Intelligent Design

Determinism for Thee but Not for Me

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A professor sums up a lecture on the evolutionary explanation for why religion has been ubiquitous in every human culture:

Professor:  So, in summary, every human culture going back thousands of years has been religious because religion is either itself an adaptive behavior or it is a spandrel, a byproduct of the evolution of some other trait upon which natural selection acted.  Under the first view, religion itself was adaptive, perhaps because it enhances cooperation and cohesion within groups, and group membership in turn provides benefits which can enhance an individual’s chances for survival and reproduction.  Under the second view, perhaps religion evolved as a byproduct of adaptive selection of some other trait, although it is not clear what that other trait might have been.

Student:  Thank you for that explanation professor.  I wonder if I might ask a question.

Professor:  Of course.

Student:  Thank you.  If I understand correctly, the evolutionary process you described is fundamentally deterministic, and religion arose in all human cultures as a result of that purely deterministic process.

Professor:  Yes, that’s correct. 

Student:  But I don’t understand.  As sophisticated modern people, we understand that religious beliefs about supernatural beings and a spirit world and whatnot are false.  Why did evolution select for a false belief? 

Professor:  Excellent question.  Yes, it is true that evolution selected for a false belief in this case.  You see, evolution selects for survival value, not for truth.  Evolution may well select for a totally false belief system if that false belief system confers a survival benefit, and in the case of religion it did exactly that.  Deterministic evolutionary processes in a sense foisted a false belief on the overwhelming majority of humans throughout thousands of years of history because that false belief system made them more fit in the Darwinian sense of that word.

Student:  So we know for a certain fact that deterministic evolutionary forces shape our belief systems.  And we know for a certain fact that any particular belief system may be, to use your word, foisted on us by evolution even if it is false.  This is fascinating.  Until very recently, almost everyone’s most cherished and strongly held beliefs were exactly of the false-belief-foisted-on-them-by-evolution variety.

Professor:  Yes, that is indeed fascinating. 

Student:  It is also deeply troubling.

Professor:  What are you talking about?

Student:  For us moderns, especially the elites like those who teach at and attend this university, scientific materialism has largely supplanted religious belief as the foundation of our outlook on the world. 

Professor:  Yes, that is true, but I have no idea why that would be troubling to you.

Student:  That’s not the troubling part.  What troubles me is that if we know that our modern belief system is caused, like everything else, by purely deterministic forces, how can we know our belief system is not just as false as the religious beliefs we scoff at?  How do we know that evolution has not foisted yet another false belief system on us, in this case scientific materialism, because it is adaptive even though it is false?

Professor:  Let not your heart be troubled.  We can know that scientific materialism is true because we have sound evidentiary reasons for believing it. 

Student:  I don’t understand.  I know Christians who say they have good reasons based on their exhaustive review of the evidence to believe what they believe. 

Professor:  Yes, yes.  But they have deluded themselves.  Their evidence is not as good as the evidence we have that supports science and materialism. 

Student:  I think you missed the point I was making.  You said that our belief systems are the result of purely deterministic processes.  Either that is true or it is not.  If it is true, then evolution forces us to believe in scientific materialism just as it formerly forced theists to believe in religion.  The very essence of determinism is that it does not allow us to choose based on any ground, including an evaluation of the evidence.  And this is what troubles me.  I read one of the Christian philosophers.  He said that if my thoughts are utterly determined by material forces, why should I believe them to be true?  And after listening to your lecture today, I begin to take his point.  Why indeed should we prefer one deterministically caused belief over another?  After all, we say that we know that throughout history, the vast majority of people held a false deterministically caused belief.

Professor:  You aren’t listening to me.  We have good reasons to believe what we do.  Religious bumpkins don’t.

Student:  No, you aren’t listening to me.  Either determinism causes our beliefs or it does not.  By its very nature, determinism is an all-or-nothing proposition.  What gives us the right to say other people’s beliefs are mere evolutionary adaptations but not our own?  Maybe this is why Daniel Dennett called evolution a universal acid.  It dissolves the very mind that purports to believe it.

197 Replies to “Determinism for Thee but Not for Me

  1. 1
    News says:

    Barry, evolutionists have been trying to dissolve the mind for centuries. It was NEVER about what happened to the trilobite or the dinosaur. Or Neanderthal man. No one goes to the wall for that stuff.

    It’s always been to “prove” that you are no better able to decide about things like, for example, government, than a chimpanzee would be.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Through history most beliefs are caused and enforced by human leaders, not by physics and neural wiring.

    You must repeat what the Pope says or you’ll be burned. You must repeat what Dear Leader Kim says or you’ll be shot. You must repeat what the Professor says if you want to graduate and get a job. You must repeat what Lord Fauci says or you’ll be sent to anti-vax concentration camp.

    Meta-question: This is not a natural survival mechanism, it’s a quite open and explicit survival choice imposed PERSONALLY by the top caste in our social systems.

    Why did evolution lead to this nearly universal mechanism? Why do we make echoing verbal formulas a prerequisite for breathing and eating?

    Or why was this mechanism designed?

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    There have been many religions throughout human history. They weren’t all the same. They couldn’t all have been right, Perhaps none of them were/are. In some cases, they led to bloody armed conflicts, yet religions persisted. Perhaps they offered some other advantage to societies such as greater social cohesion and resilience in the face of stresses?

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky,

    there have been many worldviews and ideologies throughout history, they cannot have all been right; likely, none are wholly right given our error proneness. Some have led to the bloodiest wars and holocausts and democides of history; two being living memory and one just past that threshold — that one discredited monarchy and nobility, breaking four major empires and half bankrupting a fifth. Yet, ideologies and worldviews persist.

    Could it be that ideologies and worldviews — especially when driven by lawless leaders — can also serve as Marx’s opiates?

    (In short, your singling out of “Religion” seems unduly biased and selectively hostile. See here on roots of war: https://www.compellingtruth.org/religion-cause-wars.html >>it is a fallacy to say that all faiths contribute equally to religiously motivated violence and warfare. An interesting source of truth on the matter is Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history. Of those wars, the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature, an astonishingly low 6.98 percent of all wars. However, when one subtracts wars waged in the name of Islam (66), the percentage falls to 3.23 percent.>> It is relevant to note here Q 9 v 5 and 29. )

    Further to this, if you were to entertain the more historically anchored political spectrum I have suggested, you would at once see that the pivotal problem is breakdown of the BATNA of lawfulness, leading to lawless oligarchy; it has been documented that unlike the false impression provided by how we are taught about history and wars, over the past 5,000 years only a small fraction of wars have been in the main fought over religion. Ruthless power ambition and outright theft on the grandest scale (piracy writ large) as well as blood feuds writ large, and also oppressed rising up in mostly losing desperation are a far better explanation of the incidence of war.

    Where, after the printing revolution, rise of widely circulated vernacular books, pamphlets, bills, newspapers . . . especially the Bible . . . the rise of coffee houses as discussion centres, and the wider ferment of the Reformation, by about 1650 – 90, a breakthrough of much wider awareness and ability to participate in public opinion and governance happened. 1688/9 by the Glorious Revolution, we had a first wave of democratisation, then from 1775 on we had the breakthrough to the modern constitutional democracy. Hitherto, the political space could only shift from lawful to lawless oligarchy, with anarchic chaos as a repeller pole and autocracy as what happened when a strong man effected a revolution. Modern representational, lawful, constitutional democracy, with stabilising cultural buttresses [largely tracing to wider impacts of the Christian faith and its built in ethics pivoting on the golden rule] rehabilitated democratic freedom as it had effective means to protect lawfulness.

    The failure of Athenian Democracy through the Peloponnesian war and linked events, led to discredit of democracy for 2,000 years. They had to build a new civilisation empowered by the printing revolution and wider gospel ethics for such an experiment to be taken up again.

    As a rule, such democracies don’t go to aggressive war with one another, though there have been regrettable breakdowns into civil war, with the 1st US one being perhaps the worst so far. Rising 4th gen civil war 2, now pivoting on the new Reichstag incident, may eclipse that and fatally taint democracy again. Democracies and linked lawful states have also contributed to major civil rights reformations through tamed democratising forces; raw democracy too often becomes mob rule, riot, chaos and an open door to the strong man promising to restore order and safety.

    Of course, democracies and half democracies — I here think of C18 – early C20 Britain — have too often indulged in predatory colonisation.

    It is time for sober, more balanced, more nuanced rethinking.

    KF

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As to: “Professor:,,, You see, evolution selects for survival value, not for truth.,,,”

    And here are a few quotes from leading Darwinists themselves honestly admitting that their worldview of Darwinian Materialism cannot ground truth,

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: 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.
    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.”
    – Nancy Pearcey – author of “Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar/

    And as Professor Nancy Pearcey further explains in this following excellent article, (an article which traced the progression from Darwinism to postmodern pragmatism, which is widely taught in American Universities today and which denies the existence of objective truth), “If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either,,,, In short, naturalistic evolution is self-refuting.”

    How Darwinism Dumbs Us Down – Nancy Pearcey
    Excerpt: One of the leading pragmatists was John Dewey, who had a greater influence on educational theory in America than anyone else in the 20th century. Dewey rejected the idea that there is a transcendent element in human nature, typically defined in terms of mind or soul or spirit, capable of knowing a transcendent truth or moral order. Instead he treated humans as mere organisms adapting to challenges in the environment. In his educational theory, learning is just another form of adaptation–a kind of mental natural selection. Ideas evolve as tools for survival, no different from the evolution of the lion’s teeth or the eagle’s claws.
    In a famous essay called “The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy,” Dewey said Darwinism leads to a “new logic to apply to mind and morals and life.” In this new evolutionary logic, ideas are not judged by a transcendent standard of Truth, but by how they work in getting us what we want. Ideas do not “reflect reality” but only serve human interests.,,,
    I once presented this progression from Darwinism to postmodern pragmatism at a Christian college, when a man in the audience raised his hand: “I have only one question. These guys who think all our ideas and beliefs evolved . . . do they think their own ideas evolved?” The audience broke into delighted applause, because of course he had captured the key fallacy of the Darwinian approach to knowledge. If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either–and why should the rest of us pay any attention to it?
    https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/how-darwinism-dumbs-us-down/

    And the primary reason why truth can never be grounded within Darwinian Materialism turns out to be that truth is an abstract property and/or concept of the immaterial mind.

    “Truth is immaterial and can be seen using an open mind that voluntarily follows evidence regardless.”
    – Andrew Fabich – Associate Professor of Microbiology – Truett McConnell University – 2016
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/andrew-fabich-truth-is-immaterial/

    Again, the entire concept of truth is an abstract property and/or concept of the immaterial mind that cannot possibly be reduced to any possible materialistic explanations. i.e. How much does the concept of Truth weigh? Does the concept of Truth weigh more in English or in Chinese? How long is the concept of Truth in millimeters? How fast does the concept of Truth go? Is the concept of Truth faster or slower than the speed of light? Is the concept of Truth positively or negatively charged? Or etc.. etc.. ?..

    As John_a_designer explains, “Obviously, these questions are absurd because propositions, (truth claims), are not physical. But if the physical or material is all that exists as the materialist claims, which is by the way a propositional truth claim, how can such a proposition be true? How can something that doesn’t really exist, as the materialist claims, be true? Obviously that is self-refuting.”

    “Truth claims are propositional. That is, truth claims are stated in the form of a proposition. But what is a proposition? Where do propositions exist? What do they look like? Where are they located? How much space do they take up? How much do they weigh? How long have they existed? How and where did they originate? Obviously, these questions are absurd because propositions are not physical. But if the physical or material is all that exists as the materialist claims, which is by the way a propositional truth claim, how can such a proposition be true? How can something that doesn’t really exist, as the materialist claims, be true? Obviously that is self-refuting.”
    – John_a_designer – UD blogger

    Under Darwinian materialism, truth, (since it is non-material and/or non-physical in its foundational essence), simply does not exist. For the Darwinian materialist, truth, like the immaterial mind itself, must necessarily be held to be an illusion.

    Yet here is the rub for Darwinian materialists, science is “suppose” to be about finding truth.

    Thus it necessarily follows,

    1. In order for a worldview to find truth, it must be possible to ground truth within that worldview.
    2. Yet, it is impossible to ground immaterial truth within the materialistic framework of Darwinian evolution.
    3. Therefore, Darwinian materialism cannot possibly find truth, nor even be true in and of itself.

    And as John C Wright succinctly explained, “A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false. We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.”

    The Self Evident — A Reminder – John C. Wright – 2019
    From time to time it is useful for sane men in an insane world to remind themselves of basic truths.
    The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false.
    We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.
    Truth is a subtle and complex topic, but what we mean by the word can be said in a short sentence using words of one syllable: Truth is when one says ‘it is’, and it is as one says.
    The second conclusion springs immediately from the first. We know that truth is true because to say truth is untrue is illogical. A statement that truth is true is a self-evident statement, hence a true one. A statement that truth is untrue is a self-contradiction, hence false.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....f-evident/

    Of related interest to all this is the argument for God from truth.

    Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God – Peter Kreeft
    11. The Argument from Truth
    This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
    1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
    2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
    3. But the human mind is not eternal.
    4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.
    https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11

    Please note that this argument for God from truth fits perfectly within Godel’s incompleteness theorem. Namely, the ‘eternal’ mathematical truths that we discover cannot be grounded within mathematics itself, but ‘eternal’ mathematical truths are dependent on something else, i.e. the Mind of God, for their ‘eternal’ existence.

    Math Has a Fatal Flaw – (Godel’s Incompleteness) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeQX2HjkcNo

    As to the fact that ‘eternal mathematical truths’ must be grounded within the Mind of God for them to even exist in the first place, it is also interesting to note that one of Jesus’ claims that He is the Son of God, i.e. God incarnate, was that He was not merely telling people the truth, but that He is, in fact, the very personal embodiment of truth itself.

    “If you were to take Mohammed out of Islam, and Buddha out of Buddhism, and Confucius out of Confucianism you would still have a faith system that was relatively in tact. However, taking Christ out of Christianity sinks the whole faith completely. This is because Jesus centred the faith on himself. He said, “This is what it means to have eternal life: to know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent” (John 17:3). “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Buddha, before dying, said in effect, “I am still seeking for the truth.” Mohammed said in effect, “I point you to the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Jesus claimed to not only give the truth, but to be the very personal embodiment of it.”
    http://commonground.co.za/?res.....way-to-god

    Verse and video

    John 14:6
    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpn2Vu8–eE

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, any species of determinism is fatally self-referential. I clip as usual:

    First, some materialists actually suggest that mind is more or less a delusion, which is instantly self-referentially absurd. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . 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.

    The late Philip Johnson has aptly replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin. For, there is a very good reason we are cautioned about how easily self-referential statements can become self-refuting, like a snake attacking and swallowing itself tail-first. Any human scheme of thought that undermines responsible [thus, morally governed] rational freedom undermines itself fatally. We thus see inadvertent, inherent self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. But, “inadvertent” counts: it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge the logically fatal nature of the result. Of course, that subjective challenge does not change the objective result: self-referential incoherence and irretrievable self-falsification. (An audio clip, here, by William Lane Craig that summarises Plantinga’s argument on this in a nutshell, is useful as a quick reference.)

    It is time for a fresh start that takes our responsible, rational freedom and the necessary balance, moral government i/l/o branch on which we all must sit first duties seriously.

    I again point to Cicero:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man [–> we are seeing the root vision of natural law, coeval with our humanity] . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for . “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary” . . . .

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law [–> a key remark] , whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans [–> esp. Cicero, speaking as a leading statesman], an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

    The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    [–> this points to the wellsprings of reality, the only place where is and ought can be bridged; bridged, through the inherently good utterly wise, maximally great necessary being, the creator God, which adequately answers the Euthyphro dilemma and Hume’s guillotine argument surprise on seeing reasoning is-is then suddenly a leap to ought-ought. IS and OUGHT are fused from the root]

    This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    Key first duties:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc
    .

    One wonders why such are so stoutly objected to even as in objecting we readily see — rhetorical poses notwithstanding — that the objectors expect us to implicitly recognise the binding nature of such duties: you haven’t proved, those are not facts, you are trying to impose your theocratic Christofascist tyranny, you cannot read my mind/heart, I have no duty to respect justice as a binding moral duty [so, too no duty to respect rights, responsibilities, truthfulness etc that are the building blocks of justice] etc.

    It is time for sober rethinking.

    KF

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    Same Old Story

    The professor had an opinion that was not only speculation but not justified. The student was using evidence and logic.

    This should attract the usual suspects and verbiage. It has God, religion and Christianity mentioned.

    Smaug and his minions should be here shortly to challenge the elves. We already have Cicero and duties.

    Let the rants begin.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    By the way Seversky made a true logical statement. Irrelevant to the OP but true and logical.

    Aside: isn’t this an old argument? I seem to remember something very similar and the student supposedly a famous future scientist.

  9. 9
    JVL says:

    Seversky and Kairosfocus:

    Perhaps I’m wrong but I’ve always kind of thought that ideology rarely comes first when bad things happen; it seems to me it’s usually a justification for actions already desired to be taken.

    For example: I don’t think Henry VIII theologically had a problem with Catholicism until he wanted something the RC Church wouldn’t condone.

    I don’t think Germany in the 1930s came to the Jewish genocide because of Darwin’s theory; there was a clear and long-standing distrust of Jews.

    In Northern Ireland it’s not the religious differences that are the real root of the problem; it’s whether or not the region is affiliated with the United Kingdom or Ireland, one of which is Protestant the other is Catholic.

    Mostly, it seems to me, that wars and ethnic cleansings and genocides and racial discrimination come about firstly because one group or another wants to marginalise or even eliminate another group they feel they are in competition with. To make their actions more ‘palatable’ to the fence-sitters they appeal to whatever ideology they think supports their goals.

    But, I could be wrong.

  10. 10
    chuckdarwin says:

    Professor: Excellent question. Yes, it is true that evolution selected for a false belief in this case. You see, evolution selects for survival value, not for truth. Evolution may well select for a totally false belief system if that false belief system confers a survival benefit, and in the case of religion it did exactly that.

    Evolution, i.e., natural selection, does not select for beliefs. We are not born with a belief that fire can be dangerous (i.e., can cause pain or death), we must learn this belief. All beliefs are learned behaviors acquired in one of three ways, classical conditioning (associative learning), operant conditioning (consequential learning) or observational learning (modeling). “Truths” are simply correct beliefs, beliefs that conform to facts.
    What natural selection provides is the neuro-anatomical and physiological apparatus that makes learning and memory possible. This is what is inherited. In simple terms, natural selection provides the capability to learn but not the contents of learning.
    This misunderstanding of evolution derives from Plantinga’s EAAN which is completely naive to developmental psychology and social learning theory.

  11. 11
    Joe Schooner says:

    One wonders why such are so stoutly objected to…

    Your mis-represented characterization of those who disagree with you is duly noted. Nobody objected to these “first duties” as being valuable behaviors for a person to thrive in society. The “objectors” simply disagree with you on the origin of these behaviors.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    Evolution, i.e., natural selection

    A fallacy. Specifically begging the question.

    Should be

    Genetics , i.e., natural selection

    Then

    What natural selection provides is the neuro-anatomical and physiological apparatus that makes learning and memory possible

    In simple terms, natural selection provides the capability to learn but not the contents of learning.

    In simple terms, more fallacies.

    Specifically begging the question and Fallacy of Omission and Fallacy of Assertion.

    This misunderstanding of evolution derives from Plantinga’s EAAN which is completely naive

    Using completely naive and bogus reasoning to call someone else naive

    Incredibly ironic

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    Mostly, it seems to me, that wars and ethnic cleansings and genocides and racial discrimination come about firstly because one group or another wants to marginalise or even eliminate another group they feel they are in competition with. To make their actions more ‘palatable’ to the fence-sitters they appeal to whatever ideology they think supports their goals.

    But, I could be wrong.

    Probably correct. Tribal loyalty runs deep.

    Then some figured out that cooperation led to increased resources and was thus, a better strategy so our preferred behaviors changed.

    But we are far from the OP now which is about superstition vs science and determination by outside forces.

    I once was going into a church and a young woman passing by that church said church attendance was superstitious. I said to her science supports the beliefs of the people inside and the people criticizing were the superstitious ones.

    It didn’t proceed any further since I went inside but I could see she was taken about.

    ChuckDarwin is one here who constantly uses bogus comments to criticize believers when he has zero justification for his own comments.

    As I said above ironic

    But human nature runs deep and he’ll be back with more inane claims.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    Natural selection does NOT select at all. Natural selection is a process of ELIMINATION.

    Too funny that the evos here don’t even understand the position they are trying to defend.

  15. 15
    chuckdarwin says:

    Jerry
    I don’t know if you have kids or not. Assuming you do, what did you do the first time your toddler reached out to touch a burning flame?
    Did you:
    1) let he or she be knowing that an inherited belief would stop your kid at the last second telling him or her “fire is bad”?
    2) grab your kid’s hand to avoid the flame?
    3) or simply let nature run its course and let your kid learn the hard way?

    In one of my behavioral psych classes, there was a poster in the lab that said, “there are two types of rats in the world–smart ones and dumb ones.”

  16. 16
    jerry says:

    I don’t know if you have kids or not

    It didn’t take long.

    ChuckDarwin makes an irrelevant and inane comment.

    I never questioned how beliefs are formed. Just that people make assertions not based on anything that is consistent with any evidence. This example is irrelevant to the argument being made.

    PS – I have kids and had to slap two of them hard not to run out on the street. It worked.

  17. 17
    jerry says:

    there are two types of rats in the world–smart ones and dumb ones.”

    I had several courses in psychology and social psychology.

    Aside: funny story – I once taught at a university and was passing the main biology building. Out back was a truck with a big Purina logo on it. Behind the truck was about 100 sacks that all said “Purina Rat Chow.”

  18. 18
    chuckdarwin says:

    Yep, Purina does it all. They even make a Fish Chow for fish farms

  19. 19
    Joe Schooner says:

    Keeping on the pet food tangent, the quality control and cleanliness of some pet food manufacturers far exceed that of many human food manufacturers.

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. 🙂

  20. 20
    Querius says:

    News @1,

    It’s always been to “prove” that you are no better able to decide about things like, for example, government, than a chimpanzee would be.

    Polistra @2,

    Through history most beliefs are caused and enforced by human leaders, not by physics and neural wiring.

    Yes, governments ask for allegiances politely. Then they inevitably use intimidation, lies, and force. Jesus told his followers to give things demanded by Caesar back to Caesar, but that we’re created in the image of God and thus we belong to God, not Caesar.

    Bornagain77 @3,
    It seems like new discoveries are often applied into the social sciences, education, and philosophy. We were told during the industrial revolution that we need to “let off steam,” and mass production was incorporated into education for manufacturing graduates, John Dewey said that the purpose of education was political—to create the new socialist person, B.F. Skinner told us that we’re beyond freedom and dignity, and eugenicists advocated our control of evolution, justifying both hard and soft genocides.

    JVL @9,

    Mostly, it seems to me, that wars and ethnic cleansings and genocides and racial discrimination come about firstly because one group or another wants to marginalise or even eliminate another group they feel they are in competition with. To make their actions more ‘palatable’ to the fence-sitters they appeal to whatever ideology they think supports their goals.

    Good point. Ideologies that seem to be based on science or engineering become more palatable and convincing. The battle is for our minds and affections. The goals are for money, power, and fame.

    -Q

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, ideologies often undermine the moral government that guides reason. The capital examples are responsible for the two worst mass slaughters of the past 100 years, and no the Nazi shoah doesn’t even come close within the order of magnitude. The slaughter of 800+ million of our living posterity in the womb yet mounts up at another million per week enabled by dehumanising our living future and warping our understanding of legitimate rights claims. There can be no right to rob innocent life of its existence. The second slaughter made up a myth of social evolution, oppressor classes and more, by the time they were done north of 100 millions were dead in the name of Marxism. And a modified form now reaches for the same unaccountable power. So, no, the notion that it is age old animosity against say Jews, fails. KF

  22. 22
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: The slaughter of 800+ million of our living posterity in the womb yet mounts up at another million per week enabled by dehumanising our living future and warping our understanding of legitimate rights claims. There can be no right to rob innocent life of its existence.

    You think: abortions so clearly run counter to my worldview that the people who condone them must disagree with me ideologically. And, perhaps they do, in that one point. But that’s probably not why they choose or chose to support abortion rights.

    I think most people support limited abortions because they want to have choices and options NOT because they are some ideological monster. Some Christians support abortion rights, some atheists support abortion rights, some of both groups oppose them. It’s not primarily an ideological stance EXCEPT for those on the extreme ends.

    The second slaughter made up a myth of social evolution, oppressor classes and more, by the time they were done north of 100 millions were dead in the name of Marxism. And a modified form now reaches for the same unaccountable power. So, no, the notion that it is age old animosity against say Jews, fails.

    Again, I choose to disagree with you. Most of the conflicts in the 20th century had their roots back in history, sometimes far back. You can’t blame a philosophical idea that only came into existence in the last 150 years or so for long standing animosity and prejudice. In fact, you’re choosing to place the blame on some recent ideological stance is choosing to ignore the deep-seated and ingrained problems that let to the conflicts in the first place.

    Anti-Semitism has been documented in Europe for well over 1000 years. That is true. The most recent pogrom, as horrible as it was, was in line with previous bouts of ethnic cleansing from centuries before.

    Consider a brief and perhaps minor excursion into the realms of prejudice: the killing of supposed witches in the 17th and 18th centuries. Every single case of those incidents was clearly motivated by some non-rational cause but I don’t hear you castigating the purported ideology of the persecutors, Christianity. You realise that the so-called witches weren’t condemned based on any sound Christian doctrine (at least I hope you think that way) but you don’t condemn the philosophy the accusers chose to espouse. You understand that the true explanation was not based on Christian doctrine but something else.

    Consider also Martin Luther’s stated and published views on Jews. Was that based on actual Christian doctrine or was it just him being a prejudiced and biased jerk? Do you condemn his Christian stance for his clearly hideous view on Jews? Do, you do not.

    Abortions and the Second World War have nothing to do with evolutionary theory. It’s an easy target for you so that’s how you choose to deal with the issues. What you should be doing is taking a real, honest and sincere approach and to try and figure out what it was that actually motivated people aside from their stated justifications and explanations which came after their commitment to a certain path of behaviour.

  23. 23
    JVL says:

    ET: Natural selection does NOT select at all. Natural selection is a process of ELIMINATION.

    Everyone who studies evolutionary theory understands how it works; you’re not putting anyone to shame.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    Everyone who studies evolutionary theory understands how it works;

    Wrong!

    Nothing to do with Evolution.

    It’s

    Everyone who studies genetics understands how it works;

  25. 25
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Wrong! Nothing to do with Evolution.

    I’m not sure what you mean. I don’t want to misinterpret you so I’ll expand a bit.

    Inheritable variation (via genetics) produces different morphologies. Depending on local environmental conditions some morphologies might be better at surviving and producing offspring so that their genetics is more prevalent in the future generations.

    It’s not just genetics. Think of it this way: if you took a population of rabbits, split them into two groups, sent one to live in the Bahamas and one to live in Alaska it would be reasonable to expect that the two populations would genetically drift apart because of the different environmental pressures. “Selection” may not be the best word to use but that’s what Darwin used and everyone understands what he meant.

    You don’t get evolution without variation and you don’t get evolution without ‘natural selection’, genetic drift and other forms of ‘selection’. You need both or nothing changes.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev at 3.

    As has been pointed out, even if I assume arguendo that your statement is correct, it has nothing to do with the OP. Your effort to change the subject indicates you have no response to the subject. Fair enough.

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 4.

    Thanks for the summary of history and noting how our Republic absolutely depends on its bedrock foundation of Christian ethics – a foundation the left is more and more frenetically attempting to destroy. As Adams said, our constitution is meant for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other. I often find myself musing along with the Psalmist, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

  28. 28
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 6.

    “BA, any species of determinism is fatally self-referential.” Indeed, as has been pointed out many times. Belief in materialistic determinism requires tremendous amounts of self-delusion. As the song goes:

    Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
    And disregards the rest

    “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

    As you no doubt intended, this is a perfect example of the behavior exemplified by the Professor in the OP. That it is certain that Crick never thought any such thing is a classic example of the implied exception to the rule that brooks no exceptions discussed in the OP.

    “the objectors expect us to implicitly recognise the binding nature of such duties” As I have said many times in these pages, no sane person actually acts as if they believe materialism is true.

  29. 29
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL @ 9

    JVL wants to talk about Henry VIII. That leads me to believe he has no response to the argument of the OP. Fair enough. I understand the need to change the subject. That cognitive dissonance is not going to manage itself.

  30. 30
    Barry Arrington says:

    Chuckdarwin @ 10.

    “Evolution, i.e., natural selection, does not select for beliefs.”

    Chuck rejects evolutionary psychology. Fair enough.

    “This misunderstanding of evolution derives from Plantinga . . .” This statement is laughably absurd. Any high school freshman could easily defeat it. The understanding that evolution leads to certain beliefs derives from the existence of an entire subfield of evolutionary scholarship – to wit, evolutionary psychology. Chuck, you can reject the findings of evolutionary psychology. I will even join you in doing so. But don’t blame Christians for those findings.

  31. 31
    Barry Arrington says:

    Joe Schooner @ 11.

    Your mis-represented characterization of those who disagree with you is duly noted. Nobody objected to these “first duties” as being valuable behaviors for a person to thrive in society. The “objectors” simply disagree with you on the origin of these behaviors.

    This one is kind of funny. I will translate from materialist-ese into plain English: “KF, nobody objected to these “first duties” as being valuable behaviors for a person to thrive in society. The “objectors” simply disagree with you that they are “first” or “duties.” They are merely evolutionary adaptations encoded into us by material forces. And if a person acts contrary to those encoded behaviors (you would call it “violates a first duty”), he has not acted ‘wrong’ in any objective sense of that word. We know this because ‘wrong’ in the objective sense of the word does not exist. So when Stalin and Mao killed tens of millions, they were just acting contrary to the evolutionary adaptations that bind most of us. It adds nothing to call what they did evil.”

  32. 32
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL @ 22:

    “I think most people support limited abortions because they want to have choices and options . . .”

    Of course they want “choices and options.” They want to be able to choose to slaughter tens of millions of babies in their mothers’ wombs.

    “. . . NOT because they are some ideological monster.”

    Go back and look at that. The second part does not follow from the first, as you seem to think it does.

  33. 33
    Origenes says:

    ChuckDarwin:

    What natural selection provides is the neuro-anatomical and physiological apparatus that makes learning and memory possible.

    Natural selection does not select and preserve, instead it eliminates stuff. Natural selection removes, culls, eliminates and by doing so it lessens possibilities. Natural selection is a hindrance to evolution, because it shrinks the domain for random mutations to act on. Natural selection makes it (much) harder to find biological novelties.

    Chuck, under darwinism, you and I and all the organisms alive are not created by natural selection but instead are untouched — not eliminated — by natural selection.
    Natural selection is ONLY an explanation for the elimination of organisms.

    (…) it has been estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct.

    We are the ones that got away from natural selection/elimination. And, according to a properly understood Darwinian narrative, we are produced by chance for 100%. All organisms alive are produced by chance alone.

  34. 34
    JVL says:

    Barry A: JVL wants to talk about Henry VIII. That leads me to believe he has no response to the argument of the OP. Fair enough. I understand the need to change the subject. That cognitive dissonance is not going to manage itself.

    To be honest I was only responding to something Kairosfocus said; if I deviated from the main point then I apologise.

    Go back and look at that. The second part does not follow from the first, as you seem to think it does.

    I think it does because there are Christians who are in favour of abortion rights. Far be it from me to decide if they are ‘true’ Christians or not. From the outside it doesn’t seem to be a teleological issue.

  35. 35
    JVL says:

    Origenes: Natural selection removes, culls, eliminates and by doing so it lessens possibilities. Natural selection is a hindrance to evolution, because it shrinks the domain for random mutations to act on.

    Yes but then more variation occurs! It doesn’t stop because some variation was de-selected! The variation that was good enough continues on and provides the foundation for the next round of variation and selection BUT you can always get throwbacks.

    I think of life like water, it flows and explores every nook and cranny, every crack and crevice, any place it can get its ‘fingers’ into it will check it out.

    We are the ones that got away from natural selection/elimination. And, according to a properly understood Darwinian narrative, we are produced by chance for 100%. All organisms alive are produced by chance alone.

    Again, there is more to it than that. We are NOT a product of pure chance, we are variation upon variation cumulatively ‘selected’ to be better adapted to our environment.

    Let’s suppose you start with a very basic, rudimentary bow and arrow. It’s not great, it works okay, you kill a few things. You try to change some stuff: make the wood stiffer, increase the size, etc. That’s variation. Some of the things you try improve the performance so you keep those changes. Yes you throw out some variation but you are focusing in on what works. After many iterations and testing lots and lots of variation you eventually arrive at something like the English long bow because you have found the right wood, the right tension, the right pull, the right size, etc for what you want it to do. Selection, human selection in this case but selection cumulatively acting on variation. Just like what Thomas Edison did.

    Here’s another thing to think about: the variation exceeds the ability to survive. We know this. Something like one-quarter to one-third of human pregnancies end up as spontaneous miscarriages. Something was so badly wrong that the foetus couldn’t survive and was aborted.

    There’s plenty of variation, you’re not going to ‘limit’ life by getting rid of the variation that doesn’t work so well.

  36. 36
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @21 and JVL @22,

    The points of your disagreement are interesting.

    As someone interested in history, it seems that reasons and justifications come from different layers of motivation. Here’s a crude attempt to describe what I mean through an example on abortion:

    Froth layer: Hatred and violence for and against abortion, rhetoric chosen to increase chances for funding of certain organizations.

    Sociological level: The belief that unwanted pregnancies cause poverty and oppress women.

    Power level: The belief that a larger number of women will vote for candidates of a political party advocating unrestricted abortion. On the other side, the Catholic Church has been the strongest opponent historically of abortion for both religious and demographic reasons.

    Commerce level: A large industry makes tons of money off of women wanting abortions.

    Eugenics level: A disproportionate number of black women have abortions, reducing the size and political power of black people.

    Biology level: There are far too many humans on planet earth and unsustainable. We need to reduce humanity to perhaps a half or a third of the current population by eliminating “redundant” populations by any means.

    -Q

  37. 37
    Origenes says:

    JVL@

    O: Origenes: Natural selection removes, culls, eliminates and by doing so it lessens possibilities. Natural selection is a hindrance to evolution, because it shrinks the domain for random mutations to act on.

    Yes but then more variation occurs! It doesn’t stop because some variation was de-selected!

    Don’t embarrass yourself, and think before you post. We start with 10 different types of organisms. NS removes 6 types. Now we have 4 types of organisms. It follows that not only biological information is lost, but there obviously is also less variety to act on.
    Yet you tell me “Yes but then more variation occurs!” I noticed you even added an exclamation mark ….

    —-
    Eric Anderson:

    No-one doubts that less fit organisms are less likely to survive in their particular environment. This is a completely pedestrian observation, is something that was known long before Darwin, and we don’t need any evolutionary theory to point this out.

  38. 38
    JVL says:

    Origenes: Don’t embarrass yourself, and think before you post. We start with 10 different types of organisms. NS removes 6 types. Now we have 4 types of organisms. It follows that not only biological information is lost, but there obviously is also less variety to act on.

    And those 4 types are better suited for their environment. And they generate more variation. Eventually a lot more.

    The stuff that is gotten rid of is the stuff that doesn’t work as well. The stuff that is kept works well enough.

    There is plenty of variation. You think you’re being clever suggesting numbers rather than looking at the actual way life propagates.

    AND we are NOT purely due to random chance. We are based on generation after generation of variation cumulatively ‘selected’. The variation is random (which means it continues to check out the non-functional corners) but the ‘selection’ is not. Evolution depends on both.

    And a lot of the stuff that is ‘eliminated’ is not viable in the first place!!

    Breeders have known all this for centuries: pick the variations that ‘work’, that are ‘preferred’. There’s plenty of variation around. Eventually you get German Shepherds and Labradors and Poodles and Dalmatians and Border Collies and Beagles and Great Danes, etc some of which could never, ever interbreed naturally.

    It seems to me, by your logic, we would never get forests because more that 50% of seeds from a tree never mature. In fact the percentage is way higher than that. Probably more than 90% of seeds never mature. But, we still get forests.

  39. 39
    Origenes says:

    JVL

    And those 4 types are better suited for their environment. And they generate more variation. Eventually a lot more.

    I don’t know what to say JVL.
    – – – –
    One more try:
    _-___

    We start with dogs, horses, cows, chickens, birds, frogs and bees. Then natural selection steps in removing the dogs, horses, cows, chickens and the birds.
    [Enter JVL]
    “But now you get more variation!”
    ____
    Do you see the problem with your claim?

  40. 40
    JVL says:

    Origenes: I don’t know what to say JVL.

    Oh well.

  41. 41
    Joe Schooner says:

    I don’t know what to say JVL

    Even identical twins, who start from a single fertilized ovum, can differ by more than 100 genetic mutations.

  42. 42
    JVL says:

    Origenes: We start with dogs, horses, cows, chickens, birds, frogs and bees. Then natural selection steps in removing the dogs, horses, cows, chickens and the birds.

    No, no, no! The level that selection works at is much ‘lower’ than that.

    Variation is at the generational level, not at the species or genus or group level. Variation is between one generation and the next OF THE SAME TYPE OF CREATURE.

    I don’t understand why you are intentionally misrepresenting the evolutionary argument. Unless you’re trying to make it look stupid for some reason. What is your reason? And, wouldn’t you rather discuss the actual theory rather than a straw man version of it?

    Do you see the problem with your claim?

    No, not based on your inaccurate version of what evolutionary theory says.

  43. 43
    chuckdarwin says:

    Eric Anderson:
    No-one doubts that less fit organisms are less likely to survive in their particular environment. This is a completely pedestrian observation, is something that was known long before Darwin, and we don’t need any evolutionary theory to point this out.

    Since there is no citation, I have no idea who this Eric Anderson is or where the quote comes from. However, this Anderson misses the point of Darwin’s importance. Up until Darwin (and Wallace) we did not know the mechanism of evolution.
    As to Origenes, JVL’s response is accurate insofar as variation appearing as mutations will constantly impact a population, but there is a deeper point. Selection rarely completely “removes” a genotype, rather genes can go unexpressed for generations. The information isn’t lost, rather it is not expressed within the current population, but the population will continue to carry the unexpressed genes. If and when the environment changes, the genotype will reappear. For example, the size and shape of bird beaks (even among Darwin’s finches) will ebb and flow to fit with food source availability. Natural selection is a process that is continually occurring in the background somewhat analogous to an app running unnoticed in the background on your computer.

  44. 44
    Origenes says:

    JVL:

    No, no, no! The level that selection works at is much ‘lower’ than that.
    Variation is at the generational level, not at the species or genus or group level. Variation is between one generation and the next OF THE SAME TYPE OF CREATURE.

    First of all, you are just making this up. Many species have gone extinct.

    (…) it has been estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct.

    And second, the principle remains exactly the same. NS culls, eliminates, removes biological information and shrinks the domain for RM to act on — no matter the level NS operates on.

  45. 45
    JVL says:

    Chuckdarwin: JVL’s response is accurate insofar as variation appearing as mutations will constantly impact a population, but there is a deeper point. Selection rarely completely “removes” a genotype, rather genes can go unexpressed for generations.

    100% agree. I do find though that, on this forum, the finer points are frequently ignored or misunderstood.

    And I have repeatedly suggested Dr Neil Shubin’s recent book Some Assembly Required discusses such issues in an easy and interesting way. Highly recommended.

  46. 46
    JVL says:

    Origenes: First of all, you are just making this up. Many species have gone extinct.

    Of course. Many species have gone extinct. We know this from the fossil record correlated with the genomic, morphologic and geologic record. But natural selection rarely wipes out a whole species at a time. Unless it’s an asteroid or a major flood or possibly a wide-spread fire.

    and second, the principle remains exactly the same. NS culls, eliminates, removes biological information and shrinks the domain for RM to act on — no matter the level NS operates on.

    Natural selection first eliminates that which is not even viable. Then it ‘tends’ to prefer that which is somewhat better. And there are other forms of selection and pressures at work.

    Regardless, getting rid of what is obviously non-functional is not going to harm evolution which is about how life alters and changes. Yes, the variation is based on what has survived but that’s how life ‘advances’. And, when you look at the extant forms of life you will see huge variation morphologically and genetically. Did you know that the genome of ferns is much larger than that of humans? WTF??

    I get what you’re saying: you want to ‘show’ that it would take some kind of intervention, some kind of designer stepping in and tossing in some more ‘information’ that enabled creatures like us to arrive. But as your understanding of the real state of biology is clearly flawed I’m afraid your argument just doesn’t have the legs to finish the race. Sorry.

  47. 47
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL @ 34:

    “I think it does because there are Christians who are in favour of abortion rights. Far be it from me to decide if they are ‘true’ Christians or not.”

    You missed the point. I am not judging whether anyone is a “true” Christian. I pointed out that your logic is flawed.

    You stated that people support abortion because they support a “right to choose,” not because they are ideological monsters. The structure of your argument is this:

    Unstated Major Premise: People who merely support a right to choose are not ideological monsters.

    Minor Premise: People who support abortion rights support a right to choose.

    Conclusion: Therefore, people who support abortion rights are not ideological monsters.

    Your argument fails because your major premises is false. People who support the right to choose may very well be ideological monsters. Nazis supported the right to choose to kill Jews. That made them ideological monsters.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    Against all odds [thank you for helping out with this Multiverse!] random mutations come up with all sorts of perfectly viable organisms, and next natural selection steps in eliminating 99.9 % of the bunch.
    ___
    RM to NS:

    Thank you very much mr. Natural Selection. You’ve made my task a lot easier!

  49. 49
    JVL says:

    Barry A: Your argument fails because your major premises is false. People who support the right to choose may very well be ideological monsters. Nazis supported the right to choose to kill Jews. That made them ideological monsters.

    They might be ideological monsters but they might not be ideological monsters, thank you for misrepresenting what I said. I’ll leave it up to the gathered observers as to whether or not killing Jews and allowing abortions is some kind of ideological equivalence. Legally we know what the answer is.

    AND you didn’t explain how some Christians support abortion rights and some oppose them. Same with some atheists. Having trouble with the first of those?

  50. 50
    Origenes says:

    JVL @

    Natural selection first eliminates that which is not even viable.

    Back to basics. Nope, natural selection acts on viable organisms. It cannot act on what is not alive.

  51. 51
    JVL says:

    Origenes: Against all odds [thank you for helping out with this Multiverse!] random mutations come up with all sorts of perfectly viable organisms, and next natural selection steps in eliminating 99.9 % of the bunch.

    Again, if you don’t want to discuss the actual claims and the data backing up those claims that’s okay with me. But do not expect anyone to take you seriously if you can’t deal with the real statements and evidence. Just flinging some numbers about doesn’t cut it. You have to consider ALL the data, not just what like.

    Back to basics. Nope, natural selection acts on viable organisms. It cannot act on what is not alive.

    What can be more naturally selected than that which cannot survive? And, even then, only considering viable organisms, there is still plenty of variation. Look at the domestication of dogs in the last 2000 years. Look at the induced splitting of brassicas in the last 300 years. You just keep claiming things without offering data or evidence or studies or research.

    In fact, most dog breeds were created in the last few hundred years or less. It didn’t take long to separate the Chihuahua from the Great Dane. And I don’t think you’d find them breeding naturally.

  52. 52
    jerry says:

    we did not know the mechanism of evolution

    We still don’t know.

    How many times do you repeat the same bogus statements. The more times you repeat a false statement does not make it any less still a false statement.

    Natural selection has nothing to do with Evolution. Anyone who claims it does is committing about 4-5 different fallacies.

    It is begging the question, fallacy of omission and several others.

    And then there is the other misunderstandings.

    In fact, most dog breeds were created in the last few hundred years or less. It didn’t take long to separate the Chihuahua from the Great Dane. And I don’t think you’d find them breeding naturally.

    This is genetics not Evolution. Genetics has nothing to do with Evolution.

    Again, repeat after me, genetics is not Evolution.

  53. 53
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Natural selection has nothing to do with Evolution. Anyone who claims it does is committing about 4-5 different fallacies.

    Variation alone cannot bring about evolution, there must be some process for ‘selecting’ what variations go on to be more prevalent. Of course now we know that there is more than just natural selection. Evolution is the change of alles in a population, what accounts for the particular ‘direction’ of that change?

    It is begging the question, fallacy of omission and several others. Again, repeat after me, genetics is not Evolution.

    Strangely enough, no biologist claims that it is.

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    Of course now we know that there is more than just natural selection. Evolution is the change of alles in a population, what accounts for the particular ‘direction’ of that change?

    You are describing genetics not Evolution.

    Strangely enough, no biologist claims that it is

    They are calling genetics Evolution when they have no basis for such a claim.

    The biologists are the ones committing the fallacies. It’s easy to show how. Do you really believe they will admit to their fallacies?

    All they are doing is asserting genetics is Evolution when it is not. Assertions are not evidence. Not one of them can show why their assertions are true. There is no document on Earth that provides evidence for their assertions.

  55. 55
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL @ 49:

    I’ll leave it up to the gathered observers as to whether or not killing Jews and allowing abortions is some kind of ideological equivalence. Legally we know what the answer is.

    You don’t know history. The holocaust violated no internal law of Germany. Abortion on demand through the moment of birth is legal in some states. Every segregated water fountain in the Jim Crow south was legal. Eugenics in the early to mid 20th century was legal. I could go on. “It’s legal” is not the yardstick of moral rectitude that you seem to think it is.

  56. 56
    chuckdarwin says:

    Origenes @ 44
    Orignenes, you are getting hopelessly confused:

    And second, the principle remains exactly the same. NS culls, eliminates, removes biological information and shrinks the domain for RM to act on — no matter the level NS operates on.

    Random mutations do not “act on” anything. Mutations are mistakes in nucleotide sequencing. These mistakes can be neutral, beneficial or deleterious. Each mistake is a variation, and, like I said before, they occur continuously thus there is constant variability available within the genotype of even the most stable organisms.

  57. 57
    Barry Arrington says:

    JVL @ 49. BTW, those who support killing unborn babies are in company with those who supported killing Jews in at least one very important respect. IN both instances, those whom the government deemed it legal to kill were first deemed “lebensunwertes leben” (life unworthy of life). Think about that the next time you advocate for the “right” to kill human organisms in their mother’s wombs. You are right there with the Nazi’s defining those tiny humans as non-humans.

  58. 58
    jerry says:

    Each mistake is a variation, and, like I said before, they occur continuously thus there is constant variability available within the genotype of even the most stable organisms.

    Again this is genetics.

    No one has ever shown that this process led anywhere significant in terms of species change except for deterioration. This does lead to adaptation but again that is genetics.

    By the way there are over 50 different sources of variation in genetics that can be inherited from one generation to the next.

    You keep on assuming things that don’t exist.

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    CD@

    Random mutations do not “act on” anything.

    In order for random mutations to take place there must be organisms. The collection of organisms not eliminated by NS, IOWs the organisms who are alive, is the domain where RM can take place. NS is in the business of continually shrinking this domain where RM ‘can act on’ / where RM can take place.

    Mutations are mistakes in nucleotide sequencing. These mistakes can be neutral, beneficial or deleterious. Each mistake is a variation, and, ….

    Oh my, the knowledge I get from you is overwhelming. Thank you for telling me this.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Do I need to reiterate that the key issue is lawless oligarchy in its many guises over thousands of years? Lord Acton was right, power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely, great men are bad men.

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    Chuckdarwin makes this rather interesting remark: “Orignenes, you are getting hopelessly confused,,,”

    “Hopelessly confused” is a very interesting remark coming from someone who is supposedly defending evolutionary epistemology in this thread.

    If anyone has ever been hopelessly confused it is the person who believes that Darwinian evolution can ever give us a coherent account of our cognitive faculties.

    Darwinian evolution is simply a non-starter as to ever giving us a coherent account of our cognitive faculties.

    First and foremost, Darwinists, via their reductive materialistic framework, are forced to claim that consciousness itself is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’.

    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    – Steven Pinker – Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – Alex Rosenberg – Professor of Philosophy Duke University – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “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

    Yet if consciousness itself, (i.e. our subjective experience of the entire world), is but merely a ‘neuronal illusion, then that, of necessity, renders everything else that we can possibly experience via our consciousness an illusion as well.

    As Rowan Williams asked Richard Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    The claim that our sense of self, that is to say, our conscious experience, is just a neuronal illusion is simply self refuting nonsense.

    As David Bentley Hart explains in the following article, “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”

    The Illusionist – Daniel Dennett’s latest book marks five decades of majestic failure to explain consciousness. – 2017
    Excerpt: “Simply enough, you cannot suffer the illusion that you are conscious because illusions are possible only for conscious minds. This is so incandescently obvious that it is almost embarrassing to have to state it.”
    – David Bentley Hart
    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-illusionist

    Obviously, in order to avoid the catastrophic epistemological failure that Darwinists are forced into with their reductive materialistic worldview, it is necessary to hold consciousness as primary and matter as derivative from consciousness.

    As Eugene Wigner explained, “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied.”

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    In holding that consciousness must be primary in any definition of reality we may put forth, Eugene Wigner is in very good company,

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    – Max Planck (1858–1947), one of the primary founders of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    – Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.?

    And it is not as if Christians do not have empirical evidence supporting their claim that Consciousness must be primary and matter derivative.,,, Quantum Mechanics, at literally every turn, empirically validates the ‘common sense’ fact that consciousness must be primary.

    Here are eight intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that all converge and show us that consciousness must precede material reality

    1. Double Slit experiment,
    2. Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries,
    3. as well as the recent confirmation of the Wigner’s friend thought experiment,
    4. Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, (Quantum Eraser, etc..)
    5. Leggett’s Inequalities,
    6. Quantum Zeno effect,
    7. Quantum Information theory and the experimental realization of the Maxwell demon thought experiment,
    8. and the recent closing of the Free Will loophole.

    And putting all these lines of evidence from quantum mechanics together, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff)
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff), then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Thus in conclusion, we have (very) principled reasons for holding that consciousness must be primary in any definition of reality we may put forth. Moreover, we have multiple lines of empirical evidence from quantum mechanics that (very) strongly support the Christian Theist’s claim that consciousness must precede material reality.

    One final note, it is highly ironic, even humorous, that Chuckdarwin, (who is supposedly defending evolutionary epistemology in this thread), would ever call anyone else ‘hopelessly confused”. As Dr. Egnor succinctly put the situation that Darwinists are in with the reductive materialistic framework, ‘Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane.’

    Atheist Philosopher Thinks “We Never Have Direct Access To Our Thoughts”
    Michael Egnor – July 20, 2016
    Excerpt: Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane. If a man walks into a doctor’s office and says “I never have direct access to my thoughts and I have no first person point of view,” the man will be referred to a psychiatrist and may be involuntarily hospitalized until it is established that he is not a danger to himself or others.
    If the same guy walks into the philosophy department at Duke University, he gets tenure.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/07/atheist_philoso/

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

  62. 62
    Barry Arrington says:

    Well, here we are at comment 62. None of the Darwinists have challenged the OP. They all want to talk about something else. That is disappointing.

  63. 63
    Querius says:

    Origenes @59,

    Orignenes, you are getting hopelessly confused.

    Wow, hopelessly confused presumably leaves you trapped in a state of confusion. But don’t worry too much about it, this judgment is from the same person who confused transpiration in plants with water absorption in plant roots and its transport in (primarily) the xylem.

    Oh my, the knowledge I get from you is overwhelming. Thank you for telling me this.

    I love your sarcasm.

    -Q

  64. 64
    Querius says:

    Bornagain @61,

    Thanks for the link to Dawkins serving his listeners with waffles for dinner! He doesn’t understand computers or software, nor is he aware of recent research in neuroscience:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dont-delay/201106/free-wont-it-may-be-all-we-have-or-need

    As Dr. Egnor succinctly put the situation that Darwinists are in with the reductive materialistic framework, ‘Materialist theories of the mind border on the insane.’

    Indeed! This is relevant to the issue of free will and “free won’t.”
    https://mindmatters.ai/2020/03/how-a-neuroscientist-imaged-free-will-and-free-wont/

    -Q

  65. 65
    Querius says:

    Barry Arrington @62,

    Well, here we are at comment 62. None of the Darwinists have challenged the OP. They all want to talk about something else. That is disappointing.

    Point taken. The question is why does Darwinism stop the reductionism at itself.

    -Q

  66. 66
    News says:

    Why do people who don’t believed in free will want to claim credit for their achievements? Yes, okay, it’s a simple-minded question but – for us simple minds – where is the logic in benefiting from the very thing they think is intrinsically impossible?

  67. 67
    Origenes says:

    JVL, ChuckDarwin & Natural Selection.

    Suppose a laboratory with a thousand test tubes containing chemicals in different quantities. No two test tubes have the same content. The scientist is hoping that the content of one of the test tubes happens to be functional stuff. Obviously, each test tube has an equal chance of success.

    ** Enter JVL & ChuckDarwin both with hammers **. They offer to play the role of natural selection in order to, as they claim, increase the chance of success. “Think of the test tubes as organisms”, ChuckDarwin explains. “And our hammers as natural selection”, says JVL.

    Question: Given that the scientist is a true believer in evolution, would he accept their offer to have them smash a considerable amount of test tubes in order to increase the chance of finding functional chemical stuff?

  68. 68
    jerry says:

    None of the Darwinists have challenged the OP. They all want to talk about something else. That is disappointing.

    Well Darwinist are maybe born that way.

    Here is a comment form 15 years ago by John Davison. I assume he has passed away as he was old then. But he had a sharp pen.

    There is as yet no theory of evolution. Theories are verified hypotheses. There are only utterly failed hypotheses like neoDarwinism and neoLamarckism and ones like the PEH which recognize that failure and have built upon it. To blindly equate evolution with Darwinism as you so obviously do is without a shred of justification. Every one of my sources was a convinced evolutionist and not one of them was a religious fanatic or a Darwinina chance worshipping atheist. It is you that ought to be reading the literature, not I. You seem to be totally oblivious to it. You are not alone. The evolutionary world is crawlng with like minded souls. That a Darwinian can still exist boggles my mind. I can only conclude that they were “born that way.”

    And

    I repeat my challenge to demonstrate any two species living or dead for which one can be shown to be the ancestor of the other. Are you prepared to indicate whether it was the tiger that was ancestral to the lion or the reverse? I’ll bet you aren’t and I don’t think anyone else is either. As far as can be ascertained, creative evolution is finished. If it were not we would see it in action. The world would be crawling with examples. So far no one has produced a single example. I eagerly await the first. If there is such an example I can guarantee that it was not produced by the accumulation of Mendelian alleles through natural selection. That has been demonstrated experimentally to be quite impossible. When carried too far it results in sterility, loss of fecundity and extinction.

  69. 69
    ram says:

    Barry: None of the Darwinists have challenged the OP

    Maybe when they figure out how body plans work they will feel a bit more confident. 😉

    –Ram

  70. 70
    ram says:

    Seversky @3,

    So what?

    Nevermind.

    –Ram

  71. 71
    News says:

    John Davison died in 2012, fyi.

  72. 72
    Querius says:

    Ram @69,

    Maybe when they figure out how body plans work they will feel a bit more confident.

    I don’t know if anyone has any ideas on how radically different body plans arose other than “there was this Cambrian explosion and, ta-da, different body plans somehow deterministically arose!”

    These body plans include one with radial rather than bilateral symmetry and a hydraulic system around a ring canal that powers the creature for locomotion and gas exchange, suction cups on its legs for grabbing onto food, lots of tiny pincers on its back, and eye spots at the ends of each arm. It has a heart that beats and can reproduce sexually or asexually.

    I wonder what sea stars evolved from. Oh, wait. They musta evolved deterministically from worms biting their tails.

    -Q

  73. 73
    JVL says:

    Barry A: Well, here we are at comment 62. None of the Darwinists have challenged the OP. They all want to talk about something else. That is disappointing.

    Fine, I’ll stop being polite and try to answer questions posed to me. Just remember when Querius and Jerry claim I cut and run that I was just thinking of the OP.

  74. 74
    William J Murray says:

    The logical argument that materialism deprives materialists of any rational reason to believe materialism true is incontrovertible. Under materialism, they believe it true for no reason other than the same reason anyone believes anything: material forces have made them believe it. Unfortunately for materialists, materialism is not only logically untenable, it has been disproved by science.

    It is interesting to note, however, that the case for idealism is similarly incontrovertible, not only logically, but also from the evidence. Yet, many here who recognize and accept the case against materialism refuse or are unable to recognize the case against dualism, probably for the same reason materialist refuse to accept the argument and evidence against them: a priori ideological commitments.

  75. 75
    chuckdarwin says:

    Barry Arrington @ 62

    Well, here we are at comment 62. None of the Darwinists have challenged the OP. They all want to talk about something else. That is disappointing.

    You need to go back and re-read my comment #10. It goes directly to the heart of your “deterministic evolutionary forces” select for false beliefs narrative.

  76. 76
    jerry says:

    You need to go back and re-read my comment #10. It goes directly to the heart of your “deterministic evolutionary forces” select for false beliefs narrative

    And immediately answered as bogus. But no response.

    Like the professor, you only provided specious claims.

    Essentially, you admitted Barry’s thesis is correct.

    Maybe this is why Daniel Dennett called evolution a universal acid. It dissolves the very mind that purports to believe it

    Case in point.

    I don’t really believe that you believe Darwinism is the basis of Evolution. No one could really given all the evidence against it and lack of evidence for it. Something else is at play here.

    It’s not just here but everywhere in the world and it’s not just professed belief in something that cannot possibly be true.

  77. 77
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Everyone who studies evolutionary theory understands how it works; you’re not putting anyone to shame.

    There isn’t any scientific theory of evolution to study. And chuckdarwin obviously doesn’t understand how it works. You don’t understand how it works.

  78. 78
    jerry says:

    died in 2012, fyi

    Thank you.

    As I said he had a sharp pen.

  79. 79
    Barry Arrington says:

    Chuck @ 75

    Oh yes, comment 10 in which you tried to pretend that the entire field of evolutionary psychology does not exist or, if it does, that it was developed by a Christian apologist. That was amusing but not even close to a response to the OP.

    Allow me to lay it out for you Chuck. The thrust of the OP is that from an epistemological perspective, materialistic determinism is self-referentially incoherent. It is like the proverbial snake that eats its own tail. None of our Darwinian interlocutors, including you, have pushed back in the least on that claim. If you do have a response, believe me I would love to hear it.

  80. 80
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington/26

    Sev at 3.

    As has been pointed out, even if I assume arguendo that your statement is correct, it has nothing to do with the OP. Your effort to change the subject indicates you have no response to the subject. Fair enough.

    I don’t normally bother with Jack Chick-style caricatures but if you insist.

    Did you have any choice about what planet you were born on?

    Did you have any choice about the species of animal you are?

    Did you have a choice about what country you were born in?

    Did you have a choice about who your parents were?

    Did you have a choice about when you were born?

    Did you have a choice about what sex you became?

    Did you have a choice about your sexuality?

    As I’ve pointed out before, the story of Peter’s triple denial of Christ is Biblical evidence for determinism.

    There is no doubt that there is a great deal about us that is determined, over which we had no choice. The only question is to what limited extent, if any, do we have freedom of choice.

    My belief is that we do have some freedom of choice but it’s limited just as we are limited beings.

  81. 81
    jerry says:

    My belief is that we do have some freedom of choice but it’s limited just as we are limited beings.

    Absolutely true.

    But the rest of the comment is irrelevant and supports ID. ID professes belief in 99.9999% of scientific findings based on the deterministic laws of physics. But there is that very, very, very small percentage that don’t fit the pattern.

    Because, a huge percentage of the world is deterministic, it’s a logical fallacy to conclude all is deterministic. Especially since that very small percentage has become wide spread here. Who would say that the extremely large cities that have emerged are due to deterministic causes?

    Most of us expect to only find deterministic examples wherever we look in the universe. But would we be surprised if there were examples that were not?

    As I’ve pointed out before, the story of Peter’s triple denial of Christ is Biblical evidence for determinism

    No, it’s evidence that fears pervades our lives. The reaction to the current pandemic is fear. Not fear of the virus, which is very small for most but fear of those in charge who are trying to dictate how we must behave or else we will be cancelled – mainly our livelihood will be canceled.

    Aside: notice I spelled “canceled” two different ways. My spell checker accepted both and this apparently has a history.

  82. 82
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky at 80 states, “My belief is that we do have some freedom of choice,,,”

    Not to be too picky, but the Darwinian worldview, (which, by the way, you defend tooth and nail as if your very life depended on it), wholeheartedly disagrees with your belief that, “we do have some freedom of choice,,,”

    THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.,,,”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    That statement by Coyne should literally be the number one example of a self-refuting argument that is given in philosophy 101 classes.

    Jerry Coyne is not the only, (supposedly smart), person to make blatantly self refuting statements when it comes to free will,

    Sabine Hossenfelder actually entitled one of her videos, “You don’t have free will, but don’t worry.”

    “You don’t have free will, but don’t worry.” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpU_e3jh_FY

    So in the fantasy-land of Darwinian materialism, where free will, and even our sense of self, i.e. consciousness itself, are held to be illusions, ‘meat robots’ apparently have the capacity to choose to worry or not to worry? 🙂

    And even have the capacity to choose to believe that they are meat robots or that they are not meat robots? 🙂

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne –
    No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    Verse:

    Romans 1:22-23
    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

  83. 83
    ET says:

    seversky:

    As I’ve pointed out before, the story of Peter’s triple denial of Christ is Biblical evidence for determinism.

    And as I have pointed out you don’t know what you are talking about.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    My parents had a choice as to where I was born.

    My parents had the choice to marry and have kids or not.

    People have chosen to change their sex.

  85. 85
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev at 80.
    Sev says “I don’t normally bother with Jack Chick-style caricatures . . .”
    Then Sev says “My belief is that we do have some freedom of choice but it’s limited just as we are limited beings.”
    Not that is hilarious. Sev and I believe exactly the same thing, but when I say it I am channeling Jack Chick.
    Memo to Sev. I am aware of no one who argues that every choice is totally unconstrained. An alcoholic’s choice about whether to drink alcohol is very heavily constrained indeed. But he has a choice. Otherwise, there would never be any sobor alcoholics. And there are millions.

  86. 86
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev’s comment reminds me of one of my favorite jokes.
    I was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. I didn’t necessarily want to be born in Massachusetts. But that was where my mother was, and I needed to be close to her at the time.

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    Barry at 85, talking about sober alcoholics, I heard this moving testimony from a recovering atheist/alcoholic this morning:

    Atheist Comedian turns to God after hearing these 5 words.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2qbTeymLz0

  88. 88
    chuckdarwin says:

    Barry Arrington @ 79
    This is what your article says in various iterations, ergo my comment on belief acquisition:

    Yes, it is true that evolution selected for a false belief…..

    This is what you now claim you are saying:

    The thrust of the OP is that from an epistemological perspective, materialistic determinism is self-referentially incoherent.

    It’s always hard to hit a moving target, no matter how good a shot one may be….

  89. 89
    bornagain77 says:

    Per ChuckyD at 10: “What natural selection provides is the neuro-anatomical and physiological apparatus that makes learning and memory possible. This is what is inherited. In simple terms, natural selection provides the capability to learn but not the contents of learning.”

    Well golly gee whiz, busy little beaver that natural selection is.

    But as the old joke about miracles goes, “can you be a little more explicit here?”

    I don’t think natural selection is nearly as nifty at creating the “neuro-anatomical and physiological apparatus that makes learning and memory possible” as you seem to falsely believe.

    In fact, via the mathematics of population genetics, it is now known for a fact that natural selection is grossly inadequate as a ‘designer substitute’.

    Specifically, in a model hominin population it would take natural selection 1.5 million years to fix a single point mutation, and the fixation of two co-dependent mutations would require 84 million years, and the fixation of a string of three would require 380 million years.

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    So again ChuckyD, seeing that natural selection is not nearly as ‘up to the task’ of creating the “neuro-anatomical and physiological apparatus that makes learning and memory possible” as you seem to falsely imagine, ‘can you be a little more explicit here?”

    “Then a Miracle Occurs”
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew-Curtis-8/publication/344201300/figure/fig1/AS:934492986421250@1599811898456/1-Then-a-Miracle-Occurs-Harris-2010.png

    Simply put, the human brain is ‘Beyond Belief’, and it is an flagrant insult to intelligence to try to falsely claim, as ChuckyD has done, that it was the result of the mindless accidental processes of natural selection/random mutation.

    The Human Brain Is ‘Beyond Belief’ by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * – 2017
    Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,,
    Perfect Optimization
    The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,,
    Vast Computational Power
    Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,,
    Phenomenal Processing Speed
    the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,,
    The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,,
    Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity
    Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,,
    Optimal Energy Efficiency
    Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,,
    Multidimensional Processing
    It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.13
    He also said:
    We found a world that we had never imagined. There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.13,,,
    Biophoton Brain Communication
    Neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores, and aromatic amino acids. Even the mitochondria machines that produce energy inside cells contain several different light-responsive molecules called chromophores. This research suggests that light channeled by filamentous cellular structures called microtubules plays an important role in helping to coordinate activities in different regions of the brain.,,,
    https://www.icr.org/article/10186

    Verse:

    Psalm 139:14
    I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

  90. 90
    Querius says:

    Seversky @80,

    As I’ve pointed out before, the story of Peter’s triple denial of Christ is Biblical evidence for determinism.

    As has been pointed out multiple times here, someone who can look into the future and see what your free-will choice will be, does not eliminate your free will.

    As has also been pointed out to you by Bornagain77 on multiple occasions, the current scientific understanding of space-time, allows time to elapse at different rates in the presence of strong gravitational fields. This was experimentally verified by the Hafele and Keating Experiment in October, 1971. There’s also something also experimentally verified, called “quantum erasure,” that seems to modify the past based on current choices. Feynman described the positron as an electron moving backwards in time. Do you believe Feynman’s assertion?

    Jesus told Peter that contrary to Peter’s assertion of unwavering commitment, he would deny knowing Jesus three times before the next morning. Afterwards, Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to affirm his love, signifying Jesus’ forgiveness and acceptance with the command, “Feed my sheep.”

    My belief is that we do have some freedom of choice but it’s limited just as we are limited beings.

    Yes, the scriptures tell us that we’re all in slavery to our sinful passions, and that Christ came to set us free! We’re told we have the choice to repent and God in no way will turn us away.

    -Q

  91. 91
    Barry Arrington says:

    Chuckdarwin @ 88,

    I see. You do not understand the issue. OK. Go back and think about it. And when you understand how the two statements you quoted are complementary, you can come back and leave a comment that goes to the issues raised in the OP.

  92. 92
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said:

    As has been pointed out multiple times here, someone who can look into the future and see what your free-will choice will be, does not eliminate your free will.

    The very act of forcing a person into a situation by creating them in that situation is a fundamental, original violation of free will. This is egregious because before creating that person, God already knows their outcome will be one of eternal torment, but God goes right ahead and creates them anyway, forcing them into eternal suffering, free will after the fact of being created or not.

    Is it possible that God could have just filled whatever role that person had to play in the Divine Plan with a biological automaton, without an eternal soul that would have to endure the suffering? Is there some logical reason why God could not do that?

    Let’s say there are people in hell who wish they had never been born – something I think would probably be common. Having never existed at all would be my preference over eternal torment. Thus, before I was even created, God would know my preference would have been to have never existed at all, but God violates my free will preference and creates me anyway.

    Under most common forms of Christianity, God knows billions will suffer for eternity, but creates that scenario anyway, forcing those people into that suffering by creating them anyway. They are the ones paying the eternal price for achieving the ends God desired. I guess the end does justify the means after all. After all, what’s a few billion lives in the collateral damage of eternal suffering as long as God gets what He wants in the end?

    And what does God get in the end, a lot of people who love Him and worship him and are totally obedient to his will? Well, that ain’t bad, I guess, if you’re an omnipotent psychopath.

    What is the point of eternal suffering? Can’t God just wipe those people out of existence when they die? Or is the knowledge that billions of people are suffering in hell for eternity part of the joy of Heaven? Is that an essential aspect of our love and happiness there, knowing Uncle Jim and daughter Susie are suffering in hell for eternity?

  93. 93
    chuckdarwin says:

    Barry Arrington @ 91
    Of course I don’t understand. What on earth was I thinking…………? 😉

  94. 94
    chuckdarwin says:

    WJM @ 92
    Great comment.
    You have just summarized the deep tragedy of Christianity. From Genesis to Revelation, Christian mythology lays out an unprecedented trip through the world of psychopathology without any hope of redemption for the vast majority of folks here without choice. The notion that an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God would consign virtually the entirety of his creation to eternal torment is really beyond human comprehension. That it is a “mystery” and God “has a divine plan” is of little solace.

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, UD is not a theology blog, however, I draw your attention to a scripture that speaks to judgement by light and access to grace through responsiveness to the degree of light one has:

    Rom 2: 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking1 and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

    Freedom is defining of humanity and of our capabilities starting with love and with reason. The challenge then becomes, what do we do with the light of truth we have? And that is indicting.

    KF

  96. 96
    chuckdarwin says:

    Kairofocus @95
    We will have to agree to disagree as to the nature of this blog. However, I’m not the one quoting the bible at the end of every post….

  97. 97
    Querius says:

    William J Murray and Chuckdarwin,

    The very act of forcing a person into a situation by creating them in that situation is a fundamental, original violation of free will. This is egregious because before creating that person, God already knows their outcome will be one of eternal torment, but God goes right ahead and creates them anyway, forcing them into eternal suffering, free will after the fact of being created or not.

    When chip companies create microprocessors and other components, they deal with something called yield, which they want to maximize. They know that a certain percentage of chips will turn out to be defective, so they subject the chips to production test.

    Do you think that computer manufacturers are EVIL PSYCHOPATHS when they create computers because they know FULL WELL that a percentage of the components will be scrapped FOREVER without any hope of repair? Is this the DEEP TRAGEDY of the myth of manufacturing?

    And when you cook something, how do you feel about the parts you KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY cut off to be CONDEMNED FOREVER to your garbage can? Think of the tender shoots of celery with so much life and hope that will suffer at the hands of YOUR merciless knife! You KNEW this would happen before you decided to cook anything. Shame on you!

    But the Bible says

    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
    – Ezekiel 18:23

    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
    – John 3:17

    -Q

  98. 98
    chuckdarwin says:

    Querius @97
    I seriously hope that this is an attempt at satire. Call it God of the Widgets.
    And there they are, those biblical quotes, like clockwork at the end of the comment.

  99. 99
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin,

    No, it’s obviously not “satire,” but an analogy that you might understand. Nevertheless, as usual, you ignore the questions posed.

    Obviously, you enjoy the benefits of a computer untroubled by its manufacture. And you might even cook for yourself on occasion, enjoying the pleasures of food, full well knowing that you cut off bits to the garbage or compost bin (as I do).

    Incidentally, the word “hell” in your Bible is translated from the word, Gehenna, a valley that served as a burning trash dump outside Jerusalem. This fact would have been known to the original listeners.

    -Q

  100. 100
    StephenB says:

    William J Murray:
    —“The very act of forcing a person into a situation by creating them in that situation is a fundamental, original violation of free will. This is egregious because before creating that person, God already knows their outcome will be one of eternal torment, but God goes right ahead and creates them anyway, forcing them into eternal suffering, free will after the fact of being created or not.”

    This is illogical on several fronts. First of all, it makes no sense to say the creating someone with a free will violates the principle of free will. It is logically impossible to violate something that does not yet exist. You might want to argue that creating someone without permission is “unjust” (never mind that it is impossible to consult them without first creating them) but you don’t believe that there is any such thing as justice, so you have closed off that option as well.

    In keeping with that claim (there is no justice), you have argued that it doesn’t matter if an innocent man is found guilty in a court of law. So why, all of a sudden, does it matter if someone goes to hell if God knew that it was going to happen. Is there something “unjust” about that? How can something be unjust if no standard for justice exists? This is just one more example of your many contradictory notions.

  101. 101
    Joe Schooner says:

    CD, UD is not a theology blog, however,

    However, let me respond with a theological argument. 🙂

  102. 102
    chuckdarwin says:

    JS @101
    You gotta love it…..

  103. 103
    William J Murray says:

    SB@100: I wasn’t making an argument about or from my beliefs.

    Q@97: Chips aren’t sentient beings. They don’t suffer.

    Tell me, what is the purpose of eternal torment? Why doesn’t God just wink those beings out of existence? Do the fires of hell keep the residents of Heaven warm, and they just need fuel? Is the knowledge that Uncle Jim and daughter Susie are suffering in eternity forever part of the eternal joy of Heaven?

    Whenever the logic indicts the Christian God, we hear “this isn’t a theology blog” from KF. Otherwise, theology is fair subject material all day every day.

  104. 104
    William J Murray says:

    … but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

    ROFL …. from a God that knew what they were going to do before He even created them. God’s the cause of all of this, and He takes it out on us as if we were ever going to do something else.

  105. 105
    ET says:

    I love how morons conflate UD with some of the commentors.

    UD is not and never has been a theology blog. UD has not and never has prevented people from expressing their theological views. And seeing that materialism and its bastard child, evolutionism, require more blind faith than any given religion, the anti-ID zealots should just shut up about the topic of theology. They worship at the altar of father time, mother nature and some still unknown processes.

  106. 106
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,

    Chips aren’t sentient beings. They don’t suffer.

    Yes, that’s why it’s called an analogy. Perhaps some day some chips will be sentient, at least in an AI sense. They’ll be able to be programmed to recognize and mimic human emotion. And defective ones would, of course be destroyed so they don’t hurt anyone. So, do you think it will be immoral to manufacture sentient chips, knowing beforehand that some of them will be destroyed in the manufacturing process?

    But you’re obviously and specifically disturbed about suffering. Don’t you know that according to the Bible, God in human form experienced being tortured to death along with all the anguish of abandonment from carrying all the punishment for the sins of the world, even going to hell for a while–so you wouldn’t have to if you choose not to?

    Logically, you’ve fallen between the chair and the stool. If God truly exists and truly created all the beauty and dizzying complexity of this world, why do you imagine that God can’t be totally and completely fair in evaluating YOU . . . either with perfect justice or loving mercy based on your choosing either justice or mercy?

    Again, if God can see your free will choices in advance, it’s because he can exist in our past, our present, and our future. Foreknowledge doesn’t necessitate determinism.

    Yes, inevitably many people will perish . . . but it doesn’t have to include you.

    -Q

  107. 107
    Querius says:

    ET @105,

    UD is not and never has been a theology blog. UD has not and never has prevented people from expressing their theological views.

    I don’t know why the anti-IDers here want to argue about God. ID is not about God, but about the presumption we make when researching natural phenomena: whether it’s more beneficial for science when people presume random chance or when they presume functional design. It does not take any position on the nature and purposes of the designer.

    The OP initiated the discussion by pointing out the irony of determinism being applied only to religion, but not to science itself. However, B.F. Skinner famously proposed a deterministic (radical) behaviorism and used operant conditioning for his purposes in education. I’m a little surprised that the usual suspects didn’t bring him up in the posts.

    -Q

  108. 108
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said:

    Yes, that’s why it’s called an analogy.

    An analogy should compare some meaningful aspect of the thing originally described. Please note the essential aspect in my challenge is eternal suffering, not the fact that we are simply “disposed of.” In fact, I offered the alternative of God simply winking us out of existence instead of allowing us to suffer eternally. When you have an analogy that addresses eternal suffering being allowed by a being that could make it stop, which is the key issue here, let me know.

    But you’re obviously and specifically disturbed about suffering. Don’t you know that according to the Bible, God in human form experienced being tortured to death along with all the anguish of abandonment from carrying all the punishment for the sins of the world, even going to hell for a while–so you wouldn’t have to if you choose not to?

    Is Jesus suffering for eternity? No? Then Jesus cannot have paid the price that those He has forgiven would have paid for their sins.

    Anyway, that is entirely irrelevant to the issue I’ve raised, but I suppose the questions I’ve posed are just more examples of issues you refuse to address directly.

    1. What is the point of eternal suffering?
    2. How is it that people in heaven are not disturbed about the eternal suffering of those that do not make the cut, especially given it is likely that a lot of or even most people there will have loved ones suffering in hell for eternity?

    Logically, you’ve fallen between the chair and the stool. If God truly exists and truly created all the beauty and dizzying complexity of this world, why do you imagine that God can’t be totally and completely fair in evaluating YOU . . . either with perfect justice or loving mercy based on your choosing either justice or mercy?

    No, I cannot imagine a scenario where “eternal suffering” could be considered either fair or merciful.

    Again, if God can see your free will choices in advance, it’s because he can exist in our past, our present, and our future. Foreknowledge doesn’t necessitate determinism.

    I didn’t say it did. You’re not addressing my challenges to the Christian God at all. I said that God knew before he created anyone where they would end up, with an enormous number ending up in a state of eternal torment, yet he chose to create them anyway. I didn’t say that was determinism, nor did I pose my argument as if it were.

    What you won’t answer is …why? Is God unable to set up a scheme where, instead of eternal torment, they are just “poofed” out of existence? Or, even better, have their roles in the scheme of things played out by biological automatons instead of souls that will suffer for eternity or even require being “poofed”? I mean, he knows what all those not going to heaven would do, why not have automatons fulfill all of that? Is that beyond God’s power for some reason?

    Yes, inevitably many people will perish . . . but it doesn’t have to include you.

    Is the idea that God was somehow fair and merciful supposed to be of any comfort to me if I make it to heaven and my loved ones are suffering eternal torment? Christians here often talk about empathy towards those who suffer whom we don’t even know; is your empathy for those suffering somehow just turned off by the belief that they somehow deserve it?

  109. 109
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    Is God unable to set up a scheme where, instead of eternal torment, they are just “poofed” out of existence?

    Logically, if God created us, he can uncreate us. So, indeed, why doesn’t he do that? Why go with the eternal torment option instead?
    Why is it the case that one form of punishment [eternal torment] fits every crime? And is eternal torment a fitting punishment for any crime; let alone for the lesser crimes committed by the vast majority of people who will receive this punishment? Why is it the case that Uncle Jim and daughter Susie receive the same punishment as Ted Bundy?

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, you will find that I cite scripture when it is highly needed to underscore a point or to answer particularly deep seated errors; as I did above. It certainly does not end my “every” post. Further to which, the substantial issue was tossed away by you through patent anti-Christian bias. I think you would be well advised to reconsider. KF

    PS: ET is quite right:

    UD is not and never has been a theology blog. UD has not and never has prevented people from expressing their theological views. And seeing that materialism and its bastard child, evolutionism, require more blind faith than any given religion, the anti-ID zealots should just shut up about the topic of theology. They worship at the altar of father time, mother nature and some still unknown processes.

    The fact that in ongoing threads, there is a clear struggle to acknowledge things like objectivity and warrant speaks volumes on the in-progress breakdown of our civilisation.

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, what is the nature of the soul, what is the nature of death or disintegration? What if the inherent unity of the soul means it cannot be disintegrated or break down into bits and pieces that have independent existence so they no longer are soul? In short, what if the nature of the soul implies potential, forward direction infinity? In such a context containment from further contamination and ruin makes sense. In which case, mutual impacts of pathologies that have become habitual would explain the concept of gehenna. But then, such is so far off the topic of the OP that it seems to me to reflect the obsessions of some rather than any concern to address focal issues such as are in the OP. You and others have been repeatedly advised that there are other fora with duly qualified people that can and do address the sorts of theology distractors that are being raised here as part of their focus. I again suggest, take your questions there. Here, you will get in part only brief pointers and references and/or reactions of commenters who may be drawn into exchanges at layman level but such are likely to be unproductive. Save, that they serve to make toxic, confusing squid ink clouds that serve as a distraction for escaping addressing what is truly focal. Meanwhile, our civilisation burns. KF

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you would do well to ponder SB’s comments. KF

  113. 113
    William J Murray says:

    KF, here is my response then, to SB:

    This is illogical on several fronts. First of all, it makes no sense to say the creating someone with a free will violates the principle of free will. It is logically impossible to violate something that does not yet exist.

    It does already exist even before that person is created because that future person already exists in full in the mind of God, including their free will. God would be fully aware that that person, at the end of their run, would have chosen to never have been created at all, but God created forces him into that situation and end nonetheless. That the person could not make a free will choice from his perspective until after he is created is irrelevant to the point; God knows what his choice would have been before he even created the person. For God, “free will” is not a time-linear phenomena. God sees the entire run of that person’s existence before that person is created, so yes, God actually violates that person’s free will because God has the capacity to know the answer to the question “would you rather have not been created at all” before God creates that person. Yet, God forces them against their will into existence because God’s knowledge of their will is complete an not limited to linear time after their actual creation.

    You might want to argue that creating someone without permission is “unjust” (never mind that it is impossible to consult them without first creating them) but you don’t believe that there is any such thing as justice, so you have closed off that option as well.

    No, I’m not arguing from or about my own beliefs; I’m arguing from logic about your beliefs. My own beliefs fully endorse whatever any God decides to do because might makes right. However, I don’t think you or KF are arguing that God has implemented a “might makes right” world, so it is you and KF that believe that eternal torment is “just.”

    Similar to the way that Mr. Arrington pointed out the ramifications of the determinism/materialist belief system in the OP, I’m pointing out the logical ramifications to the premises and assertions of Christians here, such as eternal torment. IOW, if eternal torment is true, then …”

    I’m not defending determinism/materialism because it cannot be defended on pain of self-negation, but IMO neither can “eternal torment” be defended without negating any reasonable concept of “justice,” “love,” and “mercy.” IMO it can only be defended on grounds of ‘might makes right;” or, it’s “just” for no other reason than the biggest dog says it is.

    In keeping with that claim (there is no justice), you have argued that it doesn’t matter if an innocent man is found guilty in a court of law.

    Show me where I said it didn’t matter.

    So why, all of a sudden, does it matter if someone goes to hell if God knew that it was going to happen. Is there something “unjust” about that? How can something be unjust if no standard for justice exists? This is just one more example of your many contradictory notions.

    Once again, I’m not arguing from or about my beliefs; I’m arguing against your beliefs using logic.

    Here are some avenues by which to defend against my argument:
    1. Show the logical necessity for eternal torment.
    2. Show the metaphysical necessity for eternal torment.
    3. Show how eternal torment is reflective of “justice,” “love,’ or “mercy other than as a big-dog decree that it is so.
    4. Show how my alternatives are either logically or metaphysically impossible, those alternatives being (a) replacing hell-bound people with biological automatons that fulfill their roles; or (b) replacing eternal torment with wiping those souls out of existence instead.
    5. This isn’t really a question of logic but just as important: how is it we are supposed to be happy in Heaven knowing that people we love, or even billions of people we don’t even know, are suffering eternal torment? How is that possible?

    However, like responses to the OP here, I don’t expect those I call on for response to actually, directly respond to this challenge because, like the challenge posed by the OP, I don’t think the position of “eternal torment” can be reconciled with the “justice, love and mercy” branch its defenders have positioned themselves on.

  114. 114
    chuckdarwin says:

    Kairofocus @110
    I wasn’t trying to single you out as one of the commentators that quotes a biblical passage in every post, if I gave that impression, I apologize. My bigger point is that UD states in it heading that it serves the intelligent design community. If the intelligent design community wants to be taken seriously in the larger scientific community, its entanglement with evangelical Christianity does not serve that purpose. Simply claiming that this is not a religious blog or that ID is not a religious ideology doesn’t cut it because it is gainsaid by the actual posts and topics discussed. It’s a classic walk the walk vs. talk the talk problem.

    I don’t make any attempt to hide my anti-Christian bias. Like most Americans I was raised in an ostensibly Christian family, perhaps more so than most. Sixteen years in Catholic schools, including four at a Jesuit university give me license to comment on Christianity because I am familiar with not just Christianity’s creed and scriptures, but also the history of the Church. Despite the fact that I rejected Christianity as a belief system decades ago, I will always be appreciative of the thorough education by the priests and nuns that taught me.
    The reason that I follow this blog and contribute is twofold. First, it interests me and despite the occasional abuse directed towards non-Christian commenters, sometimes the discussions are actually interesting and helpful.
    Second. the ID movement, in my opinion, poses a threat to public policy and especially public education in the US because of its “excessive entanglement” with religion as laid out in the 1971 US Supreme Court First Amendment holding in Lemon v. Kurtzman. Despite its protestations to the contrary, the loud claims that ID “is not religion” I view that entanglement as increasing. When the ID crowd publishes books with titles like “Return of the God Hypothesis,” it’s pretty clear where ID is headed.

  115. 115
    ET says:

    Clearly chuckdarwin is just a moron and a troll. The alleged scientific community can’t even formulate a scientific theory of evolution. The alleged scientific community is wed to materialism, which is a failed philosophy.

    Only desperate morons conflate ID or UD with people. Enter chuckdarwin. Chuckdarwin has never contributed anything to UD.

    No one has ever made the case that ID is religion. ID does NOT say anything about who, how, when, where or why to worship. That has never happened. And without that only a pathological liar on an agenda can say ID is religion.

    chuckdarwin is just another desperate and willfully ignorant ass.

    The threat to public policy and public education is with teaching evolutionism as science!

  116. 116
    jerry says:

    Sixteen years in Catholic schools, including four at a Jesuit university give me license to comment on Christianity because I am familiar with not just Christianity’s creed and scriptures, but also the history of the Church

    If this true, then why do you get so many things wrong?

    Apparently the education you cite does not qualify you to assess anything correctly. You commit one fallacy after the other.

    Also did you learn Christian charity in all this education? Your comments are some of the most un-charitable on this site.

    Before someone says that this is anti-Catholic, I know several Catholics who have had as much Catholic education and their attitudes are nothing like yours.

    Aside: I believe the Jesuits are big on Darwin’s ideas being the basis of evolution. So maybe you did pick something up in your education.

  117. 117
    Querius says:

    ET,

    While it does seem that Chuckdarwin is a troll, that’s very different from a moron. He obviously has some issues with his upbringing, people involved with his education, and his former beliefs to the point that he seems to have a mission here to attack Christianity with a single-mindedness that indicates an emotional involvement.

    In my experience, perspective, personal disappointments, and personal morality are the keys.

    The fact is many people are both Christians and have careers in the sciences, engineering, programming, and other technical fields speaks to perspective. A person’s experiences such as disappointments (as was the case with the original Charles Darwin), or sexual constraints are often the source of their objections, not the specific objections themselves.

    BTW, I’m planning to provide William J Murray a more complete answer to his objections when I have the time. I’m thinking of using a Socratic approach if he’s willing to answer my questions (so far he hasn’t, but I’ll try anyway and let’s see what happens).

    -Q

  118. 118
    jerry says:

    A comment I made 16 years ago on this site

    My initial reaction is that any association of Intelligent Design with a fundamentalist religion is negative for increasing understanding of what Intelligent Design is about. If as it claims, ID has no connection with any religious doctrine then it should distance itself from these associations. All it does is feed the anti ID people with more arguments against ID.

    I get a little queasy when I find a lot of the arguments against Darwinism are on new earth creationist sites. They may be the best of people and very smart but if their science is constrained by a religious belief, then you will not know if you are getting an un biased argument and presentation of facts. It is at the point these days that if you try to have an intelligent discussion on this topic, the other person immediately thinks you are some sort of kook.

    After the Dover decision today I believe the best approach is not to get ID into the schools but to get Darwin out except for micro evolution. Make the distinction that evolution is a multi-tier theory; 1) origin of life, 2) forming multi-cell organisms with differentiated functions (eyes, nervous systems, appendages etc), 3) macro evolution and then separate from these first three tiers 4) micro evolution which we all agree on and emphasize that this is the only thing that Darwin witnessed on the Beagle. Get the diagrams of species turning into man or each other out of the text books, get the Darwin tree out of it etc. Have any mention of anything to do with the first three tiers as speculation and any belief in them as much based on faith as any religion. Micro evolution is overwhelming accepted and while some of it may be still speculation most is reasonably based and not speculative. Make the distinciton at every turn and keep away from religious groups that have doctrines dependent upon certain views of science no matter how sincere they are.

    The key is to take the same approach as the Darwinists and insist that faith based science be tossed from the school curriculum. I believe that tiers 1-3 are as much faith based as the new earth creation scientist’s beliefs are.

    But the people attracted to comment on this site are people who want to discuss religion, either for or against. Case in point, chuckdarwin is as guilty of this as anyone.

  119. 119
    chuckdarwin says:

    Quierus @117
    It’s definitely a sexual thing……

  120. 120
    chuckdarwin says:

    Jerry @ 116

    Also did you learn Christian charity in all this education? Your comments are some of the most un-charitable on this site.

    I don’t believe I’ve called anyone a “moron” or an “ignorant ass” or have accused anyone of exhibiting some kind of inappropriate “emotional involvement” vis a vis their belief system. And I’m positive that I’ve never engaged in gratuitous and infantile armchair psychologizing about a commenters’ “sexual constraints,” whatever that is supposed to mean. (see ET @115 and Querius @117) In fact, I don’t believe I have ever called anyone names on this blog. I’ve challenged opinions, I’ve mocked ideas. I’ve posted sarcastic and snide comments, but I’ve never engaged in ad hominem attacks on commenters. That, my friend, has been a one-way street.
    The interesting thing I learned about “Christian charity” very long ago, is that it always carries a price tag. There is always a quid pro quo when bargaining for one’s soul. So, I will leave you with an appropriate comment from a fellow traveler, Mr. Nietzsche, epigram 154 from BGE:

    Objections, digressions, gay mistrust, the delight in mockery are signs of health: everything unconditional belongs in pathology.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, if the materialist atheists wish to be taken seriously scientifically they need to disentangle themselves from a priori ideological atheism, however disguised as science. By now you know or should know that the design inference is well founded empirically and analytically and that there is no good explanation for alphanumeric code and associated algorithms — language and stepwise goal directed process — along with molecular nanotech execution machinery in a kinematic self replicator apart from intelligently directed configuration. The same extends to the multiply fine tuned cosmos that facilitates such life. In that context, ideological posturing as you indulged above simply exposes the agenda Lewontin let the cat out of the bag on 20+ years back. Deal with the matters on the merits. KF

    PS: FYI,

    . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads

    [==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]

    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 [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], 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.]

  122. 122
    Querius says:

    Jerry @116 & @16 years ago,

    My initial reaction is that any association of Intelligent Design with a fundamentalist religion is negative for increasing understanding of what Intelligent Design is about. If as it claims, ID has no connection with any religious doctrine then it should distance itself from these associations. All it does is feed the anti ID people with more arguments against ID.

    I’m in complete agreement. Ideology hamstrings science whether it comes from Christian interpretations of Genesis, Marxist interpretations of punctuated equilibrium, or the irrational exclusion of Alexander Graham Cairns- Smith’s Clay theory on the origin of life from serious investigation.

    -Q

  123. 123
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @121,

    Nicely stated! The issue boils down to whether someone is willing to follow the science regardless of ideological implications or “established” scientific theories.

    If the history of science teaches us anything, it would be that scientific theories are always in flux, sometimes drawing toward or drawing away from cherished ideologies.

    -Q

  124. 124
    jerry says:

    the delight in mockery are signs of health:

    We all tend to use mockery to some extent.

    You tend to use it for people who are serious and correct in their reasoning. You have never once have been able to provide a reason why the people you mock should be mocked. Is mockery used in such a way an indictment of the person using it rather than the target of the mockery?

    Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are

    So if the judgment is incorrect, the mockery essentially points at your self.

    A lot of others use mockery for people who are incorrect in nearly everything they say. If they cannot back up their opinions, they too should be mocked.

    There is a huge difference.

  125. 125
    jerry says:

    The earliest I could find Chuckdarwin was April 2020 on an OP on “evil.”

    He actually made some sound comments on morality but never appeared again on the thread after his initial comment on evil.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-argument-from-evil-is-absurd/#comment-697797

    Has this been a pattern from the beginning? Interjecting something but never answering or backing up his innuendo.

  126. 126
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @108,

    Please note the essential aspect in my challenge is eternal suffering, not the fact that we are simply “disposed of.” In fact, I offered the alternative of God simply winking us out of existence instead of allowing us to suffer eternally.

    So, are you suggesting that God should simply wink Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-un, General Idi Amin Dada, and their ilk out of existence without any justice?

    Is Jesus suffering for eternity? No? Then Jesus cannot have paid the price that those He has forgiven would have paid for their sins.

    How can you pretend to know this? For example, have you ever used calculus to determine the finite area under an infinite-length asymptotic curve? Such an area might be less than the area of a rectangle of finite length and width. If that’s true in mathematics, then how can you be certain that it can’t be true for punishment?

    But before going any further, let me ask you this. You frequently bring up eternal suffering and the supposed unfairness of God on this forum, which is supposed on focus on ID topics. If I ask you a series of questions that might actually bring you to the point of agreeing that God is indeed perfectly fair and just, would that make ANY difference in your belief system?

    If you answer YES, I will continue.

    If you answer NO or make no answer, then your objections are obviously pointless and should be ignored.

    -Q

  127. 127
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    1. Show the logical necessity for eternal torment.
    2. Show the metaphysical necessity for eternal torment.
    3. Show how eternal torment is reflective of “justice,” “love,’ or “mercy other than as a big-dog decree that it is so.
    4. Show how my alternatives are either logically or metaphysically impossible, those alternatives being (a) replacing hell-bound people with biological automatons that fulfill their roles; or (b) replacing eternal torment with wiping those souls out of existence instead.
    5. This isn’t really a question of logic but just as important: how is it we are supposed to be happy in Heaven knowing that people we love, or even billions of people we don’t even know, are suffering eternal torment? How is that possible?

    These are very good questions, and no one seems to have an answer. Remarkable.

  128. 128
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said:

    So, are you suggesting that God should simply wink Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-un, General Idi Amin Dada, and their ilk out of existence without any justice?

    I offered it as a merciful alternative to eternal suffering. There’s a whole range of possible “justice” scenarios between the two, like anything less than eternal suffering.

    How can you pretend to know this?

    Simple logic. If the price I would have paid for my sins was eternal suffering, then paying that price is eternal suffering. A=A. If that is the price that must be paid, then it is the price that must be paid.

    If I ask you a series of questions …

    When have I avoided answering questions here? Of course I’ll answer any questions you wish to pose.

  129. 129
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @128,

    Simple logic. If the price I would have paid for my sins was eternal suffering, then paying that price is eternal suffering. A=A. If that is the price that must be paid, then it is the price that must be paid.

    Since it seems you’re not familiar with using calculus to find the area under an asymptotic curve, let’s try this:

    The area under a normal distribution or bell curve is exactly 1 (a probability of 100%). That means that half the curve starts at the mean and increases along the X axis (enumerated by standard deviations) to INFINITY without the Y axis ever reaching 0, but the total area under this half of the curve is exactly 0.5, a finite number.
    Reference: https://youtu.be/KA4G9mWONvU?t=221 (watch for 26 seconds)

    Compare this area to a rectangle of length 3 along the X axis and a Y-axis height of 1, which has an area of 3.

    Question 1: Which area is greater? The increasing half of the normal curve extending to infinity or the area of the 3 x 1 rectangle?

    -Q

  130. 130
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said:

    Since it seems you’re not familiar with using calculus to find the area under an asymptotic curve, let’s try this:

    Can you get to the point you’re trying to make? I have a feeling this is going to be another one of your attempts to show that there really can be a square circle by some argument that A = A doesn’t really have to mean A = A.

  131. 131
    William J Murray says:

    I just showed that Christianity is a form of determinism, in case anyone missed it in the other thread.
    SB argued in that thread:

    No. God’s knowledge of a future human decision does not determine the substance of that decision. God knows if and when the stock market will crash. That doesn’t mean He caused it to happen.

    My response:

    The reason this argument usually succeeds is because it relies on the inability of others to see where the perspective switches from that of God to that of a human. From God’s perspective, our choices and future outcome are 100% determined as soon as God instantiates that particular creation. From our perspective, we’re making free will choices, but our fate has already been decided by God making the choice of which creation to instantiate out of all the possible choices available.

    So it’s not just God’s knowledge that determines our outcome regardless of our free will; it is God’s act of instantiating a particular creation; that “creation,” from God’s perspective, not just the beginning of it, but the whole thing all the way though eternity. Our outcomes are necessarily predetermined by God, even though we have free will. God made the choice of who would end up in heaven and who would end up in hell when he decided on a particular creation and deliberately instantiated it. There’s nothing anyone can do, free will or not, to alter that end result.

    The Christians here make the case under their worldview that because we have free will, there cannot be determinism just because God knows our future.. I’ve shown above how that is not true because it switches perspectives. Just because we have free will from our perspective does not mean every action and thought we have was not predetermined by God – not simply because of his Knowledge of what we will do, but because that knowledge is combined with the act of creating a particular world that instantiates all the choices made in that particular world.

    God’s choice of instantiating a particular world directly caused everything that occurs in that world because God did not just create the beginning; he also created the middle and the end, top to bottom, stem to stern. My free will choices in this particular world were locked in by God’s act of instantiating this world where I happen to make those particular free will choices. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to change it after this world has been instantiated by God.

    This also explains how it is that God violated my free will by eliminating my capacity for any meaningful free will by instantiating a particular creation where I make the particular free will choices I make in that world.

  132. 132
    William J Murray says:

    So, the only meaningful free will that can exist is if God does not single out and instantiate any particular world where we make a particular set of free will decisions. The only way for free will to meaningfully exist is if it is ultimately me that is somehow instantiating what I experience as “the world” or “reality” from the infinite potential of all possibilities.

    And that is exactly what MRT provides.

    Wow. Again, this is why I love debating here.

  133. 133
    Origenes says:

    Before God created mankind, God envisioned in detail how billions of souls would suffer eternal torment. Right then, God could have chosen not to create mankind, but He did.

    My question is: Why did God choose to create mankind, despite His awareness of the formidable downside to this decision?

  134. 134
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @130,

    Can you get to the point you’re trying to make? I have a feeling this is going to be another one of your attempts to show that there really can be a square circle by some argument that A = A doesn’t really have to mean A = A.

    As I said, I’m going to ask you a series of questions. You said, in @128:

    When have I avoided answering questions here? Of course I’ll answer any questions you wish to pose.

    Your evasion in @130 is another example of your chickening out.

    Question 1: Which area is greater? The increasing half of the normal curve extending to infinity or the area of the 3 x 1 rectangle?

    -Q

  135. 135
    zweston says:

    @133. Maybe the glory and the joy of those who would be saved live with him was worth the loss of the others.

    Does your ultimate decision to be a Christian rest on answering this question?

  136. 136
    zweston says:

    In regards to determinism… I’ve wrestled with calvinism/determinism off and on… once saying I was a 5-point calvinist who now waffles somewhere near it. I’d suggest watching this discussion/debate between William lane Craig and James White for Calvinism vs. Molinism in regards to the problem of evil. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECcN-fisQRk

    Here is my question: If we know how the world will turn out (Revelation shows us)… can we actually choose to do something that conflicts with what will ultimately happen? I do believe I’m choosing exactly what I want to do… I’m not going against my will…. and I understand I’m liable for my decisions and sins. it’s an interesting tension we live in seemingly though.

    God is sovereign and his plan will come to pass, and there isn’t anything we can do to change it. I’m thankful for that. I do not miss all the other philosophical questions and issues that are raised with determinism, but just like the skeptics who raise all the theological issues, I think we need to let those things rest with God. Just because we can’t fully grasp it doesn’t pose a problem. We can look to the person of Christ and see God’s character, as he is the exact imprint of the father’s nature.

    That’s where I’m at anyways.

    However, if you are a materialist, you are a meat robot with no purpose at all following your chemical reactions that were determined by the creative force of natural selection. Chemicals in your brain fizzing, with no way to be sure your deductions are reliable or authentic. Patent absurdity.

  137. 137
    zweston says:

    Theologian R.C. Sproul on the tension https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ5cclvdWjo

  138. 138
    Querius says:

    Zweston @136,

    However, if you are a materialist, you are a meat robot with no purpose at all following your chemical reactions that were determined by the creative force of natural selection. Chemicals in your brain fizzing, with no way to be sure your deductions are reliable or authentic. Patent absurdity.

    Well said!

    Incidentally, there are some interesting hints in many places throughout the Bible of the constraints that God put on Himself to give humanity the wonderful gift of free will. For example

    The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, NOT WILLING for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)

    And for good reason, Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “. . . THY WILL be done . . .”

    -Q

  139. 139
    chuckdarwin says:

    Zweston
    You profess to be near to a 5-point Calvinist, thus you obviously believe in a form of theological determinism. I listened to the White-WLC debate you reference, and I have listened to both of them for years. Although there is very little that White says or believes that I accept, he is an incredibly articulate advocate, particularly given that he is virtually self-educated. Craig, on the other hand, with his “middle knowledge” gobbledygook, has never really impressed me. I had to take a course on Molina in college for a philosophy minor, and even with that foundation, I find the whole argument ad hoc and ultimately incoherent.

    In any event, I’m curious how the type of determinism inherent in Reformed theology differs, in a practical sense, from naturalistic determinism beyond the metaphysical veneer that Calvinism applies to the doctrine. Given that within Calvinism the bulk of humanity is condemned ab initio, how is it any less nihilistic than naturalistic determinism? It seems to me that Calvinist determinism would be much more psychologically oppressive insofar as your odds of achieving salvation are slight and your odds of eternal torment great. At least with naturalist determination you have solace that death is the end.

  140. 140
    zweston says:

    I recognize a tension in scripture. I wouldn’t say concretely I’m anything other than I lean reformed. I’m not convinced by Molinism, and open theism and really any other “system” outside of reformed theology doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m wide open to alternatives, and I even quoted some of the “non-calvin” verses. I will evangelize to any and everyone and I don’t think anyone is too far gone, and I also know that being lazy or complacent is disobedient to the call of Christ.

    “Choose this day whom you will serve” yes, indeed.

    We make choices. They follow our wills. We do what we want to do when we aren’t forced otherwise. No one will say they were forced to rebel against God. Every conscience knows that.

    I lean toward the idea this is a paradox I just can’t grasp fully. I am by no means a calvinist scholar or professional theologian, so I can’t speak to all the nuance of the issue. There are also all kinds of views inside calvinism that aren’t largely discussed or known that even myself haven’t spent time on…and not sure it’s that beneficial long term.

    The odds of someone being saved is 100% of those who repent and believe will be saved, whoever that may be. Jesus said the way is narrow and so is the gate. It’s clear many perish without Christ.

    Humanity is all condemned without Jesus from the get-go… John 3:17 exists because that’s where we are. John 3:36 says the same. We are condemned because we chose to rebel against God. No one is exempt. That’s clear. It’s also clear that whoever comes will be saved.

    And while I’d like to know all the answers, I know there are limits to that my ability to do so. King David recognized it. The prophets recognized it. The Apostle John recognized it. Where I don’t fully understand I will humbly submit and follow what I do know.

    All I know is I’m responsible for my action and God is in control and his plan won’t be stopped.

    Other than that, go and make disciples.

    And how is this different than nihilism?….
    There is a purpose, a point, and paradise awaits. My actions have consequences that are forever. My hope is not limited in value. I don’t have to make up false purpose to get through the day or just live in cognitive dissonance. Any materialist (I know, you are deist or something) would literally have no point. Eat and drink for tomorrow we die. That conclusion is completely detrimental to the human race. It’s why suicide rates are spiking. Instead of killing God, satan is having us kill ourselves. It’s horrendous.

    Instead, Christ has appointed us to be a part of this ultimate narrative story that is playing out right before us… and as Jordan Peterson has said, it’s by definition the greatest adventure you could ever be a part of. Whereas nihilism is an incoherent self-defeating (or killing) philosophy that only leads to death and destruction, which is exactly what Satan is all about. Go figure.

    If you want entertained and informed about the absurdity, watch this pastor talk with a college student who is a committed moral nihilist…or so he thinks. it’s pretty awesome. (pastor is mentored by Dr. White, btw) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UciOzJFTjc8

    Again, whether I’m right or not about theology doesn’t ultimately change much. Jesus resurrected. It’s clear. He calls all men to repent and believe and follow him.

    I don’t think most people really want “extinguished.” If you could choose between eternal life as described in the Bible or ceasing to exist… I think it’s clear what you would choose.

    Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work that God has done from beginning to end. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

    Eternity is in your heart. You seek it whether you will admit it or not.

  141. 141
    chuckdarwin says:

    Thanks for the response. Honestly, I find the notion of eternity a little daunting….

  142. 142
    zweston says:

    CD @141, appreciate the candor. The idea of eternity or infinity is incomprehensible certainly. Beyond understandable… however, I don’t think heaven will be unrecognizable. God didn’t call it “New Earth” if it wasn’t going to be like earth, just better.

    I have really enjoyed reading a book called “heaven” by Randy Alcorn…btw not a “I went to heaven and this is what I saw” book but rather a theology of heaven book. It has really helped me see even clearer who God is by his character and care of the people he created and I think we can make some strong inferences of what eternity will look like. I think you’d enjoy the book honestly. He writes in a way that is very very accessible and pleasant. It’s not a heavy read at all. I think it would enrich you some on Christianity too. I think it’s important Christians communicate what they are being saved to as well as saved from. I think Hollywood and looney tunes have hijacked what Heaven truly is.

    Haven’t you ever wanted a day to never end? Have you ever wanted the day to stop right at dusk? Have you ever wanted to stay on vacation longer? Haven’t you had such a great time with friends you wished you didn’t have to go home?….. Haven’t you wanted to sit around a campfire or watch a river or stare at the stars until you had to go to sleep? Have you ever wanted a book to never end or a great movie series? There is a longing in all of us. Time is our enemy…because we know we are finite.

    Matthew 25:22-23: The servant who had received the two talents also came and said, ‘Master, you entrusted me with two talents. See, I have gained two more.’ 23His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’ —

    Or, Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life;
    In Your presence is fullness of joy;
    At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

    FULLNESS of joy. Pleasures FOREVERMORE. Doesn’t get any better than that.

  143. 143
    William J Murray says:

    Querius @134 asks:

    Question 1: Which area is greater? The increasing half of the normal curve extending to infinity or the area of the 3 x 1 rectangle?

    I don’t know.

  144. 144
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston said:

    FULLNESS of joy. Pleasures FOREVERMORE. Doesn’t get any better than that.

    There is no chance of that without my wife, children and others I love, especially if I know they are in eternal torment.

  145. 145
    zweston says:

    WJM,

    I’d refer you to George Muller, who you may be familiar with. God did some amazing things through him. He talked about his father and brother passing without a profession of faith. He didn’t know for sure (nor does anyone) how the final moments of their lives played out. He ultimately came to the place that he just trusted that God would do things the right way. He trusted God’s character and let it rest.

    PS I don’t see you as “evil” any more than anyone else. I’m not threatened by you or what you think or say. I do think it’s patently false and so I think it’s important to keep demonstrating it because I think that eternity is on the line. Wouldn’t that only make sense?

    In regards to your personal situation. I’m reminded of the Rich man and Lazarus, which I think wasn’t a parable but a true depiction of reality. The Rich man knew he was stuck, but asked that God would send someone to reach his family. The rich man wanted so much for his brothers to not experience what he was experiencing.

    I hear your pain and probably anger/frustration at the scenario where your loved ones won’t be in heaven. I think that is helpful to know where you are coming from and I’m sorry for that being the case that anyone dies without Jesus. I have friends and family members who don’t know Jesus…and the sobering thought of them not knowing Christ is not something I like thinking about.

    That being said, every man/woman must give an account and must decide if they will pay for their sins or Jesus will. They all have that responsibility. They all will be judged according to that. Ultimately, I do firmly believe God will act rightly in every situation and that’s why there will be no tears in heaven. I think we will understand then fully.

    Crude analogy and may not be helpful, but it seems you are unwilling to get off the train track because someone you know got ran over. So instead of learning from it, you choose to do the same. That is the definition of a hardened heart.

    And, in a sense, all of this dialogue doesn’t matter relative to this question: Is Christianity true? Did Jesus resurrect. Is Jesus who he said he was. Is he the only way?

    Then you can kick against it all you want, but it doesn’t make it true. And again, just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it invalid.

    I’m confident that it will all make perfect sense in the end, but that is a faith statement. I trust God. I trust Jesus’ character. I can rest in that as a result.

    Truth must prevail over our emotions. Your emotions are valid and real, but that doesn’t mean they are perfectly informed (as neither are mine.) But, I appeal to the word of God and the person of Christ. That’s where I sit.

  146. 146
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston, you said:

    Truth must prevail over our emotions.

    The truth is I cannot bear the black abyss of hopeless despair and agony of my wife being lost to me, or the idea of abandoning her to eternal suffering while I seek enjoyment without her. I’ve experienced first-hand what it is to feel like she is lost to me forever. I felt that after she died.

    If that means, to you, that my heart is “hardened” against any scenario where she is hopelessly lost to me, so be it. I rejected Christianity long before I met her.

    I’m friends with literally hundreds of people who have rejected their prior religious beliefs, some after being believers for decades when their partner or child died, because their religion taught that they would never see their loved one again or regain that relationship. This is not a logical argument against any religion; it’s just a statement of fact. We will not abandon our loved ones, and we do not want to be “made whole” or find joy and happiness without them. They are everything to us, and all possible enjoyments and pleasures are ash in our mouth without them.

    I don’t want to live in a world where it “makes sense” to me that she is hopelessly lost to me, much less that she is suffering for eternity.

  147. 147
    JVL says:

    WJM: I don’t know.

    Too funny. You were told what the answer is!

  148. 148
    AndyClue says:

    @William J Murray:

    I don’t want to live in a world where it “makes sense” to me that she is hopelessly lost to me, much less that she is suffering for eternity.

    Where do you get the idea that your wife is suffering for eternity?

    Remember when you and your wife were together. Did you deny her? Did you not believe she was there? No! Now imagine your wife feeling god like you felt your wife, when she was alive. Knowing god why would she deny him?

    I’m claiming that you have no idea about god. To deny god first you have to know him. And you will not know him through the pope, nor the priests. God is the gate to heaven, not the sinridden human sewer of this world.

  149. 149
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @143,

    I don’t know.

    Hint: The increasing half of the normal curve extending to infinity is 0.5 and the area of the 3 x 1 rectangle is 3. Which of these is greater?

    -Q

  150. 150
    William J Murray says:

    Q@149: i don’t know.

  151. 151
    JVL says:

    William J Murray:

    Are you really that innumerate? You were told what the answer is!! Even the calculus required is not that advanced.

  152. 152
    Querius says:

    JVL @151,
    What can I say?

    I think William J Murray refuses to provide the answer to what’s greater: 0.5 or 3 because he’s terrified of where the math will take him.

    He’d rather look stupid than have someone show him that his precious A=A logic is wrong.

    For everyone else then, here’s what the simple math shows: The area under a curve of infinite length can have a finite value.

    So, if we simply relabel the X axis as time instead of standard deviations and the Y axis as the intensity of deserved punishment rather than probability, then the area under the curve is total punishment, which is limited to 0.5 in this case.

    That means that the justice imposed by God is not necessarily unlimited even when spread out over an infinite amount of time. Please note that I’m not saying that this is necessarily what God will do. The example from math simply destroys William J Murray’s contention that God can’t be just.

    It also shows that the physical and psychological anguish that Christ suffered for us over a finite amount of time can be equal to and sufficient to pay for everyone’s transgressions.

    But that’s not the end of my apologetic on the subject. I have two more if William J Murray is willing to answer my next question.

    -Q

  153. 153
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @128,

    When have I avoided answering questions here? Of course I’ll answer any questions you wish to pose.

    Let’s say at some time in the future, the punishment for someone found guilty of a murder is to be jettisoned at high velocity toward a black hole in a radiation-resistant capsule. At some point the difference in gravity will be massively different between their head and feet, resulting in their death by being turned into spaghetti. The death they will experience will be painful but quick, depending on their initial velocity. They won’t even notice their passing over the Schwarzschild radius and their body will ultimately be powdered and crushed into the singularity. There are several YouTube videos you can watch on the subject.

    QUESTION 2: What will this event look like from an observer stationed at a safe distance away?

    -Q

  154. 154
    Truth Will Set You Free says:

    Q@153: I think the answer is that the person will simply disappear into a cloud of molecular dust, which will also disappear quite quickly. What is you answer?

  155. 155
    William J Murray says:

    Q said:

    I think William J Murray refuses to provide the answer to what’s greater: 0.5 or 3 because he’s terrified of where the math will take him

    Actually, I just don’t know the answer. If you’re not going to accept my answers as being honest, what’s the point of any of this?

    It also shows that the physical and psychological anguish that Christ suffered for us over a finite amount of time can be equal to and sufficient to pay for everyone’s transgressions.

    Except A (suffering) does not equal not-A (area in geometry), so you haven’t shown anything of value. Unless you can show me the equations for expressing quanta of suffering as geometrical area?

    The example from math simply destroys William J Murray’s contention that God can’t be just.

    It does not and William J. Murray never made that contention.

    JVL said:

    Are you really that innumerate? You were told what the answer is!! Even the calculus required is not that advanced.

    Apparently.

    Q asks:

    QUESTION 2: What will this event look like from an observer stationed at a safe distance away?

    I don’t know.

  156. 156
    Seversky says:

    JVL/151

    William J Murray:

    Are you really that innumerate? You were told what the answer is!! Even the calculus required is not that advanced.

    I am that innumerate. I recognize the value of mathematics but I view the subject with a loathing you probably cannot understand. In my experience it was one of the worst-taught subjects in the curriculum.

  157. 157
    Seversky says:

    Querius/152

    For everyone else then, here’s what the simple math shows: The area under a curve of infinite length can have a finite value.

    I would accept that on your word. So what?

    That means that the justice imposed by God is not necessarily unlimited even when spread out over an infinite amount of time. Please note that I’m not saying that this is necessarily what God will do. The example from math simply destroys William J Murray’s contention that God can’t be just.

    Nonsense, that is a complete non-sequitur.

    Geometry is a branch of mathematics which is concerned with physical and spatial properties such as shape, size, distance and relative positions of figures.

    Justice is concerned with ethical and moral prescriptions for trying to ensure that all members of a human society are treated fairly and equitably.

    You can no more use geometrical calculations to quantify an unquantifiable metaphysical concept such as justice than you can estimate a numerical value for the beauty of a great painting.

    The anguish suffered by Christ during the Crucifixion was at best street-theater. As the Son of God, in effect God manifested briefly in human form on Earth, He was immortal. We may have been able to kill the body but it is beyond our power to harm him in any other way. In fact, we have to assume that He had the power to suppress any pain He was experiencing at the time if He chose, which was more than any mortal human could have done unaided.

    As for the alleged sins for which He was atoning by His “sacrifice”, I remind you that according to Christian belief nothing exists except by God’s will. If human beings are capable of sinning it is because that is how we were made by our Creator. God could have chosen to do otherwise, so why didn’t He? As an omniscient and omnipresent deity, He would have known exactly how we were going to behave if allowed, so what purpose is served by letting scenarios play out where you already know the outcome?

    How is it just to condemn humanity to suffering in perpetuity for a single transgression committed by distant ancestors? As Charles Darwin wrote following the death of his father, Robert, in 1848,

    Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.

    I entirely agree.

  158. 158
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,

    Actually, I just don’t know the answer. If you’re not going to accept my answers as being honest, what’s the point of any of this?

    You gotta be joking. What do you do at a grocery store? For someone who doesn’t know that 0.5 is a finite number that’s less than 3, you sure put a lot of opinions and arguments on parade.

    But, I assume you’re not paralyzed and can watch YouTube videos. Here’s one contains the answer to QUESTION 2 in a few seconds:
    https://youtu.be/eIuG-b9Dwd8?t=143

    And here’s another one, again that shows the answer in a few seconds:
    https://youtu.be/ZFnUAFCffXE?t=219

    So, what’s the answer to question 2?

    -Q

  159. 159
    Querius says:

    Seversky @157,

    How is it just to condemn humanity to suffering in perpetuity for a single transgression committed by distant ancestors?

    No, the original transgression is like an infection. We’re not condemned for the sin of Adam and Eve, but for our own sin. This infection in us will eventually kill us unless we get a vaccine. So God provided this “vaccine” for us by putting on a human body, suffering intensely and producing “antibodies” that will save us if were willing to accept his vaccine.

    As for the alleged sins for which He was atoning by His “sacrifice”, I remind you that according to Christian belief nothing exists except by God’s will.

    Really? Where is this stated in the Bible?

    Then, maybe you can explain what the Apostle Peter wrote here:

    The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, NOT WILLING for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.
    – 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)

    If you can experience suffering, you can measure it. And if you can measure it, you can plot it over time. And if you plot it over time, you can find the total amount of suffering by computing or measuring the total amount of area under this infinite curve, which in certain cases yields a finite number, hence a finite amount of suffering.

    There are many infinite (asymptotic) curves that this applies to, including the normal distribution curve which is infinite in both directions but has an area of exactly 1.

    The portion that extends in the positive direction from the mean is also infinite and the area under the curve is also finite, namely half of 1 or 0.5. This FACT goes to show that there can exist a condition of an infinite amount of time resulting in a finite amount of suffering.

    -Q

  160. 160
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: I am that innumerate. I recognize the value of mathematics but I view the subject with a loathing you probably cannot understand. In my experience it was one of the worst-taught subjects in the curriculum.

    I’m sorry but do you expect us to take you seriously when you cannot deal with even the basic, first-year, undergraduate mathematics? Do you really think your reasoning abilities are top-notch when you can’t even repeat a numerical answer that was explicitly given to you multiple times?

    This has nothing to do with you having bad teachers. This has to do with your intellectual laziness and inability to process a grade-school level statement.

    Again, this is BASIC STUFF. So many aspects of scientific reasoning and argumentation depend on being able to track mathematical discussions, some much more complicated that the above. And you think you can just ignore all of that because . . . because . . .

    I have been willing to give you the benefit of the doubt in the past but clearly you need to spend a lot of time learning some basic analytic tools. ‘Cause otherwise you’re just one of the great pretenders. Amusing but not influential.

    I’d love to be your accountant ’cause I’d just eat your assets for lunch and you wouldn’t have a clue.

  161. 161
    JVL says:

    Querius: So, what’s the answer to question 2?

    I’d just leave it Querius. William “innumerate” Murray thinks his reasoning power is adequate despite not being able to do arithmetic.

    I think I get it now: he’s just been parroting some things he read in a book or two without being able to look at the science or evidence behind it. If there is any. If you can’t do arithmetic you certainly can’t understand algebra or statistics or calculus or analysis or diff eq or a whole ton of other analytic disciplines.

    Too weird. Hopefully there’s no journals publishing his stuff.

  162. 162
    JVL says:

    I do apologise: in my haste I ascribed statements to William J Murray in comment #156 that were actually made by Seversky for some reason. I’m not sure why they responded to a statement directed at someone else . . . I trust they are not the same person . . .

    If I have misrepresented William J Murray then I do apologise.

  163. 163
    vividbleau says:

    WJM

    “If you’re not going to accept my answers as being honest, what’s the point of any of this?”

    This is funny you got me ROFL. Honest answers? This from someone who admits you dishonesty argued for things you don’t even believe in.

    WJM 363 on another thread, LFP
    “Why did I argue for objective morality for a year when I didn’t even believe in it? “

    Vivid

  164. 164
    ram says:

    Querius: No, the original transgression is like an infection. We’re not condemned for the sin of Adam and Eve, but for our own sin.

    An infection that (your idea of) God could have stopped in its tracks. Your theology has the creator being unfair from the onset. And sending most people to eternal torture for not somehow getting it right after the initial infection. Of course, the Big Red Flag in your theology is that your god leaves the innocent humans alone with a clever interloper right there at the onset, before their “eyes” have even been “opened” enough to effectively defend themselves. It’s like leaving three year old children in a room with a jar full of candy, and expecting them to resist when a very nice adult comes in the room and persuades them that it’s OK to eat the candy because mommy and daddy just want to keep the candy all to themselves. Then cursing them an all of their future children because it.

    Here’s the thing, the reason why you believe weird things is that your primary assumption about earth life is wrong. You see it as some kind of test. What if it isn’t? There are other plausible options. Are you willing to explore the possibility that you are wrong?

    And before you accuse me of being a god-hater, and without morality, I’m neither of those things. What I’m pointing out is that, from what we know about human built-in morality- your idea of god is an unfair character at the very beginning and end of this earth-life experiment. In other words, what we know about morality, your theology is bogus and is utterly unworthy of the real Creator.

    You believe the Christian Bible (66 books or 73 books?), and you think that explains it to your satisfaction. But try to see it from another view. Ponder honestly: why doesn’t the Bible explain: 1) why any creation at all? 2) why eternal torture for the losers when anniliation would do just fine? One would think the “word of God” would at least give provide that. Your speculations about those two questions are not evidence Moreover, ask yourself why Orthodox Jews don’t believe in the “eternal torture” concept.

    –Ram

  165. 165
    Querius says:

    JVL @160, 161
    Sadly true and you’re probably right. I think it points to self-inflicted blindness.

    While some people have honest stumbling blocks and ask honest questions, others pretend not to understand or perhaps are so filled with bitterness that they function as trolls.

    While I sympathize, with their pain and frustration, it seems that some people cling to their perceptions of injustice and victimhood rather than considering a different perspective that can get them out of a rut.

    The same dynamic applies in some cases to frustrated or disappointed athletes. In other cases, I’ve seen examples of people who sabotage their own success for reasons that I don’t understand. Maybe you have, too.

    Online, one can’t be sure whether some people create multiple personages. I guess they have fun with it.

    -Q

  166. 166
    Querius says:

    Ram @164,

    You raise a lot of questions and issues. Maybe you would be willing to take a shot at my QUESTION 2 @158.

    If you follow my path in that question, I promise to give you frank answers to what you raised. Some of them might surprise you.

    -Q

  167. 167
    JVL says:

    Querius: Sadly true and you’re probably right. I think it points to self-inflicted blindness.

    It’s awfully weird at the least. We’re not talking graduate level stuff here! You told him the answer! Incredible.

    I just cannot fathom someone who claims to be able to reason at a high level who can’t perform very, very basic mathematical activities. Mathematics has been recognised as being analogous to logic for centuries. And you simply cannot follow some scientific arguments without being able to understand the math behind them.

    Weird, weird, weird.

    While I sympathize, with their pain and frustration, it seems that some people cling to their perceptions of injustice and victimhood rather than considering a different perspective that can get them out of a rut.

    If you can’t swallow your pride and take a course then . . . I got nothin’.

  168. 168
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said

    You gotta be joking. What do you do at a grocery store? For someone who doesn’t know that 0.5 is a finite number that’s less than 3, you sure put a lot of opinions and arguments on parade.

    But, that is not how you worded your question to me. If you had asked me which number is greater, 1.5 or 3, I would have answered 3. I don’t know anything about calculus, so you telling me an answer is not the same as me actually knowing the answer because I can work the problem out myself. So, I answered honestly with “I don’t know.”

    But, I assume you’re not paralyzed and can watch YouTube videos. Here’s one contains the answer to QUESTION 2 in a few seconds:

    I did not agree to watch videos. In any event, someone on youtube telling me what something would look like is not the same as me knowing what it would look like.

  169. 169
    William J Murray says:

    Vividbleu @163:

    This is funny you got me ROFL. Honest answers? This from someone who admits you dishonesty argued for things you don’t even believe in.

    There was nothing dishonest about it; I never said I believed in it. I’ve said many times here that I make all kinds of arguments just to see where the argument leads. Note how I’ve recently started making an argument FOR KF’s duties, which I’ve been arguing against for months, just to see if I can do it and to see where it leads.

    The reason I argue many different points of view is because only ever arguing for one perspective does nothing but help blind a person to other perspectives and reduces their chances of finding a better perspective because they are too busy defending their own. I enjoy working out different perspectives through interactive arguments.

  170. 170
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    I’m sorry but do you expect us to take you seriously when you cannot deal with even the basic, first-year, undergraduate mathematics? Do you really think your reasoning abilities are top-notch when you can’t even repeat a numerical answer that was explicitly given to you multiple times?

    As I have said many times, no, I don’t expect anyone to take me seriously. KF and I had a similar exchange about my lack of “credibility.” I don’t want anyone to accept any part of any argument I make because they find me “credible.” An argument stands on it’s own merits, not on the credibility of the person making the argument. Whether or not you take me seriously for any reason has no bearing on the merits of any argument I make.

    As I said in response to Querius, I don’t know anything about calculus whatsoever, and Querius saying what the answer is, is not the same as me being able to work the problem out on my own and thus knowing the answer. Querius telling me what the answer is is not me knowing what the answer is; it’s me knowing what Querius is telling me the answer is.

    See, that’s how logic works.

  171. 171
    William J Murray says:

    Here’s the thing: do you accept a logical argument because someone impressive says it is logical, or do you accept that it is logical because you work the logic out for yourself?

    When someone purports to be telling you a fact about a thing, do you then believe you know that fact about that thing? You don’t; all you know as a fact is that the person told you something he represented as a fact about that thing.

    Is the above argument about “knowledge of facts” logical because I say so and because I have credibility? Absolutely not. Work the logic out for yourself. Logical arguments stand on their own merits, not on the credibility of the person making the argument.

  172. 172
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said:

    If you can experience suffering, you can measure it. And if you can measure it, you can plot it over time. And if you plot it over time, you can find the total amount of suffering by computing or measuring the total amount of area under this infinite curve, which in certain cases yields a finite number, hence a finite amount of suffering.

    Can you direct us to the equations that mathematically transform units of suffering into units of of area?

  173. 173
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    Again, this is BASIC STUFF. So many aspects of scientific reasoning and argumentation depend on being able to track mathematical discussions, some much more complicated that the above. And you think you can just ignore all of that because . . . because . . .

    Feel free to direct me to any argument I have made that relies on calculus, or fails because I don’t know how to do calculus. Otherwise, you’re just looking for a reason to discredit the person making the argument; you’re not actually addressing the argument on its merits.

  174. 174
    William J Murray says:

    Querius said:

    If you can experience suffering, you can measure it.

    Suffering is entirely subjective. You can personally compare your own experiences of suffering against each other to reach a rough comparative value; you cannot compare it (measure it) against other people’s experiences of suffering.

    Seversky said:

    You can no more use geometrical calculations to quantify an unquantifiable metaphysical concept such as justice than you can estimate a numerical value for the beauty of a great painting.

    Exactly. You cannot measure subjective experiences like how beautiful you find a thing, or love, or suffering, other than a rough comparison of your own experiences against each other.

    As I said, when Querius can show us the mathematical equations that transform objectively quantified units of suffering (and the information that describes how this is objectively achieved) into units of area, he’ll have an argument. Otherwise, he’s just baldly asserting that suffering can be successfully mapped as area in some objective sense.

    I suppose the infinite arc is supposed to represent eternity (eternal suffering) and the amount of suffering one experiences is represented by the finite area under the arc (1.5) and the box represents Jesus going through all the collected infinite suffering of everyone (adding up billions of 1.5 suffering amounts) in a finite time.

    I’ll show how this description fails without doing any calculus.

    Querius is mistakenly thinking that suffering can be mapped out and accounted for purely by reducing it to “area” in terms of duration, but that does not, by a long shot, account for all the qualities of suffering. It cannot be mapped out as area or volume because that still does not account for specific qualities of “eternal suffering.”

    Here’s one reason why: in eternal suffering, there is the quality of it being never-ending with no hope whatsoever of relief. Jesus suffering for a finite time while knowing that it will end cannot ever contain or account for that quality of suffering the people who go to hell have to endure.

    Thus, Jesus cannot logically have paid the same price as those who have to endure that aspect of suffering in eternal torment.

  175. 175
    William J Murray says:

    To clarify something I said earlier:

    As I said in response to Querius, I don’t know anything about calculus whatsoever, and Querius saying what the answer is, is not the same as me being able to work the problem out on my own and thus knowing the answer. Querius telling me what the answer is is not me knowing what the answer is; it’s me knowing what Querius is telling me the answer is

    Meaning, since I don’t know how to do the calculus, Querius might be wrong when he tells me the answer, so I cannot know that the answer he tells me is correct. Therefore, despite Querius telling me an answer, I don’t know whether or not that is the correct answer.

    Hence my answer, “I don’t know.”

  176. 176
    William J Murray says:

    Suffering is different from just physical pain. Suffering is largely a personal, mental state. Yes, one suffers when they feel physical ill or in physical pain, but the qualities of one’s mental state can reduce the suffering by using dissociative techniques. Also, one can use various clinically-demonstrated methods that rewire the brain to react differently to physical discomforts.

    Just the knowledge that the physical pain or suffering will soon be over greatly mitigates the suffering. Hope mitigates suffering. Now imagine the quality of suffering one would endure in total abject misery and despair and unbearable physical pain with no hope of it ever ending and that goes on forever. That’s a unique quality of a unique kind of suffering that can only be experienced by someone in that situation. You cannot experience that suffering unless you are in that situation – jst as you cannot experience the suffering of the loss of a child or spouse unless you experience that situation as the person who is going through that – because, even then, each experience of grief is different from every other such experience.

    To say that you can experience that suffering any particular person experiences in such a situation without being that person in that circumstance is nonsense. To “pay the price” of any person going through eternal suffering, you’d have to go through eternal suffering as that person because the “eternal” aspect that contributes that special quality to the suffering cannot be experienced any other way, AND that person suffers uniquely because of their own individual personality and mental structure.

    To say that this price in suffering can be paid by reducing suffering to a commodity like area or volume, taking it out of it’s unique eternal quality and personal context and transformed into some super-intense finite period of time one person – Jesus – can experience for, let’s say, hundreds of millions of people all at the same time, is to ignore what suffering actually is and ignores the unique quality of “eternal” torment. You might as well say that suffering can be reduced to a dollar amount and Jesus writes a check to cover it – and Jesus has an infinite amount of money (meaning, after paying the price, Jesus has a eternity of joy and happiness. Wow. What did Jesus pay, a fe)

    Jesus didn’t even pay the price for a single human, much less what, hundreds of millions? Billions? He spent what, 6 hours suffering? WOW! That should cover the eternal suffering of potentially billions of people.

    Now, some account for the atonement of those hundreds of millions being bought with the blood sacrifice of Jesus as a being uniquely capable of providing the sacrifice necessary for any number of people to be absolved of their sin. I think that’s how people in the Old Testament handled their sin problem – blood sacrifice – and Jesus supposedly made the blood sacrifice for everyone on into the future.

    Sheesh. God requires a blood sacrifice to get you out of the situation he himself created you into. Sounds like the premise of a horror movie.

  177. 177
    JVL says:

    William J Murray

    Let me see if I understand your logic:

    On that screen that you perceive the world unfolding on you see things like computers, cars, airplanes, television transmissions all or most of which is just some kind of magic for you. Very entertaining magic, some good stories sometimes. You even interact with some of these magical devices sometimes: you press your fingers against a grid of letters to publish messages on some ‘website’ and you get replies from other ‘people’. What great fun! You sometimes drive a car and, gosh, it actually does what you’ve been told it’s supposed to do. Well, mostly, as long as you follow the rules: gas it up, change the oil, etc. You may have even ridden in an airplane, how that works . . . well, you just have to accept it don’t you? Like when Captain Kirk uses his phaser; it’s just a story. But you accept it all.

    And then someone tells you: hey, the area under this curve is 0.5 square units. And you say: I don’t know that so I won’t agree.

    Computers, tick. Phones, tick. Automobiles, tick. Airplanes, tick. Twenty-two guys bashing into each other on a field trying to put an inflated spheroid across a line on the ground at some far distance location but I can watch it on a ‘tele-vision’, tick. The area under a particular curve is a particular value . . . you don’t know. Not: okay, if you say so. Not: I’ll go with that just to see your bigger point. You don’t know. AND you’re not going to bother to look it up or learn the logic behind the statement?

    You think you’re being logical and rational but you’re ignoring whole swathes of logic that many, many, many people have learned how to navigate in the last 300+ years. That logic and reasoning you just ignore. You don’t want to know and you won’t accept someone else telling you it’s true. A whole lot of someone else’s in fact. Like everyone who actually has taken a year’s worth of Calculus. I guess there’s a lot of people who can reason about a lot of things that are beyond you.

    Maybe you should change the channel more often on that narrowly focused mental video screen you like watching.

  178. 178
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    And then someone tells you: hey, the area under this curve is 0.5 square units. And you say: I don’t know that so I won’t agree.

    I didn’t disagree. I said I don’t know. If someone tells me how a car works, I don’t know that’s how a car works until I experience “how a car works” (in terms of how to operate it) and l I successfully operate a car and match that successful operation against his description.

    Do you believe as true everything other people tell you? I suspect not. I can’t begin to count the number of things I was taught in school, or which figures of authority such as “news” outlets, or which my parents taught me from their own experience, that turned out not to be true in my experience. I don’t even know who you or Querius are, and I’m supposed to “know” that something is true because you say so?

    You think you’re being logical and rational but you’re ignoring whole swathes of logic that many, many, many people have learned how to navigate in the last 300+ years. That logic and reasoning you just ignore. You don’t want to know and you won’t accept someone else telling you it’s true. A whole lot of someone else’s in fact. Like everyone who actually has taken a year’s worth of Calculus. I guess there’s a lot of people who can reason about a lot of things that are beyond you.

    Or, you can actually point out where my arguments actually, logically fail and explain how they fail. Otherwise, as I said, all you’re doing is trying to discredit the person making the argument; you’re not actually criticizing the argument on merits.

    Person A presents logical argument.
    Person 2 says, “you don’t know enough about logic, so your argument fails.”

    Do you understand how that is not a refutation for any actual argument?

  179. 179
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: I don’t know that’s how a car works until I experience “how a car works” (in terms of how to operate it) and l I successfully operate a car and match that successful operation against his description.

    So . . . planes are just magic then? You get in this tube, it bumps and grinds, makes lots of noise, good image on the windows, very entertaining, eventually you get off and it looks like someplace different. Good fun eh!

    I don’t even know who you or Querius are, and I’m supposed to “know” that something is true because you say so?

    No, you could look it up! You could ask someone else. You could actually do some work to see if it’s true. But you won’t. You’re happy just trusting some magic but not others. You don’t care about mathematical reasoning so you’ll just ignore it.

    Otherwise, as I said, all you’re doing is trying to discredit the person making the argument; you’re not actually criticizing the argument on merits.

    Nope, I’m not getting involved in the weird theological argument you’re involved with. I am saying that your reasoning abilities seem to be rather limited based on well known and understood reasoning tasks.

    Do you understand how that is not a refutation for any actual argument?

    You don’t have to be so pedantic. You’re not the only person who understands how to make an argument.

    I have to say: the agent they assigned to you is doing ‘her’ job well; she’s keeping you happy to just pontificate but not actually do anything to change the world for the better. The tax income is good for us . . . do you need a new lazy boy recliner by the way? I think ‘there’s’ a sale on.

  180. 180
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    So . . . planes are just magic then? You get in this tube, it bumps and grinds, makes lots of noise, good image on the windows, very entertaining, eventually you get off and it looks like someplace different. Good fun eh!

    I don’t understand what you mean by this. I didn’t say no correct information exists on how to build or fly a plane. I’m saying I don’t know how to build or fly a plane. When someone tells me how, I don’t know that’s how until I put that information to the test and it works.

    No, you could look it up!

    Yes, I could probably consult instructions on how to do basic calculus, do some work on my own to see if the principles/equations bore out, and come back with an answer. But I was uninterested in doing that because I already knew that Querius’ “solution” to the problem – mapping out suffering as if it could be represented by geometric area – was intrinsically, logically faulty. Suffering does not = geometric area on a plane. Or even cubic volume. At best, he is using a convenient analogy representing only one pertinent aspect of suffering – duration.

    Nope, I’m not getting involved in the weird theological argument you’re involved with. I am saying that your reasoning abilities seem to be rather limited based on well known and understood reasoning tasks.

    You begin with “nope,” but then immediately afterward you do the same thing: “your argument fails because you don’t know enough about logic.”

    I have to say: the agent they assigned to you is doing ‘her’ job well; she’s keeping you happy to just pontificate but not actually do anything to change the world for the better.

    Is this an attempt at humor? If you are serious, how do you know I’m not doing anything to make the world better?”

  181. 181
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: I’m saying I don’t know how to build or fly a plane.

    Nor do you understand the physics behind how it works. So it’s just so much magic to you, correct? Just like smart phones and computers.

    Yes, I could probably consult instructions on how to do basic calculus, do some work on my own to see if the principles/equations bore out, and come back with an answer.

    You could just look up that one result! What’s the area beneath the normal curve! In fact it’s set up specifically so that the area is 1, that’s done so that you can use it to ‘measure’ probabilities and a bunch of other stuff that determines how much money you spend on your insurance which you don’t understand.

    You begin with “nope,” but then immediately afterward you do the same thing: “your argument fails because you don’t know enough about logic.”

    You’re not even paying attention! I have no idea about Querius‘s analogy, I didn’t even read it. I’m saying your level of reasoning is limited.

    Is this an attempt at humor? If you are serious, how do you know I’m not doing anything to make the world better?”

    Why should you raise a finger to affect those flickering images that appear on your internal mental screen? You don’t even believe they’re real people. Or you can’t be sure anyway.

    It’s all just a game. Pop another brewski and shout at the quarterback. That’ll be fun.

  182. 182
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    Nor do you understand the physics behind how it works. So it’s just so much magic to you, correct? Just like smart phones and computers.

    Does everyone who doesn’t know how those things work believe they work by magic? Or is there some reason you think I in particular do?

    You’re not even paying attention! I have no idea about Querius‘s analogy, I didn’t even read it. I’m saying your level of reasoning is limited.

    What’s the point of saying my reasoning is limited unless you can point out where it is wrong?

    Why should you raise a finger to affect those flickering images that appear on your internal mental screen? You don’t even believe they’re real people. Or you can’t be sure anyway.

    1. I never said I don’t believe they are real people.
    2. I believe they are real people.’
    3. What difference does it make why I would do things that make the world a better place? Your apparent assertion is that I do not. How would you know that?

  183. 183
    JVL says:

    William Murray: Does everyone who doesn’t know how those things work believe they work by magic? Or is there some reason you think I in particular do?

    You’re not interested in finding out. And I suspect there are lots of others just like you. You’ve figured things out so you’re done exploring. And no one ever has proven you wrong so you must be doing it right.

    What’s the point of saying my reasoning is limited unless you can point out where it is wrong?

    Just something I noticed that wasn’t apparent at first. But I got it now.

    2. I believe they are real people.’

    I don’t know that. See what I did there? Instead of just trusting you or going with your statement for the sake of arguing I can just decided not to trust you.

    3. What difference does it make why I would do things that make the world a better place? Your apparent assertion is that I do not. How would you know that?

    I prefer to spend time discussing things with people who actually care about other people. I have no reason to think you do. All those little . . . dots.

    Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays.

    — as said by Orson Welles in the character of Harry Lime from The Third Man.

    Your views are unfalsifiable, nothing anyone can say will change your mind. You think the whole thing is just an amusing story that plays out in your perceptions but might not exist beyond that point. You’ve got your football and some blogs where you can look superior to both ‘sides’ so that’s okay. You’re complacent and flaccid.

  184. 184
    ram says:

    Querius: If you follow my path in that question, I promise to give you frank answers to what you raised. Some of them might surprise you.

    I’m not playing games. If you have a point to make regarding my questions, using black holes, forthrightly make it.

    –Ram

  185. 185
    Querius says:

    JVL @167, 177, 179, 181, and 183,

    Even though we often disagree on specifics, I sincerely appreciate your seeing my frustration at dealing with William J Murray and some others here who simply dismiss or pontificate on what took a lot longer to research, articulate, and support.

    Let’s consider one recent example.

    William J Murray: Suffering is entirely subjective.

    I’m glad you also noticed and pointed out the pristine absence of any supporting evidence (other an personal opinion) as to WHY this should be the case.

    Certainly physical pain could be identified through nerve participation, which can be quantified. When time is considered, a momentary pinch is certainly different than persistent pain–the area under the curve as you also noted.
    https://www.nursingtimes.net/clinical-archive/pain-management/understanding-the-effect-of-pain-and-how-the-human-body-responds-26-02-2018/

    Regarding psychological pain, here’s a quote from a paper published on PubMed on chronic stress:

    A physiologic stress response may be evoked by fear or perceived threat to safety, status, or well-being and elicits the secretion of sympathetic catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinepherine) and neuroendocrine hormones (cortisol) to promote survival and motivate success.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25035267/

    Thus, this type of suffering can also be quantified, at least in theory, by the persistence of catecholamines in the bloodstream. See https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/catecholamines

    All this differentiates a scientific mindset apart from the usual orgy of opinion and hysteria that we have to endure here on an at least nominally scientific website.

    Thank you.

    -Q

  186. 186
    Querius says:

    Ram @184,

    I’m not playing games. If you have a point to make regarding my questions, using black holes, forthrightly make it.

    I’m not playing games either. Just like in my responses to Seversky and William J Murray, I’d like to see some commitment on your part before I continue. From my description @153 . . .

    Let’s say at some time in the future, the punishment for someone found guilty of a murder is to be jettisoned at high velocity toward a black hole in a radiation-resistant capsule. At some point the difference in gravity will be massively different between their head and feet, resulting in their death by being turned into spaghetti. The death they will experience will be painful but quick, depending on their initial velocity. They won’t even notice their passing over the Schwarzschild radius and their body will ultimately be powdered and crushed into the singularity.

    QUESTION 2: What will this event look like from an observer stationed at a safe distance away?

    -Q

  187. 187
    ram says:

    Querius,

    Boring. I’m not interested in your “commitment.” How old are you? 12? Answer the questions or not. It doesn’t really matter in this casual forum. If you’re interested then answer. If not, okay then.

    –Ram

  188. 188
    Querius says:

    Ram @187,

    Boring. I’m not interested in your “commitment.” How old are you? 12?

    No, I’m actually 10 years old. And how old are you?

    Answer the questions or not. It doesn’t really matter in this casual forum. If you’re interested then answer. If not, okay then.

    You sound like William J Murray. As I wrote @166, I’ll answer your questions after you answer mine.

    Bye bye.

    -Q

  189. 189
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    You’re not interested in finding out. And I suspect there are lots of others just like you. You’ve figured things out so you’re done exploring. And no one ever has proven you wrong so you must be doing it right.

    Yeah, but we don’t walk around thinking that they happen “by magic.” How do you know I’m “done exploring?” I’ve been proved wrong several times. You’re apparently just making up some kind of negative stuff to say about me from your perspective that you have no way of knowing. There are many things I’m not interested in finding out because I only have so much time and learning how to build a functioning airplane, or learning how to do calculus or boolean algebra, etc. are just not that high on my list of priorities.

    I don’t know that. See what I did there? Instead of just trusting you or going with your statement for the sake of arguing I can just decided not to trust you.

    When someone asks me a question, I answer them honestly. When someone makes an incorrect statement about my views, I correct them. If someone says, “let’s assume arguendo …” I’m perfectly willing to do so for the sake of the argument. Isn’t that how this is supposed to work?

    I prefer to spend time discussing things with people who actually care about other people. I have no reason to think you do.

    I can’t help it if people invent stuff about me in their mind to suit their own agenda.

    Your views are unfalsifiable,

    Sure they are falsifiable. They could have discovered that matter really does exist, or that consciousness is not primary, or that NDEs are all caused by some common factor, etc.

    …nothing anyone can say will change your mind.

    BA77 falsified a belief of mine about the universe not too long ago and I admitted it right here in this forum. In the L&FP 48 thread @440, I admitted I was wrong about an argument I made some time back about preference and enjoyment and he was right about the inescapable nature of the pursuit of true statements.

    You think the whole thing is just an amusing story that plays out in your perceptions but might not exist beyond that point.

    Nope. Never said that. In fact, I have stated repeatedly that things exist beyond my perceptions. An infinite number of things.

    You’ve got your football and some blogs where you can look superior to both ‘sides’ so that’s okay. You’re complacent and flaccid.

    I tend to think that people who attempt to mind-read me are either projecting or just imagining things about me that make them feel better about themselves and their own perspective.

  190. 190
    William J Murray says:

    Querius,

    Let’s start over by just assuming, arguendo, that Jesus can and did pay the price for all human sin in his 6 hours on the cross.

    Here’s the problem: if that price has been paid, why is anyone still going to hell? You might respond, “because they rejected what Jesus did for them.” My answer: so what? Isn’t that rejection itself a sin? Didn’t Jesus already pay the price for that?

    How is it fair or just that the price for Jane’s or Jack’s sin gets paid for twice – once by Jesus, and then again by Jane and Jack? If the fine is paid, it is paid regardless of any sins anyone commits. Jesus paid for ALL of it, right?

  191. 191
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, again, this is not a theology blog and there are other places where you can engage relevant experts. KF

  192. 192
    Querius says:

    William J Murray,
    Ok, I will. The short answer has to do with our perspectives, our priorities, and our free will.

    Here’s the problem: if that price has been paid, why is anyone still going to hell? You might respond, “because they rejected what Jesus did for them.” My answer: so what? Isn’t that rejection itself a sin? Didn’t Jesus already pay the price for that?

    From my perspective, the amazingly brilliant, creative, and loving Creator must deal with a powerful but rebellious being also created with free will. This evil being and those who follow him had full knowledge of what they were doing to creation, and so God specifically prepared a place for their ultimate and total destruction. Getting dumped into a “lake of fire,” perhaps something like our conception of a black hole, and would be a very fitting termination of a being that caused and continues to cause all the horrors that we as humans have had to endure, along with our own physical death.

    Recognizing the gross unfairness of what was introduced into a “very good” creation, the Creator determined to rescue as much as possible from the judgment and destruction demanded by justice.

    He clothed himself in a human body and suffered massively to completely pay for all our transgressions, past, present, and future, but still enable us to retain our independence and free will. The Bible says that God himself will wipe away our tears.

    But the Creator will not rescind our gift of free will, creativity, and independence for which He created us “in His image.”

    We can choose to love and trust the Creator or we can believe the lies of the enemy and choose not to accept the gift of God just as in a few days no one can force you to accept any gift. If you hate someone and refuse to be reconciled, you can send their gift back or dump it in the trash.

    How is it fair or just that the price for Jane’s or Jack’s sin gets paid for twice – once by Jesus, and then again by Jane and Jack? If the fine is paid, it is paid regardless of any sins anyone commits. Jesus paid for ALL of it, right?

    Yes, Jesus really did pay for all of it—as Jesus said to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane,

    He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” – Matthew 26:38 (NLT)

    Incidentally, “Gethsemane” is a corruption into English of two Hebrew words gat (oil/wine press) and shemanim (oils), the place where olives are crushed to a pulp and olive oil is pressed out.

    Is it fair that Jesus also had to suffer for all humanity, knowing that many of them would refuse this gift? No, it wasn’t, but that’s how gifts and free will works.

    Let’s consider an example appropriate for this time of year.

    According to CNBC, $3 billion worth of gift cards go unused each year, which according to Consumer Reports totaled about 19% in 2005. Why are people not using these free gifts?

    There are a lot of possible reasons and they vary between people. Here’s a few:
    • Forgot about the card and lost it—it wasn’t worth very much anyway.
    • That place is way below my social class.
    • Was too busy partying and playing video games to drive there.
    • Not accepting their stupid gift card—I’ll just give it to someone else.

    Likewise, according to the Bible, some people choose to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” others attempt to justify themselves with the bitterness of their own suffering by incorrectly blaming the Creator for their grief. Others think that Jesus is just for stupid rednecks, not for a highly intelligent, cultured, and educated person such as themselves (haha). Some are too busy making boatloads of money or trying to climb the ladder to power and fame. Some have mental or philosophical stumbling blocks or have been told that it’s all a myth. Still others have had terrible things done to them by people claiming (often falsely) to be Christians. I’m sure I’ve missed some other reasons.

    The Creator will make sure that everyone will get a fair chance! He even created beings “covered with eyes” (eewww) who continually say “Holy, holy, holy,” NOT because the Creator is egotistical, but rather because they’re assigned to watch and judge His actions and decisions constantly.

    I hope this helps a little. If not you, then perhaps someone else.

    -Q

  193. 193
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @191,

    WJM, again, this is not a theology blog and there are other places where you can engage relevant experts. KF

    Sorry. I recognize that this applies to me as well.

    -Q

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, the above shows part of why in the Internet Atheist and skeptic age, there is little point in amateurs trying to answer and debate with such. There will never be a concession of soundness, and there will be endless tangents and twists. The proper recourse is to places where there are adequate reference resources [thousands of years worth] and experts able to bring to bear nuanced multifaceted answers in a nutshell with backup at their fingertips. Also, there are going to be serious top flight debates among people who are informed at graduate level. The notorious fact that notorious internet skeptics avoid such places but rush to spin rhetorical webs in dealing with laypeople they can goad shows a saddening lot about motivation and the fundamental bankruptcy of the rhetorical case being made. Here at UD, we have recently had occasion to direct people to places they can get expert level responses, and we are further constrained by the focus of this blog: the design inference as an empirical matter, related science issues and wider implications and context, including up to the defence of our civilisation from consequences of in the end utterly self-refuting but institutionally entrenched ideologies. KF

    PS: One of the fundamental flaws above is failure to understand the nature of death. Disintegration or separation seems to be key, body without spirit thence decay. But there is no basis for seeing the rational soul as a composite of prior components that can be broken apart so it dissipates. Thus, inherent potentially infinite duration, i.e. once there, forever there going forward. The issue is quality not quantity. So, on the issue of torments, torture etc: what combustion or transfer of thermal energy can affect the immaterial soul? None. So, fire is metaphorical, speaking of inner pain due to passions, regrets etc. And the Gehenna model seems pivotal; an ill managed dump. Those who willfully, persistently reject God and the light they have from him get their wish, together. That makes hell, as we have seen in foretaste in several atheistical dictatorships over the past 100 years.

    F/N a sampler https://bible.org/article/258-theology-questions-and-answers

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, notice how quickly an important topic was dragged off course? Telling.

  196. 196
    William J Murray says:

    Those who willfully, persistently reject God …

    This is an example of a statement that several people here make that make me wonder whether or not I’m dealing with biological automatons.

    Nobody here is rejecting God, what we’re “rejecting” is a particular conceptual description of reality that makes no sense to us. To willfully and knowingly “reject God” we’d have to know what reality is, how it works, and know that what it is we’re rejecting is, in fact, THE actual God of the actual reality as you and others describe it.

    You can argue until you’re blue in the face that we should know it, that there is plenty of evidence and sound argument for any reasonable person to conclude that the concept of God and reality as presented is warranted and true. However, even if we are flawed in our reasoning or emotionally invested against the idea, the fact remains that we do not believe in that conceptual description. So, we cannot be “rejecting God” because we don’t know that what we are not believing is the actual God and the actual arrangement of reality.

    There are lots of concepts of God and reality I reject for exactly the same reasons – they don’t make sense to me rationally and such concepts, if I were to adopt them, would not be enjoyable.

    Please note the most recent post by Mr. Arrington about his sister, who IMO serves as a shining example of how to live in love, joy and hope in what appears to be a very tragic world full of suffering. Note that Mr. Arrington ended that post with a poignant and deeply meaningful song about how such joy, hope and love lives on even after the death of his sister: he knows he will see her again in a beautiful place with their suffering behind them.

    This is also the reason I live in joy, love and hope, even after my wife died in early 2017; the knowledge that I will be with her again as husband and wife in a world where our suffering is behind us and we have eternity in front of us to enjoy together. The concept of God and reality you offer here provides me only with eternal suffering no matter what I do now. I reject that concept not only on grounds of reason and logic (even if, as you say, that logic and reasoning is flawed,) but also because it provides no path forward for me to continue in love, joy and hope.

    I choose to go forward with love, joy and hope, and there is only one kind of conceptual arrangement of God and reality that provides that; the kind where choosing to live in love, joy and hope is all the criteria that matters to achieve the ends of our eternal paradise together. If I am bending or breaking logic and ignoring evidence to achieve my capacity to live this way, so be it, because I cannot endure living any other way.

  197. 197
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @195,

    PPS, notice how quickly an important topic was dragged off course? Telling.

    Yes, and it’s also telling to see the real reasons behind the objections to scientific observations. They’re not scientific, but moral, ideological, and religious/anti-religious.

    The OP was about the inconsistent application of determinism–perhaps, the determinism of the gaps. From a purely scientific and mathematical foundation, we observe many things as apparently deterministic until we look closely enough at certain events. This results in a conclusion compatible with the Mandelbrot set and with Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

    Nevertheless, we also see a struggle among some competent and prominent scientists against determinism, but only in some areas and not in others, indicating some degreee of ideological pollution.

    Incidentally, this same pathology also emerges in topics related to the Intelligent Design paradigm, which has repeatedly demonstrated pragmatic benefits to advancement in science. The assumption that non-coding DNA is junk is one good example.

    -Q

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