Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad Evolutionary Arguments Refuted 1

(What is BEAR?)
I've been mulling over this topic for a few weeks now, so I'll go ahead and get started on what will be a series of posts. Note the nearly infinitely-clever acronym title and writhe in your pathetic not-cleverness.

Anyway, today's bad evolutionary argument to refute goes something like:
"If you have something to offer that has predictive and informative value, then produce it."

This statement was directed at Intelligent Design. I'm a creationist, which is a position that has certain overlap with ID, but is typically more specific than ID and certainly not identical to it, sharing only a few characteristics such as the position that an intelligent and powerful agent is responsible for life.
The point of the question is that science can make predictions of future events and future behavior based on observation of what has gone before, and the questioner does not believe that ID can. I am not sure I agree with that, but defending ID doesn't put meat on the table for me and I haven't thought a great deal about that since I'm not an expert on the run-of-the-mill ID arguments.

However, if Christian creationism is true, we'd expect to see all sorts of things:
-The universe would carry an appearance of design (since it was in fact designed).
-Rival worldviews would be irrational.
-The God-man would resurrect from the dead in a unique fashion, when He said He would.
-God would change lives like He said He would.
-Formerly twisted and immoral people (like myself) would end up living sanctified lives.
-Most people would not have saving faith in God.
-Quite a few even would mock God.
-People would have innate ideas of right/wrong and fair play.
-Evidence would be a good way to discover truth.
-The world would operate virtually all the time according to regular laws.
-Yet occasionally God would perform a miracle, for a specific purpose or set of purposes.

...just to name a few.

Let me call attention to the last 2. Skeptics tend to misunderstand Christianity and claim that we think that everything is God's hand working all the time. To some extent that's true, but that does not make God the direct cause of everything. Virtually all events in the world take place according to the natural processes that God has already put in place.

Ephesians 1:11 - In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will...

God has ordained everything that comes to pass. He has defined that these natural processes will pertain on the Earth and in the universe until the Eschaton, at which point we won't need to worry about it anymore anyway. On naturalism or some similar worldview, one can only study data going back some decades to know whether the processes in place today are similar or identical to those in place a short time ago (an infinitesimally short time on the view of current conceptions of naturalism). So one uses inductive reasoning to say that such processes have generally been the case before so they will overwhelmingly probably be the case one second from now, one minute from now, one year from now. Problem with induction is that it just takes one example to knock down from a good inference from what has always been to what is in doubt.
There is no security in these processes on naturalism, neither in the unobservable past nor in the future, whether immediate or long-term.

Further, on Christianity there is plenty of reason to think that a person's cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs. On naturalism or some similar worldview, nothing popped into everything, and was organised by no one so that some impersonal "process" is responsible for there being order instead of total chaos in the universe. Atoms coalesced into molecules, into larger clumps of matter. Rocks became amino acids became proteins became unicellular organisms became bananas, platypuses, humans. Bananas don't think. Neither do cans of Dr Pepper. Why assume that another lump of matter (arbitrarily and customarily called a "brain") can "think"? A can of Dr Pepper, when shaken, produces fizz. The liver secretes bile when called upon to do so. The brain secretes brain fizz when called upon to do so. And the brain is somehow special?
Also see Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.
The point is that, on naturalism, there are no predictions to be made at all, no matter how you want to dress it up with a pretty label like "science".

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Banana's don't think?

well banana's are simply the repoductive part of the tree. Tree's and other vegitation have been shown to respond to the enviroment, and even communicate with each other via chemical signals.

So how can you prove that banana trees don't think? They may just do it in a differnt manner then we do, or they may havethe same belief in a god that desingedthem in his imaage, and have managed to remain in his image without questioning.

Wintrowski said...

Rhology,

You may find this site to be interesting:

http://www.inbredscience.co.cc/

Seth said...

Problem with induction is that it just takes one example to knock down from a good inference from what has always been to what is in doubt.

Actually, you are appealing there to the concept of falsifiability. Inherent to the concept of a model (of any sort) is that under certain known or unknown conditions the model loses validity. Obviously, we would hope our religion isn't a model, but the real thing!

Rhology said...

Anon,

You make my point stronger, thanks.
Tree's and other vegitation have been shown to respond to the enviroment, and even communicate with each other via chemical signals.

Good deal. And when was the last time you asked a banana about the meaning of life, or whether any question is true? This is exactly my Dr Pepper can example.

Wintrowski,

Yeah, someone emailed me that link just a day or two ago. Very, very interesting. Thanks.

Rhology said...

Seth,

Wouldn't the p of f-ility be subsumed under the umbrella of inductive reasoning?

Seth said...

p of f...

Yes, by definition. Problem is in whether the predictions allow themselves to be adapted given additional observations.

Anonymous said...

When was the last time you asked someones testicles the meaning of life?

That would be the equivalent to asking bananas.

Asking a tree would give you the same response as asking your god, although the tree might actually be answering we just do not know how to hear.

Rhology said...

When was the last time you asked someones testicles the meaning of life?

That would be the equivalent to asking bananas.


And the equivalent of asking someone's brain. What's the qualitative difference? The testicles secrete semen, the brain secretes thoughts; why trust the latter if you don't trust the secretions of the former?

Anonymous said...

Now I am confused
Are you saying that bananas are the tree's brain? and did you mean to say if you can't trust someones ejaculate, then how can you trust their thoughts?

"The testicles secrete semen, the brain secretes thoughts; why trust the latter if you don't trust the secretions of the former?"

-note you have said if you cannot trust semen, then why would you trust thought

eitherway, as I dont have an intenet condom handy I'll refrain from further intereactions, I dont want you trying to gain my trust..
..eeeeewww.......

NAL said...

However, if Christian creationism is false, we'd expect to see all sorts of things:

1) The universe would carry an appearance of design (since humans can see design if they want to).

2) Rival worldviews would be irrational.

3) Evidence would be a good way to discover facts.

4) Most people would not have saving faith in God.

5) People would have innate ideas of right/wrong and fair play.

6) The world would operate virtually all the time according to regular laws.

7) Yet occasionally humans would imagine that God would perform a miracle, for an imagined specific purpose or set of purposes.

8) Formerly twisted and immoral people (like Rho) would have to take responsibility for their own lives.

NAL said...

Rho:
Why assume that another lump of matter (arbitrarily and customarily called a "brain") can "think"?

Because when the "brain" is diseased, the person can't "think".

NAL said...

Rho:
Virtually all events in the world take place according to the natural processes that God has already put in place.

An event like the Origin of Species?

Dr Funkenstein said...

"If you have something to offer that has predictive and informative value, then produce it."

Right - but ID, beyond the few claims it has made that have been presented, tested and refuted (eg irreducible complexity of the blood clotting cascade), doesn't offer anything more powerful as an explanation/hypothesis than "Dunno".

Likewise, creationism does offer up a few testable claims - such as it should be possible to bracket groups of animals into distinct archetypes or 'kinds' that would cover both living and fossil organisms, or something that emphasises humans as being genetically distinct from all other animals. Again, these hypotheses fail every time they are presented. Of course it has lots of very vague claims too that simply take a shotgun approach to predicting any possible answer whether those answers are bang on the money or miles off the mark - not really very meaningful as an explanatory approach.


-The universe would carry an appearance of design (since it was in fact designed).
-Rival worldviews would be irrational.
-The God-man would resurrect from the dead in a unique fashion, when He said He would.
-God would change lives like He said He would.
-Formerly twisted and immoral people (like myself) would end up living sanctified lives.
-Most people would not have saving faith in God.
-Quite a few even would mock God.
-People would have innate ideas of right/wrong and fair play.
-Evidence would be a good way to discover truth.
-The world would operate virtually all the time according to regular laws.
-Yet occasionally God would perform a miracle, for a specific purpose or set of purposes.


These are all very vague:

1. Key word - appearance of design. Showing actual, non-natural design has been shown to be rather more difficult a task

2. Every worldview thinks every rival worldview is irrational by default (eg you think natural processes turning cells into conscious organisms over time is irrational. I think an invisible anthropomorphic magical being that does whatever it feels like is the stuff of fairy tales)- proving/supporting it is another matter entirely.

3. Correction - humans speaking on behalf of God man said he resurrected. Humans speaking on behalf of many historical non-Christian gods claimed their guy raised people from the dead. Again, rather different to said event actually happening. There's also nothing unique about it - resurrection stories are not uncommon inside or outside of the bible (Lazarus, Elijah raising a dead girl in the OT, the saints that rose in Matthew etc etc). David Koresh claimed he was capable of raising the dead. So did his followers. Both you and I think he was a lying nutcase.

4. People do this without the Christian God, or do so with alternative Gods - former alcoholics turn to sobriety, drug addicts stop using etc etc, purely of their own volition. Christianity doesn't have a stranglehold in this regard

5. Many people like really easy anwers to very complex problems. There's no easier answer that man has ever thought up than 'Dunno, musta been God that did it', and it has been applied to everything from planetary motion to the origin of life to natural disasters to the reason why logic exists.

6. Why would you expect most people to have faith in the non-existent/imaginary, or more specifically your particular variant of it?

7. You'd also expect this if people claimed to have been abducted by aliens - this doesn't show alien abductions actually happen or that aliens exist.

8. Again, this is only proof the world operates to roughly regular laws. Probabilistic events with a strong basis in random chance like roulette wheels and radioactive decay also operate with regularity.

9. Yet we never see any conclusive examples of these miracles in real life that could be distinguished beyond ordinary but unlikely events like the occasional lucky recovery from illness that people claim to be the workings of God (and of course, when put to a rigorous controlled test we find no difference between prayed for and unprayed for groups). Let's see something truly unmistakable, such as all the world's cancer patients getting up fully recovered, or amputees regrowing their limbs after a prominent Christian goes on TV to pray for it. Then I'll happily convert to the Christian faith. Of course, this always meets with the 'God isn't a circus performer' response (despite several clear biblical indications that faith and prayer will deliver spectacular results).

Skeptics tend to misunderstand Christianity and claim that we think that everything is God's hand working all the time. To some extent that's true, but that does not make God the direct cause of everything. Virtually all events in the world take place according to the natural processes that God has already put in place.

It's not just skeptics that think this - things like the Westminster Confession of Faith state the deterministic view of Christian theology very clearly, then go in to doublethink mode to absolve God of any responsibility of anything that paints him in an unfavourable light (eg being the author of sin). However, thanks to our handy guide to good living (the bible) we can see points where it clearly states that God created and ultimately controls everything that exists, such as in John 1. In fact, numerous presuppositionalists make it clear that nothing (natural or supernatural) happens unless God wills it to be so.

Further, on Christianity there is plenty of reason to think that a person's cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs.

Apart from the minor trivialities clouding a person's faculties such as sin, the devil, evil spirits, the fact that God has a deceptive aspect to his nature meaning we can't trust anything he says, the fact that he's indistinguishable from an evil God etc etc

Why assume that another lump of matter (arbitrarily and customarily called a "brain") can "think"? A can of Dr Pepper, when shaken, produces fizz. The liver secretes bile when called upon to do so. The brain secretes brain fizz when called upon to do so. And the brain is somehow special?

A diamond in a pool of peroxide contains exactly the same atoms as glucose (hydrogen, oxygen and carbon). Yet funnily enough, I wouldn't use the former to sweeten my cup of tea or power my brain cells. Maybe - just maybe - different biological/chemical structures have different properties, and that these properties can be emergent?

Also see Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.
The point is that, on naturalism, there are no predictions to be made at all, no matter how you want to dress it up with a pretty label like "science".


The problem with this is that this argument is often presented as

P1. Alvin Plantinga says so.
P2. I also like what Alvin Plantinga's basic premise is.
C1. Therefore, Alvin Plantinga must be correct
C2. Therefore, naturalism is false.

Now Plantinga may well have a sound argument - however, most presuppositionalists seem to just like to namecheck him , without really providing much beoyond a very basic structure of his argument (which is essentially an updated version of Darwin's doubt) as far as I can see. This doesn't tell us a huge amount, especially when you consider that there are entire books devoted to responding to his argument.

King of Ferrets said...

My response.

Rhology said...

KoF,

And you've been answered. You should indeed have stuck with "Meh", b/c then your ignorance wouldn't be so obvious.

Dr Funkenstein said...

The communication of an infallible, omniscient, timeless, truthful being is the most potent evidence there could possibly be. Why should I trust your interpretation of the facts to which you come w/o benefit of a time machine when I could just ask the one who was there?

or, to put it more accurately, the communication of fallible, non-omiscient, finite and possibly anonymous beings who existed in a particular place and time prior well before the advent of huge amounts of technology that would have enabled them to better understand and investigate the world, purporting to speak on behalf of the being described in the former paragraph..

furthermore, you can't ask 'the one who was there' - you can at best read the words of the person(s) described above, who existed several millenia ago.

the way you describe it, its as if reading Genesis provides the equivalent of inviting God round to give a two hour powerpoint presentation to a mass audience on the subject, followed by refreshments and a chance to talk to the presenter down the local pub afterwards - clearly it's nowhere near on that level in terms of the certainty it would be capable of providing, even in the unlikely occurrence it was actually a roughly accurate portrayal of events.

Rhology said...

NAL,

You need to expand on #2, 3, 5, 6, and 8, b/c I don't grant that your worldview can justify those kinds of statements.
Pick your favorite worldview and argue for these assertions.


Rho:
Why assume that another lump of matter (arbitrarily and customarily called a "brain") can "think"?

Because when the "brain" is diseased, the person can't "think".

How does that answer the charge that no brains think?


An event like the Origin of Species?

Yes, since said origin is a creative act of God.


Dr Funk said:

but ID, beyond the few claims it has made that have been presented, tested and refuted (eg irreducible complexity of the blood clotting cascade), doesn't offer anything more powerful as an explanation/hypothesis than "Dunno".

1) I'm a creationist, not an ID-er.
2) I say give it time. First step - figure out whether ID is true. This statement is more like a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th step.


1. Key word - appearance of design. Showing actual, non-natural design has been shown to be rather more difficult a task

Nah, I don't think so at all. In fact, much of the experimentation you point to is actually evidence of design.
And of course, there is no reason to think that animals and collections of molecules in motion like our brains are reliable for ANYthing, much less picking out patterns or thinking about stuff like design.


Re 2: I didn't say people would THINK they are irrational. I said others WOULD BE irrational, and they are demonstrably so.


3. Correction - humans speaking on behalf of God man said he resurrected.

The rebuttals to the Resurrection are beyond feeble. To say this means you either don't know the evidence or you are highly biased. I recommend Steve Hays' _This Joyful Eastertide_ for this question. If you really care, though, which I doubt.


David Koresh claimed he was capable of raising the dead.

Jesus actually did rise, though.


6. Why would you expect most people to have faith in the non-existent/imaginary, or more specifically your particular variant of it?

"Why" doesn't matter - I'm making predictions. And this one is correct.


Probabilistic events with a strong basis in random chance like roulette wheels and radioactive decay also operate with regularity.

Begs the question of whether this would occur in the same way in a naturalistic universe where order emerged spontaneously and magically out of disorder and rational beings from non-rational rocks.


Let's see something truly unmistakable, such as all the world's cancer patients getting up fully recovered

Please. You're such a jaded man to reject individual miracles, many of which are thoroughly documented. But like I said, you have an a priori commitment against such things. You can't be objective b/c of your bias. Why would anyone expect "all" the cancer patients to be healed, on Christianity? Be specific, cite Bible passages.



Then I'll happily convert to the Christian faith

I don't believe that for one second. Jesus rose from the dead and you think of all sorts of convoluted alternatives to get around that!


nothing (natural or supernatural) happens unless God wills it to be so.

And this refutes what I said how exactly?


the fact that God has a deceptive aspect to his nature meaning we can't trust anything he says, the fact that he's indistinguishable from an evil God

I've dealt with those things more than once around here. Got an argument?


Maybe - just maybe - different biological/chemical structures have different properties, and that these properties can be emergent?

Please specify then how a rational brain can emerge from dust. Be specific, give step-by-step pathways. Maybe a repetition in nature would help, that we could observe, to show that you're not just pulling total guesses out of your butt.


P1. Alvin Plantinga says so.

This isn't even close to an argument. Feel free to produce one.


the communication of fallible, non-omiscient, finite and possibly anonymous beings

This is an unargued-for external critique of Christianity. You need to give some supporting arguments for naturalism before you engage like this. It's pretty much worthless as it stands now.


you can't ask 'the one who was there'

Sure I can, and have. You're just begging the question and showing your bias. Prove that I can't ask the one who was there.


its as if reading Genesis provides the equivalent of inviting God

Please provide an argument to the effect that God's revelation of Himself in the Bible was NOT actually meant to communicate anything useful to humankind.

Dr Funkenstein said...

This is an unargued-for external critique of Christianity. You need to give some supporting arguments for naturalism before you engage like this. It's pretty much worthless as it stands now.

First of all, why is the burden of proof on me to provide the validity of revelation(s)? If someone came to me with a claim that aliens existed, the burden would not be on me to disprove the claim - it would be on them to substantiate it.

The bible was written by humans was it not? (albeit ones that claim to have some means of communication with the divine - however, there's not a shortage of similar non-Christian claims of a similar magnitude.). There's a fairly obvious criticism of this - people frequently make erroneous claims on behalf of innumerable deities or supernatural causes. The only way to distinguish Christianity from the rest is by special pleading, which of course is not an argument for the truth of anything. It [appeal to the supernatural] is a technique especially prevalent where people want answers to hard questions (eg where did we come from?) but don't have the means to investigate them properly.

Why do I have to prove naturalism to level this criticism? demonstrating the falsehood/lack of substance of your claims doesn't rely on a person being a naturalist (although I am one).

Sure I can, and have. You're just begging the question and showing your bias. Prove that I can't ask the one who was there.

Again - why do I have to prove your claims for you?! If you think you can bring God round for a chat to us in the here and now in the manner the biblical authors claim to have had contact with him, feel free to do so - I imagine I'd be far from the only one interested to see him in action!


Please provide an argument to the effect that God's revelation of Himself in the Bible was NOT actually meant to communicate anything useful to humankind.

Again, where has it been proven that it was anything more than humans making claims on behalf of a God? I'm sure it was intended by the author(s) (whoever they may have been) to communicate something, but getting from that fact to the claims that simply because its been written down and it retells actual events dictated to the writer by God is quite a leap.

All three of these answers simply make grand claims then demand that for some reason I must prove them wrong! You need to substantiate them somehow in addition to any criticism I may offer of them. Simply presupposing their truth does not make it so.

King of Ferrets said...

No, because it's not my ignorance that's obvious. Except for two things that I admit you might be right on, but are irrelevant anyway, and one of them I corrected myself and you didn't even address.

The real reason I should have stuck with "meh" is because you distract me from doing my homework.

Dr Funkenstein said...

1) I'm a creationist, not an ID-er.

They're hardly unrelated though, and you do appeal to their arguments

2) I say give it time. First step - figure out whether ID is true. This statement is more like a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th step.

This far step 1 has failed on all fronts - IC, the explanatory filter, Demsbki's maths, Behe's paper on the limits of evolutionary processes etc etc have all been refuted, so I'm struggling to see what else they have at this stage beyond a slick advertising campaign.

Nah, I don't think so at all. In fact, much of the experimentation you point to is actually evidence of design.
And of course, there is no reason to think that animals and collections of molecules in motion like our brains are reliable for ANYthing, much less picking out patterns or thinking about stuff like design.


We've been over this on about 4 different blogs now - I'm still waiting for the point on your criteria how we've established that lab experiments disprove the capabilities of natural processes or that they provide evidence of a supernatural designer. Your criteria by definition tell you nothing because you consider the mere existence of humans to render study invalid. I also thought the chap who noted that you ask for empirical evidence then claim that faith trumps all empirical evidence anyway had a good point - why ask for evidence that you openly admit you'll just ignore if it doesn't agree with what you say?

The rebuttals to the Resurrection are beyond feeble. To say this means you either don't know the evidence or you are highly biased. I recommend Steve Hays' _This Joyful Eastertide_ for this question. If you really care, though, which I doubt.

You moan about bias, then point me to one of the most biased persons on the matter on the other side of the fence to me I could think of - outstanding stuff! I hardly think Steve Hays could be held up as a bastion of objective scholarship on this subject.

I've read parts of the document in question and I think I still have a copy of TJE on my hardrive somewhere. I think you posted part of it before,

http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com/2008/10/anonymous-gospels.html

Steve made some pretty questionable arguments to my mind (eg simply because scribes existed at the time that means the gospels were probably written earlier than the accepted dates and most scholars (ie guys who do this stuff for a living) are now simply irrational because Steve has found one guy to namecheck and because someone could have been capable of writing something down whether they actually did or not! It's as easy for anyone else to pull the same tactic and say 'scholar X says this, therefore Steve's argument is irrational'.

Or claims because Richard Carrier points out that some parts of Mark, Luke and Matt. have identical passages but also differences in other parts this means they can't have been copied in part from a similar source - which makes you wonder how they managed to get certain passages word for word the same as each other while writing completely new material each time! Obviously noone in history has ever taken a document and rewritten or added bits of it to suit their agenda...

I know a bit of the evidence - I've read the gospels a few times and a couple of commentaries on them, and all I see is a mish mash of inconsistencies.

Either way, if I was going looking for a scholarly examination of the bible, Steve Hays would not be near the top of my list of sources that I thought would provide me a balanced view on the matter. i think most people simply don't care enough to deal with wading through Steve's gargantuan and largely pointless output - if it makes him happy more power to him, but I don't have any special interest in his output (and on a side note when I see him namechecking guys that I am in a good position to identify as bullshit merchants such as Jonathan Wells (who excels in bullshitting on multiple topics within biology, not just evolution!), I find it hard to take it seriously).


Jesus actually did rise, though.

That's the same thing Koresh and his followers, Sai Baba and his followers, and in fact every dead raiser in history and their followers said about their guy. They even have multiple eyewitness reports to back it up.

http://www.saibaba.ws/miracles/fourgreatmiracles.htm

"Here is an account of the resurrection of V. Radhakrishna, as told by V.I.K. Sarin in Face to Face with God: "

There are at least 4 named witnesses identified in the story above (remember - similar to this story - noone actually saw Jesus resurrect, what they claimed to see was the risen Jesus), as well as an author reporting what other people claim to have seen and the fact that the protagonist Sai Baba is still actually alive today (unlike Jesus, who has been dead for 2000 years and never wrote anything or at least nothing that has survived). The quality of this evidence is therefore quite a lot better than the gospels (consistent, multiple witnesses, protagonist still alive, happened relatively recently etc etc).

"Why" doesn't matter - I'm making predictions. And this one is correct.

The main theme of my points is that what you have said neither proves nor disproves Christianity - the things you listed could reasonably be expected to still happen if Christianity was a complete fabrication, or if it was 100% true.

Begs the question of whether this would occur in the same way in a naturalistic universe where order emerged spontaneously and magically out of disorder and rational beings from non-rational rocks.

I don't think a Christian is in a position to complain about any other view promoting an angle of 'it just happened by magic' (not that I do hold that view), or complain about someone saying that rational beings 'just exist' since that's what they claim their god does/is. Secondly, Christian theology also states that we arose from non-rational matter (dust/clay). In fact, thus far all our component parts suggest we are made of the same stuff we find in non-living matter (eg Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium etc) If you can show something that we are composed of that isn't found elsewhere, here's your chance to show it.

You keep claiming what is apparently not possible on naturalism but do nothing to demonstrate this other simply stipulating it to be true. This is like Behe when he says 'Darwinism can't do this' then of course when someone examines his claims, they show they are based on little more than his say so.

I don't believe that for one second. Jesus rose from the dead and you think of all sorts of convoluted alternatives to get around that!

First of all, again - there are reports of God man rising from the dead, which is not the same as someone actually rising from the dead. The same as there are reports of David Koresh and Sai Baba raising the dead (see above). There are plenty of these reports which are at least no worse in quality of reporting than the resurrection story. Yet you don't believe them, and neither do you criticise me for disbelieving with them.

Here's one or two examples of the sort of thing that diminshes the plausibility

Paul in 1 Cor 15:8 claims the event was witnessed by 500. Yet he curiously names none of them. Nor are these 500 mentioned anywhere else. So these witnesses could plausibly just be a fabrication by Paul - there's no way anyone could identify them or show they existed now. Furthermore, as he was writing a letter to a church a long distance away, it would be very difficult for the recipients to check the validity of such a claim since they would need to go and meet Paul to do so. This is not much difference to an alien abductee claiming a couple of his buddies and 500 unnamed witnesses all saw it happen.

In Matthew, along with Jesus, saints are also resurrected and 'appear to many' - yet nowhere else is this mentioned in the bible, nor in extra biblical sources. Pretty strange that such an amazing event wouldn't have been reported by multiple independent sources.

In Luke, two disciples meet but don't recognise Jesus despite having spent time with him on a daily basis for a few years - a more plausible explanation (if indeed the event happened at all) is that they met someone else who they wanted to believe was Jesus. Yet for some reason the more unlikely explanation is preferred by apologists.

The fact that there are known tamperings/additions (eg extended Mark) doesn't exactly make it unlikely that important parts of the stories like the guard on the tomb were simply made up and inserted later to paper over cracks in the story.

And this refutes what I said how exactly?

Because you stated non believers have the wrong view of Christianity (ie that it is deterministic), yet this is exactly the view presuppositionalism holds to

Please. You're such a jaded man to reject individual miracles, many of which are thoroughly documented. But like I said, you have an a priori commitment against such things. You can't be objective b/c of your bias. Why would anyone expect "all" the cancer patients to be healed, on Christianity?

I can be objective - I just gave you examples of miracles that would convince me - I think the point is on Christianity why wouldn't people expect all the cancer patients to be healed (at least in principle)? The Christian God can do just about anything - yet never seems to bother pulling off the big plays, exactly as would be expected if he didn't exist.

I reject most of the miracle reports I've heard because they are either so poorly documented/obviously agenda driven/myths, so often exposed as frauds (faith healers etc etc), they engage in special pleading to ignore the thousands of similar examples from outside their own religion (which they are largely indistinguishable from), ignore all the contrary examples where prayer etc failed (eg the 95% of pancreatic cancer patients that by the 5 year point as opposed to the lucky 5% that survive) and so on. That's hardly being jaded or biased - it's the same rational thought that most people apply to avoid being duped by the vast amount of bullshit claims that exist in the big wide world.

Be specific, cite Bible passages.

I stated examples of Bible passages relating to the expectations that go along with prayer before on a previous combox - despite 4 or 5 requests to demonstrate where I had gone wrong, you refused to do so for reasons not clear to me.refused to provide an answer. The option is still there for you to do this

Dr Funkenstein said...

I missed this gem:

You can't be objective b/c of your bias.

I (and other naturalists) apparently can't be objective because of my supposed bias, yet somehow your presuppositionalism and huge life investment in the Christian faith gives you the objective, unbiased view on proceedings that couldn't possibly have resulted in clouding your judgment in any way. Of course not...

I disbelieve it because the reasons for doing so are exceptionally weak, and I find it indistinguishable from most other supernatural nonsense I've ever read about - simple as that.

Rhology said...

Dr Funk,

why is the burden of proof on me to provide the validity of revelation(s)?

Didn't say anythg about revelations. Make a case for naturalism.


demonstrating the falsehood/lack of substance of your claims doesn't rely on a person being a naturalist (although I am one).

Disprove Xtianity and you have to have SOME worldview. Make an argument for yours.
If yours can't acct even for reason and intelligibility, there is every reason to reject your worldview.



The bible was written by humans was it not?

Humans put pen to paper, yes. God inspired it.



there's not a shortage of similar non-Christian claims of a similar magnitude.

None of which are internally consistent like Christianity is.



The only way to distinguish Christianity from the rest is by special pleading

Not at all. Internal consistency is one way. fulfilled prophecy. A resurrected Savior. A full accting for reason, intelligibility, morality, value. Answers to all of humanity's big questions.


If you think you can bring God round for a chat to us in the here and now in the manner the biblical authors claim to have had contact with him, feel free to do so

You know He exists but you suppress the truth in wickedness.
One way that is evidenced is that you make prescriptive moral claims (and rational claims) even though your worldview can't acct for your doing so. It shows that you can't live your worldview out and that your worldview is not indeed true.


you do appeal to their arguments

True, I do use ID arguments sometimes, when I think they're good and useful.


This far step 1 has failed on all fronts - IC, the explanatory filter, Demsbki's maths, Behe's paper on the limits of evolutionary processes etc etc have all been refuted,

I simply refer everyone to our discussion during my recent challenge.
Further, the ERV commenters haven't fared any better in our more recent discussion, or the lurkers at Atheism is Dead.
Plus, IMHO the responses to many of the ID stalwart arguments are feeble.
Finally, naturalism is fail. That's gonna have to lead the honest observer elsewhere.


I'm still waiting for the point on your criteria how we've established that lab experiments disprove the capabilities of natural processes or that they provide evidence of a supernatural designer.

Not supernatural, but intelligent. Whether said intelligent agent is super- or natural is for later.


Your criteria by definition tell you nothing because you consider the mere existence of humans to render study invalid. I

No no no. Their INTELLIGENT MANIPULATION of experiments render invalid any appeal to those experiments to support UNGUIDED EVOLUTION. This is not that hard, man - you're smarter than this. I can only assume the cognitive dissonance is messing with you.


why ask for evidence that you openly admit you'll just ignore if it doesn't agree with what you say?

B/c I'm performing an internal critique of naturalism, showing that, even if I grant naturalism for the sake of argument, y'all are still wrong.



I hardly think Steve Hays could be held up as a bastion of objective scholarship on this subject.

Genetic fallacy. The arguments are what interest me.


because someone could have been capable of writing something down whether they actually did or not!

Um, there's rarely a way to tell that it DID happen that way b/c that's how history usually is - you have one witness to a given event. More than one is highly rare.


which makes you wonder how they managed to get certain passages word for word the same as each other while writing completely new material each time!

I see no reason to accede to naturalist presupps in this case. God could have arranged that very easily.



Koresh and his followers

Koresh said he WOULD rise, and didn't. Sheesh. How is that comparable to a guy who did?


Sai Baba

OK, you found a nutcase. Congrats. Next step is to evaluate his message and see if it is internally consistent.



the things you listed could reasonably be expected to still happen if Christianity was a complete fabrication, or if it was 100% true.

Not at all - many of these things couldn't even be defined if Xtianity weren't true.
-Design is meaningless in a naturalist world.
-There is no rationality on naturalism.
-Surely you wouldn't grant the resurrection being true on naturalism.
-Changed lives - I concede that one.
-there is no "twisted" or "immoral" on naturalism, nor sanctified.
-No salvation.
-Mockery is meaningless.
-Right/wrong are meaningless.
-Evidence is not demonstrably a good way to discover truth on naturalism.
Etc


Christian theology also states that we arose from non-rational matter (dust/clay).

To compare this to naturalism is just disingenuous. We didn't "arise", we were created by an intelligent God.


You keep claiming what is apparently not possible on naturalism but do nothing to demonstrate this other simply stipulating it to be true.

You apparently have a short memory for someone who's been hanging around here for a while.
Start arguing your case by giving evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth.


Yet he curiously names none of them. Nor are these 500 mentioned anywhere else. So these witnesses could plausibly just be a fabrication by Paul

He wrote that while most were still alive and could call him on a lie. Next?


it would be very difficult for the recipients to check the validity of such a claim since they would need to go and meet Paul to do so.

False. The roads in Rome were actually quite good and the churches were in contact.
Plus there were 12 other apostles, you know, and lots of other eyewitnesses of Jesus' life at least.


In Matthew, along with Jesus, saints are also resurrected and 'appear to many' - yet nowhere else is this mentioned in the bible, nor in extra biblical sources. Pretty strange that such an amazing event wouldn't have been reported by multiple independent sources.

The argumentum ad incredulum isn't impressive. So what if it's weird TO YOU?


In Luke, two disciples meet but don't recognise Jesus despite having spent time with him on a daily basis for a few years

B/c He supernaturally prevented them from recognising Him. You're just cherrypicking stuff, not reading the text, b/c you don't care about truth. You just want to win an argument.


The fact that there are known tamperings/additions (eg extended Mark) doesn't exactly make it unlikely that important parts of the stories like the guard on the tomb were simply made up and inserted later to paper over cracks in the story.

Um, everyone knows about extended Mark. Got any evidence that the story of the guards is an interpolation?



why wouldn't people expect all the cancer patients to be healed (at least in principle)?

B/c this is an imperfect world, and the new heavens and new earth are still to come. Yet again you forget sin.


I said:
You can't be objective b/c of your bias.

in the context of miracles that HAVE occurred. Not my fault that your standards are impossibly high.