/c you don't like it? B/c it means you're wrong?"

No, I agree it can be read both your way and mine - the problem is who is correct? You don't know and I don't know - the latter part of your criticism could equally be applied to your opinion. But again you can use the 'perfect computer manual defence' here.

can you honestly validate the bible without resorting to that response, or playing the trump card that it could have been a miracle/supernatural (eg when it's shown that Noah's ark story, or Jonah living inside the whale don't reflect reality in any way whatsoever)?

My point regarding how I can defend the existence of Santa Claus was if I resort to the sort of allowances that are made for the supernatural and any and all speculative interpretations

eg - Santa can take on the form of my parents to leave presents under the tree when I see them do it. I have no evidence of this even from the Santa Claus story itself, but it harmonises completely.

my parents are lying when they tell me he doesn't exist

despite being a fat guy, he has powers that allow him to both shrink to fit down a chimney, and zip around the world at speeds above light speed (I can invoke the supernatural to allow him to go faster than light) undetected in time to deliver all the presents (he must have supernatural powers that mean radar can't detect him, nor can the human eye see his sleigh if he so wishes)

he must be real, how would there be a story about him if such a person never existed?

and so on and so forth - if you make allowances for anything, anything can be defended whether it's true or not.

Rintintin said...

"I'd suggest a NASB or ESV or, if you must, NIV. NKJV or KJV are better than NLT. Heck, RSV is better than NLT. "

Well the NASB states on that part of Exodus 32:14 -

"So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people," - so if you get to choose which version of the bible, you seemingly also have to concede that God does indeed change his mind.

Rhology said...

Hi Rintintin,

The addendum is prolly just there b/c the translators deemed it a bit of a sidethought. I guess you'll have to ask them why they did that rather than make it another sentence.

It's easier to know which Bible translations are bad than to know which is "best" (just like with most everything, right?). "Dynamic" translations like the NIV translate thought-for-thought, making it easier to read in English but sacrificing a little fidelity to the exact structure in the original. "Literal" translations like the NASB, the KJV, the NKJV, and the ESV kind of do word-for-word, which can lead to long and hard-to-read sentences.
The NLT and the Message are paraphrases, which don't really qualify as "translations". They're more like commentaries on the Bible. Commentaries are great, but they're not the Bible.

The KJV got "thou shalt not kill" wrong for several reasons. It's "murder".

All analogies trying to illustrate the Trinity fail at some point. I'm not saying it's easy to understand; it takes some practice. All I ask is a little humility - when corrected, don't be obstinate.

the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy spirit is God - not simply parts or aspects of God, but all are actually God.

Exactly - you're doing great.

How can 3 be the same thing, yet separate at the same time?

1) It's a mystery, no doubt about that.
2) It's not that they're the same "thing". They're the same ousios, better translated as "essence" or "substance".
3) This solves the problem of the One and the Many.
4) Though mysterious, this violates no logical law. They are one in substance, three in person.

either John 10 where Jesus states "I and the father are one" is wrong as is Mark 2 where Jesus does only things God can do, or John 5 and 8 are contradictions.

It's both.
John 10:30's "One" is a neuter noun expressing an essential quality.
Why does that lead to John 5 and 8 being contradictions? Jesus is God Incarnate in flesh. During His time on earth, He explicitly states many times (as Philippians 2:6-11 explains also) that He is submitting voluntarily to the Father. He has a human nature that He took on at His birth as a baby human, in addition to His divine nature that He possessed from eternity past.

the problem is who is correct? You don't know and I don't know

1) You're welcome to leave everythg to such facile agnosticism. I prefer to examine arguments and see which one stands up under scrutiny. Yours is not doing too well on that count so far.
2) You said you would PROVE a biblical contradiction. Since you have explicitly conceded that this one can be read either your way or mine, it is harmonised. This point is conceded. Hopefully you won't mind if I turn my attention away from it from now on.

it could have been a miracle/supernatural (eg when it's shown that Noah's ark story, or Jonah living inside the whale don't reflect reality in any way whatsoever)?

1) I told you you had to take on the biblical presuppositions to present a valid critique of the Bible. You've reverted to naturalistic presupps, which is breaking the rules of engagement.
2) If I were to act the same, I'd say: "The Bible says you're wrong, so you're wrong. Period."
3) I've already given you 6 attempts. I'm not going to waste time defending Jonah or Noah's ark if you can't substantiate your 1st 6.

Santa Claus is not philosophically comparable to the Bible, which has a whole worldview built around it. It has a GREAT deal of explanatory value.
Santa Claus explains nothing except how presents get under the tree. But since parents are often observed doing so...
And SC's existence is easily falsifiable. Unlike the God of the Bible's.

if you make allowances for anything, anything can be defended whether it's true or not.

Of course, I have no intention to do anythg of the kind. I defend the truth.

Exodus 32:14 -
"So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people," - so if you get to choose which version of the bible, you seemingly also have to concede that God does indeed change his mind.


1) I've already explained one nature of a threat.
2) Moses must have forgotten that God is unchangeable, which God said in Ex 3.
3) This is anthropomorphic language to help us time-bound beings understand a bit what's going on.

Peace,
Rhology

Rintintin said...

Hi Rintintin,

"The addendum is prolly just there b/c the translators deemed it a bit of a sidethought. I guess you'll have to ask them why they did that rather than make it another sentence."

I'll have a hunt around and see if I can find anything on that

"It's easier to know which Bible translations are bad than to know which is "best" (just like with most everything, right?). "Dynamic" translations like the NIV translate thought-for-thought, making it easier to read in English but sacrificing a little fidelity to the exact structure in the original. "Literal" translations like the NASB, the KJV, the NKJV, and the ESV kind of do word-for-word, which can lead to long and hard-to-read sentences.
The NLT and the Message are paraphrases, which don't really qualify as "translations". They're more like commentaries on the Bible. Commentaries are great, but they're not the Bible."

OK, seems a reasonable enough explanation (without eanting to start another debate on what standards one deems something to be reasonable :))

The KJV got "thou shalt not kill" wrong for several reasons. It's "murder". - sure I agree with you on that like I said, but again this shows some of the difficulties of choosing an appropriate interpretation depending which version one chooses - assuming you don't have access to the original scrolls, and aren't fluent in Aramaic, ancient Hebrew in Greek (and even if you were you'd still have to know the author's original intents to be sure) it poses a lot of difficulty for a very rigid worldview based on those premises. I choose a naturalistic/scientific worldview (as you might have guessed), but leave open the remote possibility that a) it is wrong b) that it may be correct, but there may also be additional forces I/we cannot detect that may/may not become apparent at some point. I get the impression yours is not open to change in the face of anything given the requirement to invoke the supernatural to explain certain incidents. In a naturalistic worldview, the supernatural is almost an 'optional extra' ie it could exist but the explanation suffices and reflects the world we live in whether it exists or not.

"All analogies trying to illustrate the Trinity fail at some point. I'm not saying it's easy to understand; it takes some practice. All I ask is a little humility - when corrected, don't be obstinate."

I'm trying not to be that way - sometimes it maybe seems like I am due to the nature of corresponding via written word with no subtleties of gestures or vocal tone.


"Exactly - you're doing great."

Haha, thank you :)



"How can 3 be the same thing, yet separate at the same time?

1) It's a mystery, no doubt about that.
2) It's not that they're the same "thing". They're the same ousios, better translated as "essence" or "substance".
3) This solves the problem of the One and the Many.
4) Though mysterious, this violates no logical law. They are one in substance, three in person."

1) But n the other hand I've seen you argue from scouting through a few other posts that the bible is sufficient to know God's nature and what he demands of us - this being the case the trinity should not pose such a difficulty to understand surely?

either John 10 where Jesus states "I and the father are one" is wrong as is Mark 2 where Jesus does only things God can do, or John 5 and 8 are contradictions.

It's both.
John 10:30's "One" is a neuter noun expressing an essential quality.
Why does that lead to John 5 and 8 being contradictions? Jesus is God Incarnate in flesh. During His time on earth, He explicitly states many times (as Philippians 2:6-11 explains also) that He is submitting voluntarily to the Father. He has a human nature that He took on at His birth as a baby human, in addition to His divine nature that He possessed from eternity past.


"1) You're welcome to leave everythg to such facile agnosticism. I prefer to examine arguments and see which one stands up under scrutiny. Yours is not doing too well on that count so far.
2) You said you would PROVE a biblical contradiction. Since you have explicitly conceded that this one can be read either your way or mine, it is harmonised. This point is conceded. Hopefully you won't mind if I turn my attention away from it from now on."

This is somewhat like ID's approach to science - "if your version doesn't explain it/can't be proven mine therefore wins by default"


"1) I told you you had to take on the biblical presuppositions to present a valid critique of the Bible. You've reverted to naturalistic presupps, which is breaking the rules of engagement.
2) If I were to act the same, I'd say: "The Bible says you're wrong, so you're wrong. Period."
3) I've already given you 6 attempts. I'm not going to waste time defending Jonah or Noah's ark if you can't substantiate your 1st 6."

So to prove supernaturalism, I have to assume the supernatural exists, or that natural laws have been broken or were different in the past or that they exist but with my/our 5 senses I/we cannot detect them. Those are quite big assumptions to make, and are impossible to be verified independently. Using biblical assumptions to verify biblical assumptions is somewhat circular. It's the same idea as eg solipsism - everything could just be one big figment of each individual's mind, but how can that be independently verified in any way whatsoever?

A naturalistic view does require certain assumptions yes, but at least has the advantage of being able to have its ideas tested by independent observers, its assertions can be backed up repeatedly (eg the theory of gravity must have been tested trillions upon trillions of times without anything ever falling upwards), and eg in science it can make testable predictions - eg for evolutionary theory we can make predictions as to what we should find if it is correct (eg the Tiktaalik Rosea find a couple of years back being a great example). At the very least it's a pragmatic viewpoint. And, even believers in the supernatural resort to naturalism a large proportion of the time (eg medicine, technology etc.), which suggests something of a lack of confidence in supernatural explanations (hence why the vast majority of people generally don't go to exorcists or faith healers for the abovementioned, and why James Randi still has his 100K cheque safe in his wallet)


"Santa Claus is not philosophically comparable to the Bible, which has a whole worldview built around it. It has a GREAT deal of explanatory value."

Sure, I know he's not - but even on a smaller scale you can defend anything if you allow for any explanation to be permissible and then claim it reflects a reality of sorts.


"Santa Claus explains nothing except how presents get under the tree. But since parents are often observed doing so...
And SC's existence is easily falsifiable. Unlike the God of the Bible's."

But as I explained, he has shapeshifting powers, or mind control powers so they do it making his job easier, or maybe even just the times noone was watching the parents he did it - there's nothing suggesting this couldn't be the case. Again, all I have to do is make an allowance for the supernatural, which is already within the terms of the SC story as a starting presupposition.

Something happening observably often as a justification for it sounds like a naturalistic worldview to me - eg I can then use the argument that people aren't often observed rising from the dead, but Jesus supposedly does it in the bible as well as bringing quite a few people back to life. Even just taking Jesus own life into account, that's one more resurrection than has ever been observed in my or anyone else that I knows lifetime (although I understand that guys like David Hogan claim to have done no less than 28 - I'd be interested to watch him in action some time). That being the case does 'repeatability' of a natural explanation falsify a supernatural one?


"Of course, I have no intention to do anythg of the kind. I defend the truth."

But as you state, you require a starting assumption that the supernatural exists to explain the supernatural. the best this approach can do is create a deadlock - I can't prove the supernatural doesn't exist, all I can do based on the results of repeated tests by independent individuals is force it to the point where it makes the probability highly unlikely, and you can't prove it does without assuming it to explain it.

"1) I've already explained one nature of a threat.
2) Moses must have forgotten that God is unchangeable, which God said in Ex 3.
3) This is anthropomorphic language to help us time-bound beings understand a bit what's going on."

1) You have, but the words are quite clear there - I get the feeling you would argue that a square was a circle if it was printed in the bible :)
2) But the bible is supposedly infallible (in it's original form)- if in the original part it has been written down wrong why are we to trust it as the infallible word of God even if we ever understand the original texts properly? If the originals have been written wrong then God's word on the matter is lost forever and we can never know if it is true.
3) certainly possible, but again it simply comes down as a preference of interpretation - I like my way, you like yours - heck, there's probably guys in the same church with the same views as you who would argue a 3rd way of looking at it. Which circulates back to the 'perfect computer manual' debate again and again just creates a deadlock due to the unmoving nature of a religious worldview.

Peace,
Rhology

Rintintin said...

haha, just noticed I copied and pasted your name and signature sign off at the bottom of my post - woops!

Rhology said...

Hi Rtt,

it poses a lot of difficulty for a very rigid worldview based on those premises

Well, I've not been claiming that knowing the truth might not require a bit of legwork or that knowing God's truth to a great extent is telepathic somehow.

I choose a naturalistic/scientific worldview

To your detriment.
1) I've been there and it stunk.
2) You are left with no objective basis for morality.
3) You can't justify reason or intelligibility.
4) You can't justify science.
5) You have no idea how It All Came About.
6) You have no answer to Why?

etc. Hopefully you'll reconsider.

leave open the remote possibility

Well, I give you kudos for that! I meet some people that won't accept that they can't prove the universal negative "God doesn't exist".

I get the impression yours is not open to change in the face of anything given the requirement to invoke the supernatural to explain certain incidents.

I'd need a better explanation than dozens of naturalists have ever been able to give, including the lame attempts by "big guns" Hitchens, Harris, Michael Martin, Dennett, and Dawkins.
But I'm always open to other ideas. Just don't expect me not to parse those ideas.

In a naturalistic worldview, the supernatural is almost an 'optional extra' ie it could exist

Hmm, most naturalists I've talked to rule out the supernatural as a rule.

the bible is sufficient to know God's nature and what he demands of us - this being the case the trinity should not pose such a difficulty to understand surely?

That's a fair point. Please understand that I've not claimed the Trinity is impossible to comprehend sufficiently. I WOULD say it's impossible to comprehend it exhaustively. It's a weird concept, one we don't encounter much. But so are quite a few other philosophical problems, such as the One and the Many. It's hard to wrap your mind around it!

This is somewhat like ID's approach to science - "if your version doesn't explain it/can't be proven mine therefore wins by default"

1) This is another concession on your part.
2) Given that evolution lacks sufficient explanatory power for several of the questions raised by ID theorists, and you don't want to accept ID, what other solution do you have? Agnosticism just b/c you don't like the idea of ID, b/c you're committed to naturalism a priori? How is that fair thinking or free thinking?

So to prove supernaturalism

I've not been attempting to PROVE supernaturalism. I've been presupposing it. We've gone over this - we're doing INTERNAL critiques, since external ones are well nigh worthless.
I'd be happy to justify supernaturalism at some other time.

Using biblical assumptions to verify biblical assumptions is somewhat circular.

Not to verify biblical assumptions. I'm asking you to use the biblical presupps to test the Bible for contradictions. That what you said you were going to do. This post and the combox so far suffice to show you unsuccessful in your best 6 attempts.

everything could just be one big figment of each individual's mind, but how can that be independently verified in any way whatsoever?

That's a defeater for ANY worldview, not just mine. It's just as easily thrown back at you.

science it can make testable predictions

For certain things, yes.
It can't test, for example, that the scientific method is valid.
It can't test what happenED in the past.

or evolutionary theory we can make predictions as to what we should find if it is correct

All of these findings are easily explainable in a theistic framework, via several different ways.
You're assuming evolution just b/c it happens to fit, but there are other explanations.
You've never OBSERVED evolution occur in the most important facet - one organism evolving into another kind of organism. No one has.

even believers in the supernatural resort to naturalism a large proportion of the time (eg medicine, technology etc.),

Which nothing in the Bible proscribes.
I'm certainly not claiming that God frequently performs miracles. That's why they're called miracles - they're unusual.

James Randi still has his 100K cheque safe in his wallet)

So if God wanted another $100K (I mean, on top of the fact that He owns EVERYTHING since He created it), all He'd have to do is dance like a circus monkey. I'm sure He's considering it.

but even on a smaller scale you can defend anything if you allow for any explanation to be permissible and then claim it reflects a reality of sorts.

Your example of SClaus failed. Can you back this statement up?
And my methodology is not reducible to this simplistic statement.

But as I explained, he has shapeshifting powers, or mind control powers so they do it making his job easier, or maybe even just the times noone was watching the parents he did it

Resorting to pitiful ad hoc tactics like you're doing is sufficient to discount what you're saying.

I can then use the argument that people aren't often observed rising from the dead, but Jesus supposedly does it in the bible as well as bringing quite a few people back to life.

So you use induction to determine that people usually don't rise from the dead.
And yet here you have examples of several people rising from the dead. Now if you're fair, you'll revise your conclusion given the additional cases to account for.

the results of repeated tests by independent individuals

Why would I expect those tests to be even a little bit relevant to the question?
If the supernatural exists, it's probably 'inhabited' by intelligent entities that are generally beyond our comprehension, experience, and perception. How would naturalistic tests test for that exactly?

You have, but the words are quite clear there - I get the feeling you would argue that a square was a circle if it was printed in the bible

1) You've not responded to the point though given several chances to do so. I consider this another concession. Let me know if you have sthg substantive.
2) I'd significantly change my position on the Bible if it contained a contradiction. It doesn't say a circle is a square. You've had 6 attempts to show that it contains a contradiction, and in this long-ish comment you've mostly abandoned those attempts. It says a lot.

If in the original part it has been written down wrong why are we to trust it as the infallible word of God even if we ever understand the original texts properly?

1) We do understand the text.
2) It has been faithfully transmitted to >99% of the characters, thanks to 1000s of manuscripts and mostly faithful transmitters.
3) I've already discussed this.

certainly possible, but again it simply comes down as a preference of interpretation - I like my way, you like yours

1) Another concession. You were supposed to PROVE A CONTRADICTION. When a possibility for harmonisation exists, we take it unless there's a solid reason not to, which you haven't shown.
2) "preference" doesn't really enter into the equation. Here's a primer for how to interp the Bible (and any text, including your own comments here) properly.

Which circulates back to the 'perfect computer manual' debate again and again just creates a deadlock due to the unmoving nature of a religious worldview.

1) It's the same argument that could be applied to your comments.
2) You know, I've been thinking about it, and I've come to a 3rd way of looking at your comments. It's amazing! I didn't realise you accepted Christ yesterday and would like to be discipled by my pastor. That's great, I'll bet he'll be thrilled. When are you moving here?

Peace,
Rhology

Anonymous said...

"If you had brought up something like where God "repents of making man" or sthg like that, I'd've been happy to remind you that "to repent" there can also mean "to be sad"."

Which would have exactly the same implication - that God changes its mind, unless you're claiming that God has been sad about making man forever, and will never change his mind.

Because being sad is a feeling, you see, and feelings change. According to you, God has feelings, and therefore God can change. And if God can change, then... well, you get the point.

Actually, you probably don't get the point. But anybody else reading this will.

Paul Brown said...

"2) Here are God's instructions to Noah in Gen 7:2 -
Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.

7 of every kind of clean animals and birds, 2 of every unclean.
I don't even see that to which you refer in the rest of the chapter."

I have already asked this question once here, but here's the gist of it again:
Genesis 7:2 says, "(2)Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal."
Genesis 7:8-9 says, "(8)Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, (9) male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah."
Okay, so it does say "pairs" rather than specifically "a pair", but how many pairs make seven?

Rhology said...

Anon,

"God changes His mind"

Anthropomorphism. Do you make a habit of ignoring points already made by the other guy and then repeating yourself, hoping no one will notice?
that shows that either you didn't read it, that you have poor reading comprehension skills, or that you have little respect for other readers.

I deny that God has feelings like we do that are timebound, so there you go. God is outside time, He is eternally feeling what He feels.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for stopping by!

Crud, I missed that comment that you link to. Sorry. I'll get to it soon. thanks for bringing it to my attention.

7 PAIRS and 2 PAIRS of each is the answer. Thanks for the question.


Peace,
Rhology

merkur said...

"I deny that God has feelings like we do that are timebound, so there you go. God is outside time, He is eternally feeling what He feels."

You were the one who claimed that God was "sad" (repented), not I. What do you believe that "sad" means in this context?

It's fine to say that God is eternally feeling what He feels, but it puts you in the difficult position that, if God repented of making man as described in the bible, God will always be repenting of making man, with no chance of changing.

I would remind you that these are your words, not mine, so please don't try to dodge the question.

merkur said...

"7 PAIRS and 2 PAIRS of each is the answer."

It might be an answer, but it's not the answer to the question that Paul actually asked.

Rhology said...

Howdy,

What do you believe that "sad" means in this context?

Sad.

God will always be repenting of making man, with no chance of changing. Correctly stated (as long as "repenting" is properly understood).
Why is it difficult for me?

Paul Brown said:
Okay, so it does say "pairs" rather than specifically "a pair", but how many pairs make seven?

I answered:
7 PAIRS and 2 PAIRS of each is the answer.

It looks like the answer to his question to me. What do you mean?

Peace,
Rhology

merkur said...

You denied that God has feelings like we do, while also claiming that God is "sad". It is incumbent upon you to define what "sad" means when applied to God if you want your claim to hold up.

"Why is it difficult for me?"

God is sad forever. Think about it.

Paul Brown: How many pairs make seven?
Rhology: 7 PAIRS and 2 PAIRS of each.

If you genuinely don't see how your response doesn't answer his question, then there seems little point in continuing the discussion.

Rhology said...

merkur,

You denied that God has feelings like we do, while also claiming that God is "sad".

Well, the text is telling us SOMETHING.
God is sad.
God is not sad like humans are sad.
God is sad in a God-ish way. No, I can't fully describe it, but that's nothing new given an infinite being.

God is sad forever. Think about it.

Ouch!
Don't make my brain hurt, man.

If you genuinely don't see how your response doesn't answer his question, then there seems little point in continuing the discussion.

I was correcting him in his false reading of the text. But if you don't want to keep going, cool, see you.

Peace,
Rhology

Rintintin said...

Well, I've not been claiming that knowing the truth might not require a bit of legwork or that knowing God's truth to a great extent is telepathic somehow.


To your detriment.
1) I've been there and it stunk.
2) You are left with no objective basis for morality.
3) You can't justify reason or intelligibility.
4) You can't justify science.
5) You have no idea how It All Came About.
6) You have no answer to Why?


1) Your experiences might not have been good, but mine have - so your preference doesn't dictate mine and (vice versa)
2) As far as you have been saying this isn't actually a problem, it just apparently means we can't criticise Christians for doing whatever they want because they are true believers. I'll point back to the post I made on the other thread about 'divine command' logic and the studies showing a potential biological/evolutionary basis for morality.
3) Well, in evolutionary terms, creatures with a drive to live will propagate, those who dont won't. If those who propagate have the faculty to see that action A has effect B on their survival, combined to their survival drive they realise certain actions have certain results for their survival so either they do them or they don't. Even simpler/more primtive organisms can display logic and reasoning, it's not exclusive to humans. The ones that can't realise the connection between actions and results will die out. besides many greek philosophers well before Christ were coming up with systems of logic, so it's obviously not reliant on Christianity.
4) I'm not entirely sure what you mean I can't justify it - in what way? You're presumably happy enough to assume it works for the things you like in life. Without it we wouldn't be having this conversation and there's a good chance neither of us would have lived long enough beyond childhood to do so internet/PCs or not.
5) I know. At one time, everything was unknown - the universe is a big place, I'm not expecting all the answers right away. Science/I didn't claim to know absolutely everything ever. For the same reason I don't expect the authors of the bible to have been correct in everything, as there were many things they could simply not have known given the technology at their disposal.
6) Who says there has to be a why? If there is some loving God and a heaven, or some grand purpose to it all then great, if not so what - I enjoy this life just fine without believing those exist.

etc. Hopefully you'll reconsider.


I doubt it unless God makes it patently obvious he is here at some point and performs a few miracles that break known natural laws (eg make things fall upwards, primitive animals talk or humans fly by simply flapping their arms for example). If he could do it in the past, there's no reason he can't do it now.


leave open the remote possibility

"Well, I give you kudos for that! I meet some people that won't accept that they can't prove the universal negative "God doesn't exist".


Haha, thanks :) I'd say it's improbable he does (and even then I'd be amazed if he had the characteristics of any God worshipped by humans), but nothing is a certainty - smarter people than me have tried and failed to prove one way or the other that God does/doesn't exist. It doesn't particularly bother me either way if he does or not - if he doesn't then I was correct, if he does then I'm wrong, it doesn't bother me.


I'd need a better explanation than dozens of naturalists have ever been able to give, including the lame attempts by "big guns" Hitchens, Harris, Michael Martin, Dennett, and Dawkins.
But I'm always open to other ideas. Just don't expect me not to parse those ideas."

To be honest I don't read any of those guys (I did read the selfish gene for a psychology class about 8 years ago, but can't remember much about it now) so I can't say much beyond the odd interview I've read with them in a newspaper. And sure, if they put their ideas out there, I'd guess they expect people to discuss them.


Hmm, most naturalists I've talked to rule out the supernatural as a rule.

I dismiss it to the probability of extreme unlikeliness, but as I said before nothing is an absolute certainty, and I'm perfectly willing to change my mind in the event of observing a few miracles with my own eyes. Apples still fall down whether there is a supernatural guiding hand pulling them to earth or not, hence the 'optional extra' statement.


That's a fair point. Please understand that I've not claimed the Trinity is impossible to comprehend sufficiently. I WOULD say it's impossible to comprehend it exhaustively. It's a weird concept, one we don't encounter much. But so are quite a few other philosophical problems, such as the One and the Many. It's hard to wrap your mind around it!

OK, no problems on that - but in that vein should you be criticising scientists when they don't have a complete understanding of various natural processes? Whether it's philosophy or science or anything else, it is hard to have complete explanations for everything.


1) This is another concession on your part.
2) Given that evolution lacks sufficient explanatory power for several of the questions raised by ID theorists, and you don't want to accept ID, what other solution do you have? Agnosticism just b/c you don't like the idea of ID, b/c you're committed to naturalism a priori? How is that fair thinking or free thinking?


Firstly science cant have as an explanation something that could be applied to any and all explanations - eg solipsism could be true but can't be tested or falsified. The same as unknown designer, at unknown time, working buy known mechanisms could be the answer to everything, but cannot be tested. It doesn't get a fair hearing in science because they replace the answer we don't know, with an answer that covers any and all gaps and as such doesn't explain anything. Therefore it is not a scientific proposition as it is untestable and unfalsifiable. And then there's the rest of ID-

I don't like ID for various reasons - the main proponents are liars pure and simple eg Behe claiming no papers on the evolution of the immune system exist, which whether he believes it or not is simply a lie
- misrepresentation of evolution eg pretty much anything Jonathan Wells wrote in Icons of evolution
- The fact that creationists simply had to switch the words intelligent design proponents for creationist and no meaning was lost (and they couldnt even get the switch right what with the cdesign proponentsists!)
- the fact that even the ID 'father' Philip Johnson states that there is no theory of ID
- the fact that so many Christian religious fundamentalists back it probably says quite a lot
- the lack of any scientific/biological expertise from the vast majority of the major players behind it (Behe and Minnich are the only working biologists, an even then Behe doesn't do any experimental work now), yet they all feel qualified to denounce biological research - yet they will critcise anyone who isn't a biology professor for doing the same (eg Behe and Abbie Smith - even though Behe grudgingly admitted she was actually right about HIV evolution!)
-the different standards they hold their ideas up to eg Dembski demands stepwise accounts of flagellar evolution, but maintains he doesn't have to 'go into that pathetic level of detail' when asked to explain how the designer made them! Talk about hypocrisy.
- If Behe has submitted his ideas for peer review, can he show us the manuscripts that were rejected detailing the experiments he did?

- As my paycheck can testify (unfortunately!), there's a hell of a lot more money to be made in putting out bad science books and public speaking (Dembski picked up around $10K for a recent appearance at a university) than there is from doing research in a lab (but maybe I'm just being cynical)

and this is before we even get onto the bad science!

-IC as applied to eg the bacterial flagellum - not only are a) there functional subsystems within the flagellar system, but b) not all the proteins are required for a functional flagella c) there are 1000's (maybe millions) of flagella, and they are not all identical and do not all require a full complement of the same genes and proteins - to ignore this requires lying not just ignorance as these facts can be found in about 2 minutes of searching pubmed for papers with this data.

- they have not made one positive case or experiment for their own arguments, all they have said is 'evolution can't explain this', reliant on said data cherry picking/ignorance/lying above

-the obsession with complexity - evolution doesn't have to produce complexity. Adaptation can be achieved by becoming less complex (eg tapeworms are simpler than their ancestors), or by relatively simple biochemical changes (eg single point mutations conferring new characteristics)

-IC at the biochemical/molecular level is also bunk, because Behe states for example that all amino acid substitutions are required at once for eg malaria resistance to antibiotics - yet a quick search of the literature shows that different point mutations confer different degrees of sensitivity to chloroquine and not all are present in all resistant strains. Again each individual step is selectable, they don't need to happen at once since there is an advantage beyond the wild type strain with even a slight change in resistance to drugs. This goes for other drugs such as pyrimethamine also. A Single point mutation eg in the pfcrt gene correlates very highly with chloroquine resistance, suggesting that large scale biochemical changes aren't a necessity for resistance.

- regarding Dembski, his probability calculations are just bad. He does things like ignore births and deaths as a factor in calculating the chances of life being as it is now - bit of an oversight there if you're trying to model the real world Billy!

- any given outcome of 100 coin tosses has an a priori probability of 1x10^300, which is much smaller than the required 1x10^150 for something to qualify as CSI. According to Dembski every outcome of 100 coin tosses simply cannot happen.

- Behe's idea that there have been no significant changes in HIV (despite its ability to evade both drugs and the immune system - odd that something supposedly unchanging has managed to do that for so long isn't it...), has as I said by his own admission been shown to be wrong. He declares himself unimpressed obviously - although the fact this being wrong brings down his entire argument means you'd expect him to downplay the importance of it. Anyway, as long as HIV adapts, the changes do not necessarily need to be complex. There is no preexisting requirement that this should be the case.

-as for complaints about the peer review bias, ID has its own journal, which I believe has a) not published in 2 years and b) not published a single experimental data point prior to that. They are not stopped from being published in there, so why can't they come up with data?

I could go on longer, but you get the point.


I've not been attempting to PROVE supernaturalism. I've been presupposing it. We've gone over this - we're doing INTERNAL critiques, since external ones are well nigh worthless.
I'd be happy to justify supernaturalism at some other time.


Any book can be considered valid if only examined internally. Harry Potter and LOTR probably are internally consistent and valid as long as you ignore the fact they don't reflect our world. This is supposed to be a book that both is internally consistent and reflects our reality.


Not to verify biblical assumptions. I'm asking you to use the biblical presupps to test the Bible for contradictions. That what you said you were going to do. This post and the combox so far suffice to show you unsuccessful in your best 6 attempts.

Well I gave you an example of a specific contradiction using your choice of bible. The words specifically say the lord changed his mind in NASB! The lord is unchanging in his decrees/the Lord changed his mind are contradictions unless you change what the words say or admit the original writings are wrong. You also asked me to read the bible as I would any other book. Firtsly I therefore read that as a contradiction before applying personal preferences such as anthropomorphic language etc, and secondly I would not make assumptions that the supernatural/miracles happens regularly and is detectable prior to reading any other book as there are no verified instances under controlled conditions.

That's a defeater for ANY worldview, not just mine. It's just as easily thrown back at you.

I know - I was arguing if you cannot test a claim independently how can you know it is reflective of the real world. I.e. what claims the bible makes regarding what we see in our every day lives cannot be verified outside of its own chapters.

For certain things, yes.
It can't test, for example, that the scientific method is valid.
It can't test what happenED in the past.


Nonsense - you can make a hypothesis as to what should be expected to be found if what you predict is true. You are essentially saying the Tiktaalik find was a fluke. there is no reason that fossil should have been found if we can't determine anything about the past - it was pinpointed to such a specific region due to a variety of factors, the odds of finding it if evolution can explain nothing of the past are just ridiculously small. Also, if the scientific method has no validity, why are so many creationists determined to get their ideas into eg biology classes or confirm what they believe with geology and radioactive dating studies? After all if it has no validity, why should they care as it is no challenge to their own worldview under those premises?

All of these findings are easily explainable in a theistic framework, via several different ways.
You're assuming evolution just b/c it happens to fit, but there are other explanations.
You've never OBSERVED evolution occur in the most important facet - one organism evolving into another kind of organism. No one has.


I'd be interested to hear your explanation for the things considered as evidence for descent from a common ancestor in a theistic framework.

Evolution is simply adaptation. I expect a population to change into a population with slightly different properties if a selective pressure is applied (populations evolve not individuals just to make clear). Either that or go extinct if they fail to adapt. The fossil record and life as we see it now is just the benefit of hindsight, it's not like reptiles took a look at eg birds and thought - we'll aim for that, as birds did not exist at one time. Evolution can only build on what is already there ie it can't wings onto a human because the body plan doesn't support it. The fossil record shows ample evidence of changes built onto what was already there over time.

even believers in the supernatural resort to naturalism a large proportion of the time (eg medicine, technology etc.),

Which nothing in the Bible proscribes.
I'm certainly not claiming that God frequently performs miracles. That's why they're called miracles - they're unusual.


but the question is, not whether it's prohibited, but why you feel naturalism is the answer only in some cases - why do you resort to this any more than simply praying if you feel a natural approach has no validity/justification in understanding reality? if that were true prayer would have on average the same chances as antibiotics


James Randi still has his 100K cheque safe in his wallet)

So if God wanted another $100K (I mean, on top of the fact that He owns EVERYTHING since He created it), all He'd have to do is dance like a circus monkey. I'm sure He's considering it.


Every supposed miracle or example of supernatural powers falls apart under controlled conditions. Why is this? Does God only do it when no controls are in place? Does he simply not like doing them anymore?

but even on a smaller scale you can defend anything if you allow for any explanation to be permissible and then claim it reflects a reality of sorts.

Your example of SClaus failed. Can you back this statement up?
And my methodology is not reducible to this simplistic statement.


if you allow for the presuppositions of the story (which contains numerous events that would require supernatural explanations) you are looking at to be assumed a priori, then you can prove anything, especially as you can dismiss any irrelevance to reality with the option of another supernatural explanation

But as I explained, he has shapeshifting powers, or mind control powers so they do it making his job easier, or maybe even just the times noone was watching the parents he did it

Resorting to pitiful ad hoc tactics like you're doing is sufficient to discount what you're saying.


That's right it is pitiful. Just as explaining anything from the bible that doesn't tie in with the external world as a speculative miracle is also pitiful.

I can then use the argument that people aren't often observed rising from the dead, but Jesus supposedly does it in the bible as well as bringing quite a few people back to life.

So you use induction to determine that people usually don't rise from the dead.
And yet here you have examples of several people rising from the dead. Now if you're fair, you'll revise your conclusion given the additional cases to account for.


Again, where is the vailidty of these accounts outside of their own text? There simply isn't one. All that is required is one dead raising in front of an audience of eg Richard Dawkins and James Randi and the bible starts to become relevant to our real world in that regard

the results of repeated tests by independent individuals

Why would I expect those tests to be even a little bit relevant to the question?
If the supernatural exists, it's probably 'inhabited' by intelligent entities that are generally beyond our comprehension, experience, and perception. How would naturalistic tests test for that exactly?


Your statement that parents are often observed leaving presents rules out santa claus is a naturalistic style of thinking - you have made certain observations, as have others, therefore logically you rule out the supernatural explanation of the fat guy flying round the world and dropping off presents - exactly the same as I would do for examples of raising the dead. Because it doesn't tie in with what we can observe in reality.

You have, but the words are quite clear there - I get the feeling you would argue that a square was a circle if it was printed in the bible

1) You've not responded to the point though given several chances to do so. I consider this another concession. Let me know if you have sthg substantive.
2) I'd significantly change my position on the Bible if it contained a contradiction. It doesn't say a circle is a square. You've had 6 attempts to show that it contains a contradiction, and in this long-ish comment you've mostly abandoned those attempts. It says a lot.


Well we have the words god changed his mind and god is unchanging. From your choice of bible. It's only not a contradiction if you change the meaning of the words or the bible is fallible because the writer made a mistake. You also stated we know what almost all of the texts say properly. it seems you want to have your cake and eat it. This is a contradiction pure and simple. I only require one for your argument to be wrong. You demanded I apply the same rules to reading the bible as I would to any other book.

If in the original part it has been written down wrong why are we to trust it as the infallible word of God even if we ever understand the original texts properly?

1) We do understand the text.
2) It has been faithfully transmitted to >99% of the characters, thanks to 1000s of manuscripts and mostly faithful transmitters.
3) I've already discussed this.


Great - in which case your version of the bible is an accurate representation of the originals and contains a contradiction unless we apply our own subjectivity or the original writing is wrong in at least that one instance. Either way, it washes up your argument of infallibility.

1) Another concession. You were supposed to PROVE A CONTRADICTION. When a possibility for harmonisation exists, we take it unless there's a solid reason not to, which you haven't shown.
2) "preference" doesn't really enter into the equation. Here's a primer for how to interp the Bible (and any text, including your own comments here) properly.


I explained under the terms you put (ie read it like any other book) that that is a contradiction provided the English version is an accurate representation of the originals. You state it is, therefore it is a contradiction.

1) It's the same argument that could be applied to your comments.
2) You know, I've been thinking about it, and I've come to a 3rd way of looking at your comments. It's amazing! I didn't realise you accepted Christ yesterday and would like to be discipled by my pastor. That's great, I'll bet he'll be thrilled. When are you moving here?


1)I'm not claiming infallibility for anything I believe, you are - therefore we must try to be objective. Changed his mind/unchanging is a contradiction unless we start being subjective and apply our own preferences to it.

Rintintin said...

"2) Given that evolution lacks sufficient explanatory power for several of the questions raised by ID theorists, and you don't want to accept ID, what other solution do you have?"

Oh and on this - could you give me some examples of what evolution 'can't explain'?

Also for reasons I gave ID is not a scientific theory - can you give me any testable predictions distinct from a negative argument against evolution that would give a distinct answer from 'we don't know yet?'

ie that would help us elucidate mechanisms, times, places of 'design actuation' events and the designer?

merkur said...

"God is not sad like humans are sad.
God is sad in a God-ish way. No, I can't fully describe it, but that's nothing new given an infinite being."

So, to summarise: you can't tell us what the text is telling us, but you're prepared to tell us that we're wrong about it.

Genius. See you.

Rhology said...

Rintintin,

Whoa! You wrote a lot. I'll respond to what's more or less relevant. I've been thinking about doing some more posts on evolution, so I'll leave that for later.
But you are welcome to peruse and react (in those other posts' comboxes, not here) to the following posts: here, here, here, here

it just apparently means we can't criticise Christians for doing whatever they want because they are true believers.

You can criticise ANYONE's behavior based on ONLY your personal preference, which seems to me to be so flimsy and pitifully small that it's barely worth saying.
I'm just using your own worldview to evaluate your statements.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean I can't justify it (science) - in what way?

There's no reason to think that the universe can be examined in an orderly way on atheistic presuppositions.
And laws of science are not material; I don't know if you're a materialist, but if you are you're being inconsistent.


You're presumably happy enough to assume it works for the things you like in life.

B/c it's grounded in the character and nature of God. He is a logical being. He made the universe like that.
On atheist presupps, there's no grounding like that.


At one time, everything was unknown - the universe is a big place, I'm not expecting all the answers right away

This is what's known as "promissory naturalism".
Why would a reasonable person accept naturalism, which admittedly can't find the answers, when other systems, like theism, provide reasonable explanations for far more?
how do I know human scientific efforts will eventually come up with these big answers?

For the same reason I don't expect the authors of the bible to have been correct in everything, as there were many things they could simply not have known given the technology at their disposal.

B/c you unjustifiably peremptorily rule out supernatural influence.


Who says there has to be a why?

You may be able to pretend that the big Why doesn't matter to you now, but I suspect that one day it will crash down on you. I pray that day will be soon; it could be the best opportunity of your life!


performs a few miracles that break known natural laws

You mean like the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
What's wrong with that one?


It doesn't particularly bother me either way if he does or not - if he doesn't then I was correct, if he does then I'm wrong, it doesn't bother me.

It may not bother you NOW, but it WILL. Use a little forethought here!


I'm perfectly willing to change my mind in the event of observing a few miracles with my own eyes.

Why with your own eyes?
Do you only believe in things you see?
If so, why do you believe that animals can develop over time into others? You've never SEEN that.


but in that vein should you be criticising scientists when they don't have a complete understanding of various natural processes?

I criticise them where they claim more confidence or knowledge than is warranted or when they claim to be able to rule out things like the supernatural.


Harry Potter and LOTR probably are internally consistent

LOTR might be (b/c it's based on a close-to-theistic framework), but not HP.
My experience is that examination causes these things to break down.



This is supposed to be a book that both is internally consistent and reflects our reality.

I wouldn't argue with that at all except that the way you describe reality in question-begging ways can't be admitted.
Internal consistency is only one mark.


Well I gave you an example of a specific contradiction using your choice of bible. The words specifically say the lord changed his mind in NASB!

You gave me a DIFFICULTY. You're supposed to PROVE A CONTRADICTION. What about the definition of contradiction vs harmonisation have you misunderstood?


The lord is unchanging in his decrees/the Lord changed his mind

There are DECREES and there are "God is sad."
Once I explain sthg to you, to just go back and keep repeating yourself says a lot about the content of your argument.


before applying personal preferences

I never used that terminology in the context of this argument.


secondly I would not make assumptions that the supernatural/miracles happens regularly and is detectable prior to reading any other book as there are no verified instances under controlled conditions.

Haha, but you easily assume that the supernatural DOESN'T happen.
Why not just take the text at its value? Don't carry your own assumptions into it; that's NOT how you read other books!


what claims the bible makes regarding what we see in our every day lives cannot be verified outside of its own chapters.

This is an element of finding the BIble's infallibility, not proving an internal contradiction. We've gotta keep the arguments straight here.


you can make a hypothesis as to what should be expected to be found if what you predict is true.

But such predictions can easily be accted for in a creationist scenario as well.


You are essentially saying the Tiktaalik find was a fluke.

I'm saying it's easily accted for in the creationist scheme.
And other evolutionists, like Henry Gee, would seriously downplay the explanatory value of ANY fossil find.
Part of his point is that the boatload of assumptions that come to bear on a fossil find make any explanation derived therefrom SERIOUSLY doubtful.
Here's an idea - produce some EVIDENCE that you've OBSERVED that evolution takes place. You might even be scientific if you did that.

if the scientific method has no validity

Strawman - I'd never say anythg like that.


I'd be interested to hear your explanation for the things considered as evidence for descent from a common ancestor in a theistic framework.

Descent from a common ancestor is not part of the creationist scenario.
Maybe I'm missing what you mean.


Evolution is simply adaptation.

Replace the "dapta" with "ssump" and you're there!
And I'm talking about MACROevolution, the changing of kinds of animals into other kinds. Bird into reptile, bacterium into banana, etc.


The fossil record shows ample evidence of changes built onto what was already there over time.

If you load a thousand assumptions onto the fossil, you're right!
But I can just as easily do that.

why do you resort to this any more than simply praying if you feel a natural approach has no validity/justification in understanding reality?

A STRICTLY naturalistic approach has no validity.
The Bible teaches that God uses means to accomplish His ends. Some of HIs means are natural and some are supernatural. The majority appear to us as natural.


Every supposed miracle or example of supernatural powers falls apart under controlled conditions. Why is this?

B/c God is not mocked, as I explained. He's the ruler of the universe, not a circus monkey.


Does he simply not like doing them anymore?

God performs miracles for redemptive/sign purposes. But biblically, miracles serve to increase the hardness of heart and condemnation of unbelievers like yourself. If you saw a miracle, you'd most probably wrack your brain to come up with an alternative explanation b/c the idea of a God is repulsive to you and your rebellious heart.


then you can prove anything,

You can't prove the opposite of those presupps.
You stand refuted. Amend your statement.


All that is required is one dead raising in front of an audience of eg Richard Dawkins and James Randi and the bible starts to become relevant to our real world in that regard

Why would I care whether R Dawkins gives his assent to sthg? His reasoning is so poor and obscured by bad thinking in virtually all his public statements these days that I don't care a bit what he says.
Why not believe the eyewitnesses who had every reason NOT to believe it?


therefore logically you rule out the supernatural explanation of the fat guy flying round the world and dropping off presents

That may be, but that's not where I start, or where I startED above. Note that I analysed the SC myth INTERNALLY.


exactly the same as I would do for examples of raising the dead.


OK now apply the internal critique to resurrections and tell me how it goes.


FROM BEFORE: If in the original part it has been written down wrong why are we to trust it as the infallible word of God even if we ever understand the original texts properly?

All you did was repeat yourself in your answer to my rebuttal. I'll consider this point put to bed.


I'm not claiming infallibility for anything I believe, you are

1) We're discussing CONTRADICTIONS right now and the rules of interpretation for any text. Try to keep up, OK?
2) You know, I've been thinking about it, and I've come to a 3rd way of looking at your comments. It's amazing! I didn't realise you accepted Christ yesterday and would like to be discipled by my pastor. That's great, I'll bet he'll be thrilled. When are you moving here?




merkur said:
you can't tell us what the text is telling us, but you're prepared to tell us that we're wrong about it.

I can't FULLY describe it. I DID describe it somewhat though. I said "God is sad in a God-ish way."
And then you say "you didn't describe it!!!!!! God is dead!!!!!! HA HAH HA."
Maybe you should have said "You didn't describe it in a way I like."
In which case I don't see why I'd care about that.

Peace,
Rhology

merkur said...

"I can't FULLY describe it. I DID describe it somewhat though. I said "God is sad in a God-ish way.""

No, you didn't. That's like saying "The sky is blue in a sky-ish way" - it gives me precisely no information about the blue itself.

"And then you say "you didn't describe it!!!!!! God is dead!!!!!! HA HAH HA.""

No, I didn't. Why do you keep lying?

Rhology said...

Hi merkur,

That's like saying "The sky is blue in a sky-ish way" - it gives me precisely no information about the blue itself.

The sky doesn't have any revelation to its name.
TGOTB does, however. If you want to know more, check what He's said.

"And then you say "you didn't describe it!!!!!! God is dead!!!!!! HA HAH HA.""

No, I didn't. Why do you keep lying?


Making a joke at the expense of your argument is not the same as lying.
Let's leave it to the readers.

Peace,
Rhology

merkur said...

"The sky doesn't have any revelation to its name. TGOTB does, however. If you want to know more, check what He's said."

Why don't you tell us, starting with what it means for God to be sad in a God-ish way, since you've provided precisely no explanation of what that means.

"Making a joke at the expense of your argument is not the same as lying."

If you're making a joke in the middle of an otherwise serious discussion, perhaps you should make the joke funny so that people can recognise it.

Rhology said...

Hi merkur,

what it means for God to be sad in a God-ish way

I can't really describe it. It could be said to resemble human sadness, but it would lack the element of regret for what might have been, etc.
I would describe it mostly as an anthroporphism meant to express how badly God wants all to be like Him, to be good, and how evilly humans were behaving (in this example).


you should make the joke funny so that people can recognise it.

Haha, true. Making jokes that are actually sometimes proves to be far beyond my abilities. :-)

Peace,
Rhology

merkur said...

"I can't really describe it."

As I said to begin with - you can't tell us what you mean, but you're absolutely convinced that you're right. Genius.