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Is the view that there is a God little more than a poorly supported, culturally induced commonplace notion?

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Yesterday, I highlighted a case in Texas in which a School-level Critical Thinking Curriculum has been manipulated to set an assignment (in a section for 20 points) gives a question requiring the answer that “There is a God” is not fact or credible view but a cultural commonplace, poorly supported and dubious assertion that apparently students felt was effectively equivalent to “myth.”

Documents:

God_myth_sch_test

Fox26_God_myth_20pts

Today, we need to begin to address this attempt to discredit ethical theism under colours of education.

At first level, ethical theism is foundational to the charter of modern Constitutional Democracy, the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. Something that can and should be memorised by school students (and which it would be difficult indeed for educators or Courts to ban), e.g. the famous second paragraph:

>>We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . . >>

So, we can immediately see that one reason for widespread belief in God is that historically it has been commonly understood that such belief is actually self evident and foundational to the moral order that underpins right and justice in the community. So much so, that as self-evident implies, it is felt (pretensions to erudition and brilliance notwithstanding) that to deny God as foundational to moral government is patently absurd; ending in some species or other of might and manipulation make ‘right.’

In short, we feel, inescapably, that we are under government of moral law, pointing to a final pillar of right and justice, God. Those who dismiss this typically make shipwreck of morality or try to avoid the foundations of morality, justice and law other than by trying to use the rhetoric of confident manner. The consequences of such moral nihilism and wisdom in one’s own eyes are all too sadly evident all around us in a morally increasingly bankrupt and chaotic, confused civilisation.

One needs not accept this as true, for the reasonable man to recognise that it is already evident that this is a responsible view not mere dubious popular sentiment. Mere disagreement on your part (even if dressed up in a lab coat) does not constitute “no evidence” or “no credible or respectable reason” on our part. Nor does mockery or sophomoric rhetoric suffice to undermine this point.

Mere decent respect for history and the common good sense of people should give pause.

Second, it is quite obvious that the curriculum takes dead aim at the Judaeo-Christian worldview foundations of our civilisation and so there is a right of reply as to the reason for the hope one has in the gospel. So, it is appropriate to point to the C1 historical anchorage of the Christian Faith, starting with the five hundred unshakeable witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead in fulfillment of centuries long prophecy in the scriptures of the Old Testament. A video is a useful 101 here:

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo Direkt

Again, mere disagreement on your part does not constitute what criticalthinking dot org terms :

>>cultural assumption: Unassessed (often implicit) belief adopted by virtue of upbringing in a society. Raised in a society, we unconsciously take on its point of view, values, beliefs, and practices. At the root of each of these are many kinds of assumptions. Not knowing that we perceive, conceive, think, and experience within assumptions we have taken in, we take ourselves to be perceiving “things as they are,” not “things as they appear from a cultural vantage point”. Becoming aware of our cultural assumptions so that we might critically examine them is a crucial dimension of critical thinking. It is, however, a dimension almost totally absent from schooling. Lip service to this ideal is common enough; a realistic emphasis is virtually unheard of. See ethnocentricity, prejudice, social contradiction.

prejudice: A judgment, belief, opinion, point of view — favorable or unfavorable — formed before the facts are known, resistant to evidence and reason, or in disregard of facts which contradict it. Self-announced prejudice is rare. Prejudice almost always exists in obscured, rationalized, socially validated, functional forms. It enables people to sleep peacefully at night even while flagrantly abusing the rights of others. It enables people to get more of what they want, or to get it more easily. It is often sanctioned with a superabundance of pomp and self-righteousness.

Unless we recognize these powerful tendencies toward selfish thought in our social institutions, even in what appear to be lofty actions and moralistic rhetoric, we will not face squarely the problem of prejudice in human thought and action. Uncritical and selfishly critical thought are often prejudiced.

Most instruction in schools today, because students do not think their way to what they accept as true, tends to give students prejudices rather than knowledge. For example, partly as a result of schooling, people often accept as authorities those who liberally sprinkle their statements with numbers and intellectual-sounding language, however irrational or unjust their positions. This prejudice toward psuedo-authority impedes rational assessment. See insight, knowledge>>

. . . on our part.

In the words of the Apostle Peter c 65 AD as he awaited unjust execution at the hands of Nero Caesar on the false accusation of treasonous arson against Rome on the night of July 18, 64 AD:

>>2 Pet 1:I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty . . . .

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.>>

I hardly need to add that millions down through the ages and today jointly testify to and manifest the life transforming consequences of encounter with the Living God through penitent trust in the risen Christ.

Where, again, disagreement on your part does not constitute absence of evidence on our part of personal knowledge of God through living encounter with the risen Lord and Saviour Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. If just one of these millions testifies truly, that is enough. And in fact there are literally millions of credible witnesses, who do not manifest the characteristically disintegrative signs of delusion.

(Nor, is it appropriate to spring an implicit, highly tendentious denunciation of the Christian worldview on twelve year olds in a classroom while using state power to lock out the right of reply by responsible and informed representatives of this major tradition. As can be seen from the common abuse of the clause of the 1st Amdt of the US Constitution that, properly understood on its history means that there is to be no State Church of the USA, via the dubious radically secularist doctrine separation of church and state, that then gives de facto establishment to the lab coat clad anti-church of evolutionary materialist scientism.)

Thirdly, we now need to begin to think in worldview terms, and to understand that  worldviews stand on finitely remote first plausibles that by virtue of our circumstances must be finitely remote, should be factually adequate, logically and dynamically coherent, should not unduly beg key questions and should be explanatorily adequate — not simplistic and not an ad hoc patchwork, but powerful, balanced and elegant.

It cannot be turtles all the way down:

"Turtles, all the way down . . . " vs a root cause
“Turtles, all the way down . . . ” vs a root cause

And so, we see the alternatives:

A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}
A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}

In this context, we all have finitely remote faith points that should be assessed on comparative difficulties, rather than being led to make snap dismissals of core propositions as popular but ill-founded notions.

Of course, a full-orbed assessment of worldviews and options, even at 101 level is beyond the typical twelve year old. That is part of why this should never have been put in such a curriculum. Indeed, such attempts will backfire, forcing church leaders to indoctrinate youngsters in the rhetoric of retort by programmed talking point backed up by instructions on referral to legal swat teams.

And again, disagreement on your part with worldview first plausibles of ethical theism in the Judaeo-Christian tradition on our part does not give reasonable grounds for holding that we have “no evidence” or no good reason.

So, already, it is quite evident that such ethical theism is not a mere culturally propagated commonplace, ill supported notion.

Okay, this is enough for a first bite at the issue. More to follow in coming days. END

109 Replies to “Is the view that there is a God little more than a poorly supported, culturally induced commonplace notion?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    A first response to the notion that believing in the reality of God is little more than a culturally induced, poorly grounded popular opinion or even prejudice.

  2. 2

    Somewhat related is the fairly recent notion, enforced by the courts, that religion, notably Christianity, must be excluded from the public market place of ideas. This notion has then been extended to include the idea that any non-materialistic (i.e. non-Darwinist) thinking or teaching is somehow “establishing” state church/religion and thus must be forbidden.

    Then I take a look at a new book by Senator Rand Paul showing some of the prayers of our presidents – all of them – and we see that all of them, in their official capacity of government leaders and spokesmen, are in fact promoting faith – promoting religion – in many cases explicitly promoting Christianity. The same pattern of promoting religion and faith can be found in the writings of almost all of the founders as well as the Supreme Court, the Congress, as well as the Chaplaincy established by the Federal Government in the earliest days of the armed services.

    So we have been living in an unconstitutional nation since its founding (and before with the Declaration of Independence) with leaders that consistently violate “Separation of Church and State.”

    Perhaps I need to be sent to one of those “reeducation camps” championed by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE)

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    AYP,

    that the US DoI of 1776, which is the context for the Constitution of 1787 – 9 is unconstitutional, is absurd on its face.

    While we are at it, let me outline the Grand Statement structure of that Constitution, as a part of my point on the historic, foundational significance of ethical theism in the Judaeo-Christian tradition for modern liberty and democracy:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    Blessings of liberty is a richly theological term and harks back to the Congressional calls to Prayer, penitence and thanks giving of 1776, 1777 and onwards.

    And in case there are those wont to twist the DoI out of context, here are the 1776 and 1777 Congressional Calls:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9] [Source: Journals of the American Congress From 1774 to 1788 (Washington: Way and Gideon, 1823), Vol. I, pp. 286-287 & II, pp. 309 – 310.]

    These, too, are well within the reach of an intelligent 12 yo, and any reasonable and well founded presentation on this should at least give a reasonable summary of same.

    As I said, it is just a tad hard to ban that foundational history (though obviously such has been assigned to the conveniently forgotten facts file . . . ), and it opens up the worldviews grounding challenge.

    KF

  4. 4

    Thanks KF for those relevant words from our founding days.

    Lest anyone misinterpret my words @2, my intent was to show the wide and deep reliance on faith beginning at and before our founding as a Constitutional nation in 1789, and from there to the present.

    I perhaps fell into a bit of sarcasm at the end, but you and I KF are on the same page here. Thanks again for your post.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    AYP, unfortunately, things are so surreal that many might imagine that patent sarcasm is fact. KF

  6. 6
    AnimatedDust says:

    KF, getting a bad link page on the embedded Vimeo vid.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    AD, pardon, I thought I didn’t need to explicitly link: https://vimeo.com/17960119 Link in OP now, try also “[Watch at] Vimeo” KF

  8. 8
    Mapou says:

    The existence of matter is proof of a creator God, IMO.

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    No, no, no no KF. Don’t you know that the universe can account for its own existence? Hawking assures us that if we have gravity we can get a universe from nothing. And everyone knows he is the smartest guy, like, ever.*

    ________
    *Never mind that “gravity” is something, and if it exists then one does not start with nothing.

  10. 10
    GCS says:

    Mapou,

    And that creator God is a loving community, so filled with love that they wish to share their joy with us.

    God Bless

  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    GCS @10,

    I agree that God is a community. In fact, I am convinced that God consists of billions of individuals united as ONE. So, as a Christian, the full force of Jesus dying on the cross becomes overwhelming. What really happened on that day is that billions of souls suffered the lashes and died on that cross for our sake.

    My point is, you are right. The love is undeniable. Those of us who believe just need to be patient for a little while longer. He’s almost at the door.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    No one knows what Gravity is. It’s as much a cultural Myth as God.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, I will take that up in brief. Our observed cosmos — the only actually, indisputably observed cosmos — is credibly contingent. That points beyond itself to adequate cause of a fine tuned cosmos set to a locally deeply isolated operating point for C-Chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based terrestrial planet life. Life which BTW is based on coded information . . . language! right from the origin of cell based life . . . used in exquisitely intricate cybernetic systems that run the smart gated, encapsulated metabolic automata with integral code using von Neumann kinematic self replicators we find in cells. That in the end through even multiverse speculations, points to necessary, intelligent, awesomely powerful being as source. Design by a creator beyond the cosmos. One intent on life like ours. Mix in moral government and we are at the inherent reasonableness of a creator capable of grounding ought. Just one serious candidate, the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of our loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature. No, we are not talking about poorly supported popular notions here, but of course, when the evolutionary materialist lab coat clad magisterium controls and censors what gets into the curricula they can make it seem that way. KF

  14. 14

    No, no, no no KF. Don’t you know that the universe can account for its own existence? Hawking assures us that if we have gravity we can get a universe from nothing. And everyone knows he is the smartest guy, like, ever.*

    As if “gravity” is a thing that can exist by itself under atheistic materialism. Gravity is a model of patterns of behavior of matter and energy. How can such a model exist before anything to model exists? It’s like Hawking is saying, “if we can expect matter and energy to behave like it behaves in our universe, we can expect our universe to come into existence because of that expected pattern of behavior”.

    Whaaat?

  15. 15
    Jack Jones says:

    Excellent Post KF.

  16. 16
    Jack Jones says:

    “No, no, no no KF. Don’t you know that the universe can account for its own existence? Hawking assures us that if we have gravity we can get a universe from nothing. And everyone knows he is the smartest guy, like, ever.*”

    The thing Mr Arrington is that science fetishists treat scientists like Hawking as their infallible High Priests, They do not realize that such people are not necessarily trained in logic. Though it might not just be a lapse in logic when it comes to Hawking but a deep need for there to be no Creator.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, do tell me, as a lawyer, do the folks who run Constitutional law point out the context of the DoI and Constitution i/l/o the Congressional calls to prayer? Do the relevant theologians highlight that the calls of 1776 and 7 constitute a people covenant with the God of the Bible led by the representatives of the emerging American people, setting a context in which the Const is the second covenant of govt under God? Do they point out what material and sustained multigenerational breach of a covenant of blessing points to? What mass blood guilt, oppression, injustice, apostasy etc point to? KF

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    The grooming of Stephen Hawking over the years as some sort of genius with God-like mental powers is just another materialist ploy. They even use his disability as a weapon, a human shield, so to speak. But it makes no difference. Hawking is, in reality, a third-rate crackpot.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ,

    These need to understand the error of Lewontin:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    KF

  20. 20
    Barry Arrington says:

    WJM @ 14.

    Exactly. Hawking’s entire argument hangs on the reification of a mathematical model.

    JJ @ 16.

    And the irony is that they make fun of religious fundies. The idea of God of the Bible may be false (I don’t think it is), but at least it is rational. By contrast, Hawking’s idea is irrational at a fundamental level and it requires a “grit your teeth in the face of logic” fideism to believe it.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ,

    Johnson, Nov that year, cut to the heart:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And if the latter is twisted into a caricature god of the gaps strawman, then locked out, huge questions are being oh so conveniently begged.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    KF

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ

    Pearcey exposed the inescapable self referential incoherence and self-falsification:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    Why do we not hear about such in the same critical thinking curricula?

    KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, given what is on the table, what do they teach about your Constitution and DoI? How do they respond to what I just highlighted? KF

  24. 24
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF asks:

    BA, do tell me, as a lawyer, do the folks who run Constitutional law point out the context of the DoI and Constitution

    The truth of the matter, KF, will probably surprise you. I went to law school at the University of Texas. Texas is an elite school (top 15 in most rankings I’ve seen). And but for one man (thank you Lino Graglia), I would have graduated from that elite law school almost totally ignorant of the philosophical underpinnings of the DoI and the Constitution. I can only assume that those students who did not have the great good fortune to have Prof. Graglia, were not taught this at all.

    For the vast majority of law professors, the law starts with Holmes’ invention of legal realism in the late 19th century and almost nothing prior to that is relevant to us today.

    I have written on this before. See here.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, that is sad, it seems Orwell’s 1984 with the Ministry of Truth forever editing the past to suit the current partyline has more than a passing resemblance to our current situation. Okay, our 12 year olds need to go to school armed with these sorts of inconvenient facts and quick web links to derail the Ministry of Truth tactics we are seeing. KF

    PS: 1984, movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LiZnuRQmmM

  26. 26
    yaschobob says:

    God is viewed as a myth because the notion of a god isn’t falsifiable. Even if humans were able to figure out exactly what caused the universe to exist, one could always say “god” is what made it possible in the first place.

    We shouldn’t be teaching kids things that aren’t falsifiable.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, looks interesting: http://readingroom.law.gsu.edu.....text=gsulr

    Constitutional Law: A Ruse for Government by an
    Intellectual Elite
    Lino A. Graglia

    During the past four decades, the Court has decided for the
    nation as a whole questions literally of life and death, as in its decisions on abortion‘ and capital punishment} questions of sexual morality, as in the decisions on pornography’ and homosexual rights,‘ and questions of basic social control and public order, as in its decisions on enforcement of the criminal law‘ and the regulation of street demonstrationsf‘ It has ordered the reapportioning of our legislatures, state and federal, on a mathematically precise population basis.’ It has disallowed state
    provisions for prayer and Bible reading in public schools” while also disallowing most forms of state aid to religious schools9 and most state~sanctioned public displays of religious symbols.“ . . . .

    Astounding as it may seem in a supposedly democratic nation,
    for the past four decades virtually every change in basic social policy, the policies that determine the nature of a society and the quality of a civilization, has come not from elected legislators, state or federal, but from Supreme Court justices. It is possible as a matter of political theory to favor a system of government by a central committee of wise men not elected by or electorally accountable to the people. Plato, after all, favored government by philosopher kings, persons supposedly particularly well trained and suited for the art of government.” How is it possible, however, to favor a system of government by lawyer kings, persons trained in little other than the manipulation of words and hardly noted as moral paragons? We purport to continue to be committed to the basic principles of the Constitution— representative self-government, federalism, and separation of powers—that have served to create a nation of unprecedented freedom and prosperity. In reality, however, we have allowed the system of government created by the Constitution to evolve into its antithesis: a system of government by majority vote of a committee of nine lawyers, unelected and holding of?ce for life, issuing decrees for the nation as a whole from Washington, D.C. Having repudiated the principles that have been the foundation of our national success, we are in serious and rapid decline. It is not clear whether that decline can be arrested.

  28. 28
    Jack Jones says:

    @20 Mr Arrington

    I got these quotes from The Atheist chemist Peter Atkins,

    Atkins said “The universe is an engagingly reorganized form of nothing”

    He also said “We like mathematics are elegant self consistent reorganizations of nothing”

    We are dealing with people that will believe in any crazy ideas than believe in a Creator.

    Here is the article about Atkins.

    http://winteryknight.com/2009/.....d-atheism/

    @21, KF

    Leftists never should have been allowed to take control of Academia, Now science is driven by politics rather than truth. If Michael Behe was not in the position that he is already before writing his books then he probably would have been stifled in his career and never reached his position.

    If there are cases that contradict this idea then they are probably exceptions rather than the rule.

    Here is the short clip from the WLC and Atkins debate. You can spot Michael Behe in the audience.

    Do Atheists Believe We’re NOTHING?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXke0dURBZQ

    You

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    yaschobob

    That’s an interesting one.

    Let us see, were it shown that Jesus did not rise from death, or that those who have put trust in him were delusional otherwise, that would falsify the Christian tradition.

    On the broader existence of God, were say someone to show that evil were incompatible with the existence of God, that would undermine ethical theism.

    But something deeper troubles me, you are actually saying that a demonstrative proof of God’s existence or reason to hold his existence self-evident would be the strongest reason to ignore it and act as though such does not exist.

    The stronger the evidence the stronger the reason to dismiss it in effect.

    But instantly proof that 2 + 3 = 5 is self evident is reason to stand on this, not to hide from it.

    You are trying to impose a flawed concept for testing empirical scientific claims upon a vastly different subject and are ending in shipwreck.

    KF

  30. 30
    yaschobob says:

    kairosfocus

    >were it shown that Jesus did not rise from death

    How could we show this?

    >or that those who have put trust in him were delusional otherwise

    How could we show this?

    >On the broader existence of God, were say someone to show that evil were incompatible with the existence of God, that would undermine ethical theism.

    I don’t fully understand. One could just say “God wanted evil to exist. We can’t understand God’s ways.”

    >you are actually saying that a demonstrative proof of God’s existence or reason to hold his existence self-evident would be the strongest reason to ignore it and act as though such does not exist.

    Not at all. I’m actually arguing that if you throw out the requirement of an idea needing to be falsifiable, any thought is just as valid as any other.

    That is why nobody can falsify the notion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster that uses its spaghetti tentacle to affect everything around us. You can’t actually falsify this belief.

    >But instantly proof that 2 + 3 = 5

    Addition is a man-made abstraction used to help us understand quantities. 2 doesn’t actually exist. It’s a number, i.e., an abstract concept used to represent quantities.

    >You are trying to impose a flawed concept for testing empirical scientific claims upon a vastly different subject and are ending in shipwreck.

    I think this is an admission that you can’t falsify the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster God, right?

  31. 31
    LarTanner says:

    Jack Jones,

    Leftists never should have been allowed to take control of Academia, Now science is driven by politics rather than truth.

    I disagree that leftists control academia. The numbers do generally bear out that the majority of teaching professors at mainstream schools tend to the left side of the political spectrum. Yet, the administrative and executive branches of academia, where money and power are concentrated, can be as conservative as anyone.

    As a former academic, I think my politics (which I never shared in a classroom) were shaped as much by engagement with the subject matter as anything else.

    For example, once one starts to learn about languages and linguistics, the picture emerges that all languages are equal. Latin is not a superior or elevated tongue, and “Ebonics” is not a debasement of English. One also sees the arbitrary elitism embedded in many public outcries over instances of “bad English” or President so-and-so’s alleged overuse of the first-person singular pronoun. While a view of human equality and a distaste for prescriptivism are not automatic liberal-makers, they do temper more traditionally conservative concerns.

    So, I think learning tends to liberalize. As they say, reality has a liberal bias.

  32. 32
    mike1962 says:

    yaschobob: That is why nobody can falsify the notion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster that uses its spaghetti tentacle to affect everything around us. You can’t actually falsify this belief.

    Some notions are not falsifiable but lend themselves to being supported by positive evidence. Is there anyone, who is otherwise trustworthy, making a claim that s/he has had first hand experience of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? In other words, is this a live issue? Lots of people claim to have had experiences of “God” or some “higher being.” I know of nobody who has claimed to have encountered the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t seem to warrant an investigation.

    Not at all. I’m actually arguing that if you throw out the requirement of an idea needing to be falsifiable, any thought is just as valid as any other.

    Do you consistently live your life according to falsifiable hypotheses? For example, I would guess that you have a working hypothesis that everyone you encounter (who is alive and seemingly awake) is conscious. It this falsifiable?

  33. 33
    Jack Jones says:

    @31 “I disagree that leftists control academia.”

    I don’t care what you agree with, You’re a leftist.

    “So, I think learning tends to liberalize.”

    Indoctrination by lefty professors is not learning.

    “As they say, reality has a liberal bias.”

    Liberals deny reality because of their bias, When a man puts on women’s clothes and then starts calling himself Caitlyn then that is all it takes to confuse liberals about Biology.

    Liberals reject reality and care about their feelings before reality.

  34. 34
    computerist says:

    I think this is an admission that you can’t falsify the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster God, right?

    If we’re speaking about God in the general sense, God is really an inference from design/teleology, so while a “Flying Spaghetti monster” could be God, you’re merely using it to mock God, not to invalidate its existence in principle. The second thing here is when you speak about how the falsifiability factor does not apply to God, you’re effectively implying chance is the best explanation as a diametrically opposed necessity. Can you apply that same falsifiability factor/test to chance/serendipity?

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    Y,

    I think you need to clarify warrant, as in what gives good and reasonable grounds to accept something as true. Becoming overly locked into a false criterion of meeaningfulness has led to strange results.

    As for e.g. that clustering ||, clustering ||| and joining to get ||||| being man made, you are relabelling to dismiss a key property of any possible world.

    As to 2 not existing, I am aware of extreme nominalism and its absurdities regarding abstract entities, and doubtless being overawed by the concrete.

    Just to say what you did you had to rely on any number of abstract entities including thoughts, intentionality, meaning, and more.

    On numbers, I put it to you that in any possible world, we may recognise the set that collects nothing {} = 0

    From this, {0} ==> 1, and {0,1} ==> 2, etc.

    2 necessarily and undeniably exists, indeed it is bound up in identity that a thing A is itself as opposed to not itself.

    Take as A a bright red ball on a table, and observe the world partition:

    W = {A|~A}

    Without this reality and what flows from it we cannot even reason, and yet the property and number 2 instantly inextricably emerge.

    In short, what you have been led into entails a mares nest of absurdities and self referential incoherences.

    And, you have mischaracterised, there is no throwing out involved. I have done no such thing. What is valid is that a self contradictory claim ends in explosion and confusion. But the reality of God and the meaningfulness of God as the inherently good creator, a necessary and maximally great being at the root of reality is not meaningless by any means. So the shoe is on the other foot, you have put up a dubious criterion of dismissal that cuts across patent reality.

    I suggest you start afresh on sounder footing.

    KF

  36. 36
    Mapou says:

    yaschobob? Who is this jackass? Ban him! Off with his head!
    😀

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Perhaps you are unaware of this line of reasoning from Paul:

    1 Cor 15:12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

    There you have it, right after the classic text in the 1st 11 vv on the 500 eyewitnesses, most still alive just go talk to them, c 55 AD.

  38. 38
    yaschobob says:

    mike1962

    >Some notions are not falsifiable but lend themselves to being supported by positive evidence.

    Scientifically, that’s a contradiction.

    >Is there anyone, who is otherwise trustworthy, making a claim that s/he has had first hand experience of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    1) Absolutely. 2) People hallucinate and make mistakes. All. The. Time. 3) Experiments must be repeatable for all scientists.

    >I know of nobody who has claimed to have encountered the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    1. The flying spaghetti monster works in mysterious ways; 2) he uses his spaghetti tentacle to determine who can remember people who have interacted with him. He didn’t touch you with his tentacle in such a fashion that you’d remember anyone who interacted with him.

    >Do you consistently live your life according to falsifiable hypotheses?

    Absolutely.

    >I would guess that you have a working hypothesis that everyone you encounter (who is alive and seemingly awake) is conscious. It this falsifiable?

    Can you define conscious for me?

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Y,

    mike1962 >Some notions are not falsifiable but lend themselves to being supported by positive evidence.

    [Y:] Scientifically, that’s a contradiction.

    science does not by any means exhaust the world of intelligible or knowable things. Indeed the naive claim that science delimits knowledge is an epistemological thus philosophical claim. It thus contradicts and refutes itself by way of explosion. In short the shoe is on the other foot.

    BTW also your FSM would be a composite and material entity. On either or both these claims, necessarily contingent so not a serious candidate necessary being or God substitute. The parody of theism commits elementary strawman caricature fallacies.

    KF

    PS: If you are serious, I suggest you start here on: http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

  40. 40
    yaschobob says:

    >I think you need to clarify warrant, as in what gives good and reasonable grounds to accept something as true. Becoming overly locked into a false criterion of meeaningfulness has led to strange results.

    Hypotheses can’t be proven true, they can be supported with evidence. They can, however, be falsified. Theorems and lemma can be true because those are human definitions for explanations. They don’t exist in nature, per se, they are just abstractions we use to explain things.

    >As for e.g. that clustering ||, clustering ||| and joining to get ||||| being man made, you are relabelling to dismiss a key property of any possible world

    Sorry, I don’t know what this means. Can you clarify this for me?

    >As to 2 not existing, I am aware of extreme nominalism and its absurdities regarding abstract entities, and doubtless being overawed by the concrete.

    I don’t understand what this means either. Can you show me 2? You can show me “2”, or you can show me a quantity of something that meets our definition of 2, but you can’t show 2.

    >Just to say what you did you had to rely on any number of abstract entities including thoughts, intentionality, meaning, and more.

    Thoughts have chemical reactions dictating them. Meaning is an abstract concept that humans have created. I don’t know what you mean by intentionality.

    >On numbers, I put it to you that in any possible world, we may recognise the set that collects nothing {} = 0

    >From this, {0} ==> 1, and {0,1} ==> 2, etc.

    In each instance, 1, 2, are just an abstraction we use to understand the size of each set.

    Numbers are just labels. The word “the” doesn’t exist in the universe. It’s just a grammar abstraction we use to help us understand things. Numbers are no different than “the”.

    Anyways, all of this is just a distraction. Do you admit you can’t falsify the notion of a flying spaghetti monster?

  41. 41
    Jack Jones says:

    @38 Disputes about the nature of the designer say nothing against the argument for design, Though WLC shows why the idea of the FSM being the Creator are a failure.

    If you want to carry on with your belief in the FSM then that is up to you.

    “Your question is really about what the various arguments for God’s existence, if sound, enable us to infer about the nature of the being proved by such arguments. Different arguments will enable us to infer different attributes, so that the case for God’s existence is, as you state, cumulative.

    The much beloved Flying Spaghetti Monster was the concoction of Bobby Henderson, who in the summer of 2005 wrote a satirical letter to the State Board of Education of Kansas to protest the use of textbook stickers promoting Intelligent Design. It (or he, as the Monster is personal) has gone on to become an international sensation (see Henderson’s website at http://www.venganza.org/).

    Henderson used the noodley Monster to parody the inference to an Intelligent Designer of the universe. He wrote, “Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel.” Henderson claimed to know quite a bit about the nature of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

    . . . it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. . . . He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease. . . . I have included an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget.

    As the drawing shows, the Monster is composed of two large meatballs surrounded by a mass of spaghetti topped with two eyeballs. It’s evident that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is supposed to be a finite, physical object which, for some unexplained reason, is not perceptible to our senses.

    Great fun! But now what is the point of the parody? What does it show? It’s striking that Henderson’s parody does nothing to call into question either the legitimacy or necessity of the inference to an Intelligent Designer of the universe. Rather the point of the parody seems to be that we cannot know much, if anything, about the nature of the Designer. Therefore, it’s arbitrary to characterize the Designer of the universe as God, especially the God of some specific religion.

    What’s curious about this parody is that ID theorists like William Dembski have been insisting on this same point for years, but everyone seems to think them disingenuous. Dembski makes it abundantly clear that on the basis of the specified complexity in the universe one cannot infer that the Designer is infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and so forth. It is precisely for that reason that ID theorists deny that ID is disguised religion. The identification of the Designer with God is a theological conclusion that cannot itself be warranted on the basis of the design argument alone.

    Dembski writes,

    Insofar as design theorists do not bring up God, it is because design-theoretic reasoning does not warrant bringing up God. Design-theoretic reasoning tells us that certain patterns exhibited in nature reliably point to a designing intelligence. But there’s no inferential chain that leads from such finite design-conducing patterns in nature to the infinite personal transcendent creator God of the world’s major theistic faiths. . . . As a Christian I hold that the Christian God is the ultimate source of design behind the universe. . . . But there’s no way for design inferences from physics or biology to reach that conclusion. . . . Far from being coy or deceitful, when design theorists do not bring up God, it is because they are staying within the proper scope of their theory (The Design Revolution, p. 26).

    Therefore, Dembski is adamant that religious interpretations of Intelligent Design should not be taught in public classrooms. Dembski himself, had he thought of it, might have appealed to the Flying Spaghetti Monster to illustrate his point! Ironically, then, Henderson’s parody actually reinforces one of the central contentions of the ID movement, that it is not religious teaching. The inference to a Designer is not an inference to any particular deity.

    This is not to say that we can infer nothing about the Designer of the universe on the basis of the specified complexity of the cosmos. Principally, what we can infer is that there exists a personal, and, hence, self-conscious, volitional being of inconceivably great intelligence who designed the universe. If people really believed that to be true, they would be wide-eyed and open-mouthed with astonishment, rather than mocking and derisive.

    Moreover, it’s plausible that any ultimate explanation must involve a personal being which is incorporeal. For any being composed of material stuff will exhibit precisely that specified complexity that we are trying to explain. The old “Who designed the Designer?” objection thus presses hard against any construal of the Designer as a physical object (see my “Richard Dawkins’ Argument for Atheism in The God Delusion” in the Question of the Week Archive). That immediately rules out the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a final explanation.

    What about the other theistic arguments? The contingency argument, if successful, proves the existence of a metaphysically necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe (see “Argument from Contingency” in the Question of the Week Archive). That conclusion is also incompatible with the Sufficient Reason of all things being the Flying Spaghetti Monster, since as a physical object (even if invisible to our senses) he can be neither metaphysically necessary, timeless, spaceless, nor immaterial.

    The kalam cosmological argument, if sound, gives us grounds for believing in the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, Personal Creator of the universe. Again, a being with such attributes cannot be anything like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    The moral argument complements the cosmological and design arguments by telling us about the moral nature of the Creator of the universe. It gives us a personal, necessarily existent being who is perfectly good and whose nature is the standard of goodness and whose commands constitute our moral duties. This argument rules out any suggestion that the metaphysical ultimate is some evil being akin to Satan. As a privation of goodness, evil is parasitic upon the Good and so cannot exist as the highest being.

    Finally, the ontological argument gives us reason to think that God, as the greatest conceivable being, is metaphysically necessary and maximally excellent, that is to say, omnipotent, omniscient, and all-good. The poor Flying Spaghetti Monster is, alas, left trailing in the dust.

    I think you can see that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is vastly overrated, both as a parody and as a being. As a parody, he fails to show that an inference to an intelligent designer of the universe is either illegitimate or unwarranted. What the parody shows is that we are not justified in attributing to our explanatory postulates arbitrary properties that are not justified by the evidence. Natural theologians have always known this. That’s why, for example, Thomas Aquinas, after his five brief paragraphs in his Summa theologiae proving the existence of a being “to which everyone gives the name ‘God’,” goes on to discuss in the next nine questions God’s simplicity, perfection, goodness, limitlessness, omnipresence, immutability, eternity, and unity.

    As a being, the Flying Spaghetti Monster comes up drastically deficient as an explanation of those phenomena, some of which you list, which lie at the basis of the arguments for God’s existence. Those arguments, if all sound, as I think they are, require cumulatively a being which is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties.

    The real lesson to be learned from the case of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is that it shows how completely out of touch our popular culture is with the great tradition of natural theology. One might as well be speaking a foreign language. That people could think that belief in God is anything like the groundless belief in a fantasy monster shows how utterly ignorant they are of the works of Anselm, Aquinas, Leibniz, Paley, Sorley, and a host of others, past and present. No doubt part of the fault lies with equally ignorant Christians who have no answer when called upon to give a reason for the hope within and who therefore give the impression of arbitrary and groundless belief. But it must also be attributed to poor education, intellectual laziness, and a lack of curiosity. Given the revival of natural theology in our day over the last half century, we have no excuse for such lame caricatures of theistic belief as belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

    Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....z3t6Uyqe00

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    Y, by trying to dismiss warrant by talk about hypotheses you have simply highlighted that you do not understand what warrant is about. I suggest you start from the point that knowledge is warranted, credibly true belief, then see that warrant comes in degrees and is that which provides good and undefeated reason to trust a claim of relevance. Thus, it comes in degrees appropriate to the relevant province of learning, including that in science explanatory entities cannot be shown true by evidence of observation, only shown empirically reliable so far, opening up the issue of provisionality. Mathematical truths such as 2 + 3 = 5 are warranted to self evident and undeniable certainty. That we are conscious is self evident. That error exists is undeniable. In courts, evidence is by preponderance in some classes, to beyond reasonable doubt in others. And more. You need to do some serious rethinking from ground up/ KF

    PS your dismissiveness about numbers is a sign of the same problem. Sufficient has been shown for the reasonable onlooker and you now need to show us evidence of genuine interaction and consideration of the many difficulties with the naive falsificationism and Popperianism you have been advocating. All of which have become increasingly tangential to the focus of this thread which is on a significant matter with education policy.

  43. 43
    yaschobob says:

    >science does not by any means exhaust the world of intelligible or knowable things.

    Nobody claims it does. That’s an irrelevant statement.

    Let’s illustrate an example. Suppose I shot and killed somebody and left the gun behind. The police get the gun and check it for finger prints. They see my fingerprints on it.

    Are the fingerprints on the gun evidence that I committed the murder?

    This requires no more than a yes or no answer.

    >BTW also your FSM would be a composite and material entity.

    Spaghetti (post-crucifixion Jesus) is the the physical manifestation of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (God).

  44. 44
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 27. Classic Graglia

  45. 45
    yaschobob says:

    >Mathematical truths such as 2 + 3 = 5 are warranted to self evident and undeniable certainty.

    Just like the word apple is spelled “a p p l e”. It’s an abstraction. Abstractions can be absolute (they don’t have to be, but they can be.)

    In science, explanations for facts cannot be *proven* true due to laws of uncertainty. At best, we can say “the evidence supports this hypothesis.” Whether or not the hypothesis *is* actually true is irrelevant.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ, good point. KF

  47. 47
    Jack Jones says:

    @43.”Do you admit you can’t falsify the notion of a flying spaghetti monster?”

    Why would people have to falsify your belief in a FSM? If you want to believe in a FSM then that is up to you.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Y, you are now approaching the point of derailment. I suggest that if you wish to further discuss a tangential matter, you set it up elsewhere and I will give you an opportunity to link. There is enough above to show the issues with what you are doing and that they do not materially affect the main point of the OP. KF

    PS: When, in response to a point on warrant and meaningfulness your first point is to put up hypothesis, that is diagnostic of a problem with scientism. The linked issues of extreme nominalism are similarly indicative as are markers of naive falsificationism and Popperianism. The use of FSM points the same way and you show deepest ignorance of the doctrine of incarnation, multiplied by dismissiveness. And so forth.

  49. 49
    yaschobob says:

    @JJ

    >Though WLC shows why the idea of the FSM being the Creator are a failure.

    I have no idea what you’re saying here. Please clarify what is WLC?

    >Why would people have to falsify your belief in a FSM? If you want to believe in a FSM then that is up to you.

    That’s kind of the point on teaching God in school. The judeo-christian notion of god is absolutely no different than that of the FSM. Effectively, one is just as illogical as the other. If one wants to teach “god” in the classroom, one has to accept teaching the FSM version of god in the classroom as both (and I mean this literally) are just as illogical.

    >The much beloved Flying Spaghetti Monster was the concoction of Bobby Henderson

    The FSM (god) works in magical ways. The FSM uses his spaghetti tentacle to determine who believes in the FSM and who doesn’t.

    The FSM being a concoction of Bobby Henderson is synonymous with God being a concoction of individuals looking an explanation for things they don’t understand. The FSM is just one additional incarnation of a god.

    Honestly, the rest of your post is a gish-gallop. If you want to narrow it down and summarize a few of the points, I’ll respond, but given that I debunked the first few very easily, I don’t see why the remaining would be difficult.

  50. 50
    yaschobob says:

    >There is enough above to show the issues with what you are doing and that they do not materially affect the main point of the OP. KF

    The main argument I’m making is that it’s just as illogical to believe in the FSM as it is to believe in the judeo-Christian god. Neither of them is falsifiable and neither of them has any mathematical backing.

    That’s why we shouldn’t teach god in school. We should be teaching children how to form logical thoughts.

  51. 51
    Jack Jones says:

    @43 “Spaghetti (post-crucifixion Jesus) is the the physical manifestation of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (God).”

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Brain dead bob is arguing against God and his argument against God is that he holds to the FSM but as the FSM does not really work for him then he is now defining the FSM as a timeless, spaceless and immaterial being in order to argue against a timeless, spaceless and immaterial being.

    Brain Dead Bob, Why are you so stupid?

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    Y, you are simply going in circles of doubling down in the face of having been pointed to the problems with your whole approach. For example, having been corrected on naive falsificationism, you have circled back. FYI, the pivotal issue on knowledge claims is warrant, not falsificationism; and with the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the issues of warrant — with points of potential falsification in principle (just, the warrant is there that needs to be addressed ) — have been put on the table, just ignored or unduly dismissed. If you want to further debate a tangential point at best, I have already given a reasonable option. I would advise you not to wear out your welcome. KF

  53. 53
    LarTanner says:

    Jack @33,

    I understand you don’t care, and I’m not surprised at your reaction. Nevertheless, let’s go through your response and see if you recognize yourself in the mirror.

    I don’t care what you agree with, You’re a leftist.

    Do you feel this hostile toward everyone who is “left” or “too left” for you?

    Surely, some people may be more “right” politically than you. Are you equally hostile to their politics? Are you comfortable being left of someone?

    I don’t see why your presumption of my political leanings should cause you to respond like a dickhead.

    Indoctrination by lefty professors is not learning.

    I agree, but that’s not what we’re talking about. I give you a specific example to illustrate a point, and you whip up a sweeping statement that’s so stupid it’s only good for looking at and mocking.

    Liberals deny reality because of their bias, When a man puts on women’s clothes and then starts calling himself Caitlyn then that is all it takes to confuse liberals about Biology.

    This is another immature statement. Aren’t we past this sort of demonizing? We live in a world where people have different views of things, and these views go all across the political spectrum. I imagine some of your closest friends and relatives have different opinions than you on some topics.

    So, chill the hell out. Obviously something about Bruce/Caitlin Jenner’s gender self-identification bothers you at a deep level. Is there some personal reason you have for reacting so strongly about it? Does it violate your sense of order or something? I know you don’t want a serious, thoughtful conversation, but thinking about such questions — just so you know — is how adult people communicate.

    Liberals reject reality and care about their feelings before reality.

    Yes, yes. Your pronouncements on what liberals think and feel are very authoritative. [/sarcasm]

    You seem to me like the online version of that military commander from the movie Good Morning Vietnam, which is to say you come across as also being in dire need naughtily sexual gratification.

  54. 54
    yaschobob says:

    @JJ

    This is the brilliance of the FSM argument. Literally *any* argument a Christian can use to defend their beliefs can be applied to the FSM as well. Literally.

    Christians tend to have a hard time coping with that, so literally, every single time, they start calling FSM people “stupid.”

    What they don’t realize is that if your belief system can be so accurately parodied by the notion of a flying spaghetti monster, you should really start to question your belief system.

  55. 55
    yaschobob says:

    >you are simply going in circles of doubling down in the face of having been pointed to the problems with your whole approach.

    There is no problem with my whole approach. You can’t show me 2. You can show me 2 apples, and you can show me “2”, but you can’t show me 2.

    >For example, having been corrected on naive falsificationism

    You didn’t correct anything. You made a long winded excuse that can be summarized “we can’t falsify the notion of a God, therefor, we should believe in it anyways!”

    Literally, that’s your entire argument summed up in one parody.

  56. 56
    Jack Jones says:

    @52

    Kf, Bob in his attempted mockery is defining spaghetti prior to the crucifixion of Christ as being timeless, spaceless and immaterial, he is doing that to argue against a being that is timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

    You can’t but help laugh at bob.

    hahahaha

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    LT, the left vs right political debate is tangential to the purpose of this thread, which addresses undue imposition in a curriculum for 12 year old students and directly relevant issues. If you wish to pursue it elsewhere I will allow a link. KF

    PS: I will say that the confusion in the face of a man and father pretending to be a woman does not speak of a healthy civilisation.

  58. 58
    Jack Jones says:

    @54 “This is the brilliance of the FSM argument. Literally *any* argument a Christian can use to defend their beliefs can be applied to the FSM as well. Literally.”

    You think your contradiction is brilliant?

    hahahahaha

    You have shown your stupidity and what a failure you are, that is all.

    hahahaha

  59. 59
    yaschobob says:

    @58

    That’s the best you got? Insults?

    > is defining spaghetti

    No, I’m not defining spaghetti as being timeless, I am defining the flying spaghetti monster as being timeless. The spaghetti we’re familiar with just the physical manifestation that the FSM gives us to understand him.

    Kind of like how God is called a “he”. Does god really have an X and a Y chromosome?

  60. 60
    Jack Jones says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen.

    bob is trying to argue against the idea of there being a timeless, spaceless and immaterial Creator by defining spaghetti as timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

    That’s because his FSM analogy is a massive flop.

    hahahahaha

    Calling God “spaghetti” does not do away with the need for a God, hahahaha

    He has to provide an alternative that is not timeless, spaceless and immaterial and that failed so poor bob is now just using the term spaghetti for a timeless, spaceless and immaterial being, which is self defeating because that is what he was arguing against in the first place.

    His renaming God as spaghetti is not showing his position holding up, All he has shown is that a material cause for the universe fails.

    Poor bob, What a fool he is.

    hahahaha

  61. 61
    Jack Jones says:

    @88

    “So, chill the hell out. Obviously something about Bruce/Caitlin Jenner’s gender self-identification bothers you at a deep level.”

    This is called a non sequitur. I just used it as an illustration of how liberals deny reality.

    As you are a liberal then it might be difficult for you to understand that.

    “Yes, yes. Your pronouncements on what liberals think and feel are very authoritative.”

    It’s based on observation.

    “[/sarcasm]”

    You’re a loopy lefty so your sarcasm does not really matter.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ, please tone down personal characterisations. KF

  63. 63
    Jack Jones says:

    OK KF

    These people aren’t here to argue politely though, Look at bob, he came here trying to ridicule with the fsm analogy which failed, so I just ridiculed him back.

    He showed that he is not here for respectful debate.

    LT made the laughable and false claim of reality having a liberal bias when what is observable is that liberals deny reality.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    Y, the FSM parody fails, first by putting up what is material and made of parts, thus inherently contingent. Such is categorically distinct from the relevant class of being. Next, you seem to now want something to be/not be spaghetti to suit your rhetorical purposes, a mark of an argument riddled with ad hoc and contradictory assertions. It may play to those only seeking talking points of mockery and sneering dismissal, but that only reveals the sophomoric attitude problem at work. Which is directly related to the sort of tactics that pushed what has no proper place there into a curriculum for 12 year olds. And, this is another case of circling back to a corrected point. KF

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ, generally one fights fire with water. KF

  66. 66
    yaschobob says:

    @JJ

    I’m not sure how this fails. You called god a “He.” Does this mean that god has male chromosomes that are timeless and spaceless? “He” is just a term people use to describe god in ways that they can identify with. The FSM is the same way. The FM god existed, decided it liked spaghetti, then created spaghetti, and then told us to call it the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This is all in the books of the Church of the FSM.

    It seems quite clear to pretty much everyone here that you can’t get around how accurate this analogy is, so you’ve decided to start insulting.

    Again: if your worldview can be so accurately parodied by a Flying Spaghetti Monster, shouldn’t you start to question your worldview?

  67. 67
    Jack Jones says:

    “I’m not sure how this fails.”

    You’re clearly not sure. Go back and read the arguments that you made and then the responses,if you cannot understand how you failed then you are either in denial or you are not cut out for arguing about this subject.

    KF has also more than adequately shown the failure of your argument.

    I suggest that you learn the lessons and come back with better arguments.

    Argument ad nauseum with the failed fsm idea is not going to be entertained.

  68. 68
    yaschobob says:

    >Next, you seem to now want something to be/not be spaghetti to suit your rhetorical purposes, a mark of an argument riddled with ad hoc and contradictory assertions

    Isn’t the bible riddled with metaphors and fables so that the people that it was written for can understand it?

    I don’t see how this is any different.

  69. 69
    yaschobob says:

    >You’re clearly not sure. Go back and read the arguments that you made and then the responses,if you cannot understand how you failed then you are either in denial or you are not cut out for arguing about this subject.

    I’ve read them. The fact that we call our deity the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” does not mean spaghetti came before it.

    You call your god a “He”, but certainly you’re not arguing that your god is made up of XY chromosomes, right?

  70. 70
    Jack Jones says:

    “I’ve read them”

    Then you clearly do not understand them or you are in denial.

    Like I said in 67.

    Your argument ad nauseam with the failed fsm idea is not going to be entertained.

    Atheists have played that game for too long with people when they have failed in argumentation.

    You repeating your fallacious and failed argument over and over does not make a logical and successful argument.

    Spend some time reflecting on your failed argument and when you have something better in the future then it may be worthy of discussion.

    You really were on a hiding to nothing with your sophomoric fsm argument.

    You tried and you failed but thanks for playing.

  71. 71
    Mapou says:

    Don’t go easy on yaschobob. Show him no respect by giving him a taste of his own medicine. He’s just a dirt-worshipping moron, that’s all.

    Is it just me?

  72. 72
    yaschobob says:

    As I suspected, you wouldn’t be able to refute anything I’ve said or answer any questions. Instead, you just want to simply state “FSM has been defeated!”

    You goofed up your argument when you tried to argue literalism and then turn around and call god “he.” You know this, I know this, KF knows this, and pretty much everyone else here knows it.

    Again: if your beliefs can be so accurately parodied by the notion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster, one should re-think their belief system.

  73. 73
    Jack Jones says:

    “As I suspected, you wouldn’t be able to refute anything”

    Your lack of understanding only entails your lack of understanding.

    “you just want to simply state “FSM has been defeated!”

    Incorrect, I demonstrated it and KF demonstrated it too.

    Now.. You have nothing but argument ad nauseam because you do not have anything new.

    When your fsm parody flopped so spectacularly then you really should get better arguments.

    In fact, you showed that your argument for a material cause failed and ended up contradicting your own argument.

    You were debunked and now you have nothing but your black knight approach.

    You need to come back with something better. Your argument ad nauseum is thus rejected.

    You failed. You need to get over it. Your faith of a material cause for the universe ended up a spectacular flop, You need to rethink your faith.

  74. 74
    rhampton7 says:

    Q: Is the view that there is a God little more than a poorly supported, culturally induced commonplace notion?

    More true than not. Historical humanity has entertained many differing ideas about God/Gods across cultures and time. One of the latest wrinkles, and one that is spreading globally, comes from Mormons:

    The Father, Elohim, is called the Father because he is the literal father of the spirits of mortals (Heb. 12:9). This paternity is not allegorical. All individual human spirits were begotten (not created from nothing or made) by the Father in a premortal state, where they lived and were nurtured by Heavenly Parents. These spirit children of the Father come to earth to receive mortal bodies; there is a literal family relationship among humankind. Joseph Smith taught, “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves” (TPJS, p. 343). Gods and humans represent a single divine lineage, the same species of being, although they and he are at different stages of progress. This doctrine is stated concisely in a well-known couplet by President Lorenzo Snow: “As man now is, God once was: as God now is, man may be” (see Godhood). This principle is clearly demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ, a God who became mortal, and yet a God like whom mortals may become (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18). But the maxim is true of the Father as well. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret” (TPJS, p. 345). Thus, the Father became the Father at some time before “the beginning” as humans know it, by experiencing a mortality similar to that experienced on earth.

  75. 75
    yaschobob says:

    @ JJ

    I actually have plenty of new stuff, but you won’t actually answer any questions because you know answering the questions defeats your own argument.

    You called god “he.” Does this mean that god is a literal “he” with XY chromosomes, or is it a metaphorical “he” used as a literary device so the readers at the time can more easily understand the message?

  76. 76
    Jack Jones says:

    @64 KF “Y, the FSM parody fails, first by putting up what is material and made of parts, thus inherently contingent. Such is categorically distinct from the relevant class of being. Next, you seem to now want something to be/not be spaghetti to suit your rhetorical purposes, a mark of an argument riddled with ad hoc and contradictory assertions. It may play to those only seeking talking points of mockery and sneering dismissal, but that only reveals the sophomoric attitude problem at work. Which is directly related to the sort of tactics that pushed what has no proper place there into a curriculum for 12 year olds. And, this is another case of circling back to a corrected point. KF”

    bob failed spectacularly, if the failed fsm argument was his best materialistic argument then you would think that he would rethink his faith. It shows with his doubling down that his faith is based on emotion and not reason.

  77. 77
    yaschobob says:

    @76

    >Next, you seem to now want something to be/not be a “he” to suit your rhetorical purposes, a mark of an argument riddled with ad hoc and contradictory assertions.

    FTFY.

  78. 78
    Jack Jones says:

    @77

    “@76

    “Next, you seem to now want something to be/not be a “he” to suit your rhetorical purposes, a mark of an argument riddled with ad hoc and contradictory assertions.”

    FTFY.”

    Where did I say anything about “not being a he” in comment 76?

    All you are showing is that you are making things up because you are a failure.

    Why do you have to lie to cover up your failure?

    Now….Redefining the spaghetti monster as being an immaterial being in order to argue against an immaterial being.

    That is stupid.

    hahahaha

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    RH7, the issue is not, whether people have had diverse worldviews or interpretations of God but whether the God of ethical theism is little more than an ill informed notion. The answer to which is, the question pushed into the curriculum was improper, loaded, manipulative and ill informed given evidence issues and history. KF

  80. 80
    yaschobob says:

    @JJ

    So you admit that god has XY chromosomes and is thus a literal he (not timeless and spaceless). Got it.

  81. 81
    mike1962 says:

    yaschobob: Scientifically, that’s a contradiction.

    It’s not a contradiction, it is simply not scientific. Science is a useful method humans have devised to make models and predictions based on those models. But science can’t tell us everything. I can crack open a nut, eat the contents, show you the shell later, but cannot prove scientifically the shell ever contained what I claim I ate. You can have no scientifically based access to the truth the way I do about that fact. Your judgement of my credibility will have to be based on non-falsifiable, non-scientific criteria. You cannot know the truth of it scientifically.

    1) Absolutely. 2) People hallucinate and make mistakes. All. The. Time. 3) Experiments must be repeatable for all scientists.

    And sometimes people experience non-repeatable things and accurately relate the experience. In which case, the scientific method is of no assistance.

    If someone were to make a serious claim about witnessing the FSM, one might investigate various things in order to ascertain the credibility of the witness. For example, do they seem sane in all areas of their life? Were there multiple witnesses experiencing the same thing concurrently? Are there any likely motives, such as financial, that might tain their witness? Sure, you can adopt the position that you simply won’t accept anything whatsoever that is not subject to scientific falsification. But you won’t last long in the world. There are truths that you cannot reach via scientific inference. If you are unsure if you let the cat outside, a scientific inference cannot help you. You have to get up and go look for the cat. Or ask someone who may have witnessed it.

  82. 82
    Jack Jones says:

    “So you admit that god has XY chromosomes and is thus a literal he (not timeless and spaceless).”

    I have made no admission of anything in the comment 76 you replied to, I am asking you to show me where I said anything about God not being a He in comment 76. I made no comment about it.

    Where in comment 76 did I say the words you attributed?

    try again.

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    Y, you are now setting up and knocking over strawmen in the teeth of correction. It seems you need to humble yourself enough and get enough respect for others to take time to properly understand what ethical theists mean by God. (Indeed your suggestion of chromosomes implies you still do not understand the issue of a composite being being necessarily contingent and thus in a categorically different mode of being from God.) I suggest you do a little study on the idea of God and read some basic systematic theology before further exposing your lack of relevant background. KF

  84. 84
    mike1962 says:

    yaschobob: So you admit that god has XY chromosomes and is thus a literal he (not timeless and spaceless).

    Neither English nor Hebrew has a neuter personal pronoun. One could use “it” in reference to God, but to most people, “it” doesn’t seem to do justice to God’s personal nature.

  85. 85
    yaschobob says:

    @JJ

    Hey, I’m just going by what you said when you called god “he.” Since you’re assuming “spaghetti” is meant to be 100% literal, that I must then take “he” to be 100% literal, therefor, you believe god has an X and a Y chromosome, thus, god isn’t spaceless and timeless and is made of material things.

    The FSM books actually address how it became made of spaghetti. It existed before spaghetti, but decided it wanted to create pasta, so it made a pasta body for it to occupy. Then, since it wanted people to worship it, sent prophets to Earth to spread the Gospel of the Pasta. We know this is true because man-kind makes and eats pasta, which is exactly what it wanted.

  86. 86

    KF,
    I looks like this thread has exposed the irrational basis of Materialistic Atheism big time — the hatred is palpable coming from the FSM (I had to look it up) crowd towards the world of Biblical faith.

    I would like to return to what I think was the focus of your OP — the explicit and underlying Christian faith of the founders of this nation — and for many years following, the faith that guided this “shining city on a hill.”

    I’ve been noticing a pair of parallel tracks:

    1) The track that purposefully ignores and perverts the faith based history of science and pretends that science began with the birth of one Charles Darwin, or something to that effect. Truth is that there would be no modern science without those early giants of faith that took their inspiration from the belief that the ordered intelligibility of nature and the universe was placed there by the God of the Bible, and they set out to discover and understand that intelligibility .
    The bed rock foundation of science is the Bible — no, we don’t teach algebra, chemistry or physics from the Bible, but the bed rock inspiration of those disciplines is from faith.

    2)The second track, and the one you speak of so eloquently, is the faith based foundation of this nation called the United States of America. The Atheists such as the FSM crowd and those at places such as NCSE purposefully ignore and pervert the faith based history of this nation, and pretend that the history of this nation began in the early 1900s when again, Mr. Darwin showed the world the Flying Spaghetti Monster as the true foundation of the nation.

    As in the case of the history of science, The bed rock foundation of the Constitution and this nation is the Bible — no, we don’t permit the formal establishment of a state religion, but the bed rock inspiration of the Constitution and this nation is from faith.

  87. 87
    yaschobob says:

    @mike

    exactly, so “he” isn’t meant to be taken literally, thus, it is acceptable to use literary devices to refer to the creator in such a way that is appeasing to the masses. In either capacity, spaghetti is synonymous with he.

  88. 88
    Jack Jones says:

    @85

    “Hey, I’m just going by what you said when you called god “he.”

    You attributed words to me in comment 76 that I did not say.

    You said “@76

    Next, you seem to now want something to be/not be a “he” to suit your rhetorical purposes, a mark of an argument riddled with ad hoc and contradictory assertions. ”

    I made no such comment in 76.

    @69 “You called god a “He.”

    No I didn’t. However mike and KF more than adequately dealt with your problem with the usage of that term.

    KF and Mike more than adequately dealt with your objection about the use of the term “He” however and you are doubling down.

    Still waiting for you to show in comment 76 where I said what you claim.

    “The FSM books actually address how it became made of spaghetti. It existed before spaghetti, but decided it wanted to create pasta, so it made a pasta body for it to occupy. Then, since it wanted people to worship it, sent prophets to Earth to spread the Gospel of the Pasta. We know this is true because man-kind makes and eats pasta, which is exactly what it wanted.”

    That is called argument ad nauseam, Arguing a failed argument that we have already debunked.

    You argued a failed argument and are arguing ad nauseum which is a logical fallacy.

    You attributed words to me on comment 76 that I never made.

    You have a problem with the use of the term “he” Both Mike and KF more than adequately dealt with that but you seem to think ignoring and arguing ad nauseum is a replacement for your failed argument.

    You need to come back with something better if you want to be taken seriously.

    If you have to argue ad nauseam and strawman and make up things that were not said by me which you have done, then that just shows the failure of your position.

    Still waiting for you to come up with something better than your argument ad nauseum with the fsm.

    Try again.

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    Y, you are now spamming the thread with foolishness in the teeth of cogent correction you refuse to heed. And in the face of a suggestion that if you want a discussion on matters at best tangential to the thread once they have gone beyond a cycle or two of response. Enough has been pointed out on FSM for a serious person to see that sophomoric mockery and parodies fail bigtime. (U/D: For more kindly cf here in context: http://www.truefreethinker.com.....l-part-2-4 ) If you are serious, you have been directed to a list of topics where you need to do some fairly serious worldviews repair and remedial work. What it looks like now is setting up and knocking down strawmen for purposes of distractive mockery over and over again, often the very same strawmen. That is not a sign of a serious interlocutor. Do you want us to begin to treat you as a troll? KF

  90. 90
    joehalfgallon says:

    KF: “Y, you are now setting up and knocking over strawmen in the teeth of correction.”

    I don’t think “correction” means what you think it means. Y disagrees with your argument. Your opinion is not a correction, it remains an opinion.

    It seems you need to humble yourself enough and get enough respect for others to take time to properly understand what ethical theists mean by God.”

    Respect is a two-way street KF. It is something you earn, not something you are entitled to. You will not get respect when you simply dismiss those who disagree with you as trolls, or by condescending to everyone you disagree with.

    But, to get back on topic. I have read a lot about the controversy surrounding this school and the teacher. Do I think that the lesson was misguided? Yes. Do I think that it was an intentional effort to undermine religion? No. It was a lesson on critical thinking. The answer to “God exists” can not be “fact”. It can only be “Opinion”, or possibly “Common Assertion”. I know that you disagree with this, but that, again, is opinion. Opinions can be correct, but how do you prove that God is fact? You can’t. As such, her existance remains something less than fact.

    The teacher’s mistake was in mentioning God in a public school, an area that is supposed to be religiously neutral. And she has been reprimanded. A good Christian would forgive her poor judgment. Why can’t you?

  91. 91
    Jack Jones says:

    @90 JHG aka William Spearshake aka brian etc says “I don’t think “correction” means what you think it means. Y disagrees with your argument. Your opinion is not a correction, it remains an opinion.”

    We are not talking about disagreement about an argument because the thing being attacked was not being argued by KF. It was a strawman.

    Because you do not recognize it does not mean it wasn’t a correction William.

  92. 92
    joehalfgallon says:

    JJ, shhh. The adults are trying to talk.

  93. 93
    Jack Jones says:

    William’s sock account said “The adults are trying to talk.”

    Indeed they are, You should go and play with your toys because you are not big enough to talk with the adults.

  94. 94
    bornagain says:

    The funny thing is, although atheists don’t actually believe in the FSM, that without God atheists are forced to believe that the FSM, as well as fluffy pink unicorns, are actually real in some universe:

    Why Most Atheists Believe in Pink Unicorns – May 2014
    Excerpt: Given an infinite amount of time, anything that is logically possible(11) will eventually happen. So, given an infinite number of universes being created in (presumably) an infinite amount of time, you are not only guaranteed to get your universe but every other possible universe. This means that every conceivable universe exists, from ones that consist of nothing but a giant black hole, to ones that are just like ours and where someone just like you is reading a blog post just like this, except it’s titled: “Why most atheists believe in blue unicorns.”
    By now I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll say it anyway. Since we know that horses are possible, and that pink animals are possible, and that horned animals are possible, then there is no logical reason why pink unicorns are not possible entities. Ergo, if infinite universes exist, then pink unicorns must necessarily exist. For an atheist to appeal to multiverse theory to deny the need of a designer infers that he believes in that theory more than a theistically suggestive single universe. And to believe in the multiverse means that one is saddled with everything that goes with it, like pink unicorns. In fact, they not only believe in pink unicorns, but that someone just like them is riding on one at this very moment, and who believes that elephants, giraffes, and zebra are merely childish fairytales.
    Postscript
    While it may be amusing to imagine atheists riding pink unicorns, it should be noted that the belief in them does not logically invalidate atheism. There theoretically could be multiple universes and there theoretically could be pink unicorns. However, there is a more substantial problem for the atheist if he wants to believe in them and he wants to remain an atheist. Since, as I said, anything can happen in the realm of infinities, one of those possibilities is the production of a being of vast intelligence and power. Such a being would be as a god to those like us, and could perhaps breach the boundaries of the multiverse to, in fact, be a “god” to this universe. This being might even have the means to create its own universe and embody the very description of the God of Christianity (or any other religion that the atheist otherwise rejects). It seems the atheist, in affirming the multiverse in order to avoid the problem of fine-tuning, finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. The further irony is that somewhere, in the great wide world of infinities, the atheist’s doppelganger is going to war against an army of theists riding on the horns of a great pink beast known to his tribesman as “The Saddlehorn Dilemma.”
    https://pspruett.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/why-most-atheists-believe-in-pink-unicorns/

    Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing On Rainbows – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-xWhG4UU_Y

    The epistemological failure inherent in atheistic materialism is further borne out by the fine turned 1 in 10^10^123 initial state of entropy for the universe:

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of the Universe? – Dr. Craig (observer selection effect vs. Boltzmann Brains) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9aXduPfuA

    Big Brain Theory: Have Cosmologists Lost Theirs? – January 2008
    Excerpt: it’s hard for nature to make a whole universe. It’s much easier to make fragments of one, like planets, yourself maybe in a spacesuit or even — in the most absurd and troubling example — a naked brain floating in space.,, Alan Guth, a cosmologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,,, pointed out that some calculations result in an infinite number of free-floating brains for every normal brain, making it “infinitely unlikely for us to be normal brains.” Nature tends to do what is easiest, from the standpoint of energy and probability. And so these fragments — in particular the brains — would appear far more frequently than real full-fledged universes, or than us.,,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01.....&8dpc

    A Matter of Considerable Gravity: On the Purported Detection of Gravitational Waves and Cosmic Inflation – Bruce Gordon – April 4, 2014
    Excerpt: Thirdly, at least two paradoxes result from the inflationary multiverse proposal that suggest our place in such a multiverse must be very special: the “Boltzmann Brain Paradox” and the “Youngness Paradox.” In brief, if the inflationary mechanism is autonomously operative in a way that generates a multiverse, then with probability indistinguishable from one (i.e., virtual necessity) the typical observer in such a multiverse is an evanescent thermal fluctuation with memories of a past that never existed (a Boltzmann brain) rather than an observer of the sort we take ourselves to be. Alternatively, by a second measure, post-inflationary universes should overwhelmingly have just been formed, which means that our existence in an old universe like our own has a probability that is effectively zero (i.e., it’s nigh impossible). So if our universe existed as part of such a multiverse, it would not be at all typical, but rather infinitely improbable (fine-tuned) with respect to its age and compatibility with stable life-forms.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....84001.html

    Moreover, as if the epistemological failure inherent in the atheistic conjecture of multiverses was not enough by itself to refute atheistic materialism, the atheistic materialists also, in their denial of God, end up literally ‘loosing their minds’:

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Thus the atheist, in denying God, and thus denying his own mind and free will, ends up forsaking rationality altogether.

  95. 95
    yaschobob says:

    >Enough has been pointed out on FSM for a serious person to see that sophomoric mockery and parodies fail bigtime.

    List them then. The one you already listed (spaceless and timeless) doesn’t apply, because FSM is the just pasta incarnation of the deity. The deity came before the pasta.

    The TFT link you linked to makes this fallacy as well:

    “it raises an even bigger problem than it solves namely: who spaghettied the spaghetti?”

    Again, this fails because like how your god created human bodies and then used a human body to present itself, our god created pasta and then used pasta to present itself.

    I’m sorry, but this critique of FSM doesn’t really hold up. It’s ignorant of the FSM texts.

    I’d be willing to read more “criticisms”, but in general, if the first point the author tries to make is completely wrong, I stop reading the rest.

    I have to go for now, but will return in a few hours. If you have more criticisms against FSM, I’d like to discuss them in a non-insulting manner.

    @JJ

    I addressed the spurious use of “he.” If it’s literal, then God is not spaceless and timeless. If it’s not literal and metaphorical, then spaghetti can be just as metaphorical. Fair is fair.

  96. 96
    Jack Jones says:

    @95 “I addressed the spurious use of “he.”

    Because you do not like the use of a term does not entail that it is “spurious”

    I never used the term however, I may have quoted somebody who did in an earlier post.

    Furthemore, KF and Mike showed you the sense in which people use the term.

    “then spaghetti can be just as metaphorical. Fair is fair.”

    Oh you redefined spaghetti as timeless, spaceless and immaterial, which defeats your argument against that which is timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

    The argument that the fsm is a material being failed, but then to argue that it is timeless, spaceless and immaterial fails because you are just using the term instead of God which would be timeless, spaceless and immaterial, that defeats your whole purpose.

    So your analogy to try and argue against a non material cause for the universe falls flat on its face.

    Now….. Your argument for a materialistic explanation fails.

    Your faith in “infinite finiteness” failed not just because it is a “tautological oxymoron” or because it is impossible to have an infinite amount of past natural events prior to now, but because you had to redefine something material in terms of that which you were arguing against.

    You ran out of bullets and have been repeating the same failed argument.

    You can keep doing it but it shows you have run out of ideas.

    Hey but if you want to believe in the tautological oxymoron of “infinite finitness” with your belief in a never ending series of natural events then that is up to you. How you believe we reached this moment in time with your faith of never ending natural events prior to now must be very strange indeed.

    But you are welcome to have faith in the tautological oxymoron of “infinite finiteness”

    Why do you hold such a funny belief?

  97. 97
    rhampton7 says:

    KF,

    I don’t believe you can speak accurately of a “God of ethical theism” precisely because “Historical humanity has entertained many differing ideas about God/Gods across cultures and time.”

  98. 98
    LarTanner says:

    @96 – “Oh you redefined spaghetti as timeless, spaceless and immaterial, which defeats your argument against that which is timeless, spaceless and immaterial.”

    Perhaps he was using “spaghetti” in the Aristotelian-Thomistic-classical sense, in which the term is analogic. As mere mortals, we cannot conceive the maximal spaghetti-ness of FSM, so we use our word to allow us the smallest conception of the divine attribute.

  99. 99
    Jack Jones says:

    @98 Lartanner “As mere mortals, we cannot conceive”

    con·ceive
    k?n?s?v/
    verb “form or devise (a plan or idea) in the mind”

    Nobody has seen your mind and ideas in the mind cannot be seen either, As materialists then you really shouldn’t be talking about conceiving at all.

  100. 100
    joehalfgallon says:

    There are a few ultimate questions still to be answered with respect to the FSM.

    1) el dente or well cooked?
    2) salt in the water or not?
    3) Parmesan or naked?
    4) rinse with cold water, or hot?

    As with Christianity, there are stlll many questions to be answered.

  101. 101
    LarTanner says:

    As materialists then you really shouldn’t be talking about conceiving at all.

    Thanks for explaining what people ‘should’ or ‘should not’ talk about. You seemed to understand my sentences, however, and that’s the important thing.

    The point was that there was a reasonable usage of “spaghetti” to denote something timeless, space-less, and immaterial.

    Maybe yaschobob could have helped you by using capital-S “Spaghetti,” as some capitalize the “g” in God to indicate not a god embodied in wood or flesh but one apprehended in the mind. I know you don’t think I should use such a term as mind, but there it is anyway.

  102. 102
    Mung says:

    TrollAndAHalf:

    As with Christianity, there are stlll many questions to be answered.

    So? Go away troll.

  103. 103
    Jack Jones says:

    Larry@101 “Thanks for explaining what people ‘should’ or ‘should not’ talk about.”

    You can be a walking contradiction if you want to be. I will point out your inconsistency though.

    “The point was that there was a reasonable usage of “spaghetti” to denote something timeless, space-less, and immaterial.”

    As a materialist/Atheist then you don’t believe in a timeless, space-less immaterial being that created the universe.

    So if you think being a walking contradiction makes you reasonable then go ahead.

    “I know you don’t think I should use such a term as mind, but there it is anyway.”

    You can be a walking contradiction then that is up to you Larry.

    I will point it out though.

    Why are you such a walking contradiction Larry?

  104. 104
    LarTanner says:

    Jack, off of your earlier comment @103: I appreciate your tolerance of my being a walking contradiction!

    Now Jack, off to the more serious point. If yaschobob was seeking a substantive critique and rebuttal of the FSM — yet one that would not apply as well to a “God” — then that critique/rebuttal has not come, at least to yaschobob’s satisfaction.

    Jack, off of these points we might see FSM in the same vein as Russell’s teapot or the “Evil God” concept of Stephen Law (I think it’s his argument). The shaft and thrust of these arguments have an earlier echo in the critique of Anselm’s Ontological Argument, where it was shown that the Argument could be made as well about the perfect island and such.

    And Jack, off of these ideas the realization should sink in like a tea bag dunking repeatedly in an open cup of waiting, warm water: Are these philosophical arguments for a supreme and ideal being anything more than self-contained, self-referential conceit?

  105. 105
    joehalfgallon says:

    Jack, off of these points…”

    And Jack, off of these ideas…”

    Too subtle? Do you think he got the point?

  106. 106
    Jack Jones says:

    Larry said “Now Jack, off to the more serious point. If yaschobob was seeking a substantive critique and rebuttal of the FSM — yet one that would not apply as well to a “God” — then that critique/rebuttal has not come, at least to yaschobob’s satisfaction.”

    Because he is not happy then that does not entail that he has not been rebutted.

    He has to redefine his argument in terms of that which he is arguing against in trying to refute what he is arguing against.

    It is self defeating.

    You wouldn’t understand that.

    It shows thew weakness of his position. That a walking contradiction like you supports him is hardly of any use.

    “Jack, off of these points we might see FSM in the same vein as Russell’s teapot or the “Evil God” concept of Stephen Law (I think it’s his argument). ”

    The vein is that it is a failed sophomoric argument.

    Hey but you are welcome to endorse it. It is funny when Atheists/Materialists take positions that they do not hold in order to try and argue against something they do not believe in, It just shows the weakness of materialism.

    “Are these philosophical arguments for a supreme and ideal being anything more than self-contained, self-referential conceit”

    Nothing wrong with Philosophy, Philosophy means a love of wisdom, You could try and dismiss philosophy because you may hate logic and wisdom and that is why you are a walking contradiction.

    Your faith however is not consistent with either logic or science.

    Now…..if you want to believe in never ending natural events prior to this time then you are most welcome, Your faith in the tautological oxymoron of “infinite finiteness” is neither based on logic or science.

    Now…Why are you such a walking contradiction Larry?

  107. 107
    Jack Jones says:

    “Jack, off of these points…”

    “And Jack, off of these ideas…”

    JHG aka William Spearshake etc said “Too subtle? Do you think he got the point?”

    He can do it all he wants but it is not really going to help the walking contradiction. Just like you can come back on this forum with lots of sock accounts but it doesn’t help you.

    You have more socks than Walmart, that doesn’t help you here though.

    hahaha

  108. 108
    joehalfgallon says:

    JJ: “He can do it all he wants. Just like you can come back on this forum with lots of sock accounts but it doesn’t help you.”

    You can keep making this claim if you want. I guess that lying is something you do without any sense of guilt. Thankfully, most of us are not sociopaths.

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    I warned about hijacking threads of discussion, took time to give pointers of correction and even link where there are discussions of this sort of sophomoric parody, e.g. http://www.truefreethinker.com.....l-part-2-4 (as in: this sort of foolishness has long since been corrected, that which is made of parts is essentially composite thus contingent and cannot be a necessary being [a major feature of the idea of God in relevant Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion, both significant academic disciplines that the mocking objectors were pointed to but willfully ignored showing malicious threadjacking intent and incorrigibility in the face of an important issue on the table], and to try to redefine components as also not components on silly excuses of comparison to the necessary analogical use of language to address the abstract is not only to abuse language shamelessly but to inject outright contradictions thus explosion into real meaninglessness and necessary falsification of the FSM parody . . . but above those who should know better are only too willing to push the rhetoric of mockery at the cost of their own integrity). I stated that as the focal topic is of a certain importance, carry discussion elsewhere if that is wanted so desperately. To no avail, as I see after coming back hours later. It is clear that we are not dealing with the reasonable but trollish misconduct. Indeed including thinly veiled vulgarities for a thread explicitly about 12 year old children and abuse of the privilege of curriculum development and implementation — a mark of the grossest contempt and disrespect. Now, it is a longstanding education principle that the disruptive should not be allowed to derail those who are there for genuine learning. I will now terminate in-thread discussion until this series reaches a culminating point, also flagging the reason, insistent trollish misconduct. KF, thread owner.

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