Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dr. Scattergun

In answer to Dr Funkenstein's post:

Got some time today. I must say, I'm pretty disappointed with this effort. It's a scattergun approach, refuses most of the time to take the internal vs external critique differentiation into acct, and neglects to interact with even the most basic of standard Christian answers to a lot of these questions. Must we really reinvent the wheel every time? What good does that do anyone, even skeptics like yourself?

it is possible to even start with another equally arbitrary god figure that shares the necessary base requirements with TGOTB but has enacted a completely different set of events in our world

The Jolly Nihilist already tried that, and initially failed miserably with his two examples - the Green God and the Music God, if I'm not mistaken.
I do plan, actually, to flesh this Flying Spaghetti Monster objection out more in the future.
But the devil is in the details in this one - propose one, and subject it to the scrutiny to which TGOTB is subjected over and over again on my blog alone.


Second, when you say 'account for' logic (or morality, or existence, or whatever you prefer), what do you actually mean?

It's a good question.
The idea is that, from the standpoint of the real world, here and now, I'm thinking about WHAT IF there is no God? WHAT IF naturalism is true? I take on naturalism for the sake of argument.
Now, thinking as a naturalist, I try to figure out whether there is any good reason to think that laws of logic exist, are objective, timeless, unchanging, etc. IOW, I perform an internal critique of naturalism. And I don't see a good accounting for, an explanation of how, these laws' existence, objectivity, etc.


you have previously agreed that you don't know the ins and outs of how it all happens (bar using the term 'supernatural' mechanism

Well, it all depends on what we're talking about.
In this case, logic reflects the thinking of and character of God.
He is a God of truth. He has set the universe in order and gives identity to things, people, etc. He differentiates them. He does not accept contradictory claims as both true.
Etc. Thus He created the universe like that.

And I don't see why I should expect that a naturalistic universe have laws of logic. Especially absent a cogent explanation from naturalists.


packaging these things under the bracket of 'Goddidit' doesn't really explain an awful lot, if anything

It may not explain the MECHANISM in detail, but it provides a sufficient knowledge of the necessary preconditions for the laws of logic.


I can't 'account for' it, you may say.

Sure you can. Dell/HP/whoever assembled it.
Maybe that will help clarify what I mean.


That doesn't really fly in the case of God, since millions of people claim to 'know' the fact that mutually incompatible gods all exist(ed),

But why would I care about what other people think, who have contradictory and internally inconsistent worldviews?
If I happen upon one that seems to be more well put-together than most of the others, I examine it in detail. So far, I've examined quite a lot and all fail.


you have the issue of problems originally attributed to the supernatural through history that now have plausible alternative solutions (eg psychological diseases etc and demonic possession - this still is the case in some places, for example in this study some people thought their facial twitching was a result of possession.

This is an invalid comparison.
The Bible does not attribute all diseases/maladies to demonic activity, but only some.
Those that are attributed to demonic activity, there is no way for you to study THOSE w/o a time machine, which I'm sure you don't claim you have.


The problem is, this renders reality completely subjective, a little like being in a movie where the director/animator/etc can make the project take whichever direction he or she pleases.

Subjective? Not at all - if the computer screen blinks out of existence suddenly, it would objectively be the case that the computer screen would at that moment no longer exist.
Thing is, TGOTB has created the world and made certain promises in the Bible to the effect that the world will remain constant and consistent, running according to certain laws, until a certain time that He will put an end to time and this world.
OTOH, on naturalism, there is no reason to think that the future will be like the past, even wrt the laws that describe how it usually operates. That is the problem of induction. You are in a much worse situation here than the theist.


you can't even be sure if your God belief is real or not, or whether any facts actually obtain as you think they do.

Sure I can - the Bible tells me that I can know that God is real and that He is the true God, and that I am redeemed by Him.
Conversely, the naturalist has no reason to think that his beliefs correspond to reality. Did he evolve such that his cognitive faculties produce true beliefs or only such that he exhibits survival-adapted behavior? Surely the latter, as one can believe truth and still die, and one can believe all sorts of falsities but still survive to pass on his genes, given that he behaves 'correctly'.


Divine Command morality, for example, runs into the Euthyphro dilemma

Perhaps it does, but I don't hold to DCM, so...


You've countered this before by saying that morality flows from God's nature

Correct. I give you kudos for actually remembering it. ;-) Many don't.


in which case, large parts of the bible become unnecessary or pointless (eg the 10 commandments) if people can know morality without commands.

Which is totally unrelated to the question of what it means that morality flows from God's nature.
I'm talking about the ORIGIN of the foundation of morality, not the communication of it, the way people know and access it.
God commands thus and such because of the morality that is grounded in His nature. So His commands are necessary for US to know, but that's a different question.


All you've really done in terms of Euthyphro is switched 'divine command' for 'God's nature'.

Yes, that's "all" I've done, but I don't see why Euthyphro applies now.


but (2) and (3) just shunt the burden as you've outlined it from 'because human(s) say so' to 'because God says so'.

Part of the problem is that
1) "human(s)" is vaguely defined
2) other humans say the exact opposite of virtually any moral statement. So who's right and how do you know? I never get a close-to-adequate answer to this.
3) God is, as I've said, the very definition of good, so it's pointless to separate it out. Humans are not the very definition of good. God is.


other than begging the question by simply asserting 'God is good'

I've argued for that before, though.
If God is not good, we can not know what is good. Every option is an abject failure but that one.


if God's nature imbues the universe or us with morality, morals are not and have not been uniform through society/history?

Here is just another example of an atheist forgetting sin. I don't know how many times I have to say it.


Even the most despicable acts you can think of, you can easily find groups or individuals who didn't bat an eyelid when carrying them out.

1) Which is perfectly in line with the biblical worldview, where humans are evil and bound in sin.
2) Which is a serious strike against any notion of utilitarianism or social contract morality.
3) One wonders how an atheist can label ANY act as "despicable". Talk about begging the question!


the evil God card could be played here too.

That's been done and answered.


a criteria you have used previously for validating a 'worldview' is internal critique, stating that the inerrancy of the bible is validation of the truth of your starting assumption. But

Not at all.
I wouldn't say it validates it at all...it's more like a negative test. If your worldview isn't consistent within itself, then it's obviously a failure.
Rather, it goes like this:
-The biblical worldview makes sense of reality and intelligibility, so it provides a basis for rational thought.
-Whether the naturalistic worldview can account for reason and intelligibility is a point of contention.
-Therefore, STEP INSIDE the Christian worldview and level critiques based on its own presuppositions to see if it is consistent.
It's a test for consistency.
-Plus, if I just say "Atheism is wrong - the Bible says that the fool says there is no God!" Would you accept that?
Similarly, to say something like "OBVIOUSLY natural processes are the way the world works, and there's nothing outside that. The Bible is therefore wrong!" is just as inane.

Another example of an external critique is to say "the Bible condones despicable acts". On atheism, you must provide a justification for labeling something "despicable". You can't, as we've seen time and time again; it's an invalid external critique.
You would need to prove that, on Christian presuppositions, the evil condoned by TGOTB is a gratuitous evil. You haven't even begun to do that.

the numerous numerical inconsistencies it has (eg 1 Chronicles 21:5 vs 2 Samuel 24:9)

I already gave you your chances to provide a biblical contradiction.
Why don't you just pull up a standard difficulty-solver like Gleason Archer's "Encyclo of Bible Difficulties" or Geisler's "When Critics Ask", or at the very least go over to tektonics or CARM and rebut their answers to these kinds of questions? Do you think this sort of thing is new, that no one's ever heard them before?


basic factual errors such as what sort of classification bats fall under

That's been dealt with before at my blog and in other places. You don't interact with the answer here, so what should one conclude on this?


the completely different endings the 4 gospels have,

Why would anyone care that documents written by 4 different men might exhibit different styles, emphases, etc?
If you think they're contradictory, make an argument. But make sure to actually interact with the standard responses, so as not to reinvent the wheel. Don't waste everyone's time.
Start here.



known embellishments that have been added down the line

You mean, possible embellishments, the quality and probability of which vary from case to case.
Seriously, why not interact with the standard answers to these questions? This is nothing more than warmed-over zombie pie.


eg that Christians can pray for things and receive what they pray for.

Where's the exegesis?


This is quite easy to refute - all a true believer has to do is pray for my computer screen to turn into an apple, and I personally will send them a cheque for $1000

This is an example of an external critique.
Where's the exegesis?
Where's the argument that God = circus monkey in the Christian worldview?

30 comments:

Paul C said...

What I don't understand is how you believe that you've answered challenges - like the Evil God challenge, for example - when you simply haven't. On the other hand, I'm sure you wonder the same thing about me.

The Evil God challenges still stands, though. Huzzah!

Rhology said...

I'm more than happy to let the Evil God thread stand as it is. So, I'm sure you'd agree, let the reader judge. Hazzuh!

NAL said...

All you've really done in terms of Euthyphro is switched 'divine command' for 'God's nature'.

Yes, that's "all" I've done, but I don't see why Euthyphro applies now.


If raping young children was part of God's nature, then you would claim that raping young children is moral.

It seems more likely that you think that raping young children is immoral and therefore, claim that raping young children is not part of God's nature.

NAL said...

Rho:
Now, thinking as a naturalist, I try to figure out whether there is any good reason to think that laws of logic exist, are objective, timeless, unchanging, etc. IOW, I perform an internal critique of naturalism. And I don't see a good accounting for, an explanation of how, these laws' existence, objectivity, etc.

That only proves you can't think like a naturalist.

Paul C said...

I also love the way that you keep saying "let the reader judge", when the evidence of the comments suggests that most readers think that your arguments are generally specious.

Paul C said...

NAL: Indeed, but was that ever in doubt?

Christoph said...

That's probably because more atheists reply than Christians. I agree with Rhology.
That probably makes me [insert some derogatory term here]....

Brian C Biggs said...

NAL, your example involving raping children hasn't proved anything. It doesn't actually bring up the Euthyphro dilemma.

Paul C, the comments only evidence that those who disagree with Rhology are apt to comment.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Hi Rhology, thanks for your response. I'll take a stab at a few points - feel free to flag up anything important you think I may have missed:

The Jolly Nihilist already tried that, ... which TGOTB is subjected over and over again on my blog alone.

Yahweh/Jesus is defined by both his base features and also his actions. Since you subscribe to ad hoc hypotheses (such as Omphalos) that can never be demonstrated to be true or false, and aren't alluded to anywhere in the bible, it is pretty reasonable for someone else to subscribe to (using Paul Manata's example from the blogpost I linked to) a 4 in 1 God, and then concoct an entirely different set of ad hoc miracles. It is not relevant whether this God has any followers or not (after all, all religions at one point had no followers), or has imparted revelation to 0 people or 7 billion people. The point is, it fulfills the role for TAG just as well as the 3 in 1 GOTB. The argument collapses because a. its 1st premise is completely arbitrary, and b. any alternative (whether it be 4 in 1, 5 in 1 or 1 million in 1 God) allows the believer to legitimately make any assumption he or she wants to shoehorn reality into their worldview. Thus, it just descends into absurdity.

Secondly, my argument was primarily that a nonsense starting assumption begets further nonsense (eg the ad hoc miracles of flood geology). A great example is illustrated here - look at this post on PT (and its worth reading in full to get my point, it's not too long though), regarding where a hominid fossil should be classified. Of course, because AIG, Casey Luskin and Marvin Lubenow have a viewpoint similar to the presuppositionalists where biblical creationism must be adhered to at all costs, even in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary, by way of a series of nonsensical claims and mental gymnastics they manage to come to diametrically opposed conclusions (with AIG perhaps even managing to support both ends of that diametrically opposed conclusion) - anything to avoid the admission that all objective analysis appears to show that it actually falls somewhere in between chimps and humans in terms of classification.

Finally, as the Triablogue links showed, it doesn't even appear as if apologists think TAG makes the grade - if they don't think it is up to scratch, why would you reasonably expect non-theists to?


And I don't see a good accounting for, an explanation of how, these laws' existence, objectivity, etc.

Perhaps they are not great 'accounts' - but that's beside the point, the examples are no worse than those offered by the theistic account in their explanatory power. Secondly, even if we say the theistic count is sufficient, there is a big difference between an account and the account.

they are part of God's nature = they are part of the universe's nature

why does logic exist? = why does God exist?

etc etc

So in the absence of any mechanistic details, you are no better off than the atheist is. Now, this obviously doesn't prove the atheist version of events, I know, but apologists claim 'the imposibility of the contrary' - not 'an account as good as any other', but the one and only true account. Clearly until they somehow shoot down the alternatives offered, that claim is just idle posturing.

I took it upon myself to see if there were any explanations for the origins of logic (in a stroke of genius, I hit on the idea of typing the phrase 'origin of logic' into google :-D). Here were a few possibilities that came up

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/
abs/2000math......5050B

http://books.google.com/
books?id=kOil1uK8qj4C&dq=
origin+of+the+laws+of+logic
&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0

Luitzen Brouwer (a Dutch philosopher and mathematician) had reservations about the application of the LoEM in mathematics (discussions of his work can be found online and in various books on amazon).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Constructivism_(mathematics) - does not rely on the LoEM as axiomatic


I could obviously go on all day like this. I personally could not defend or refute any of these (the paper in the first would require an advanced degree in Maths just to understand) - they are well beyond my knowledge level. However, since the PA states the impossibility of the contrary, it's fair to assume s/he can. After all, we are expected to take what they are saying as fact. This isn't intended as some kind of Gish Gallop or anything like that, and I clearly don't expect you to be able to refute any of these ideas either - it's merely meant to illustrate how ridiculous the blanket claims of presuppositionalism are.


Well, it all depends on what we're talking about.
In this case, logic reflects the thinking of and character of God.
He is a God of truth. He has set the universe in order and gives identity to things, people, etc. He differentiates them. He does not accept contradictory claims as both true.
Etc. Thus He created the universe like that.


I know you think this, but first of all I've provide you with ample amounts of links etc to things like dialetheism/paraconsistent logic etc that refutes your claims of absolutes that you depend on to back up what you're saying. As yet, I have not seen you do anything bar dismiss them (they could of course be wrong, but unfortunately, your mere say-so does not go any way to demonstrating that). Again, I realise that neither of us are expert enough to mount a serious rebuttal or defense of some of these ideas - however, my intention is to point out that the apologist needs to be open to entertaining other ideas, as opposed to issuing sweeping, bold and over-simplistic decrees that s/he obviously can't back up.

Second, simply because the bible describes God in such a fashion, it does not therefore follow that God is the explanation or that he actually exists. There are hundreds of books and films that posit strange transcendental metaphysical forces and entities manipulating reality that don't actually exist eg The Force in Star Wars accounts for various phenomena in the physical world - however, it is of course something just made up by George Lucas.

And I don't see why I should expect that a naturalistic universe have laws of logic. Especially absent a cogent explanation from naturalists.

But reality is not predicated on your expectations - what you expect is irrelevant to what actually is. I didn't expect Arsenal's multi million dollar soccer team to lose to a cash-strapped lower league club, but they did just that a few nights ago. Some people expected that the Sun rotated round the Earth - but it doesn't.

Finally, for the umpteenth time, an absence of an explanation (assuming for argument there isn't one) is not the same as verifying an alternative, nor does it render other views false by extension.

It may not explain the MECHANISM in detail, but it provides a sufficient knowledge of the necessary preconditions for the laws of logic.

Lets use an analogy: Transcendental arguments are essentially of the form that one property relies on another phenomenon being true. For example, existence is a precondition of something being able to be or do anything. For example, for Kitty to be a cat, or to make meowing noises she has to exist first.

There's no obvious reason or thorough explanation presented thus far that TGOTB is a precondition for the laws of logic, in the manner you and others have presented them. In fact, there seem to be several good objections to the idea, as far as I can see. The entire defense thus far has boiled down to 'Goddidit'.

Sure you can. Dell/HP/whoever assembled it.
Maybe that will help clarify what I mean.


OK, let's stretch analogy out a little - say I leave my laptop (with fully charged battery!) in the jungle stripped of any identifying info, and some member of an undiscovered tribe finds it and works out how to switch it on. He's never seen anything like this. He doesn't know what it is, how it was put together, anything about how it works or how it got there etc. Pretty much all he knows is that it actually exists and performs some kind of function when he presses it. Does this then mean if he were to decide it must have been made and put there by his tribal God or some kind of demon and its function is to bring rain during a drought, that this is a satisfactory or accurate answer? No, of course not. Of course, its an answer (and not really dissimilar to the theistic account for logic), but its not the answer, is it?

On the other hand, I know that it was made by HP, and I can go and ask the guys who assembled it how they designed it and put it together etc, which provides a comprehensive account of the whole scenario. Now, clearly, the theistic account that you have provided does not get anywhere near this level of explanation, as you openly admit. In fact, it seems roughly identical to our long lost tribesman's account for the laptop.

This is an invalid comparison.
The Bible ...which I'm sure you don't claim you have.


You've missed my point - it was meant to illustrate that people traditionally attribute unknowns to the supernatural as soon as they reach the limits of knowledge (whether it be their own personal knowledge, or the collective knowledge of society - this has been the case even for many genii). Now given that it's extremely doubtful the writers of the creation stories (whether it be Genesis or any of the hundreds of others) had much knowledge of the world (note I'm not saying they lacked intellect, I'm saying they lacked knowledge, which is different), there's a fairly obvious parallel that can be drawn here.

Subjective? Not at all - if the computer screen blinks out of existence suddenly, it would objectively be the case that the computer screen would at that moment no longer exist.
Thing is, TGOTB has created the world and made certain promises in the Bible to the effect that the world will remain constant and consistent, running according to certain laws, until a certain time that He will put an end to time and this world.
OTOH, on naturalism, there is no reason to think that the future will be like the past, even wrt the laws that describe how it usually operates. That is the problem of induction. You are in a much worse situation here than the theist.


Its an objective fact once it happens - the point is, noone can know when these things would happen. If you allow for some miraculous force that bends reality to its will, and peforms miracles, then feasibly you also have to be open to all sorts of weird things occurring at any time.

The bible is also quite explicit (in certain parts at least - it's quite plausible that Jesus expected to return in the generation he was preaching to. Of course, this didn't happen) that it is not for people to know when the end will come. So again, theism provides no certainty as to the continuing function of the universe - of course if you're wrong

Everyone is subject to the POI, atheists and theists alike - uniformity of nature doesn't solve this:

Nature can behave according to uniform laws, but those uniform laws can cause perfectly unexpected occurrences (for us), since we don't know every single law in nature, or everything that affects how those laws operate

When generalising from specifics (eg all the swans I've seen are white, therefore all swans are white ---> the next swan I will see must be white), when you find a black swan, how would a theist have known this fact prior to actually observing it when an atheist wouldn't? You can't know it 'til you actually discover it, or if you personally are omniscient (I am assuming you are not).

Finally, the previous objections that I brought up in the discussion on logic re: false dichotomies etc stand here as well.


Yes, that's "all" I've done, but I don't see why Euthyphro applies now.

Euthyphro - Is it good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good?

Updated Euthyphro - Does God do what he does because it is good, or is it good because God does it?

I've argued for that before, though.
If God is not good, we can not know what is good. Every option is an abject failure but that one.


Actually, I was thinking of this the other day:

The bible states in John 1

"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. "

So since God made everything that exists, this would presumably include evil in the Christian worldview?

Either way, I don't think there are an absolute set of moral rules, so it's no skin off my nose.

That's been done and answered.

As Paul said, I don't really think that was answered sufficiently - in the end you simply resorted to 'because it says so in the bible', but then as pointed out the bible could easily be an evil trick. Ultimately, you are reliant on special pleading to resolve this (thus far at least).

You would need to prove that, on Christian presuppositions, the evil condoned by TGOTB is a gratuitous evil. You haven't even begun to do that.

Actually, I don't - I simply have to point out that the actions of TGOTB are as consistent with the fact of his nature being evil as they are with his nature being good, and that there's no obvious way to distinguish which one is correct based on the evidence, other than via special pleading or the believer's say-so, neither of which the rest of us should be expected to entertain as serious answers.

I already gave you your chances to provide a biblical contradiction.
Why don't you just pull up a standard difficulty-solver like Gleason Archer's "Encyclo of Bible Difficulties" or Geisler's "When Critics Ask", or at the very least go over to tektonics or CARM and rebut their answers to these kinds of questions? Do you think this sort of thing is new, that no one's ever heard them before?


Of course they've been done before (ad nauseum), both by scholars and laymen - but I'll be honest, I have little interest in listening to or reading apologists concoct ad hoc fantasies to harmonise blatant contradictions, such as the Genesis stories, Jesus' differing genealogies, the different timing of his crucifixion in John versus the synoptics, Jesus' own failed prophecy of his return during his own generation's lifetimes. For every apologist you can drag up, I can as easily find a scholar or historian who thinks the opposite.

using Gen 1 and 2 as an example, I have read at least 3 or 4 different attempts to harmonise that. of course, they can't all be right, they can't test or verify these hypotheses in any way and they also rely on assumptions I don't have to make to back up my view (that they contradict each other - this is not just something a layman like me thinks, there are respectable scholars who also agree these stories and others contain contradictions). Ultimately, all I learned from the exercise was that theists were good at making up and believing stories, no matter how far-fetched.

Why would anyone care that documents written by 4 different men might exhibit different styles, emphases, etc?
If you think they're contradictory, make an argument. But make sure to actually interact with the standard responses, so as not to reinvent the wheel. Don't waste everyone's time.


This will take considerably more time to write a response to than I have right now - I'm willing to do it, but it'll have to wait a while. A couple of short points - the gospels contain various parts that are word for word the same in each one. Surely if they had their stories straight on other details, they could as easily have got their descriptions of what happened after Jesus' death to match up too - especially as that is considerably more important than many of the details they are in total agreement on.

Where's the exegesis?

Rhology, you know full well that the bible states that Christians can have their prayers answered:

Matthew 21: Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

This is just one example - there are many more. Now, note that it doesn't say 'some things', it says 'whatever you ask for'. I mean Jesus sets the bar pretty high with his claims, and states that he is telling the truth, so....

Of course, as far as I know, wishing doesn't make these things happen, for Christians or otherwise. I will be happy to be proven wrong, and add to your bank balance if and when it happens ;-D

This is an example of an external critique.
Where's the exegesis?
Where's the argument that God = circus monkey in the Christian worldview?


The above verse seems quite explicit as to what believers should expect if they pray for things. Obviously, I am not a believer, so the ball's in your court to get the 'circus monkey' performing a few tricks for us.

Anyway, since about 70% of this (at least) is stuff we've gone over many times before, this should be about as much as I'll write (I hope!).

regards
DF

Dr Funkenstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Funkenstein said...

Oh, and regarding the article bats - I can't offer an argument either way on that since I don't can't speak or read any of the original languages used in writing the bible.

Seems odd that they wouldn't change it though, if it was the case that it doesn't mean bird - there are plenty of other passages and words in the bible that have different or updated translations between different versions

In addition to the 1st PT link I posted, it is also probably worth reading this one too to make the point clear

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/11/
dmanisi-postcranial.html

Paul C said...

Brian: not being a Christian, I can only base my position on the available evidence. Of course, I could imagine - as Rhology clearly does - that there are droves of imaginary Christians out there nodding their heads vigorously at his wise words. Personally I hope there are (although obviously I don't think his words are in any way wise) and I hope to see more comments from those that are, such as you. Perhaps then we can have some more interesting discussions rather than a series of non sequiturs punctuated by condescension and abuse?

Rhology said...

NAL said:
If raping young children was part of God's nature, then you would claim that raping young children is moral.

And if squares were circle, they'd be circle.
So what? As it stands IN REALITY NOW, I have a reason to think raping young children is objectively wrong. You don't.


Paul C said:
you keep saying "let the reader judge"

There's a couple of readers already who judged!
I know that many more read who don't comment. You're not my target audience. I'm sure you're horribly disappointed. ;-)


there are droves of imaginary Christians out there nodding their heads vigorously at his wise words

LOL. And boy, do I feel sorry for them!


a series of non sequiturs

I don't suppose you'd like to point out a few of them?
Do you mean non sequiturs like "I also love the way that you keep saying "let the reader judge", when the evidence of the comments suggests that most readers think that your arguments are generally specious."?


Dr Funk said:
Yahweh/Jesus is defined by both his base features and also his actions.

What's your argument that He's defined partly by His actions?
(This is partly to gauge how much you've thought about this.)
Certain things He always does, such as glorify Himself and hold the universe together. Other things He is not always doing, such as creating the universe, becoming incarnate, dying on the cross, etc. So you'll have to be more specific.


Omphalos

I had to look that one up, actually. :-) Never heard of it.
Now that I see what it is, meh, I'm totally noncommittal. Jerusalem is a cool place, to be sure, perhaps the most spiritually important place in the world, but there is no one spiritual center of the world.


a 4 in 1 God

Go ahead - propose one and we'll scrutinise away.


It is not relevant whether this God has any followers or not

Yes and no. If he didn't have any followers b/c said God never revealed himself, then you have a serious problem, for one thing.


all religions at one point had no followers

I don't grant that at all. TGOTB has always had at least a few followers.


Thus, it just descends into absurdity.

A fine assertion. Why not propose a god? Make sure to list some of his attributes and HOW YOU KNOW THEM.


even in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary

"Evidence" means that it supports one position and can't be accounted for by the opposing position, which I don't grant - a divine creation act can account for quite a lot. We've talked about that before.


AIG

I don't pay a lot of attention to stuff like that, for better or worse, so...


they are part of God's nature = they are part of the universe's nature

What's the argument?
You're not arguing that God = universe are you?


why does logic exist? = why does God exist?

God exists necessarily. He is a necessary being.
What I'm asking for from you is the origin of the laws of logic. Their nature. How it is that they apply universally (if indeed they apply universally, and if they don't, why not?). That kind of thing.
I've provided all that for God. Your turn.


in the absence of any mechanistic details, you are no better off than the atheist is.

Except for the fact that I can account for the origin, nature, and existence of all things.
What is your obsession with the mechanistic details? Make the argument that I have to know them.


origin of logic

I can't find the first adsabs one to read it, only the abstract.
The 2nd one apparently proposes a link between biology and logic. I've heard that before, but this author might be presenting a different angle on the question. But it's one thing for reason to evolve and for logic to evolve. I can already see the flaw - the implicit idea that logic is based in the minds that perceive it. Jason Streitfeld was very recently making this case at the Triablogue. I asked him if it was reasonable to believe that laws of logic both did and didn't exist before there were minds to think about them. He didn't answer it, but he did insult me. But I'd love for you to take a stab at it. Besides, you're nicer than he is. :-D



No LoEM

So you, um, defend your contention that the laws of logic require no Creator to account for them, and then you cite sthg that casts doubt on whether a fundamental law of logic actually exists? That's not the way I would go about it, I have to admit.


I could obviously go on all day like this.

Throwing a truckload of guano at a problem doesn't change the fact that it's guano. How long before you find the magic dropping that turns into a golden fazooza when you kiss it?


since the PA states the impossibility of the contrary, it's fair to assume s/he can.

I won't claim that I can understand everything related to this problem, but I do know that
1) TGOTB provides an outstandingly firm and consistent accounting for these questions, and
2) naturalistic competitors have never even come close to either. I could be wrong, but given the longstanding track record, I have reasonable doubt.


it's merely meant to illustrate how ridiculous the blanket claims of presuppositionalism are.

Coming from an apologist for naturalism, that's rich. Blindness to your own side's antics must be a prerequisite...


simply because the bible describes God in such a fashion, it does not therefore follow that God is the explanation or that he actually exists.

Well, I certainly agree with that, and it's not really my argument.
I would argue that God is as He has revealed Himself in the Bible, yes, but that's different. And I argue that we know next to nothing about God w/o His self-revelation (and that's a cornerstone of the weakness of your so-far-unmade quadernity argument).


The Force in Star Wars accounts for various phenomena in the physical world

Yes, it accounts for "various" phenomena. That's easy enough. I'm talking about an accounting for ALL of it. I'm a big-picture kind of guy.


Does this then mean if he were to decide it must have been made and put there by his tribal God or some kind of demon and its function is to bring rain during a drought, that this is a satisfactory or accurate answer? No, of course not.

Why wouldn't he just think it's part of the jungle flora? Or maybe a strange animal like a turtle/lightning bug hybrid?


I can go and ask the guys who assembled it how they designed it and put it together etc, which provides a comprehensive account of the whole scenario

Which you can do with God, only you think HP doesn't exist. You're a step down from the jungle tribesman, because you might have figured how to turn it on and make the CDROM caddy eject, but you think it's just a turtlighting bug.


Jesus expected to return in the generation he was preaching to

Again, no exegesis. Are you going to keep doing this?


theism provides no certainty as to the continuing function of the universe

Until Jesus returns, it does. Colossians 1-2. 2 Peter. Revelation.


Everyone is subject to the POI,

Not a Christian. I don't have to assume anything about the past to relate to the future, I have recourse to the God Who has foreordained all of history already.


how would a theist have known this fact prior to actually observing it when an atheist wouldn't?

He wouldn't.


Does God do what he does because it is good, or is it good because God does it?

You didn't really get anywhere with this.
God does what He does b/c it is in conformity with His nature and character and plan, and what God does is good b/c He is the definition of good. Feel free to work with that.


since God made everything that exists, this would presumably include evil in the Christian worldview?

Boy, now we're into some heavy logistics! I'm actually a bit undecided on this. I might have to punt to Vox Veritatis, but my best stab at it right now is that He ordained all of history, and that includes the Fall. Yet Adam and Eve were free moral agents (I'd argue, at least for now, that they were freer than humans are today), who chose to turn away from God.


I don't think there are an absolute set of moral rules

I know you don't. That's one of the reasons I find it bizarre when you call things "bad" or "good".


I have little interest in listening to or reading apologists concoct ad hoc fantasies to harmonise blatant contradictions, such as the Genesis stories

I assure you that I have even less interest in responding to, or even taking halfway seriously, the objections of someone who won't familiarise himself with the basics before editorialising on them.


For every apologist you can drag up, I can as easily find a scholar or historian who thinks the opposite.

Then it'd come down to their arguments, wouldn't it? But you don't know the arguments.


using Gen 1 and 2 as an example, I have read at least 3 or 4 different attempts to harmonise that.

Such as my own material, no doubt. I note you haven't responded to it.


Matthew 21

Quoting the Bible is not equivalent to performing exegesis.

NAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NAL said...

Rho:
As it stands IN REALITY NOW, I have a reason to think raping young children is objectively wrong.

No you don't. Your morality is based on "God's nature" not on reason. Your morality is arbitrarily defined, not reasoned.

Rhology said...

Feel free to define how "reason" will get from IS questions to OUGHT questions. It's a pretty common theme around here.

NAL said...

Rho:
Feel free to define how "reason" will get from IS questions to OUGHT questions. It's a pretty common theme around here.

I'm less interested in what a person OUGHT to do, than in what a person DOES.

Feel free to explain how your arbitrary morality is better than someone else's arbitrary morality.

Rhology said...

How do you know if what one does is what one ought to do?

And on naturalism, my arbitrary morality isn't any better than anyone else's. Raping little girls, giving $millions to Darfur victims, same thing.

NAL said...

By using the techniques employed in the US, a constitutional democracy. Reasoned debate and passing laws (the ought part) within a society maximizes the number of people who do what ought to be done. Arbitrariness of the majority is minimized by the constitutional part.

Rhology said...

Sounds like you need to deal with my scenario.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Just a few clarifications

What's your argument that He's defined partly by His actions?

Presumably you consider the bible to be an accurate documentation detailing the actions of Yahweh/Jesus over a few millenia, and therefore he is at least in part defined by what he has supposedly done? Because, obviously if those events didn't occur then TGOTB is a falsehood, regardless of however well he fits into TAG

Now that I see what it (Omphalos) is, meh, I'm totally noncommittal.

Huh? You've said a few times that you subscribe to this hypothesis (appearance of age basically) - unless we're getting our wires crossed?

Go ahead - propose one and we'll scrutinise away.

Make sure to list some of his attributes and HOW YOU KNOW THEM.

That point was proposed by Paul Mananta - like I say, if apologists don't think it holds for these sorts of reasons, there's not much point in me rehashing it when I already agree with that conclusion.

On point 2, anyone can claim to have received revelation from this 4 in 1 God (eg me) - there's no way to prove them wrong. The point of these arguments Rhology, is not to show that these Gods actually exist or anything, it's means to highlight problems in TAG. Reducing the argument to absurdity/arbitrariness.

We've talked about that before.

Yes, and myself and many others have expended 1000s of words demonstrating why biblical creationism simply doesn't fit with the observed data.

I don't pay a lot of attention to stuff like that, for better or worse, so...

Again, that wasn't the point - it relates to the previous point: these people are trying (and failing) to make data and observations fit to a predetermined conclusion that they simply don't fit to.

You're not arguing that God = universe are you?

No, I'm arguing that 'part of God's nature' is no better than appealing to 'part of the universe's nature'. the explanatory content is exactly the same.

I can't find the first adsabs one to read it, only the abstract.

Here's the full text

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/math/
pdf/0005/0005050v1.pdf

However, I'll warn you that I understood virtually nothing beyond the abstract - I was using it to illustrate that this is obviously a topic various people are dealing with, yet the PA simply declares that noone anywhere has any answers to his/her questions.


That's not the way I would go about it, I have to admit.

*Sigh*

No, my intention is to show that philosophy regarding logic, its origins and applicability etc clearly don't boil down to a simple set of easy to digest 3 or 4 line statements, where the PA makes a set of declarations that he quite obviously cannot even begin to back up then declares his/her view the winner

Why wouldn't he just think it's part of the jungle flora? Or maybe a strange animal like a turtle/lightning bug hybrid?

Either way, those are still incorrect 'accounts'. They suffice as an account, but not theaccount.

Which you can do with God, only you think HP doesn't exist.

*Sighs again* - this totally misses the point. The analogy illustrated that just because someone was able to provide a coherent story claiming something to be the workings of their God,it didn't mean that it actually was, and secondly, in the event someone doesn't have an answer, simply assuming the supernatural to be the true story probably isn't a great idea.

Quoting the Bible is not equivalent to performing exegesis.

No, but that verse does seem a fairly clear statement on the capabilities of prayer.

I note you haven't responded to it.

Like I say, I don't see the point in dealing with mutually incompatible stories people are making up in order to fit stuff to a predetermined conclusion (retroactive continuity, as John Morales described it) that they can't possibly verify one way or the other, especially as the wording of the text is quite clear in the order both stories propose.

Then it'd come down to their arguments, wouldn't it? But you don't know the arguments.

Well I'm definitely no expert, sure. However, I have read the gospels as well as a couple of commentaries on them, and my views certainly don't seem wildly out of synch with at least some academics who know the sources very well. Unfortunately, none of us have the time to become experts on everything.

Rhology said...

Hey DF,

therefore he is at least in part defined by what he has supposedly done?

Meh, only insofar as He always acts in concert with His character. It's demonstration.


You've said a few times that you subscribe to this hypothesis (appearance of age basically) - unless we're getting our wires crossed?

Oh, what I saw was that Omphalos = Jerusalem as center of the world... Was that wrong?
OK, let me go back and plug "appearance of age" into "Omphalos" above. Sorry, I'm a dork.
From above:
Since you subscribe to ad hoc hypotheses (such as Omphalos) that can never be demonstrated to be true or false

Oh OK, I see what you're saying.
I certainly don't grant that AOA is ad hoc - look at the Creation acct in Gen 1 and 2, and that was written an awfully long time ago. Adam, Eve, and animals are all created at some level of maturity, not as eggs/embryos. The Earth is formed, there's land, there's a garden, as opposed to God creating it as dust or whatever.
It's falsifiable by biblical exegesis, or by proving theism is false. Or it could be true. Not everything that's true is falsifiable.


anyone can claim to have received revelation from this 4 in 1 God (eg me)

So what is the revelation? How did it come about? Of what does it consist? What is the content? Could you publish it, please? Why is the world so screwed up, or is it?
Why did this quadernitarian God reveal this to you who have formerly been an atheist and up to now (afaik) do not claim to be a believer in said God? Does this God have a habit of revealing Himself thru people who don't believe in him at all?
In what way does it agree with previous revelation? WAS there previous revelation?
There are all sorts of questions that I don't think you really realise.


there's no way to prove them wrong.

There are plenty of ways to prove them ridiculous and inconsistent. The latter, of course, would prove them wrong. See my questions above for examples of some ways.


The point of these arguments Rhology, is not to show that these Gods actually exist or anything

As Yoda would say: "That is why you fail."


I was using it to illustrate that this is obviously a topic various people are dealing with, yet the PA simply declares that noone anywhere has any answers to his/her questions.

No, I don't think the PA says that. He says that no one has any good and consistent answers. That's quite different from saying there are NO answers. It's just that all the other ones suck.


philosophy regarding logic, its origins and applicability etc clearly don't boil down to a simple set of easy to digest 3 or 4 line statements

Then you need to find better examples than people questioning the most basic laws of logic.
Other times, you've cited some guy who was considering whether the law of non-contradiction was valid. That's one of the most ridiculous and desperate things I've ever heard.


No, but that verse does seem a fairly clear statement on the capabilities of prayer.

And what exegesis have you performed on other verses on the same topic? Presumably you realise that Jesus didn't talk about prayer only that one time?


I don't see the point in dealing with mutually incompatible stories people are making u

That of course begs the question.
"Yes, I know you present a counterargument to my argument, but it's just wrong. Obviously."
Let the reader judge.


to fit stuff to a predetermined conclusion

Which naturalists like you NEVER EVER do wrt evolution. Snort.


none of us have the time to become experts on everything.

Indeed. So, while I don't claim to be an expert in your field, you might do well to cede ground where you admittedly don't know.
Thus your scattergun approach to just throwing out trite, overused, stale, and long-since corrected biblical difficulties, is seen for the schlock that it is; maybe you could stick to sthg you actually have a clue about.

Peace,
Rhology

NAL said...

Brian C Biggs:
NAL, your example involving raping children hasn't proved anything. It doesn't actually bring up the Euthyphro dilemma.

Is it God's nature because it is moral, or is it moral because it is God's nature?

The second horn of the dilemma (i.e. that which is moral is moral because it is part of God's nature) has problems. First, it implies that morality is arbitrary. Second, calling God moral is simply calling God consistent.

If God cannot choose to be moral or immoral, how can God expect mankind to do something God cannot do.

/After rereading my previous comment, I thought it needed some adjustment.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Other times, you've cited some guy who was considering whether the law of non-contradiction was valid. That's one of the most ridiculous and desperate things I've ever heard.

Again, this is something I've explained numerous times. You claim:

In every possible instance or situation, real or abstract, the 3 laws of Aristotelian logic hold. Now I've provided links to people who argue otherwise - and as I have explained too many times to count, these people are not saying these laws never hold. They are proposing that there are perhaps instances - in the case of paradoxes, certain aspects of Maths, certain systems of logic, certain possible worlds etc etc - that this may not be the case. If you state 'the impossibility of contrary' or make claims of absolute certainty, expect people to demand that you prove it.

Now I think it's apparent to anyone reading that you haven't actually offered anything in the way of substantial rebuttals to any of these, which is fine - if you simply admitted to not knowing all the answers, or that you'd have to give the ideas more consideration, most people would regard that as perfectly legitimate. However, since PA makes some extremely grandiose claims with little in the way of substance to back them up (see above), then they should fully expect that people will eventually call them out on it. Simply reciting the standard apologetic script isn't going to convince many people (at least those who don't already agree with you).

You'll also note that in most of my points, I'm fully prepared to concede that I may be wrong, and that my conclusions etc are quite tentative, especially in areas (such as the study of logic) that I do not possess a great deal of expertise.

And what exegesis have you performed on other verses on the same topic? Presumably you realise that Jesus didn't talk about prayer only that one time?

Of course I am aware of that, but you did ask for an example to back up my point and I gave you one. There are other verses, such as where Jesus states 'with God, nothing is impossible'. I've read that some people think this only refers to salvation, but then the bible doesn't beat about the bush when it states what the fate for non-believers will be, so it seems to be more of a general statement as to what those who have faith can expect to achieve.

Second, you haven't actually provided any rebuttal to the fact that I have provided an example of Jesus clearly and unequivocally stating that he is being truthful when he says Christians can get what they ask for in prayer, and using quite a striking example for illustration. Now are his words true or are they not? And if they are not, then what else could he possibly have meant?

That of course begs the question.
"Yes, I know you present a counterargument to my argument, but it's just wrong. Obviously."
Let the reader judge.


Cut me some slack here man - you know I don't deliberately try to avoid giving answers, and I've been more than willing to go through some topics in excruciating detail for the sake of clarity. However, there's only so much I can write or know the answers to, and on every topic (logic, history, biology etc) I'm being asked to do an awful lot of legwork, which doesn't seem to be getting reciprocated. It seems bizarre that you would demand 'accounts' for so many things, then instantly dismiss absolutely everything (as far as I can see) on the basis that you simply don't like the sound of it. I mean you dismissed a book length treatment of the origins of logic about 5 minutes after I posted it, presumably you hadn't read it (and I don't actually expect you to - it's just to offer some ideas) so I don't see how you can possibly be in a position to say 'that explanation sucks'. Again, if you are satisfied with that approach, that's your call - but don't be surprised when people don't buy it.

However, I did provide reasons as to why I thought this:

First, the point of mutual incompatibility is important - if 4 people give me 4 different harmonisations, all of them claiming to be viable propositions, at least 3 of those are wrong by default. This is a simple logical constraint. The problem for them is if they are proposing something radical beyond the text, they're going to have to back it up somehow - this would presumably entail producing some archaeological evidence, or further extra-biblical documentation that bolsters their point. So the majority of these harmonisations are exactly as I point out, storytelling. It's fine if peope want to indulge in that, but don't expect that everyone else will buy it without question.

The point of scholarly agreement - this wasn't an attempt to simply point to an authority, and say 'it's true because that guy says so'. Of course, those people, and me, may be wrong, whereas one of the harmonisations could conceivably be correct. However, hopefully it makes you realise this isn't some crackpot view akin to holocaust denial or flat-earthism that I'm putting forward.

Finally, my blogpost of Gen1 vs 2 did actually go through each part step by step and explain my reasoning as to why I was saying what I was saying. Of course, I could be wrong, but I have at least attempted to summarise my thought process on the matter.

Which naturalists like you NEVER EVER do wrt evolution. Snort.

yet again, I have to remind you that I've posted examples of challenges to various aspects of the theory of evolution - the Hirotsune functional pseudogene paper, Kimura's neutral theory of molecular evolution, the fact that people such as Carl Woese consider that the Archaea had a separate origin from prokaryotes etc etc, as well as the fact that some core hypotheses could have been shown to be false (such as the chromosomes blog we discussed) To say otherwise is just nonsense.

Douglas Theobald's overview on talkorigins lists a potential falsifier for every single point he makes. I've also provided other examples that would serve the same purpose - creationists clearly know what they have to discover to show it to be false. Instead of fabricating evidence, indulging in mental gymnastics such as on those Panda's Thumb posts, exercising deliberately sloppy methodology such as in the RATE project, attempting to get ideas taught (ID) that even they admit don't have any substance to them (eg Paul Nelson and Phil Johnson's admissions that there is no theory of ID, Dembski's admission that the EF doesn't do what he said it does) and continuing to propagate falsehoods such as Paluxy man etc that even some creationist groups acknowledge are hoaxes, they should propose hypotheses based on these falsifiers they've been offered and set to work properly testing them.

No, I don't think the PA says that. He says that no one has any good and consistent answers. That's quite different from saying there are NO answers. It's just that all the other ones suck.

Again, this is merely on your say so - you can't possibly have read all the examples I provided, and I'll certainly tip my hat to you if you understood that mathematical paper. But you've set yourself up between a rock and a hard place - you (and any other PA) have to be able to refute all of these to maintain the claims you have made.

Thus your scattergun approach to just throwing out trite, overused, stale, and long-since corrected biblical difficulties, is seen for the schlock that it is; maybe you could stick to sthg you actually have a clue about.

The fact is though Rhology, while I may not be an expert, I notice you aren't actually rebutting most of my points here - in most of them you simply demand more accounts, more explanations, more exegesis, more detail, or just dismiss them on your authority - it really just highlights PA for what it is, a diversionary tactic to get the opponent to do as much work as possible until they hit a blank in their knowledge, at which point the apologist can simply insert their God into the gap minus any real argument. Furthermore, as I explained, on some of the points I have made there is at least some scholarly agreement (not wholesale of course) - again, it's clear that I'm not just throwing out crank viewpoints that noone with any expertise in the area subscribes to.

Rhology said...

They are proposing that there are perhaps instances - in the case of paradoxes, certain aspects of Maths, certain systems of logic, certain possible worlds etc etc - that this may not be the case.

So... is it the case that there are perhaps instances in which the law of non-contradiction may not be the case, or is it not the case? Or is it both?
Have fun with that one.


in areas (such as the study of logic) that I do not possess a great deal of expertise.

Not trying to be mean, but to hold up these types of statements shows the problem lies not in your expertise but rather in your desperation to throw out anything, just ANYthing, that would rebut what I'm saying.



I think it's apparent to anyone reading that you haven't actually offered anything in the way of substantial rebuttals to any of these, which is fine

Yep, I think it's apparent how much I've rebutted too.



There are other verses, such as where Jesus states 'with God, nothing is impossible'.

And what was the context?
Trying to be patient here, but you are really living up to the title of this post. Does it physically pain you or something to stick around and actually engage a biblical passage?


the bible doesn't beat about the bush when it states what the fate for non-believers will be,

And how is that relevant to "With God, nothing is impossible"?


I have provided an example of Jesus clearly and unequivocally stating that he is being truthful when he says Christians can get what they ask for in prayer

And of course I didn't challenge the idea that Jesus said it or that Jesus intended it as the truth. The question is what it means, and you seem unwilling to explore that in the slightest.


Cut me some slack here man

OK, I just wanted to point it out. I mean, you accuse me of providing no substantive rebuttals, but here my 'rebuttal' equals the substance of your claim - zero.
But yeah, I'm perfectly willing to let stuff fall by the wayside in the interests of time, finger pain, etc. I don't always respond to everythg in comments and posts and such - if the interlocutor is really interested in sticking to it, I might re-engage or I might plead ignorance or lack of time or motivation. We just have to let the reader judge, you know? There are more important things in life. :-D


dismiss absolutely everything (as far as I can see) on the basis that you simply don't like the sound of it.

Of course I don't think I dismiss things just b/c I don't like them. But where I don't explain myself, I expect the opponent(s) to challenge it.
And look, the problem here is that you're pretending like these biblical "contradictions" should stick. You've got your feet all over my turf here, and I don't think it's too much to ask that you defend your numerous claims or admit that you just threw it out there w/o an argument.
I'm inclined to take your backtracking here as an admission that you don't know why these are contradictions, you just followed the lead of other skeptics you know. It's a widespread phenomenon; I simply claim the right to call it out for what it is - specious.


if 4 people give me 4 different harmonisations, all of them claiming to be viable propositions, at least 3 of those are wrong by default

ONLY if the harmonisations are contradictory, incompatible, would this be true.
A great deal of literature can be read on multiple levels, I'm sure you're aware. (As opposed to my stuff, which is mono-level.)


this would presumably entail producing some archaeological evidence

Historical accts like the biblical ones are taken as a rule as innocent until proven guilty for a good reason.
Besides that, biblical details have so often been corroborated as correct by archaeological studies that one has all that much greater reason to lend it confidence.


my blogpost of Gen1 vs 2 did actually go through each part step by step and explain my reasoning as to why I was saying what I was saying.

Fine, and my own post pre-empted yours in explaining it. Let it stand like it is, fine with me.


I've posted examples of challenges to various aspects of the theory of evolution

Bully for you, then. I don't see it often much of anywhere else.


Douglas Theobald's overview on talkorigins lists a potential falsifier for every single point he makes.

One wonders whether he posted a falsifier for the principle of falsifiability. It's not all it's cracked up to be for the reason that it's self-defeating.


you can't possibly have read all the examples I provided

I posted an initial rebuttal to the latter, and I took your word for it that the former would be too hard to understand. I'm not a trained scientist, still less a mathematician by any means.


you (and any other PA) have to be able to refute all of these to maintain the claims you have made.

There I think you have hit on sthg, actually. In my limited exposure to PA, it DOES seem to me that a great deal of it consists in shooting down competing ideas.


I notice you aren't actually rebutting most of my points here

I don't feel a great necessity to do it - I'm baiting you either to show the least comprehension of how to perform biblical exegesis or to implicitly admit you didn't know what you were talking about. So far the latter appears to be the dominant idea emerging.


it really just highlights PA for what it is

My challenges to you to perform basic exegesis is not PA at all; it's simply biblical theology.
Maybe you'd prefer that I come on your blog, read one post thru once, then throw out a bunch of simple-minded crap to the effect that you're a genocidal maniac with 10+ murders under your belt and "engage" you on those grounds.
Wouldn't you want me to show at least basic familiarity with who you are and where you're coming from?

there is at least some scholarly agreement

The Jesus Seminar doesn't carry a lot of weight around here, and Richard Carrier is hardly a biblical scholar.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Thanks for your reply Rhology

I tell you what, I will provide a more thorough response to your Gen1 vs Gen2 comment, so as not to be accused of dodging the issue - I'll possibly have to wait a few days dependent on getting other stuff done that I have on my plate in between time, if that's OK with you? I'll just stick it in the comments section of my original post once it's done.

regards
DF

Rhology said...

Hey no problem. I'm on no quickstep timeframe, in no hurry. I've got it on that handy Google updater widget.

Cheers!

Dr Funkenstein said...

Actually, while I remember I had a couple of queries about the previous post:

Historical accts like the biblical ones are taken as a rule as innocent until proven guilty for a good reason.

Are you sure about this? I'd be amazed if something was taken as true by historians as the 'default mode' simply because someone in the past wrote it down, prior to being subjected to serious scrutiny. Can you provide me examples of historians who state this?

Besides that, biblical details have so often been corroborated as correct by archaeological studies that one has all that much greater reason to lend it confidence.

Some have, I don't dispute that - I even linked to one example before, the analysis of the Siloam tunnel, which was published in Nature.

However, there are quite a lot that have absolutely no or extremely weak evidential backing by archaeologists - the global flood and the Exodus being two such examples, I gather.

In my limited exposure to PA, it DOES seem to me that a great deal of it consists in shooting down competing ideas.

Right, as does any view point. But this doesn't escape the need to back up one's own claims either. It is possible in a debate that neither side can provide a good answer.

One wonders whether he posted a falsifier for the principle of falsifiability. It's not all it's cracked up to be for the reason that it's self-defeating.

So, on the one hand, you believe that the LoNC holds in every instance, real or abstract, but at the same time nothing can be shown to be false or wrong due to the self-defeating nature of principles such as falsifiability?

You also believe that the ToE can be shown to be false, but if you don't think falsification works, how would you set about this?

I'll use an example:

All swans I've ever seen are white
My theory is that all swans are white.
My prediction is therefore that the next swan I see will be white:

Now (assume for argument we haven't yet seen any black swans), you'd surely agree that while the theory all swans are white cannot be proven, even in the event of the next swan we see being white, that it can indeed be falsified by finding a black (or any non-white) swan?

Your stance here doesn't seem consistent to me (although this is a simple version of falsification I've outlined, I think there are also more complex variants)

Dr Funkenstein said...

The Jesus Seminar doesn't carry a lot of weight around here, and Richard Carrier is hardly a biblical scholar.

I don't recall referencing either of those people/groups at any point in this discussion. In fact, as far as I remember, the only reference I've ever made to either of them was when I used a supernatural themed story about St Genevieve that Carrier provided on IIDB to illustrate a point.

Once again, I'll have to do your work for you - you'll notice on my Gen 1 vs Gen 2 post I reference a chap called Robert Alter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Alter

As you can see from his bio, he's no slouch when it comes to this sort of thing. In fact, as a man who has actually translated Genesis and understands ancient Hebrew, he's probably in a fairly good position to cast judgment on the matter, would you agree? Now this doesn't automatically mean he is correct, but I'm fairly certain you're not in a position to simply dismiss his views because he doesn't agree with your conclusions that stem essentially from your requirement to bend any data to fit with your assumption of biblical inerrancy.

I cited RL Fox, as I previously saw that Steve from TB regarded him as a bonafide scholar when it comes to matters historical. Am I to assume you will be informing Steve of his poor choices of reference? Because, as far as I can tell you seem happy enough to simply take Steve's word on matters such as the historicity of the gospels.


Finally, I would add that many of the apologists you seem happy to cite carry as little scholarly weight as you consider Carrier and the JS to.

My challenges to you to perform basic exegesis is not PA at all; it's simply biblical theology.

I wasn't referring just to that - I was meaning in reference to TAG

I don't feel a great necessity to do it - I'm baiting you either to show the least comprehension of how to perform biblical exegesis or to implicitly admit you didn't know what you were talking about. So far the latter appears to be the dominant idea emerging.

And of course I didn't challenge the idea that Jesus said it or that Jesus intended it as the truth. The question is what it means, and you seem unwilling to explore that in the slightest.

I've offered to write a response, which as you are aware will be forthcoming. Secondly, as I point out, you have had 3 opportunities and now have a 4th opportunity to explain what Jesus meant in Matt21 - the simplest thing would be just to point to where you think I've gone wrong, as opposed to unnecessarily dragging it out - I even asked you to do as much last time round. The alternative is that I have got it correct, and you are simply trying to duck the issue. I am not concerned about being proven wrong - I am just asking you to provide some evidence that I am.

And what was the context?
Trying to be patient here, but you are really living up to the title of this post. Does it physically pain you or something to stick around and actually engage a biblical passage?


Not at all, I just don't see the point in copying and pasting entire tracts of bible chapters

It refers to a few different things - eg in Luke - Mary's pregnancy despite being a virgin, she seems to feel this cannot happen, but the angel tells her nothing is impossible with God

Another instance is in Mark where the disciples can't conceive of overcoming the difficulty of getting into God's kingdom - Jesus states that if they have faith in God, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. He also details the rewards they can expect to receive both in this life and next for this faith for following him.

There might be more, but those 2 are just off the top of my head. I'm not seeing anything obvious here that dispels the notion that the weird and wonderful can happen if one accepts the Christian faith/prays.

And how is that relevant to "With God, nothing is impossible"?

Right, I just wanted to check what your thoughts on it were. I'm sure many would regard that it is not possible for unbelievers to be saved from damnation. Anyway, if nothing is impossible with God, this would seem favourable to my earlier contention about the possibilities Christians should expect with prayer.

I posted an initial rebuttal to the latter

You posted a rebuttal to Jason I gather, which is not the same as rebutting the contents of the book - they could be coming from 2 totally different viewpoints. If you can claim to have rebutted the contents of a book you most likely didn't know existed far less read until 2 days ago, then that is quite a claim.

and I took your word for it that the former would be too hard to understand. I'm not a trained scientist, still less a mathematician by any means.

That absolutely fine - but how can you support the claim impossibility of the contrary then? It's not an insubstantial claim, and I would expect that you'd be able to back it up. Of course, if you can't understand/rebut the paper, then you're no longer in a position to claim the impossibility of the contrary,since the paper could conceivably render your claims false.

ONLY if the harmonisations are contradictory, incompatible, would this be true.
A great deal of literature can be read on multiple levels, I'm sure you're aware. (As opposed to my stuff, which is mono-level.)


Right, but you're claiming Genesis as a series of historical factual events here, not just something with literary merit.

There cannot be two different versions of this event if it's true.

And look, the problem here is that you're pretending like these biblical "contradictions" should stick.

Again, I'm hardly the only one who does - can you point me in the direction of any scholars that support your version of events? I just want some evidence that your ideas have some legitimacy. I honestly can't see why you expect people to simply say 'yeah, there's no mention of any 2nd creation, but I'm sure you must be right because you're a practicing Christian'.

You've got your feet all over my turf here

You seem to have absolutely no problem treading on 'the turf' of biologists, geologists,physicists, philosophers etc that you disagree with. However, that's fine - frankly, noone has special privilege over any domain of study, but I don't see why you should expect that atheists should simply defer to your authority on this matter since you never do the same on other fields that you have little or no expertise. I note again that there are also a lot of people better versed in the study of the bible than your good self that don't share your YEC/inerrancy views - always worth bearing in mind.


And I don't think it's too much to ask that you defend your numerous claims or admit that you just threw it out there w/o an argument.

I'm inclined to take your backtracking here as an admission that you don't know why these are contradictions, you just followed the lead of other skeptics you know. It's a widespread phenomenon; I simply claim the right to call it out for what it is - specious.

Somewhat ironic given your unwillingness to address any challenges whatsoever to TAG. Most of the time I'm just bringing them up as points you may find to be of interest - after all, why present a viewpoint if you are unwilling to investigate if it holds up or not? Anyway, as promised I will write a post elaborating further on G1 vs 2

I do know why they are contradictions, since I've read the gospels a few times - the example of the shifted date of Jesus' execution in John stands out like a sore thumb, for example. There are even conservative scholars who acknowledge this is a problem.

Not trying to be mean, but to hold up these types of statements shows the problem lies not in your expertise but rather in your desperation to throw out anything, just ANYthing, that would rebut what I'm saying.

Not at all - I mean, I understand Priest's basic premise ie that there are unresolvable paradoxes. Whether that is true or not, I am not sure - some philosophers argue that he is incorrect.

http://cat.inist.fr/
?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2007681

I just do not get why you don't think you should be expected to defend the premises of any argument you present, and that includes TAG - I mean, do you think it's just coincidence that all these high level philosophers and mathematicians have put forward these ideas independently of one and other, and that some ideas have fairly widespread application in maths and computing, yet somehow you are confident your claim of absolutes simply holds up without needing to investigate their arguments? It reminds me of the time I talked about evolutionary algorithms used in computer design programs - you dismissed that as me talking rubbish too. Of course, the fact that this was nonsense seemed to have escaped the notice of people in that field who were actually making use of these algorithms, examples of which I provided. If we dismissed every idea because it sounded a bit weird, we'd get nowhere - think how odd ideas like quantum mechanics are, for example.

So... is it the case that there are perhaps instances in which the law of non-contradiction may not be the case, or is it not the case? Or is it both?
Have fun with that one.


I think the fact you still haven't understood any of the basic premises of the arguments presented speaks volumes, and yet again you miss the point completely. I have now stated, probably on upwards of 10 occasions, that there are instances where if these arguments are sound, that certain laws of logic you claim are absolute are in fact not. This doesn't mean they are false in every instance. I say perhaps, because these states of affairs rely on the arguments proposed being sound, which of course they may not be. I don't mean it in the vague sense you have implied. Please, if you cannot grasp this point, do not bother stating it again - I am quite a patient person, but this is rapidly becoming rather tedious having to continually explain this again and again.

Here is the Liar paradox:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox

essentially, it is equivalent to the Cretan paradox

"The Cretan says "all Cretans are liars" "

Now if the Cretan is telling the truth, then all Cretans are liars. But if he is a Cretan and all Cretans are liars, then what he is saying must be false, including his claim that all Cretans are liars - but obviously if it's false then it means that it isn't true that all Cretans are liars, so he could be telling the truth - however,he states that all Cretans are liars, and he is a Cretan so if what he says is true, he must be lying so it can't be true. And so on and so forth. Now is the statement true or false - or is it neither/both?


Vasiliev deals with possible worlds - ie where things may be different to the actual world. He posits a possible world where certain laws of logic don't apply. He doesn't mean the actual world, as far as I know. Now for your claim of absolutes to hold up, it not only has to do so in the actual world, but also all possible worlds.



here is paraconsistent logic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic#Applications

"# Software engineering. Paraconsistent logic has been proposed as a means for dealing with the pervasive inconsistencies among the documentation, use cases, and code of large software systems.[12]

"# Electronics design routinely uses a four valued logic, with “hi-impedence (z)” and “don’t care (x)” playing similar roles to “don’t know” and “both true and false” respectively, in addition to True and False. This logic was developed independently of Philosophical logics."

"# Knowledge management and artificial intelligence. Some computer scientists have utilized paraconsistent logic as a means of coping gracefully with inconsistent information.[11]"


I fail to see how you can dismiss stuff such as the above without argument to be honest. And to be as clear as I possibly can - YES I AM AWARE THERE ARE PHILOSOPHERS WHO have VOICED OBJECTIONS TO THESE!

Rhology said...

Hi Dr Funk,

Sorry I haven't gotten back to this yet. I'll get as far as I can today...

I'd be amazed if something was taken as true by historians as the 'default mode' simply because someone in the past wrote it down, prior to being subjected to serious scrutiny. Can you provide me examples of historians who state this?

No, I can't cite any.
Consider the implications - you have an acct of an event from 1000 yrs ago. It is isolated from any other info you have. Do you trust it and cite it as a primary source, or do you refuse to believe it until you find secondary verification? Which could never happen?


there are quite a lot that have absolutely no or extremely weak evidential backing by archaeologists - the global flood and the Exodus being two such examples, I gather.

I would dispute both (and others would dispute the flood thing much more vehemently than I), but oh well.


It is possible in a debate that neither side can provide a good answer

True. I happen to think that my side has excellent answers, while the naturalistic answers are very poor.


you believe that the LoNC holds in every instance, real or abstract, but at the same time nothing can be shown to be false or wrong due to the self-defeating nature of principles such as falsifiability?

Well, one must ask: In any specific instance that one can think of, is it the case that the LoNC holds, or is it the case that it doesn't hold? It's a nonsense question.
And I'm not saying the PoFals is totally useless, but it's not the god that naturalists make of it in discussion with ID people.


Am I to assume you will be informing Steve of his poor choices of reference?

I doubt it. The guy's brain is a friggin mainframe.


Steve's word on matters such as the historicity of the gospels.

Come now, let's not be pissy.
1) What if his arguments are really good?
2) What if he cites lots of knowledgeable scholars?
3) What if I've looked into the issues myself and exposed myself to skeptical arguments on that and found them extremely wanting?
#1 and #2 hold, I'd argue, but you don't know nearly enough about me to know whether #3 is true. Don't be a jerk.


many of the apologists you seem happy to cite carry as little scholarly weight as you consider Carrier and the JS to.

I also happen to weigh the respective arguments. You seem a little bitter.


you have had 3 opportunities and now have a 4th opportunity to explain what Jesus meant in Matt21 - the simplest thing would be just to point to where you think I've gone wrong, as opposed to unnecessarily dragging it out

You know, I already gave you chances to provide a biblical contradiction that would stick. There's a reason why I don't give people infinite chances - it gets incredibly tiresome after a while. You've had yours. Move on.


I am just asking you to provide some evidence that I am.

You're making the claim. Feel free to answer the questions.


Of course, if you can't understand/rebut the paper, then you're no longer in a position to claim the impossibility of the contrary,since the paper could conceivably render your claims false.

Not if the elementary rebuttal I posted holds. There's only so much time and energy I'm going to invest in tracking down every alternative out there. I've seen a lot and for me it's quite enough. And if I find my initial rebuttal sufficient, one could say I'm warranted in considering it rebutted. Maybe you could show how it is insufficient, but that might be a challenge since it's apparently quite difficult. Maybe it was a bad example you brought forward.


you're claiming Genesis as a series of historical factual events here, not just something with literary merit.

Correct, but not ONLY historical factual events. They carry typical references and foreshadows, as well as prophecies.


There cannot be two different versions of this event if it's true.

What does that mean?


can you point me in the direction of any scholars that support your version of events?


You mean that the 2 chapters can be harmonised? Norman Geisler. Gleason Archer.


yeah, there's no mention of any 2nd creation, but I'm sure you must be right because you're a practicing Christian'.

That was not my only point. The reason I brought that up was to offer a reasonable alternative for harmonisation, rather than crowing "contradiction!" and walking away.
I proposed 2 possibilities.
And no, I'm not a scholar bibliography factory. Sorry. I'm just a guy with a computer, who likes to parse arguments. Let's deal with arguments.


You seem to have absolutely no problem treading on 'the turf' of biologists, geologists,physicists, philosophers etc that you disagree with.

And I think my arguments carry weight; I am asking, indeed sometimes daring, for correction.
I'm not saying you can't play in my sandbox; I'm just telling you that you are, and if you brought a fork and not a shovel, you won't get much done.


your unwillingness to address any challenges whatsoever to TAG

Might want to check my sidebar under "Interesting and Extended Convos I've Had". I challenge it all the time.


the example of the shifted date of Jesus' execution in John stands out like a sore thumb

Maybe you should have brought that up when you had the chance.


It reminds me of the time I talked about evolutionary algorithms used in computer design programs - you dismissed that as me talking rubbish too.

I didn't dismiss it. I laughed out loud b/c you were trying to provide evidence for an undirected process over and against an intelligently-directed process by citing an intelligently-produced system.


that certain laws of logic you claim are absolute are in fact not.

Just cite examples.


this is rapidly becoming rather tedious

I didn't realise there was someone with a gun to your head forcing you to write this comment.


but obviously if it's false then it means that it isn't true that all Cretans are liars, so he could be telling the truth

Yes, he COULD BE telling the truth. But in this case, he's not. So it's not true that all Cretans are liars. And of course, just b/c someone is a liar doesn't mean he always tells lies.
Sorry, this is not a great example. It might be better to say "All Cretans always tell lies, and I'm Cretan." In this case, it's 2 clauses and one or the other could be false. I don't see the big problem.


Paraconsistent logic

How would this go about falsifying Christianity or bolstering naturalism? Are you saying that naturalism contains inconsistencies, but those don't matter so much? I'll welcome that admission.