Thursday, September 15, 2011

Justin Schieber and the problem of induction - 2

Continuing from last time, Justin apparently was able to carve out a bit more time and sent me a lengthy reply.

He asked me about:
-my statement about how my epistemology is not rooted in human reason; what kind of reason is it?

-where the Bible says our cognitive faculties are generally reliable

-where the Bible says that God generally holds the universe together and provides for cycles of seasons, etc

-how God does seem to flinch in His promises; for example, see Exodus 32:9-14

-why if only the Bible justifies induction and science relies on induction, science's findings do not match the biblical timeline.

He went on to let me know that absolute certainty is not important to him; he can have practical certainty.
That he holds most of his beliefs tentatively.
That we can overcome the tiny amount of experiences we've actually had via corroboration with others.
That we should not expect certainty, and if one expects it, one is asking too much of reality.
Finally, that we must assume induction b/c we have no choice.


My reply:

Hi Justin,

I'm happy to clarify. Thank you for your reply.

1. That is a really good question w.r.t. whether God's reason is quantitatively higher or qualitatively higher than human reason. Never asked myself that particular question before.
So let me say this: Based on what we do know, God's reason is at minimum quantitatively higher, to the point that He knows all that there is to know, and with all possible certainty. Contrast that with any given human, who knows an infinitesimally small % of all that there is to know, and knows virtually nothing with all possible certainty. Perhaps the only things he can know with all possible certainty are that he exists and that God exists, and that might be it.
God has made man in His image, and part of that image is volition and rational thinking, so we think like God in the way that a shadow is like the object casting the shadow.

Whether God's reasoning is a different kind of reasoning is perhaps impossible to know at this point, for He has not really revealed it. So it may be, but it may simply be that His reasoning is as I mentioned - fully certain and all-knowing.

2. That one's cognitive faculties are generally reliable is presupposed by the biblical text. If they were not reliable, God would not communicate in the way that He does - through a book, textual revelation, spoken revelation, etc.
I invite you to consider the many times the Bible uses the word "know" - http://bible.cc/search.php?q=know
Further, this is again a part of being made in the image of God. We are not mere bags of protoplasm, atoms banging around.  We are volitional, intelligent beings created in the image of a higher volitional, intelligent being, who decided to create and then communicate with His creation.
A discrepancy appears in Scripture, especially 1 Cor 2, for example:
 14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

And Romans 8:
5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

This refers to the noetic effect of sin - the deleterious effect of sin on the mind. It's in this vein that Psalm 53:1 says: The fool has said in his heart, "there is no God".
Rejection of God and His salvation from sin, which is the same as willful acceptance of sin, renders one a fool, a moron. It is not separate from the mind, but guarantees foolishness, which is one reason we see atheists cling stubbornly to their dogma (of Darwinism, for example) while refusing to call it dogma, refuse to deal with crippling worldview problems such as the One and the Many, the naturalistic fallacy, and the problem of induction, all the while accusing Christians of intellectual lack, and make confident assertions about things about which they in fact know nothing, such as the deep past.

And then the turnabout - when someone is transformed and regenerated by Christ, "we have the mind of Christ" - it changes. Now the greatest and most certain source of truth - God's revelation - is unveiled and we can know much more about reality than previously.


3. Colossians 1: 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Genesis 8:18So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.

      20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

22“While the earth remains,
         Seedtime and harvest,
         And cold and heat,
         And summer and winter,
         And day and night
         Shall not cease.”


9:  8Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9“Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. 11“I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14“It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16“When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

For Gen 8-9, the context is helpful - God has just finished covering Earth with a flood. God lets the animals and humans out of the ark and makes a covenant with "you, and your descendants after you, and...every living creature that is with you" - that covers all living things from that point on.
Note the daily-seasonal cyclical language of God in 8:22. That's the basis for believing what I said.
We have no control over any of this, but God does and He has made certain promises.  Thus we acknowledge and understand what He promised, and we hold to it, while we have  no particular expectation for things He has not promised, such as full healing of all amputees and sick people during this life.

I know that God is being truthful with me at this moment b/c God can not lie.
If He could lie, then everything is literally absurd and believing that God lies (or doesn't lie) is meaningless. In short, I'd be in the same position as the atheist.  I'm willing, however, to be consistent on that point, more than any atheist I've ever met, none of whom are willing to embrace the nihilism to which their position logically reduces.  More briefly, I know it through the impossibility of the contrary. Knowing truth in a nihilistic universe is itself self-defeating and incoherent.

You said:
--"Because there are almost an infinite number of ways nature could proceed and still be 'uniform' given how a particular language has grown to refer to these particulars"

Yes, I should think you're right. What you forget, however, is that language can express lots of things that are in fact impossible in reality, such as "square circle". It's not as if God couldn't have made the world differently, but we live in the world we live in, and God has communicated with us in the world we live in.  Gotta deal with what we have.


4. Stop for a moment and pretend that you believe in the Christian God. Now ask yourself: Which is more likely? A puny man reminding God of a promise that he himself had never heard, and God saying "Oh yeah, duh!"?  Or God foreshadowing the intercession and mediation of Christ through Moses, for the benefit of millions reading later, having known about the conversation from eternity ago and indeed having decreed that it come to pass?
I don't know what you'll say, but the latter is consistent biblically, whereas the other reflects a more pagan approach. I have plenty of reason to believe, however, that God revealed the whole Bible and not just 6 verses in Ex 32.

Let me stop here and get to the rest of your stuff later.

Peace,
Rhology

Then, later:


Hello Justin,

Thank you for your reply. I will happily respond to it, but I haven't finished with your last email so I'd like to finish it before moving on, so that I make sure to get to everything.

--"science bases much of its framework upon inductive inferences"

Yes, that is a serious problem.
You don't know that your specific observations, of which you can make a few hundred on a given topic per year out of quintillions of actual events, reliably lead you to understand the universal, the way the world is. You ASSUME it. Similarly, you ASSUME that your senses accurately observe the outside world, then you ASSUME that the senses properly report that data to your brain, then you ASSUME that the data arrives correctly, then you ASSUME that your brain properly interprets the data, then you ASSUME that you then act properly on that data. But why assume it? B/c the alternative is distasteful - solipsism - but not b/c you have an argument or evidence that your assumptions are true. You HOPE they are, and hey, you ASSUME they are, but you can give no reason for me to think they actually are true.
Further, you have no reason to think that the natural processes you think you observe around you are in operation everywhere. You have no reason to think they have always, or at least since a very long time ago, been in operation. You ASSUME these things are true, but you can't even start to prove it.
This is the massive problem with any naturalistic worldview.

I don't have that problem, since my fundamental basis of knowing things is not observation at all. Nor is it human reason or thought. I can know anything b/c God has spoken and He has assured me that my cognitive faculties are generally reliable though certainly not infallible, since I am made in the image of God. He has promised that in general He holds the universe together, and cycles of seedtime and harvest will remain, the Earth will remain in orbit around the sun, life on Earth will continue and my responsibility is to live for Jesus and proclaim the Good News of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name to everyone, until the Eschaton. I have the unflinching and unchanging promise of the omnipotent Creator God. You have nothing, since you have chosen to distrust Him. But you can always turn back.

Notice that to overturn my argument, you're going to need to give me some argument that your senses and cognitive faculties are in fact reliable AND how you can know that with certainty. Don't assume it, prove it. You're then going to need to solve the problem of induction and let me know how you can know that your pitifully small numerator of things you think you've observed and experienced add up to some meaningful amount given the vastly huge denominator of total events in the universe, and how that ratio informs you with any degree of certainty as to the truth of the universal law you think your observations inform you of.

Notice, finally, that even if you were able to give some reason to think you're right, besides your bare assumptions, you still haven't gotten anywhere with respect to the actual question of your overlaying your story over the geological "record". Even if the strata came with labels, that doesn't tell you anything about the labellor, and it doesn't tell you anything about the environment at the time, but merely what was deposited, but you don't know the rate of deposit, what was there before the depositing began, the circumstances surrounding the depositing, whether it was a more or less closed system at the time, what the weather was like, what animals pooped there, nothing.


--"the best methodology we have that brings about countless accurate predictions"

I am very sorry, but this is extremely inaccurate and displays a level of acolyte-like faith on your part.  Science is constantly getting things WRONG. Behind the much-ballyhooed "self-correcting process" of science lies the uncomfortable fact that self-correction means it was wrong in the first place. More self-correction has historically yielded yet more self-correction. Since the failure rate is quite high, one would have to be a bit of a naïf to base so much on such a thing. Fortunately, atheists generally tend toward that side of things.

Also, I agree with Bertrand Russell when he said: "All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: "If this is true, that is true: now that is true, therefore this is true." This argument is, of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say: "If bread is a stone and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore it is a stone, and stones are nourishing." If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the argument upon which all scientific laws are based."

And:
"The great scandals in the philosophy of science ever since the time of Hume have been causality and induction....Hume made it appear that our belief is a blind faith for which no rational ground can be assigned....This state of affairs is profoundly unsatisfactory...We must hope that an answer will be found; but I am quite unable to believe that it has been found."

Piling fallacy upon fallacy, as science does, inspires no confidence in me, and it is because of sin that it inspires confidence in you, because you hate Jesus and do not want to serve Him, so instead of going with what is rational, you have chosen to serve what is irrational.
Inductive inferences are always fallacious. "But we compare and contrast", you may say. Wonderful - are 1000 fallacies better than one?


--"I tentatively assume induction because I don't really have a choice."

Yes, you do. Repent and trust the Savior. He'll save your soul from sin and your mind from foolish fallacious thinking.

Peace,
Rhology

That's the meat of it. A few other small emails transpired between us, and he sent me a longish reply but I don't feel like paraphrasing that whole thing as well, and most of it is based on poor biblical exegesis (which is a consistent hallmark of atheists).

31 comments:

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

Russell says: "The great scandals in the philosophy of science ever since the time of Hume have been causality and induction....Hume made it appear that our belief is a blind faith for which no rational ground can be assigned....This state of affairs is profoundly unsatisfactory...We must hope that an answer will be found; but I am quite unable to believe that it has been found."

Rho says: "Piling fallacy upon fallacy, as science does, inspires no confidence in me, and it is because of sin that it inspires confidence in you, because you hate Jesus and do not want to serve Him, so instead of going with what is rational, you have chosen to serve what is irrational."

Russell was undoubtedly brilliant, but I don't think he got out much. That is to say, he often let words dominate his world, as philosophers and theists are wont to do.

Again, you've got nothing here, Rho- just your bald assertion that we atheists are piling fallacy upon fallacy (but then, why do our computers work, if they're based on "fallacies"? Or are you going to claim that I have no way of knowing if they "work" or not?) and that you Christians alone have surety. Evidence? And please don't quote the Bible, or I shall have to quote Gilgamesh.

The take-home message here is: the problem of induction is fun, but how exactly does it impinge upon real life, yours or mine? I don't see that it merits atheists plunging themselves into existential despair for "not solving it", or theists transporting themselves into paroxysms of joy for "solving it".

Rhology said...

he often let words dominate his world, as philosophers and theists are wont to do.

IOW, you're accusing him of thinking logically w/o letting question-begging observation get in his way?
On this question, I see no reason to disagree, but I also see no reason to assume that my senses accurately observe and that they accurately report to my brain, etc. You can ASSUME they do, but then you're talking about your religion. But then you start talking about how you lack religion, and I start thinking you're a hypocritical fool who doesn't know what he's talking about.
If you're a religionist, be honest about it.



just your bald assertion that we atheists are piling fallacy upon fallacy

It was hardly a bald assertion; I argued for it. You might try that sometime.


but then, why do our computers work, if they're based on "fallacies"?

B/c Christianity is true, in reality.
How is it you're still not getting this?
You keep begging the question!


Or are you going to claim that I have no way of knowing if they "work" or not?)

Correct, IF ATHEISM IS TRUE.
Fortunately, it's not, and at some level you know it's not and so you do know that your senses are generally reliable, that computers work, that happiness is preferable to despair, etc. But atheism doesn't inform you of those things; it's the image of God that does so.


And please don't quote the Bible, or I shall have to quote Gilgamesh.

All you do is quote your Bible. Your tiny brain, informed by what you think are your senses, is your Bible, your ultimate authority.

zilch said...

All you do is quote your Bible. Your tiny brain, informed by what you think are your senses, is your Bible, your ultimate authority.

How do you know how tiny my brain is, rho?

I say: but then, why do our computers work, if they're based on "fallacies"?

rho say: B/c Christianity is true, in reality.
How is it you're still not getting this?
You keep begging the question!

Er, computers work because Christianity is true? Evidence, please. I don't get it because there's nothing to get.

I say: he [Russell] often let words dominate his world, as philosophers and theists are wont to do.

rho say: IOW, you're accusing him of thinking logically w/o letting question-begging observation get in his way?

I'm accusing Russell of letting philosophizing get in the way of observation, yes. And I repeat my question to you: what difference does it make if we "solve" the "problem" of induction or not?

Rhology said...

Sorry, I didn't mean your brain was particularly tiny compared to other humans'. I meant that all humans' brains are tiny compared to the amount of knowledge it is possible to know.
Compared to the universe, everyone's brain is tiny. That's all I meant, but I can see how that would be construed as a cheap insult. Please forgive me for that; it was unintentional.


Our computers work b/c Christianity is true and atheism is not. The fallacy exists ONLY IF ATHEISM IS TRUE. If Christianity is true, Jesus provides the foundation for induction as He holds the universe together and has promised it will virtually always operate according to certain 'laws' (ie, constant processes).

IF ATHEISM IS TRUE, then your saying "computers work" simply begs the question. How do you know that? I'm not an atheist; you are. You answer the question. Give me a reason to think you have any way to determine whether that is true.
So far you've told me your religion via blind faith proclamations, but then you turn around and criticise others for what you think are blind faith proclamations. Not good enough.



I'm accusing Russell of letting philosophizing get in the way of observation, yes

If you logically concluded that 2+2=4 but someone else came along and claimed that they had observed that 2+2 always = 5, what would you say to that?


what difference does it make if we "solve" the "problem" of induction or not?

It would resolve one of the ways we can know that atheism is false. There are others, but this is a goody.
So then atheists could move on to other challenges in terms of substantiating their worldview.

zilch said...

"I meant that all humans' brains are tiny compared to the amount of knowledge it is possible to know."

I'll agree with you there, Rho, and no offense taken. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

"IF ATHEISM IS TRUE, then your saying "computers work" simply begs the question. How do you know that? I'm not an atheist; you are. You answer the question. Give me a reason to think you have any way to determine whether that is true."

Well, we're here, aren't we? What is your criterion for "working"? For me, it's self evident that computers work; I don't need Jesus to tell me that they "really" work. How does your belief make computers work more "really"?

I say: "I'm accusing Russell of letting philosophizing get in the way of observation, yes"

Rho say: "If you logically concluded that 2+2=4 but someone else came along and claimed that they had observed that 2+2 always = 5, what would you say to that?"

I'd ask for real-world demonstrations, and I imagine they would not be forthcoming.

I say: what difference does it make if we "solve" the "problem" of induction or not?

Rho say: It would resolve one of the ways we can know that atheism is false. There are others, but this is a goody.
So then atheists could move on to other challenges in terms of substantiating their worldview.

That's just your opinion. Can you substantiate it, please? As I've said, and you've not come up with any reason to doubt it, there is no solution to the "problem of induction", but it's not a problem we need to worry about. And again- what do atheists need to "substantiate"? You're the one with the burden of proof- that God exists- atheists simply say they see no evidence that God exists. It's up to you to show us some evidence for this God of yours.

Rhology said...

Well, we're here, aren't we?

You think we're here, but another serious philosophical problem for atheism is that you can't give any reason (other than, again, blind faith proclamation) to think that other minds besides yours exist.


What is your criterion for "working"?

That it glorify the Lord Jesus and His purposes in the world.
What's yours?



I don't need Jesus to tell me that they "really" work.

1) You don't know whether they work, and you haven't given much of a reason to think so yet.
2) I don't think you need Him to tell you that they work, but you need Him to ground a universe in which order prevails and is intelligible. So you need Jesus to ground computers' working.


I'd ask for real-world demonstrations, and I imagine they would not be forthcoming.

1) And you'd assume that you saw the same as the other observer. Another blind faith proclamation.
2) Supposing he does it, and you see 4 and he sees that which you suppose is 5. Who is right and how can we know?


You're the one with the burden of proof- that God exists

And you're the one with the burden of proof - that you can know anything about the outside world. I've pointed out numerous blind faith proclamations you've made. Get on with proving them, please.

David said...

"Our computers work b/c Christianity is true and atheism is not."

I don't get it. So, if Christianity is false, our computers don't work?

Christianity, specifically, is the only possible answer to the question of why our computers work? No other possible answers? None?

You claim to have the answer to the some question about induction. But what if you’re wrong? What if you don’t have the answer?

Certainly, I see no particular reason to think that your particular imaginary can opener is the answer. I think that humans get agitated by the induction question and they make up answers to settle their minds. Doesn't make the answer right. You claim to have an answer to the induction question, so the burden of proof is on you.

What if there simply is no answer, at least, no answer accessible to the tiny brained humans? What's wrong with "I don't know"? It seems to me that we can do just fine without an answer.

So what we if we can't prove with total absolute and metaphysical certainty that other minds exist? We operate on the assumption that they do, and when we operate in this manner, we see confirmatory evidence that other minds exist. Could be that no other minds exist, but when we operate on the assumption that they do...as Zilch says...it seems to work.

We operate on the assumption that our senses usually accurately observe and that they accurately report to our brains, and based on that assumption, we live another day. We assume, but we also test the assumptions every moment that we are alive. The assumptions work. Good enough for me. Beats making up answers just to settle the mind.

zilch said...

Rho- David said it- what's wrong with admitting we have no final certainty that there are other minds, or that our senses are more or less accurate, or that the world is pretty much the way it seems to be? You haven't yet told me what disadvantages accrue to me because of my satisfaction with not knowing. That is, on my worldview, of course- I know that according to you, I'm going to Hell if I don't repent, but your claim is that my uncertainty is somehow crippling even given my worldview. And you've given no reason to believe that your "certainty" is anything other than a made-up story. And speaking of stories- I said:

Well, we're here, aren't we?

You replied: You think we're here, but another serious philosophical problem for atheism is that you can't give any reason (other than, again, blind faith proclamation) to think that other minds besides yours exist.

Yes, I think I'm here, for the same reason Boswell reported that Samuel Johnson did:

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus."

That stones exist, that we are not brains in vats, that I am not the only mind in the Universe, these stories I accept because they fit together with what I sense and what I think. We all have to make a map of what seems to be our world, and I find the map that science give us fits better than any other, be it Harry Potter, the Bible, or the Constitution of the United States.

rho- if I'm not here in Vienna typing on my computer, do you have a better story? No? Then your claim that I cannot be "certain" that I am here is fun to entertain (like brains in vats, like Christianity), but is not, ultimately, very compelling. Counterfactual stories are a dime a dozen. I don't need to have "absolute proof" that they are not true in order to simply close the book and go on with my life.

cheers from overcast Vienna (at least it seems that way- what does Jesus say to that?), zilch

Justin said...

I do hope you will have a part 3. It seems you missed my main criticism.

Rhology said...

What, the message based on very poor exegesis of the Bible? Not worth my time to type up a paraphrase, though you could certainly give me permission to post it verbatim and I will be glad to do so, along with my response.

Ask anyone - I don't moderate comments; you can say what you want here as long as you don't spam me or post links to pr0|\| and whatnot.

Rhology said...

"I refute it thus."

Begging the question.



That stones exist, that we are not brains in vats, that I am not the only mind in the Universe, these stories I accept because they fit together with what I sense and what I think.

Begging the question.


Here is where we are.
Christianity has a way to account for induction and computers and such.
I have doubted that atheism does have a way. You need to provide that accounting. The burden of proof is on YOU. I'm merely doubting and asking questions. Get to it; all you've done so far is recite your catechism.

zilch said...

Rho, I'm not trying to prove anything here. I've already said that I have no answer to the "problem" of induction. I've also said, so what? And I've asked you why that should be a problem for me, on my worldview. You've yet to answer, other than claim that it is a "philosophical problem". Again: I live, I breathe, I contribute to charity. How does the fact that I don't have a "solution" to the "problem" of induction impinge on any of this?

Rhology said...

How do you know that anything you do will be the same in one minute?
How do you know that all this knowledge about the past that you think you have is actually true? that the universe operated according to the processes you think you observe in the past?
That these processes are in place elsewhere in the universe outside your immediate observation?

You don't live like you don't know these things. You live like you DO know them. In this you live like Christianity is true.

zilch said...

We've had all this already, rho: why do I need to "know" (in your sense) that what seems to be true is "really" (in your sense) true? You've yet to show me how "not knowing for certain" accrues to my disadvantage.

Rhology said...

how do you know what advantage and disadvantage mean?

Rhology said...

Are you really OK with not knowing anything?

zilch said...

Yes, I'm okay without "knowing" anything. "Knowing" in your sense means "knowledge grounded in God", does it not? You've yet to show (I remind you for at least the fifth time) that I have any "need" to "know".

Rhology said...

No, that's not the sense I'm using "know". I'm using it in the sense I believe is consistent with atheism.

So, what do you know? How do you know it? Answer on your own terms.

zilch said...

Well, then, rho, what do you think the "atheistic" definition of "to know"is? By your definition of the atheistic definition of "to know", do I know how to type?

David said...

"You don't live like you don't know these things. You live like you DO know them. In this you live like Christianity is true."

How is this living like Christianity is true?

Yes, we live as if the universe will operate according to the processes that we've observed in the past. These assumptions are not absolute certainties, but they've worked well in the past, and so we assume that they'll work in the future. Maybe the sun will rise in the west tomorrow, but for now, I'm going to assume that it will rise in the east and get on with my day.

The statement "in this you live like Christianity is true" is a non sequitur with respect to the statements like "how do you know that anything you do will be the same in one minute?" or "you don't live like you don't know these things. You live like you DO know them." You've failed to show the connections that you've claimed.

I understand that it settles your mind to say that Jesus is why computers work (and why the universe works), but you've failed to establish that this is so. You can wave imaginary can openers around to your heart's content, but there's no reason to think that "computers work because Christianity is true" (etc.) is an accurate statement. I can think of an endless list of possible explanations besides Jesus. However, in the end, I'm not going to know which, if any, of these possible explantations is correct. So, I'm just going to get on with it, and not worry about it.

Rhology said...

These assumptions are not absolute certainties, but they've worked well in the past

Assumption, and indeed begging the very question at hand.


I understand that it settles your mind to say that Jesus is why computers work (and why the universe works), but you've failed to establish that this is so.

Your inability to even start to answer my question about induction on atheism is plenty of establishment.

zilch said...

Rho- you're repeating yourself to no avail. You have made a claim about our worldview, namely that since we cannot solve the problem of induction, we cannot know anything for sure, and that this is somehow a problem for us. Not only have you given no evidence for your assertion that Jesus gives you an answer to the problem of induction, but you've simply ignored my repeated question, "how does not having an answer to the problem of induction lead to any disadvantages for us?".

If you feel better about using computers or looking to the east for the sunrise because of your belief in Jesus, that's fine. But when you say that we cannot be sure of our computers working, or of the sun rising in the east, without Jesus, that just seems silly, and merely asserting it over and over doesn't make your case any more appealing.

Rhology said...

you've simply ignored my repeated question, "how does not having an answer to the problem of induction lead to any disadvantages for us?"

No, I actually haven't ignored it, but you're unfortunately not displaying any propensity toward learning. I'm happy to leave this question as it stands here, where I've given reasons for thinking what I think, and you seem content to say "so what if I can't know what I think I know? So what if I'm living in a fantasy?"

Yahweh or Myweh said...

Rhob, can I ask why you have discussed our email exchanges online after I asked you not to and you said you would respect my wishes?

The least you could have done was ask me before paraphrasing and attributing my name to it.

I would understand if I never objected to you using the emails, but I did.

Also, if you were going to renig on the agreement, I woulfd have at least liked to know rather than stumbling upon it myself,

Rhology said...

Excuse me, but I did no such thing.
You asked that your emails not be posted online, and I have not done so. I have in no way reneged on what I said I would and would not do.

David said...

"I've given reasons for thinking what I think."

Reasons? Where? All you've offered are unsupported assertions.

zilch said...

Rho says: I'm happy to leave this question as it stands here, where I've given reasons for thinking what I think, and you seem content to say "so what if I can't know what I think I know? So what if I'm living in a fantasy?"

As David asks, what reasons have you given? All you've done is assert, over and over, that my admission that I don't have absolute certainty is a problem for me. You have not said how it is a problem for me, much less demonstrated that it really is a problem.

Or, rather, I guess you've tried to intimate that my nonsolution to induction is somehow a sort of philosophical malaise that in some unexplained way renders my life incomplete or somehow wrong. And you've also simply redefined words according to your worldview. For instance, "fantasy" in your quote above must means something like "not proven by God to be real". But that's not an argument- you're simply assuming the truth of your worldview here, which you've not demonstrated.

On my worldview, which you claim to be representing, what seems to be the real world is not a fantasy. You're the one who claims that anything that is not absolutely certain is a fantasy, which again renders the word meaningless to me, as it applies to everything.

Thus, unless you can somehow prove that your God exists, or somehow show that not having absolute certainty is a real problem, I don't see that you have any case here.

Rhology said...

All you've done is assert

Are you certain? How do you know?
If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability? Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.
If uncertain, why should I care about the question?



You have not said how it is a problem for me, much less demonstrated that it really is a problem.

Are you certain? How do you know?
If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability? Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.
If uncertain, why should I care about the question?



you've also simply redefined words according to your worldview.

Are you certain? How do you know?
If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability? Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.
If uncertain, why should I care about the question?



For instance, "fantasy" in your quote above must means something like "not proven by God to be real".

Are you certain? How do you know?
If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability? Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.
If uncertain, why should I care about the question?




You're the one who claims that anything that is not absolutely certain is a fantasy

Are you certain? How do you know?
If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability? Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.
If uncertain, why should I care about the question?




I don't see that you have any case here.

Are you certain? How do you know?
If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability? Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.
If uncertain, why should I care about the question?

zilch said...

Okay, now we're getting down to brass tacks- this is as clear an exposition of your philosophy on certainty that I could hope for, and I hope that my answers will be equally clear.

Are you certain? How do you know?

No, I'm not certain, and I don't know for sure, as I've said many times.

If "probably" certain, probably based on what? How do you know of that probability?

Based on my experiences and cogitation, as I've also said many times. The same, of course, is true of you and everyone else.

Do you know it with certainty? If only probably certain of that, please answer the same questions of your probable certainty, then continue until you realise that you're engaging in an infinite regress.

Er, I just said that I don't know anything with certainty. Saying that you know something with a certain probability is the same as saying you don't know it for certain. Your question here is incoherent- there's no infinite regress, unless you insist upon absolute certainty, which I don't.

If uncertain, why should I care about the question?

I can't tell you why you should care about the question- that you must decide yourself. I care about things that are uncertain, because everything is uncertain. But as I've also said myriad times, so what? I live, breathe, chat online, solve math problems, and pay my taxes, all without laying claim to ultimate certainty. And I'd be willing to bet that you do a lot of the same things I do, probably not much better or worse, and convinced that you're backed up by your ultimate certainty in their reality, provided by your God. I don't see much difference here, except that you've (as I've also said) simply papered over the fact that you have no more certainty than I do that tomorrow will be another day.

All I can say is, if it works for you, more power to you. But you're mistaken if you believe that I'm somehow encumbered by my admission that I have no ultimate certainty that tomorrow will be like today, that I haven't "solved" the "problem" of induction.

I can live with not believing I've got a hotline to absolute truth. If you don't feel inclined to care about what I say (as you intimated above) because I don't have your godgiven truth, that's of course your prerogative. I don't have any problem with my "lack" here, and you haven't given me any reason to think otherwise.

Again- this impasse is a good example of what happens when one regards the Word as more important than the World- a typically result of decoupling philosophy (or theology) from reality, and giving words (which have their own generative rules, not always congruent with nature) sway over what's really out there. I too love words, and they are indispensable; but they can lure you into thinking things are out there that aren't.

cheers from sunny Vienna, zilch

David said...

"This impasse is a good example of what happens when one regards the Word as more important than the World- a typically result of decoupling philosophy (or theology) from reality, and giving words sway over what's really out there. "

And the people said...AMEN!