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Has anyone else noticed the blatant political flavor of many sciencey mags these days?

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Yes, it was always there but recently, as the editors become ever more self-righteous (= Us vs. the Unwashed), it has become more open and that sure isn’t an improvement. Two items noted in passing:

Big Climate:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an important organization with a primary purpose to assess the scientific literature on climate in order to inform policy…

Regrettably, the IPCC WG2 has strayed far from its purpose to assess and evaluate the scientific literature, and has positioned itself much more as a cheerleader for emissions reductions and produced a report that supports such advocacy. The IPCC exhorts: “impacts will continue to increase if drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are further delayed – affecting the lives of today’s children tomorrow and those of their children much more than ours … Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.”

The focus on emissions reductions is a major new orientation for WG2, which previously was focused exclusively on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. The new focus on mitigation is explicit, with the IPCC WG2 noting (1-31) that its focus “expands significantly from previous reports” and now includes “the benefits of climate change mitigation and emissions reductions.” This new emphasis on mitigation colors the entire report, which in places reads as if adaptation is secondary to mitigation or even impossible. The IPCC oddly presents non-sequiturs tethering adaptation to mitigation, “Successful adaptation requires urgent, more ambitious and accelerated action and, at the same time, rapid and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Roger Pielke, Jr., “A Rapidly Closing Window to Secure a Liveable Future” at The Honest Broker Newsletter/Substack (March 2, 2022)

The relentless drum-banging will probably have the opposite effect of the one desired, especially when (as is sure to happen) some emission reduction strategies do much more harm than good and the boosters are running for cover, misrepresenting those outcomes in the name of “Trust the Science.”

And then there are the ridiculous efforts in popular science media to snuff out any awareness of the possibility that the virus that causes COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab doing research on making viruses more powerful. How awful of any of us to suggest such a thing! Here’s an intro to a podcast on the topic:

We have featured the work of science writer Matt Ridley on several occasions over the years. Now he is the author (with Alina Chan) of the new book Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19. Brendan O’Neill has recorded a podcast with Ridley to discuss how the Covid-19 virus might have leaked from a lab in Wuhan and how scientists tried to suppress the lab-leak origin theory. Spiked has posted the podcast here. I have embedded it below.

The New York Times continues to flog the alleged natural origin of the plague. Most recently, the Times has promoted “new research” pointing to the live animal market in Wuhan as the origin: “Analyzing a wide range of data, including virus genes, maps of market stalls and the social media activity of early Covid-19 patients across Wuhan, the scientists concluded that the coronavirus was very likely present in live mammals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in late 2019 and suggested that the virus spilled over into people working or shopping there on two separate occasions.” However, “some gaps” in the evidence still remain. “The new [unpublished] papers did not, for example, identify an animal at the market that spread the virus to humans.”

Scott Johnson, “The case for the lab-leak theory” at Powerline Blog (March 4, 2022)

More re Viral

Science writer Matt Ridley thinks science is reverting to a cult. Maybe his next book should be about that.

864 Replies to “Has anyone else noticed the blatant political flavor of many sciencey mags these days?

  1. 1
    Fasteddious says:

    I have belatedly allowed my Scientific American subscription to expire. In recent issues I have taken a pen to mark up references to left, progressive, even woke, politics and ideologies. There seems to be almost no topic on which they will not accuse Trump of something bad, praise Darwin, flog the “climate crisis”, or inject the word “evolution” somehow or other, even when the topic has nothing to do with any of those. Any public policy mention is now deconstructed regarding “equity”, “diversity”, or “inclusion”. One has to read a bit at a time to avoid nausea or spiked blood pressure.
    I have searched for an alternative, serious science magazine and settled on Science News. We’ll see how that works out.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    @Fasteddious; Yes, it would be nice. Even the aggregator websites like PNAS are clearly biased, but they do sometimes carry unorthodox pieces.

    Mostly I let Academia.edu feed me interesting items. They seem to find obscure stuff that actually fits my desires.

    (Admittedly they got my subscription money by tracking ‘mentions’ and ‘reads’ of my own authored and coauthored papers! Massaging egos is a great advertising method.)

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Been going on for decades. Turned me off two of my former favourites, Sci Am and Nat Geog.

  4. 4
    Viola Lee says:

    Has anyone noticed the blatantly political flavor of this website lately? 🙂

  5. 5
    chuckdarwin says:

    VL @ 4
    Touche! Not to mention Evolution News and Mind Matters……….

  6. 6
    Scamp says:

    All media has biases. Some, like Fox News and Rebel News are just more blatant and proud about it.

  7. 7
    PaV says:

    Viola Lee:

    Perhaps you can explain what you mean by “blatantly political flavor”. If the corruption of science by political ideology is being “blatantly political,” then “blatantly political” we are. That liberalism destroys all it touches is, at this point, an objective fact. That it is now destroying science is “blatantly” obvious.

    But, please, do explain your position.

  8. 8
    Viola Lee says:

    I was referring to the long emphasis on the situation in Canada, which has dominated the comments here lately, and now the US trucker’s convoy.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ID has been subjected to unjust political bias on more than one occasion, so it’s important to see parallels. ID also has a cultural impact – as does evolution.
    Keep in mind, a civil law judge made a legislative ruling against ID – so politics is a big part of our society.
    This is true even in science, which is supposed to be pure search for facts and understanding based on observation. But criteria for hiring, research and publishing now is affected by social justice concerns. This is very true in professional scientific circles.

  10. 10
    Viola Lee says:

    Almost all issues have some combination of political, psychological, sociological, economic, historical, and ethical factors. Issues don’t come divided up into nice little disparate categories.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, pathos, ethos, logos. Emotional intensity does not decide an issue . . . that’s socio-psych, agit prop and spin doctoring etc at one go. No expert, lab coat, authority, witness or official is any better than his facts, logic and controlling assumptions. So, we come to facts and logic and reasonable start-points leading to warrant and objectivity. Where, ideological imposition such as Lewontin let the cat out of the bag on, is a root failure of evolutionary materialistic scientism. KF

  12. 12
    Viola Lee says:

    Lol.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BTW, my above is a commentary on Aristotle, The Rhetoric, Bk I Ch 2.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Where, ideological imposition such as Lewontin let the cat out of the bag on, is a root failure of evolutionary materialistic scientism.

    It even goes farther than that now where social justice notions will inhibit true science in the name of equity.

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Science writer Matt Ridley thinks science is reverting to a cult.

    It does seem that way. Like a Gnostic religion with its own vocabulary and doctrine and select criteria for entry. Once you’re part of the cult, the theory doesn’t matter any more. It’s all about being “experts” – the science elite. That’s how they can build power and impose their opinions on the public.
    It would be a good book.

  16. 16
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, then why did you address me at 11? I merely made the fairly unexceptional observation that in addition to politics, many other aspect of our humanity enter into most situations. It seems like almost any thing triggers some of your set points, no matter how tangential they might be. My remark had absolutely nothing to do with, among other things, “evolutionary materialistic scientism”. You should have left the “VL” off of your post, and just made your post without addressing me. You might think about this in the future.

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    Science is a human enterprise practiced by people who cannot help but be influenced by the social, cultural and political norms of the society in which they live. The best they can do to rise above those influences is to try to live up to the ideals of the science they have chosen as their vocation.

    This means being honest about the limits of what science can say and do at any given time but also being honest about what science has achieved and the methods that have led to those achievements and not be shy about defending them, especially against those who try to undermine public confidence in science to further their various religious and political agendas.

  18. 18
    Scamp says:

    VL:
    KF, then why did you address me at 11?

    Surely you have figured out KF’s approach by now.

  19. 19
    Viola Lee says:

    re Sev at 17: Yes, indeed! [end cheerleading!]

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Sev

    If science carries its own religious and political agenda, then it becomes embattled. There’s an expectation that science is supposed to be objective, just measuring from observations and repeatable tests. But when speculative science is used to advance a certain worldview (as it is in too many cases) then a lot of effort goes into trying to cover that up – hiding the agenda from the believing public. That’s where ID becomes an enemy. In fact, ID exists in part because of the (not so) hidden religious agenda in mainstream science.

    but also being honest about what science has achieved and the methods that have led to those achievements

    I don’t think evolutionary scientists do much of that for reasons that are obvious to me.

  21. 21
    Viola Lee says:

    re Scamp at 18: Of course, I have! I remember one thread long ago where some people were having a contest to see who could get the longest reply from KF in response to the fewest number of words. This works even better with BA. 🙂

    But seriously, it does irritate me that KF finds it so easy to respond to me (and others) in ways that are so far removed from what we have said. It’s like he doesn’t respond to real people, but rather to stereotyped caricatures that he carries around right on the surface of his mind all the time. Tilting at windmills is the phrase that comes to mind, not necessarily because his concerns (if hypered-down) might not have some validity, but because he so single-mindedly and hyperbolically targets people with ideological dogmatism rather than being able to have a genuine conversation.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The “evolutionary materialistic scientism” that KF referred to is an ideological overlay. It’s a very common view among mainstream science. I think that’s the key point.

  23. 23
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic nailed it.

    Isn’t it ironic that the very same people who express horror at the thought of religious influence in science are perfectly fine with political influence (as long as if it favors the current narrative)?

    -Q

  24. 24
    Viola Lee says:

    to SA. Let us not confuse science with human beings who are scientists. Scientists, with some much more than others, will always bring other aspects of their humanity (politics, morals, psychology, philosophy, etc,) into their application of science to human situations. It is a mistake to say “If science carries its own religious and political agenda…”, as if science were an entity that can have an agenda. Let us not reify science. See Sev’s first paragraph at 17.

  25. 25
    Viola Lee says:

    re 22: That may be a key point (although I don’t think scientism is nearly as common as you all think), but my point was that it had nothing to do with what I wrote. However, if KF starts a post by addressing me, (“VL, …”) then I would like to think he is actually responding to me, and perhaps might be interested in discussing with me. If not, leave my name, and thus me, out of it.

  26. 26
    Scamp says:

    VL:
    It’s like he doesn’t respond to real people, but rather to stereotyped caricatures that he carries around right on the surface of his mind all the time.

    I have noticed that as well. Most recently I got on his bad side because I said that the tactics used by the Ottawa trucker protest were illegal and counter-productive. Because I disagreed with him on something he decided that I was a leftist, fascist, Darwinist, materialist (pick a label) and therefore not worthy of trying to understand my arguments.

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I believe KF was drawing your attention to the fact that mainstream science covers-over its predominant agenda. It’s hidden at the foundation. So there’s a game of manipulation going on.
    I just read a superb overview of the politicization of science in Ben Shapiro’s “The Authoritarian Moment” chapter 4 “How Science(TM) Defeated Actual Science”
    Instead of “The Science Elite” as some call it, he uses the term “Science (TM)” – like it’s a trademarked product of some professionals.
    He goes through the Left-Wing bias found in science publications and programs and then refers to the Ultracrepidarian Problem – that is, scientists speaking outside their area of expertise.
    “academic science leaders have adopted wholesale the language of dominance and oppression previously restricted to ‘cultural studies’ journals to guide their disciplines, to censor dissenting views, to remove faculty from leadership positions if their research is claimed by opponents to support systemic oppression.” — Lawrence Krauss. The Ideological Corruption of Science.
    So, there’s Lawrence Krauss, complaining that people get removed from leadership for their research? All of a sudden this is a problem for him when it happens to one of his own.
    But in any case, scientism will do that. Here he’s talking about how science is being used as a driver of social change. So scientists are supposedly experts in “human flourishing” (as Steven Pinker claims). Instead of just observing physical reality, experimenting and testing and then publishing results – they’re going to tell society what is best for them and try to shape humanity.
    When there’s no religion or philosophy, then what else can you do but asks the scientists to tell you how to live?

    And just a stray quote from the book … “60% of anthropologists said they would discriminate against Evangelical Christians” …
    Not surprising to me.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Scamp

    he decided that I was a leftist, fascist, Darwinist, materialist (pick a label)

    I asked you if you were an atheist because that is relevant to the kinds of discussions we have here.
    I don’t think you answered that.

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius @ 23

    Good point. Supposedly, religion corrupts the purity of objective science. “Just the facts”.
    But then they come along and will demote scientists who publish politically unacceptable research (or warp their own research for political ends). So, it’s not so “pure, objective science” after all. They’re using science as a weapon in the culture war.
    The whole LGBT trans-rights thing is an obvious example of that.

  30. 30
    Viola Lee says:

    I can’t believe that “60% of anthropologists said they would discriminate against Evangelical Christians” . It would be interesting to see what the evidence for that is. For what it’s worth, I have an anthropology (although am not a working anthropologist) and, although I might disagree with some Evangelical Christians about some things (but not others), and not for anthropological reasons, I can’t even think of ways that I might discriminate against them.

    I think that quote is “fake news” – a bogus “fact”. If it’s “not surprising” to you, SA, then I think you have some unrealistic stereotypes.

  31. 31
    Belfast says:

    VL at 4.
    Shameful use of a Tu Quoque fallacy.
    I’ve never seen you use it before.
    Don’t make it worse by saying, “It worked.”

  32. 32
    Viola Lee says:

    I hear you, BA, and will think about how ashamed I should be. I certainly could have made my point without mimicking the headline, which I agree is not a pleasant tactic.

  33. 33
    Scamp says:

    SA:
    I asked you if you were an atheist because that is relevant to the kinds of discussions we have here.
    I don’t think you answered that.

    And I won’t. Because either my arguments stand on their own, or they don’t. How does knowing my religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation, gender, voting history, favourite TV show or views on abortion affect this? Other than to apply a label to me that you can feel justified to use to accept or dismiss my arguments.

  34. 34
    Viola Lee says:

    Good, Scamp. One argument in this thread is that our beliefs (and not just science) should be based on true facts and good logic as much as possible, and not be driven by political (or any other kind of) bias, and that we should try to keep tangential and perhaps irrelevant considerations to a minimum. Therefore, for many topics, one’s religious beliefs are not pertinent, any more than some of the other things you mention.

  35. 35
    Scamp says:

    VL:
    Therefore, for many topics, one’s religious beliefs are not pertinent, any more than some of the other things you mention.

    Actually, I would go further than this. One’s religious beliefs, or any other worldviews, are not pertinent to any argument being made. They are only perceived to be pertinent to those opposed to the argument being made,, not due to logical reasons, but because it gives people false justifications to dismiss them.

    For example, if I make an argument for pro-choice, or same sex marriage, or universal health care, some here will label me as an atheist, or anti-Christian, or a leftist-progressive, and feel justified in dismissing my argument regardless of the logic of the argument actually being made.

    The logic of the argument either stands on its own, or it doesn’t. That is why I refuse to answer questions about my religious beliefs or my my political leanings.

  36. 36
    EDTA says:

    Our high-level beliefs have to be based on lower-level beliefs. So discussing what those low-level beliefs consist of, and whether they stand up to scrutiny has to be part of all these discussions. We try to get down to those lower-level beliefs for that very reason. Someone’s position on abortion for instance has to stand on something, and that something would be a lower-level belief. Saying that a particular belief stands on “logic” doesn’t make any sense without specifying what concepts/ideas/beliefs that “logic” will make use of.

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, now that I am up for the moment, I responded to you earlier due to awareness of immediate and wider context informed by the cultural moment. The issue, as ever, is objectivity rooted in sound warrant and informed by solid observations in the face of a deeply ingrained radical relativist mindset. Where, when this came up recently here at UD, there was a wave of attempts to argue against warrant, objectivity, etc. Now, given our civilisation’s stage of decline, hardly anyone needs to say we have biases and political power games are involved in essentially any issue etc. To say that without due balance then comes across as endorsement/enabling of a radically self referential, self refuting notion that claims objectivity while effectively denying it for everything and everyone [else . . . the implicit, self refuting self exception suggestion]. In such a moment and with even Science on the table [much less Science Mags], it is entirely appropriate to point to one of the very first observations on record regarding levers of persuasion and argument. Science is being taken under Babylonian Captivity to power agendas, cynical manipulation, ideologies dressed up in lab coats, celebrities in lab coats posing as The Voice of Science, marginalisation of serious dissent, censorship, abuse of courts and parliaments through lawfare and administrative power plays etc, and this has been experienced by ID for 20+ years. That gives us some hard won experience to comment on how the same tactics used to abusively marginalise us are now metastasised into a juggernaut threatening global disaster, e.g. with mismanagement of pandemic and a long train of abuses and usurpations by officialdom pointing to indoctrination replacing education, cultural marxist agit prop replacing sound policy discussion, censorship and scapegoating replacing sound policy discussion, and the general rise of mutineers and looters on the ship of state. So, setting aside emotive appeals, demystifying authority, to the evidence and argument on fact and logic we must go. KF

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, thanks for a solid intervention. KF

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Sc, the challenge is to move towards objectivity in a highly polarised, ideologically dominated era where censorship and marginalisation are on the march. Ironically, where your prioritisation of “religion” and broadening to include “worldviews” fails, is precisely on the validity of VL at 11, there is inevitable influence and error is a hazard of the finite, fallible, morally struggling [and morally governed], too often ill-willed. To first principles including first duties we must ever go, starting with duty to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, duly recognising that half truths and ideologically loaded distortions dressed up in lab coats are errors, being false or even deceitful. Sadly, the ongoing pandemic is a case study. And, such matters are core worldview considerations, inextricably intertwined in all of our reasoning, deciding and acting. The issue is not worldviews but sound first principles, first duties and first plausibles in our views and reasoning. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, as a reminder, Lewontin:

    . . . 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.]

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, thanks for letting the cat out of the bag on there being cynical coordination behind too much of habitual objecting commentary here at UD. KF

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, Lewontin’s inadvertent admission lets us see that it would be unsurprising for academic staff in unis to discriminate against those the cultural elites have scapegoated, leading to a classic climate of hostility prone to chilling effect, censorship, marginalisation and of course abusive grading. The only surprise is that so many may actually have admitted it in a survey. KF

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A backgrounder:

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/survey-suggests-university-faculty-bias-against-evangelicals.html

    Over half of non-Evangelical university professors say they hold unfavorable views of Evangelical Christians, a new study showed. This group of believers was the only major religious denomination to elicit highly negative responses from faculty.

    According to research by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR), only 30 percent of non-Evangelical university faculty says they hold positive views of Evangelicals while 56 percent of faculty in social sciences and humanities departments holds unfavorable views. Overall, 53 percent of non-Evangelical university faculty have unfavorable views.

    “This survey shows a disturbing level of prejudice or intolerance among U.S. faculty towards tens of millions of Evangelical Christians,” said Gary Tobin, president of IJCR, in the report. “What’s odd is that while a good number of faculty believe in a close, personal relationship with God and believe religion is essential to a child’s upbringing, many of those same people feel deeply unfavorable toward of Evangelicals.”

    Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, told The Washington Post that the poll does not reflect a form of religious bias, but rather “a political and cultural resistance” probably caused by “the particular kind of Republican Party activism that some Evangelicals have engaged in over the years, as well as what faculty perceive as the opposition to scientific objectivity among some Evangelicals.” [–> cognitive dissonance and projection?]

    According to the study, 71 percent of all faculty agreed: “This country would be better off if Christian fundamentalists kept their religious beliefs out of politics.”

    The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of America’s pre-eminent Evangelical leaders, argued, “The fact that such bias exists is significant in its own right, considering the fact that a majority of Americans at least claim to be Evangelical Christians,” he wrote in his weblog on Tuesday. “The ideological chasm that increasingly divides the academic elite from the larger culture is in full view here. Many academics, by their own admission, look down upon Evangelical students, evangelical churches, and Evangelical citizens.”

    The IJCR survey also found that faculty’s views of Evangelicals is likely linked to personal religiosity and political affiliation. Only 20 percent of those who say religion is very important to them and only 16 percent of Republicans have unfavorable views of Evangelicals. Among those who say religion is not important to them and among Democrats, 75 percent and 65 percent, respectively, hold unfavorable views.

    Perhaps, over twenty years after Lewontin wrote, the problem he inadvertently exposed has only got worse?

    KF

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Wintery Knight gives us context, Yancey’s continued research:

    Conservatives can be spotted in the sciences and in economics, but they are virtually an endangered species in fields like anthropology, sociology, history and literature. One study found that only 2 percent of English professors are Republicans (although a large share are independents).

    In contrast, some 18 percent of social scientists say they are Marxist. So it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican.

    […]The scarcity of conservatives seems driven in part by discrimination. One peer-reviewed study found that one-third of social psychologists admitted that if choosing between two equally qualified job candidates, they would be inclined to discriminate against the more conservative candidate.

    Yancey, the black sociologist, who now teaches at the University of North Texas,conducted a survey in which up to 30 percent of academics said that they would be less likely to support a job seeker if they knew that the person was a Republican.

    The discrimination becomes worse if the applicant is an evangelical Christian. According to Yancey’s study, 59 percent of anthropologists and 53 percent of English professors would be less likely to hire someone they found out was an evangelical.

    “Of course there are biases against evangelicals on campuses,” notes Jonathan L. Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Walton, a black evangelical, adds that the condescension toward evangelicals echoes the patronizing attitude toward racial minorities: “The same arguments I hear people make about evangelicals sound so familiar to the ways people often describe folk of color, i.e. politically unsophisticated, lacking education, angry, bitter, emotional, poor.”

    Food for thought.

  45. 45
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “Over half of non-Evangelical university professors say they hold unfavorable views of Evangelical Christians, a new study showed.”

    Having an unfavorable view of someone is vastly different than discriminating against them. Surely that distinction is clear. And I’ll remind you that we’ve had long discussions about having unfavorable views of people who think others are going to be eternally damned to torment because they don’t have the right beliefs. I worked with many good people who were Christians, and not only did I not discriminate against them, and I enjoyed them and warmly saw them as colleagues. But I did an unfavorable views about some of their beliefs.

    And I didn’t “let the cat out of the bag” about “coordination”. The conversation I mentioned was openly discussed. Of course there are people here who have similar views and support each other, but that doesn’t mean that there is some nefarious behind-the-scenes coordination and conspiracy (although people who think there are behind-the-scenes conspiracies everywhere might think so.)

    Some verses from Dylan’s “Talkin’ John Birch Society Paranoid Blues”

    (Substitute the bogeyman of your choice for Communists, although they seem to have come back in fashion)

    Well, I woos looking everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
    I got up in the morning and looked under my bed
    Looked in the sink, behind the door
    Looked in the glove compartment of my car
    Couldn’t find them

    I woos looking high and low for them Reds everywhere
    I woos looking in the sink and underneath the chair
    I looked way up my chimney hole
    I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
    They got away

    Well, I woos sitting home alone and started to sweat
    Figured they woos in my T.V. set
    Peeked behind the picture frame
    Got a shock from my feet, hitting right up in the brain
    Them Reds caused it!
    I know they did them hard-core ones

    Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
    Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
    Followed some clues from my detective bag
    And discovered they was red stripes on the American flag!
    That old Betsy Ross

    Well, I investigated all the books in the library
    Ninety percent of them gotta be burned away
    I investigated all the people that I know
    Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
    The other two percent are fellow Birchers just like me

    Well, I finally started thinking straight
    When I run out of things to investigate
    Couldn’t imagine doing anything else
    So now I’m sitting home investigating myself!
    Hope I don’t find out nothing, good God!

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you clearly didn’t reckon with what else Yancey, a sociologist who studies the academy, found (see 44); which is what Shapiro roughly cited and SA commented on. He specifically found propensity to discriminate at hiring and the cumulative pattern of ideological affiliation in the Academy over the past generation is quite clear. We also have pretty convincing evidence of what Bergmann called the slaughter of the dissidents. I held this back, but commend a look-see to you: https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-disappearing-conservative-professor KF

  47. 47
    EDTA says:

    Maybe I can make my earlier statement even clearer: If we disagree on abortion (for instance), that’s probably because we disagree on the value of life, whether encroaching on life from one end will make it easier to encroach on life from other directions, etc. So we should be talking about those things before we discuss abortion specifically. But we won’t agree on the value of life if we don’t agree on whether we have a creator. And we won’t agree on that if we don’t agree on the nature of evidence, epistemics, etc.

    By having high-level arguments over specific issues of the day and neglecting the weightier matters of fundamentals, we will never make any progress in understanding each other. This is why we so often take arguments to lower levels.

    Sadly, some won’t follow us there…which does serve to insulate their beliefs from examination, but also prevents us from reaching common ground.

  48. 48
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Scamp

    How does knowing my religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation, gender, voting history, favourite TV show or views on abortion affect this?

    It tells us what kind of honesty, or lack thereof, you bring to the discussion. If you’re only willing to attack, but not defend your own position – or if you’re going to take contradictory positions against your own personal belief system, this argues against your good faith presence here.
    A failure to admit your commitment to religious or philosophical ideas is like the guy who is a member of the Nazi (or Communist) party who won’t tell that to anyone when asked.
    You’re here arguing for a position.
    You won’t admit what that actually is.
    That’s a very big problem in any open discussion – why are you covering-up your own commitments? Are you embarrassed by them? Ashamed to admit? Or perhaps you know how vulnerable you are because of them?
    Those are all of the problems. You have to stand by your position and defend it rationally.

  49. 49
    Viola Lee says:

    On the one hand, I understand that ultimately many issues fall back on first principles and values. On the other hand, what you say means that such philosophical and religious discussions is all we can ever have, which doesn’t seem practical.

    Also, you say “Sadly, some won’t follow us there…which does serve to insulate their beliefs from examination, but also prevents us from reaching common ground.”

    But some of us have “followed you there”, and we have fundamental and unresolvable differences. What do we do then? Just not talk at all with each other about specific issues?

  50. 50
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I can’t believe that “60% of anthropologists said they would discriminate against Evangelical Christians” . It would be interesting to see what the evidence for that is.

    Compromising Scholarship, a 2011 book by sociologist George Yancey
    https://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-disappearing-conservative-professor

    Professors are even less tolerant of evangelicals, whom they associate with social conservatism. Nearly 60% of anthropologists …

    would discriminate against evangelicals in hiring practices.

    I think that quote is “fake news” – a bogus “fact”. If it’s “not surprising” to you, SA, then I think you have some unrealistic stereotypes.

    Not fake news. I’m not surprised except only that the percent should be much higher than 60 – I think survey respondents didn’t reveal their opposition to Christianity as much, probably through embarrassment. My experience with professional scientists would put the number higher.
    The fact that you don’t or wouldn’t discriminate against people on this basis is a tribute to your sense of fairness and is very good to see.

  51. 51
    William J Murray says:

    SA said:

    It tells us what kind of honesty, or lack thereof, you bring to the discussion.

    If I argue : IF A, and B, and C, THEN Z, what difference does it make if I’m honest or not? What does it matter if I’m credible or not, atheist or theist, a professor or a layman or a lunatic? The logic is the logic. The facts are the facts. Implications are valid or not. Conclusions are sound or not, given what precedes them.

  52. 52
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    On the one hand, I understand that ultimately many issues fall back on first principles and values.

    That is good – yes. Scamp has denied this and he needs to rethink it. I keep in mind, you are adamant that you are not a materialist. If philosophical foundations were not important, you wouldn’t be concerned about such a thing, but you are concerned and don’t want to be considered a materialist because it’s important. ID is a theory of origins. Obviously, how you view origins is a philosophical position and ID either supports it or conflicts with your view. A failure to discuss or defend your philosophy or religion just makes discussion irrelevant. ID is an argument against materialism. If you believe that God exists, you’ll be much closer to the ID position.

    But some of us have “followed you there”, and we have fundamental and unresolvable differences. What do we do then? Just not talk at all with each other about specific issues?

    It’s a good question. For myself, I’d just hope you’d be able to more and more clarify and refine your philosophical foundations. Because failing that, we’re going to talk past each other. When we say that “all things that come into existence have a cause for their existence” – that’s a foundation. If you deny that, then things can happen without a cause. Then we’re just talking nonsense and a fantasy world. That might be ok for, example, a blog for poetry or fantasy-fiction writers. They don’t have to be consistent or make sense. They’re creating imaginary worlds.
    But ID is about the real world and real science.
    ID is condemned as “believing in magic” but it’s not magic to say that design comes from intelligence.
    What is magic is to say “some immaterial force is out there and it came from nowhere but it might do things in nature or the world, but we can’t know anything about it”.
    That’s much more of a fantasy viewpoint – just mythological storytelling, than theistic belief is (which is based on knowable concepts and philosophical structures).
    So, that’s why we discuss worldviews and philosophy.
    A person who insists on materialist, atheistic scientism = has to defend that from all the absurdities and problems contained therein.
    Scamp doesn’t want to go there. Maybe he can’t do it. Right now, we don’t know and we can’t help him until he opens up.
    Thankfully, you VL – have defined your ideas to the extent that you can, so at least we know where you’re coming from. If you’re willing to rethink your worldview, then we do not have irreconcilable differences.

  53. 53
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    If I argue : IF A, and B, and C, THEN Z, what difference does it make if I’m honest or not?

    Well, you have to have a high degree of honesty to use that formula.
    First, you have to have a commitment to the truth. If I show you that A, B and C does not give Z – you have to accept it. But if you’re dishonest, you won’t. Secondly, you have to accept that somethings are not reducible to logic alone – why should all of reality be fit into syllogisms? That’s a big question that transcends logic itself. Logic is the tool that we agree upon and we, by means of being honest, will say “yes, we want conclusions to be logical”. But there are some matters that can be illogical depending on context.
    When we start talking about God, for example, we have to be much more honest. We have to accept that we’re only going to come closer to understanding, but always be incapable of fully grasping God.
    A person, for example, who uses materialist science to analyze theology is dishonest.
    A person who claims that materialism does not conflict with immaterial entities like rationality or logic is also dishonest.

    What does it matter if I’m credible or not, atheist or theist, a professor or a layman or a lunatic? The logic is the logic. The facts are the facts. Implications are valid or not. Conclusions are sound or not, given what precedes them.

    Well we’re trying to have a meaningful discussion and if a person contradicts themselves in the middle of a discussion, then it’s a waste of time. You have to be consistent.
    When or if you’re proven wrong, a good discussion requires that the person admit it and accept the changes in his view that it requires.
    That makes growth possible.
    A person who is corrected continually on the same point, but refuses to accept the correction or admit that he’s wrong is being dishonest.

  54. 54
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, you write, “I keep in mind, you are adamant that you are not a materialist. If philosophical foundations were not important, you wouldn’t be concerned about such a thing, but you are concerned and don’t want to be considered a materialist because it’s important. ”

    I’m not “adamant” about not being a materialist. However I’ve had to explain my beliefs multiple times because I’m accused of being a materialist (which to many of you is a severe accusation).

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, we are back to the first duties of reason, the branch on which we all sit first principles that govern our rationality:

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

    KF

    PS: WJM and others were found objecting when these were put on the table, but clearly cannot even object without appealing to them. Pervasive first principles cannot be objected to without appealing to them, and attempted proofs also are found to already use them, so they are antecedent to proof, as the tin says on the label, self evident first principles.

  56. 56
    Scamp says:

    Scamp:
    How does knowing my religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation, gender, voting history, favourite TV show or views on abortion affect this?

    SA:
    It tells us what kind of honesty, or lack thereof, you bring to the discussion.

    Nonsense. In a previous thread I was arguing against the tactics used by the protesters because their intentions were to harass and cause suffering to innocent people. This view is held by many liberals, many conservatives, many Religious people and many atheists. Yet, I was repeatedly labeled as being a fascist or an authoritarian or a left wing progressive, purely for the purpose of applying a label so that they can dismiss based on the label.

    If you’re only willing to attack, but not defend your own position – or if you’re going to take contradictory positions against your own personal belief system, this argues against your good faith presence here.

    I always defend my position.

    With regard to whether my argument goes against my personal belief system, how would you be able to tell if this was the case? It is a personal belief system. For example, my mother still goes to church every Sunday but supports a woman’s right to have an abortion and same sex marriage, two views that many would consider contrary to Christianity. But they in no way run counter to her personal belief system.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, did you duly acknowledge the research findings published by Yancey? Do you acknowledge that they are a bit more than ill founded fakery and conspiracy theorising? KF

  58. 58
    William J Murray says:

    SA said:

    Well, you have to have a high degree of honesty to use that formula.

    No, you don’t. Just like I don’t have to have a high degree of honesty to test any formula.

    First, you have to have a commitment to the truth. If I show you that A, B and C does not give Z – you have to accept it.

    It doesn’t matter if I accept it or not. If you show it, you show it. It doesn’t matter what I say about whether or not I think you’ve shown it.

    i think what you might mean is that my agreement that you’ve shown it may depend on my honesty, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve shown it. It doesn’t affect the validity of the argument itself one iota.

    But if you’re dishonest, you won’t.

    This explains why people jump to the conclusion that people who disagree with them are doing so because they are dishonest. They may be, or they may not understand the argument, or they may be cognitively blind to it; etc.

    For example, if I make the logical case that the only kind of reality we can functionally experience is mental, I don’t assume those who disagree with the validity of that conclusion are being dishonest.

    You can’t have a proper or productive debate or even a discussion if you assume disagreements indicate dishonesty. It’s called the principle of charity.

    Thinking people are being dishonest in their interactions totally poisons every discussion, and also insulates the person making their argument from the possibility that they themselves are wrong.

    When we start talking about God, for example, we have to be much more honest. We have to accept that we’re only going to come closer to understanding, but always be incapable of fully grasping God.

    Much more honest than being honest?

    A person, for example, who uses materialist science to analyze theology is dishonest.

    Not necessarily. They may erroneously be using the wrong tool to evaluate something, but that does not indicate dishonesty.

    A person who claims that materialism does not conflict with immaterial entities like rationality or logic is also dishonest.

    See above. Also, being incapable of understanding the logic involved does not mean one is being dishonest.

  59. 59
    Viola Lee says:

    The original statement by SA, which I doubted, didn’t mention the specific context about hiring: it just said, “discriminate against Evangelical Christians.”

    And here’s a relevant question: what percent of Evangelical Christians are Biblical literalists? As EDTA is pointing out, lots starts with our fundamental assumptions, and I would think being a Biblical literalist would be a poor quality if one were looking to hire an anthropologist.

  60. 60
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Scamp

    Yet, I was repeatedly labeled as being a fascist or an authoritarian or a left wing progressive, purely for the purpose of applying a label so that they can dismiss based on the label.

    You’re making a rash, unfounded (and incorrect) judgement in the phrase “purely for the purpose”. You’re judging the motives of why people are trying to identify your worldview.
    Consistency is a component of honesty. A person who is inconsistent with his own stated worldview is either dishonest or misinformed.
    For example, a person says “I’m not an anti-semite”, but then later is seen attending Nazi rallies and demanding that Jews be killed. Obviously, there is a lack of consistency. The person is either dishonest when he says “I’m not an anti-semite” or he’s misinformed (he doesn’t know what the term means).
    A person who says “I’m an atheist” cannot later say “I believe God gave us equal rights”. That’s logically inconsistent. Again, it’s either dishonest or misinformed.

    I always defend my position.

    I asked you to do so but you refused to define your position. Do you think God exists or not?
    This is important on any question of origins. If you think God exists, then God has some role (or you have to explain why God doesn’t do anything). If you are an atheist, you have to give evidence to support that view.

    With regard to whether my argument goes against my personal belief system, how would you be able to tell if this was the case?

    I explained above but here’s another example. The person says “I’m a materialist atheist”. Then the person says “I think everyone should behave ethically, and if they don’t they should be punished.”
    This is logically inconsistent. It’s a conflict. Materialism makes no ethical demands. Nihilism is tolerant and neural on any or every human behavior – as evolution must be.

    For example, my mother still goes to church every Sunday but supports a woman’s right to have an abortion and same sex marriage, two views that many would consider contrary to Christianity. But they in no way run counter to her personal belief system.

    Right. But the term “Christianity” can mean many things. If she stands up in Church and says “I believe that abortion is a sin and should never be permitted by law” but then goes and votes for candidates that want tax-payer supported free abortions, then she’s got a conflict with her personal views. One or the other is incorrect.
    A person recites the Nicean Creed: “I believe …” They stand up and state this in public, in the Church. “I believe Jesus rose from the dead”. So, they make a public statement of faith.
    Then, you talk to them after the service and they say “I don’t really believe in the resurrection – I think it’s just a story or myth”.
    They’re contradicting themselves.

  61. 61
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF @57
    You posted the same reference to Yancey before I did – thanks.
    Yes, I think it’s important for VL to acknowledge the evidence given and walk-back from the claim of fake news.

  62. 62
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, see 59.

  63. 63
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    i think what you might mean is that my agreement that you’ve shown it may depend on my honesty, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve shown it. It doesn’t affect the validity of the argument itself one iota.

    Right – my point is not merely that one is making syllogisms in a vacuum or in their own mind, but rather that we’re discussing things here. Certainly, a person can make great arguments and never say them to anyone. But we discuss things to get feedback. We also want to help others learn and grow (and we want to do the same). If someone corrects me, I should accept it and change my view. Otherwise, we’re going to waste a lot of time with me refusing to accept an obvious correction. This kills the discussion.

    Not necessarily. They may erroneously be using the wrong tool to evaluate something, but that does not indicate dishonesty.

    Fair enough. They’re either dishonest, misinformed or incapable of understanding. We can’t always determine which one it is. But if we try with solid arguments, and no refutation of them comes back, and the person just runs away, then returns with exactly the same, previously refuted arguments, then we can suspect dishonesty. It could be still that they have a mental block. But they should admit it. “I really can’t see what you’re saying”. If they insist, however, that they’re right without acknowledging or responding to the refutation, this violates the norms of discussion. We talk about arguing “in good faith”. That’s a statement about honesty.

  64. 64
    bornagain77 says:

    VL at 59: “I would think being a Biblical literalist would be a poor quality if one were looking to hire an anthropologist.”

    So VL is basically admitting that she believes human evolution to be true and would discriminate against Christians because of her bias in believing human evolution to be true.

    FWIW VL, as far as the science itself is actually concerned, human evolution is NOT true.

    Jan. 2022 Fossil Record refutes human evolution
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-fox-news-adam-and-eve-are-compatible-with-evolution/#comment-744141
    November 2021 – Human evolution? – the evidence from genetics, (as well as the mathematics of population genetics itself), falsifies, instead of supports, the Darwinian claim that humans evolved some chimp-like ancestor.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740245
    November 2021 – Human exceptionalism refutes Darwinian evolution
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740249
    Darwinists, (in what makes the ‘problem’ of explaining the origin of the human species pale in comparison), have no clue whatsoever why “I”, as an individual person within the human species, should even come into existence as a person.,, As an “I” with a unique subjective, conscious, experience.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/casey-luskin-the-mytho-history-of-adam-eve-and-william-lane-craig/#comment-740568

  65. 65
    Viola Lee says:

    Wrong again, BA. First, as usual I think you are conflating a materialistic interpretation with other interpretations. I know of many Christians, many personally, who accept the theory of evolution from a non-materialistic viewpoint.

    Also, I said Biblical literalists, which only includes a portion of Christians. I wouldn’t want to be on dig of native American sites that are 10,000 years old and have a colleague who believes the earth is 6,000 years old, for instance.

    And I don’t think it would be “discriminating”, in the prejudicial sense, to not want to hire someone for an anthropology position who denied such a fundamental notion as the age of the earth.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    VL, the belief that Humans gradually evolved from some chimp-like ancestor is a scientifically false claim whether you are a Darwinian materialist or not.

    Christians who believe in human evolution, i.e. Theistic Evolutionists, are, to put it mildly, confused in their Theology and science.

    Book Review: Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique Edited by J. P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger, and Wayne Grudem – June 14, 2018
    https://apologetics315.com/2018/06/book-review-theistic-evolution-a-scientific-philosophical-and-theological-critique-edited-by-j-p-moreland-stephen-c-meyer-christopher-shaw-ann-k-gauger-and-wayne-grudem/#more-7807

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, false in one, false in all, the context is, there is pervasive bias that comes through in explaining the pattern of employment that turns College into an independent mind killing zone. If you think an institution with breakdown of integrity on hiring will have integrity on grading, entertaining what is not in lockstep or is not a fellow traveller or will fairly assess grad students and colleagues — some notorious cases come to mind [Bergman has a book full], think again. KF

    PS, while UD is not a theology blog with a panel of experts on tap, a note or two are in order. So, my comment is first that Biblical literalism is not the issue. cell based life has in it complex coded [so linguistic] algorithmic [so, goal directed] information, pointing to the only empirically known source of such, intelligently directed configuration. the pushing in of a theory that cannot account for the root of the tree of life, the cell, by imposed a priori materialism as Lewontin admitted, is itself exceedingly intellectually bankrupt. Proceeding to assert that it holds established authority to explain body plans, is further indefensible. And yet beyond doubt that is the state of the academy, so you are in effect admitting the ideological censorship of anthropology. Turning to sensus literalis, that means, take the weight of the words informed by ordinary objective principles, and there are serious scholars who argue for old vs young earth and/or cosmos. I dare to say any fundy who believes in six day creation 6kya, is in far better standing than one who imposes a blind mechanism without a foundation and demands that unless one goes along, one is to be put in the back of the academic bus. At least the 6kya thinker is sound enough to recognise what manifestly needs intelligently directed configuration to account for its origin.

    PPS, it looks like we are going to need to point out that anything beyond the span of record, i.e. history, is a speculative model of the past, beyond observation. We ought not to teach students and the general public to imagine that it is solid history, practically fact.

  68. 68
    Scamp says:

    SA:
    A person who is inconsistent with his own stated worldview is either dishonest or misinformed.

    But I have never stated my worldview. It is irrelevant to any argument I am making, unless it is an argument about my worldview.

    I asked you to do so but you refused to define your position. Do you think God exists or not?
    This is important on any question of origins.

    When I make any arguments about origin, then you can ask me if I believe in God. Until then, it has no bearing on any arguments that I have made.

  69. 69
    EDTA says:

    VS @ 49

    But some of us have “followed you there”, and we have fundamental and unresolvable differences. What do we do then? Just not talk at all with each other about specific issues?

    Correct. We should continue delving into the details of the fundamental and as-of-yet-unresolved issues. It is a waste of precious time to continue hashing over high-level issues. As SA points out above, we will just be talking past each other. (Which is 99.9999% of the internet…)

    As far as claiming that you have followed us there already, I must point out that we had a short conversation a while back about the matter of the finitude (or not) of the past. I was leading you through an explanation of Ben Water’s argument for that. But you bailed out and we never finished. I think if we had finished, you would have been compelled to accept that time is finite going into the past. That is but one small piece of my cosmological understanding of things, but we could have built on that, and perhaps one of us would have changed a fundamental position at some point down the road based on it. That is how we can proceed here.

  70. 70
    Viola Lee says:

    Your view is in a distinct minority, BA, but you can have it if you want.

    And I don’t accept the “no true Scotsman argument.” You may think TE’s are confused, but I don’t, and I’m sure they don’t either.

    Not much more to be said about either of these issues.

  71. 71
    asauber says:

    “But I have never stated my worldview. It is irrelevant to any argument I am making”

    Scamp,

    You don’t want the people you oppose to know why you oppose them. It’s very relevant, and you want to hide it, because it would likely make you look bad if it became known.

    Andrew

  72. 72
    Scamp says:

    Andrew:
    You don’t want the people you oppose to know why you oppose them. It’s very relevant, and you want to hide it, because it would likely make you look bad if it became known.

    Why? Do you dismiss a persons argument based on their worldview rather than on the merits of the argument? Thank you for supporting my claim that some here assign labels to people who disagree with them to justify dismissing their argument rather than addressing it.

  73. 73
    asauber says:

    “Do you dismiss a persons argument based on their worldview rather than on the merits of the argument?”

    Scamp,

    No, but I would have to know if someone is applying arguments consistently, and why and when they argue them the way they do. This requires the next level of info.

    Andrew

  74. 74
    Viola Lee says:

    EDTA made the argument that fundamental principles make a difference, and gave abortion as an example. The political subjects here, such it justified to disrupt traffic for extended times in protest of government policies, for instance, is a different matter: I don’t see how fundamental principle are very pertinent there.

    I’ll also point out, again, that people have different fundamental principles, and we still live in society together, so we have to have, it seems to me, ways to discuss issues even when we are coming from different perspectives.

    And EDTA, I don’t think it is correct to say I “bailed” on Waters argument. I am fairly mathematically literate and spend some time on it, and at some point I just couldn’t understand his argument, which I think I said at the time (maybe I just quit the discussion, though – I can’t remember.) This is definitely not a topic I want to bring up here, again, though!

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    some here assign labels to people who disagree with them

    Most of the time, anti ID is enough.

    When someone is anti ID, they are using false arguments so that is probably an indication of their honesty in other areas.

    Usually when one sees the use of false or inane arguments, it indicates a lack on honesty so claims in other area are thus suspect.

    Now, a lot of what the average person assumes is untrue but has little affect on their lives. For example believing in naturalistic means for Evolution does little harm to everyday life. But to persist in these beliefs when shown how false they are is illuminating

  76. 76
    asauber says:

    So one example of what I am commenting about is, almost invariably, opposition to ID is motivated by hostility to Christianity. I suspect Scamp is in this camp. But, we’ll never know because he won’t be honest about it. Why argue about protests at UD of all places? Aren’t there larger “better” venues for Scamp to impart his wisdom?

    Andrew

  77. 77
    jerry says:

    Why argue about protests at UD of all places

    I assume that they think this site is occupied by ignorant rubes and an easy place to show them up. It’s what they are told in the outside world.

    Just the opposite is true. UD has a lot of commenters who are very informed on the truth in lots of areas. So the people coming here who hold anti ID beliefs are actually the people whose ignorance is easy to expose.

  78. 78
    asauber says:

    “UD has a lot of commenters who are very informed on the truth in lots of areas.”

    Jerry,

    I agree with you on this. I’ve been hanging out here all these years because there are few other places these long days that cover truthfully the things that UD covers and comments on.

    Andrew

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    VL at 70: “Your view (that human evolution is false) is in a distinct minority, BA, but you can have it if you want.”

    So what? Science is not a popularity contest.

    “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
    Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
    Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
    There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”
    – Michael Crichton

    And again, as far as the scientific evidence itself is actually concerned, human evolution is NOT true.

    Jan. 2022 Fossil Record refutes human evolution
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-fox-news-adam-and-eve-are-compatible-with-evolution/#comment-744141
    November 2021 – Human evolution? – the evidence from genetics, (as well as the mathematics of population genetics itself), falsifies, instead of supports, the Darwinian claim that humans evolved some chimp-like ancestor.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740245
    November 2021 – Human exceptionalism refutes Darwinian evolution
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evangelical-scientists-getting-it-wrong/#comment-740249
    Darwinists, (in what makes the ‘problem’ of explaining the origin of the human species pale in comparison), have no clue whatsoever why “I”, as an individual person within the human species, should even come into existence as a person.,, As an “I” with a unique subjective, conscious, experience.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/casey-luskin-the-mytho-history-of-adam-eve-and-william-lane-craig/#comment-740568

    After appealing to consensus science, VL goes on, “You may think TE’s are confused, but I don’t, and I’m sure they don’t either.”

    Well, if holding that God can direct an undirected process is not to be considered logically ‘confused’ then nothing else is to be considered logically ‘confused’ either.

    Defining Theistic Evolution
    An Introduction to the book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique
    Stephen Meyer – Feb. 1, 2019
    Excerpt: A Logically Contradictory View
    In the first place, some formulations of theistic evolution that affirm the third meaning of evolution result in logical contradictions. For example, if the theistic evolutionist means to affirm the standard neo-Darwinian view of the natural selection/mutation mechanism as an undirected process while simultaneously affirming that God is still causally responsible for the origin of new forms of life, then the theistic evolutionist implies that God somehow guided or directed an unguided and undirected process. Logically, no intelligent being — not even God — can direct an undirected process. As soon as he directs it, the “undirected” process would no longer be undirected.
    https://www.discovery.org/a/defining-theistic-evolution/

    And that is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the confusion of TEs (and Darwinists). Most Theistic Evolutionists, such as S. Joshua Swamidass, toe the fallacious ‘methodological naturalism’ party line for ‘doing science’ that Darwinists have erroneously ‘drawn in the sand’.

    Why Methodological Naturalism?
    Science does not search for all sorts of Truth. Rather, science is limited effort to explain the world on its own terms, without invoking God.
    S. Joshua Swamidass
    Mainstream science seeks “our best explanation of the world, without considering God.” This limiting clause,“without considering God,” is the rule of Methodological Naturalism (MN).
    https://peacefulscience.org/articles/methodological-naturalism/

    Yet forcing science into a ‘methodological naturalism’ straitjacket forces science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    First off, and before I get into that, (far from science being based on the fallacious rule of methodological naturalism), science itself was born out of, and is still crucially dependent upon, essential Judeo-Christian presuppositions.

    Stephen Meyer, (Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge), in his recent book, “Return of the God hypothesis”, lists the three necessary Judeo-Christian presuppositions that lay at the founding of modern science in Medieval Christian Europe as such.

    “Science in its modern form arose in the Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world”, because only the Christian West possessed the necessary “intellectual presuppositions”.
    – Ian Barbour
    Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature
    “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,,
    “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”
    Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature
    “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism),
    “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts”
    – Johannes Kepler
    Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility
    “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.” (Francis Bocon’s inductive methodology)
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA

    Science simply can’t be done without presupposing Theism to be true. As Paul Davies stated, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995
    Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24

    Directly contrary to what Darwinists and Theistic evolutionists falsely believe, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on Judeo-Christian presuppositions of Intelligent Design and is certainly not based on the superfluous presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    Moreover, from the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is contingent and rational in its foundational nature and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can, therefore, dare understand the rationality that God has imparted onto the universe), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    Moreover, and again, forcing science into a ‘methodological naturalism’ straitjacket, (as both Darwinists and Theistic Evolutionists are intent on doing), forces science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist. and/or Theistic Evolutionists, (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,

    A worldview without any true beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life? What an absolutely sad and depressing worldview to have to endure! No wonder Nietzsche’s mental health deteriorated from clinical depression to dementia.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  80. 80
    Scamp says:

    Andrew:
    No, but I would have to know if someone is applying arguments consistently, and why and when they argue them the way they do. This requires the next level of info.

    Why do you need to know why they are arguing for something? The person’s motivation for arguing what they do is not important. For example, my motive for making the arguments I do could be to trigger reactions from those I know are opposed to them (that is not my motivation, btw). But just because a person’s motivation is not “noble” doesn’t mean that their arguments don’t have merit.

  81. 81
    Viola Lee says:

    BA, you write, “Well, if holding that God can direct an undirected process is not to be considered logically ‘confused’ then nothing else is to be considered logically ‘confused’ either.”

    Of course, TE’s don’t believe the metaphysical interpretation of materialism, but I think all Christians believe that what looks like luck to us can be actually directed by God’s will. For instance, someone will by chance miss a plane that crashes and kills everyone, and that person will say that “God didn’t mean for me to die right now.” So TE’s are not confused: their theological metaphysics is such that they understand that what we see from our point of view is quite limited, but they believe that all that happens is as God wills, even though how that happens is beyond our comprehension.

  82. 82
    Scamp says:

    Andrew:
    So one example of what I am commenting about is, almost invariably, opposition to ID is motivated by hostility to Christianity. I suspect Scamp is in this camp.

    And what do you base this assumption on? My opposition to the tactics used by the trucker protest? How is that anti-ID or anti-Christian?

    But, we’ll never know because he won’t be honest about it.

    Not bringing personal worldview, religion or political leaning into discussions that have nothing to do with them is not been dishonest. It is just being pragmatic. If my worldview, religion or political leaning have nothing to do with what I am discussion, why muddy the waters with raising them.

    Why argue about protests at UD of all places?

    Because UD dedicated several OPs to them.

    Aren’t there larger “better” venues for Scamp to impart his wisdom?

    Yes. I also post on Twitter and Facebook, but those applications are not amenable to good discussions.

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    VL, to quote Dr. Meyer in full:

    A Logically Contradictory View
    In the first place, some formulations of theistic evolution that affirm the third meaning of evolution result in logical contradictions. For example, if the theistic evolutionist means to affirm the standard neo-Darwinian view of the natural selection/mutation mechanism as an undirected process while simultaneously affirming that God is still causally responsible for the origin of new forms of life, then the theistic evolutionist implies that God somehow guided or directed an unguided and undirected process. Logically, no intelligent being — not even God — can direct an undirected process. As soon as he directs it, the “undirected” process would no longer be undirected.
    On the other hand, a proponent of theistic evolution may conceive of the natural selection/mutation mechanism as a directed process (with God perhaps directing specific mutations). This view represents a decidedly non-Darwinian conception of the evolutionary mechanism. It also constitutes a version of the theory of intelligent design — one that affirms that God intelligently designed organisms by actively directing mutations (or other processes) toward functional endpoints during the history of life. Yet, if living organisms are the result of a directed process, then it follows that the appearance of design in living organisms is real, not merely apparent or illusory. Nevertheless, chief proponents of theistic evolution reject the theory of intelligent design with its claim that the appearance of design in living organisms is real. Thus, any proponent of theistic evolution who affirms that God is directing the evolutionary mechanism, and who also rejects intelligent design, implicitly contradicts himself. (Of course, there is no contradiction in affirming both a God-guided mechanism of evolution and intelligent design, though few theistic evolutionists have publicly taken this view — see Ratzsch, Nature, Design, and Science for a notable exception.17 )
    https://www.discovery.org/a/defining-theistic-evolution/

  84. 84
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m sure you can find quotes that agree with you. Argument by accumulation of quotes is not a very strong method.

    Meyer is making the same mistakes you are. Merely quoting him saying the same things you do doesn’t actually address the arguments being made against his, and yours, views.

  85. 85
    asauber says:

    “If my worldview, religion or political leaning have nothing to do with what I am discussion, why muddy the waters with raising them.”

    Scamp,

    They have everything to do with why you are here to begin with, what you decide to type in a comment and when, and how. It’s painfully obvious that you are evading disclosing important information.

    Andrew

  86. 86
    asauber says:

    “but those applications are not amenable to good discussions”

    Scamp,

    So why does UD make for a good discussion, as you are implying?

    Andrew

  87. 87
    jerry says:

    You may think TE’s are confused, but I don’t, and I’m sure they don’t either.

    They are most definitely confused. They have no basis for their beliefs. That certainly qualifies as confusion.

    the arguments being made against his, and yours, views.

    There are no arguments.

    I have never seen any coherent arguments. If you believe there are, then present them. Otherwise we will have to assume they do not exist.

    Meyer’s comment as provided by BA77 is amazingly cogent. There can be no objection to it.

  88. 88
    bornagain77 says:

    VL, I was going to reply, but Jerry summed it up succinctly. i.e. “I have never seen any coherent arguments. If you believe there are, then present them. Otherwise we will have to assume they do not exist.”

  89. 89
    Viola Lee says:

    A man’s alarm clock fails to go over, he misses his plane, the plane crashes and everyone onboard is killed.

    His friend says, “Boy, you sure were lucky”. The man, a Christian, says, “No, God meant for me to live. It was not part of his plan for me to die to today. It was God’s will, not luck, that I wasn’t on that plane.”

    Is this a legitimate Christian perspective?

  90. 90
    Viola Lee says:

    Meant “fails to go off” in the first line. Probably an obvious mistake on my part. So is the extra “to” in the second paragraph. I don’t proofread very well.

  91. 91
    bornagain77 says:

    You stated that argument before, which is why I quoted Stephen Meyer in full. “any proponent of theistic evolution who affirms that God is directing the evolutionary mechanism, and who also rejects intelligent design, implicitly contradicts himself.”

    Contradictions in logic are fatal to arguments. It’s not rocket science.

  92. 92
    jerry says:

    Is this a legitimate Christian perspective?

    No.

    While such a thing may happen, it is presumptuous to believe God ordained it for some reason.

    I have a very good friend whose daughter worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in 2001. On September 10, 2001 she was told to clean out her desk and not come back. She went home dejected.

    The next day her brother saw the building collapse and thought his sister had died. Only much later that day did he find out what happened.

    The girl, now a mature mother of four, became a teacher and loves her new life.

    (For those who don’t know, Cantor Fitzgerald occupied the top floors of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Everyone that worked for them that day died.)

  93. 93
    Querius says:

    Jerry, I’ve personally experienced some “amazing grace” situations–miracles–and I’ve also been through some really rough times.

    As a Christian, I believe the Bible when it says that God causes “the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” It also promises that God will make “all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” These principles are not contradictory, but merciful.

    And then in the end everyone dies physically, some sooner and some later.

    The Bible asserts that humanity was originally created for immortality, but the intrusion of evil ended God’s original design, but God also created a voluntary plan for forgiveness and resurrection.

    I believe this based on several experiential and logical “pillars.” But what do I take from my faith into science?

    – Reverence for the incredible genius of God.
    – Humility with regards to assuming things I don’t understand are not “junk” but have a purpose.
    – Respect, care, and and love for nature, which God designed.

    What don’t I take into science?

    – Assuming that my interpretation of the Bible necessarily determines a scientific truth.
    – Trying to force-fit the Bible into science or vice versa.
    – Believing that the Bible is a science textbook.

    For example, for many years some people criticized the Bible for seemingly indicating that stars came into existence after light, arguing “How can light exist without any stars.” Currently, the majority of scientists believe exactly that–that at the Big Bang, light was present but space was opaque for a while, then after space became transparent, stars began to form.

    But this doesn’t mean that at some point in the future, a static universe might once again take over as the consensus opinion from the Big Bang. Science is always changing, but the Bible doesn’t change, so it’s foolish to say that science “proves” or “disproves” the Bible.

    So, back to to the OP on the political flavor of “sciency” popular magazines. To me, they are as repulsive as religious doctrines being merged into science articles, and for similar reasons.

    Think eugenics and phrenology as notorious examples. Racism under the guise of Darwinism is another example.

    -Q

  94. 94
    Viola Lee says:

    But BA, you didn’t respond to my question, which is not about evolution. Is ultimately all that happens God’s will, or is most of it NOT God’s will, except for when he specifically intervenes. Leave evolution out of it: what are your theological beliefs about God’s immanent presence in the world?

  95. 95
    bornagain77 says:

    “you didn’t respond to my question, which is not about evolution.”

    So now you claim that you were NOT arguing for Theistic Evolution in post 81?

    Well Okie Dokie then, that does it for me.

  96. 96
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m not arguing for TE. I’m trying to explain the broader theological perspective of which TE is a part: the idea that God is immanently present in every moment of existence, sustaining and continually creating all that happens. Christians often refer to this when they say things like “God has a plan for my life” or “it was God’s will that such-and-such happened.” We experience a world of lawful, orderly nature because that is how God’s will manifests to us. From this perspective evolution is just like any other sequence of events, manifesting the outflow of God’s presence. TE is a bad name because it implies that evolution is the focus of this outlook, but it’s not: the outlook applies to the daily life of individuals as much as it does the history of the world over millions of years.

    Clearly, I don’t believe this because I’m not a theist. But I think you guys don’t understand the theology I’m describing (and which is in the mainstream of Christian theology), and misrepresent it, because it is a alternate perspective between the ID you are attached to and the materialism against which ID is defined. Your distaste for TE is a reflection, I think, of the threat it poses to your declaring that the dichotomy between ID and materialism is the only game in town.

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, kindly ponder, fellow traveller. KF

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, we are obviously back on the push to embroil UD in off topic, in- absence- of- panel- of- good- theologians amateur debates:

    Is ultimately all that happens God’s will, or is most of it NOT God’s will, except for when he specifically intervenes.

    The answer is actually a form of Plantinga’s free will defence.

    First, by creating significantly free, thus morally governed creatures capable of reason towards truth and love towards virtue, a whole new dimension of good is opened up, creatures who in significant numbers turn from wrong and folly toward truth in love, creating positive civilisation sufficiently robust to overcome chaos forces and form good community. In directly theological terms, the Scriptural trajectory starts in a garden and ends in a heavenly city, with the strange pivotal moment being at a cross outside a city wall with heading in the three foundational languages of our civilisation: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

    So, rational, responsible freedom capable of truthing it in love works to create an order of the good that would not otherwise obtain. If you use that freedom to object to freedom and/or construct narratives of origin that are challenged to account for it, you are self referentially incoherent and self defeating. This happens in many ways.

    Next, we know from Plantinga’s work 50+ years ago, that the deductive problem of evil is defeated by the free will defence [as opposed to theodicy]. So long as it is a logically possible state of affairs that God could have a good reason for a world in which freedom exists, evils do not constitute a valid objection to the God of ethical theism. Where, the loving counsels of God and his servants help us when evils threaten to suck us down in a vortex. And, the redemptive frame just outlined tames the inductive form, WE are responsible for our willful, destructive abuse of freedom.

    And yes, the arguments you outline incline towards this dead issue.

    Going further, God’s sovereign power creates and providentially sustains a world involving rational, responsible freedom. So, we then see that the will of God is a highly ambiguous term: what God creates and sustains everywhere and “every-when” to enable a world in which freedom enables truthing it in love, permits freedom. Freedom involves the soul test: is vs ought, which do we choose to open up as is with consequences, the good, wise, truthful, loving, or what is otherwise.

    So, the question is ill-framed and fallaciously complex.

    What God wills and permits by implication of freedom, is not necessarily what ought to be but it is also subject to redemptive action and will end in a heavenly city. Meanwhile, our duty is to walk by truth in love, purity and holy power.

    A different atmosphere than we are wont to in this time and stage of our struggling, declining civilisation.

    KF

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, dressing up a blatantly inadequate claimed mechanism of origin of life and body plans — blind chance and/or mechanical necessity — in clerical robes, fails. It remains so that the cell uses complex alphanumeric code [ language] to state algorithms [goals] exploiting subtleties of AA sequence chemistry [deep knowledge], which features are only empirically warranted on intelligently directed configuration.

  100. 100
    ram says:

    Jerry: While such a thing may happen, it is presumptuous to believe God ordained it for some reason.

    The irony. I would back up a level and say that it’s presumptuous to speak for the Creator, which you seem to be doing. Are you a prophet? I’m betting… not.

    –Ram

  101. 101
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “VL, kindly ponder, fellow traveller.”

    What the heck does that refer to?

  102. 102
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “VL, we are obviously back on the push to embroil UD in off topic, in- absence- of- panel- of- good- theologians amateur debates:”

    BA wrote, back on post 66, “Christians who believe in human evolution, i.e. Theistic Evolutionists, are, to put it mildly, confused in their Theology and science.”

    Why didn’t you chastise him then for “pushing to embroil UD in off topic , in- absence- of- panel- of- good- theologians amateur debates.” ???

  103. 103
    jerry says:

    What the heck does that refer to

    I’m sure we will find out.

    Why didn’t you chastise him

    It seems every thread here is like Darwin’s Tree of Life. Branching out in different directions. Everyone has their preferred mutations.

    It’s by design.

  104. 104
    Viola Lee says:

    re 98: KF, you are responding to the aspect of the issue involving free will and human behavior.

    That does NOT address the non-human aspect of the manifestation of God’s will.

    In my post at 89, I wrote,

    A man’s alarm clock fails to go over, he misses his plane, the plane crashes and everyone onboard is killed. His friend says, “Boy, you sure were lucky”. The man, a Christian, says, “No, God meant for me to live. It was not part of his plan for me to die to today. It was God’s will, not luck, that I wasn’t on that plane.”

    Was the alarm clock not going off luck, or God’s will? Is it a legitimate Christian perspective to believe that even though it lucked like luck to us, it was not luck to God, but rather a manifestation of God’s presence to support his desire and plan that the man not die on this day?

  105. 105
    jerry says:

    Was the alarm clock not going off luck

    A lot of alarm clocks don’t go off. Each person affected will experience different life experiences.

    A lot of other similar delaying events happen every day. Some will interpret it differently. About 20 forks in the road led me to meeting my wife at a certain time and place. The odds were incredibly low. To say God was involved makes a nice story but one we will never know the truth about in this world.

    What about the girl next door?

    This is all nice speculation but just that, speculation.

  106. 106
    Scamp says:

    KF:
    VL, we are obviously back on the push to embroil UD in off topic, in- absence- of- panel- of- good- theologians amateur debates:

    UD gets embroiled in plenty of off-topic debates. COVID. Treatments, trucker protests and the war in Ukraine come immediately to mind.

  107. 107
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes, “To say God was involved makes a nice story but one we will never know the truth about in this world.”

    I personally agree, but that’s not the point I want to make. The point is that many Christians will believe (on faith, not because we can know) that indeed it was part of God’s plan that you and your wife got together. More philosophically, even though yes indeed the world is full, every moment, of events which lead the course of subsequent events down paths they might not otherwise have taken, behind the scenes, so to speak, things are proceeding exactly as God wills. God is omnipresent and omniscient at the most minute level of what happens in the physical world, so there is no theological reason to believe that he can’t, and doesn’t, affect the physical world comprehensively at every moment.

    As to KF’s point, our free will behaviors take place in the context of the massive amount of non-free will events going on that influence our lives, and influence the course of physical events.

  108. 108
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Scamp

    But I have never stated my worldview. It is irrelevant to any argument I am making

    This blog is about Intelligent Design theory – which is a topic involving worldviews. To be anti-ID is to express a worldview. To say that worldviews are irrelevant to your arguments here, says that you’ve never discussed ID, Darwinism, Materialism, Design or anything related to the purpose of this blog.
    I’ll guess you’re here for the political discussions alone. True?

    Not bringing personal worldview, religion or political leaning into discussions that have nothing to do with them is not been dishonest. It is just being pragmatic.

    Asauber responded @ 85. One’s worldview affects every serious discussion since it is the reason why you believe things and explains your position.

    When we talk about the nature and reason for discussions – that requires a worldview. You’re talking about a topic now that requires an understanding of your worldview.

    For example, my motive for making the arguments I do could be to trigger reactions from those I know are opposed to them (that is not my motivation, btw).

    It’s called trolling and usually ends with people getting kicked out of the discussion. Again, “good faith” is required in serious conversations. People who want to get reactions but who lack sincerity in their posts are time-wasters. You have to make a commitment – stand for your values. That’s a fundamental part of having integrity as a person, showing character, showing yourself as being worth the time to discuss things with.
    As it stands, your fear of revealing your philosophical foundation makes me question already if it’s worth taking the time to respond to you. You don’t want to share what you believe about life and origins, on a site that is dedicated to the study of life and origins. I’m sure you can see the problem with this.

    But just because a person’s motivation is not “noble” doesn’t mean that their arguments don’t have merit.

    It means the person is acting in an ignoble manner and we shouldn’t give that person time or attention.

  109. 109
    jerry says:

    I believe most Christians believe that God can and will influence some events but free choice is also involved. This obviously influences subsequent situations/events available to others for their choices.

    Christians believe heavily in prayer which acknowledges this belief that God intervenes in some way. At the risk of getting off track and theological this is a major difference with TE’s who postulate no intervention in physical events except at the beginning but ironically believe in prayer and miracles.

    Again it is speculation as to what was is in the mind of God. We can only follow evidence and use reason.

  110. 110
    jerry says:

    I’ll guess you’re here for the political discussions alone

    He has commented on ID and science.

  111. 111
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes, “TE’s who postulate no intervention in physical events but ironically believe in prayer and miracles.”

    This is the theological crux of the matter. TE’s believe that “intervention” in the sense of a miraculous overriding of the course of natural events is not necessary because God is already, continually, present in the course of natural events. I remember one person describing ID as “punctuated deism”: God stands back and just lets thing take their course except when he decides to step in. This is an unacceptable theological position for those who believe in God’s continual presence in all that happens.

  112. 112
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Is it a legitimate Christian perspective to believe that even though it lucked like luck to us, it was not luck to God, but rather a manifestation of God’s presence to support his desire and plan that the man not die on this day?

    It’s a matter of discerning the presence of God, the grace of God and the messages that God communicates in a variety of different ways. Some of the sources to discern would be reading the Bible (a passage may explain the event or affirm or deny what you’re thinking), talking with other believers (to try to figure out what God is saying in the event) and God communicating certain signals within the soul about what the event meant (certain light-in-the-mind, an experience of joy or peace that is unexplained). Trying to figure out the meaning is putting all of those together – and it’s not always 100% clear. Quite a lot of people experience things where they were saved by a lucky coincidence, and they decide that their life has meaning at that moment and then they live in a different way afterwards. A lot of guys in military situations – seeing all of their buddies get killed but they survive, ask God why they are living – then they go on to use that in their life (to help veterans, or become spiritual leaders to help others, etc.)
    Ultimately, it’s not “luck” as if things happen outside of God’s providence. Some Christians believe in luck like that- like the Darwinist Ken Miller who thinks that God didn’t know what evolution would produce. But that’s just a problem for theistic evolution. You’d have a God limited by material forces and that doesn’t make a lot of sense (since God created the material forces).

  113. 113
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I remember one person describing ID as “punctuated deism”: God stands back and just lets thing take their course except when he decides to step in. This is an unacceptable theological position for those who believe in God’s continual presence in all that happens.

    That’s right. A lot of my fellow Catholic believers (probably most) are anti-ID for this reason. But I argue that they do not understand ID.
    ID does not say that God is not doing anything except in “designed moments”. That’s a misunderstanding of ID.
    What ID is saying is “we observe certain features of nature that appear to be designed by intelligence – as compared to others that we can explain by natural, material forces”.
    ID does not say that natural forces are not designed by God – but only that some things appear that only an intelligent agent could produce them.
    ID does not claim that God is only involved in those things that appear intelligently designed to us – but only that some things appear moreso that way than others.
    Is the pattern of every raindrop that hits the ground intelligently designed by God?
    Sure, you could say that. You could say that God guides every raindrop individually.
    But ID is about the science, not theology.
    We know how raindrops fall from humidity and gravity and atmosphere. Science does not need more than that.
    But something like the origin of first life? – that cannot be explained by gravity, chemistry or atmosphere. It’s an example of intelligent design – but it doesn’t mean that God just stepped in and did that but then was not active in nature even by supporting natural processes. (God is the source of all energy and natural laws and order in the universe – so He is present everywhere).

  114. 114
    Viola Lee says:

    SA writes, “Ultimately, it’s not “luck” as if things happen outside of God’s providence.”

    Yes, that is the point I’m making. What looks like luck and chance to us is not luck and chance to God.

  115. 115
    jerry says:

    We are all out of our depth here. This is not the place to discuss Christian theology.

    For example, my understanding of TE’s is that their God would have no need to intervene because He set in motion the dominos to lead to life and its major changes. And that ID is creationism and believes in an inferior God who couldn’t get it right and had to constantly tinker.

    All Christians believe in free will, thus the events we witness are contingent on those choices. So there are two forces operating, the forces of nature/physical world and the free will of others. But there are other forces operating due to intervention of the creator.

    But is this really the place for such a discussion. For example, I have commented several times, if the world acknowledges ID, then the real food fight begins.

    Right now I dealing with nature. It’s trash and recycling day here in our town in New Hampshire and high winds are creating havoc with everyone’s trash.

    Is that God saying something to me and my neighbors?

  116. 116
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Yes, that is the point I’m making. What looks like luck and chance to us is not luck and chance to God.

    Right, but we also have the concept of “chance” which God created so that we would know what design looks like. Science has to accept that “chance exists” – even though by theology we would say it’s all known in the mind of God. We have to accept that mutations are random from a human perspective – then test them as if they are just blind and mindless, as natural processes.
    That’s where TE gets a little strange.
    They’ll say that “it looks random but is really designed”. But that means we can’t tell the difference between a random occurrence and that which has been designed by intelligence.

  117. 117
    asauber says:

    “A lot of my fellow Catholic believers (probably most) are anti-ID for this reason. But I argue that they do not understand ID.”

    True. I’m a Catholic ID’er too, and most of my Catholic friends aren’t prepared to discuss things like ID, Evolution, and/or things regularly explored on UD. They weren’t informed in a way that sticks in their thinking about how humans have tried and are trying to answer the Big Questions. Current culture is geared so that people think about anything but these things.

    Andrew

  118. 118
    Scamp says:

    SA:
    This blog is about Intelligent Design theory – which is a topic involving worldviews.

    No, it is a topic about science. A person’s view on ID only contributes a minuscule towards a person’s worldview.

    To be anti-ID is to express a worldview.

    No, it is to express a scientific opinion. Besides, I have not commented yet about ID.

    You’re talking about a topic now that requires an understanding of your worldview.

    No. It requires an understanding of evidence and logic. That is what arguments are based on. Whether or not I sacrifice chickens to appease the gods does not say anything about the merits of any argument I make.

    Again, “good faith” is required in serious conversations. People who want to get reactions but who lack sincerity in their posts are time-wasters.

    When I enter a discussion with someone I always assume that they are doing so in good faith. And, most of the time, they are. Even if we disagree. How does knowing their religion, political leanings or their worldview affect this?

    You have to make a commitment – stand for your values.

    I always stand by my values. As, I suspect, most people do. Disagreements often arise because of differences in personal values.

    That’s a fundamental part of having integrity as a person, showing character, showing yourself as being worth the time to discuss things with.

    Agreed. But I don’t have to wear a sign around my neck broadcasting my religion, political leanings or worldview to have integrity.

    As it stands, your fear of revealing your philosophical foundation makes me question already if it’s worth taking the time to respond to you.

    And your insistence on knowing everything about me before addressing my arguments makes me question your good faith. I guess we are at an impass.

    You don’t want to share what you believe about life and origins, on a site that is dedicated to the study of life and origins. I’m sure you can see the problem with this.

    No. I don’t want to share what my religion, political leanings and worldview. If I am making arguments about theology then you can ask about my religious affiliation, because then they would be relevant. If I was making comments about right-wing nut-jobs or left-wing woke progressives then you could ask me about my political leanings then they would be relevant. But asking me about them when they have no impact on the arguments I am making can only be motivated by an attempt to apply an all-encompassing label to me so as to justify dismissing my arguments.

    I prefer to address a person’s comments based on the individual arguments they make rather than whether I agree with their “worldview”.

    It means the person is acting in an ignoble manner and we shouldn’t give that person time or attention.

    Yet when I brought up the ignoble behaviour of one of the main Ottawa protest organizers I was told that his behaviour didn’t impact the merits of the cause he was arguing for. You can’t have it both ways.

  119. 119
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    He has commented on ID and science.

    He’s attacking ID but won’t reveal what he thinks is the alternative.
    That ends up with a very low-quality discussion.

  120. 120
    asauber says:

    “A person’s view on ID only contributes a minuscule towards a person’s worldview.”

    This is wrong. A person’s worldview contributes a lot towards how they view ID.

    Andrew

  121. 121
    jerry says:

    A person’s worldview contributes a lot towards how they view ID.

    My worldview depends on truth.

    I originally believed in Darwin’s ideas but after careful study changed my mind. My religious beliefs changed nada.

    Is “Truth” an overriding worldview?

    If it’s not, then it should be.

  122. 122
    jerry says:

    won’t reveal what he thinks is the alternative

    That’s how it is with everyone who is anti ID. They cannot defend their beliefs while believers in ID constantly do so. They come here believing we are bumpkins and find out they cannot refute us.

    The Ultimate Irony.

  123. 123
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Scamp

    I always stand by my values. As, I suspect, most people do.

    On this blog you have to prove it, not just say it.
    You’re a guy who won’t reveal what your values are – then you say you always stand by them.
    Having integrity means engaging a discussion so that others can challenge you – and therefore you can grow, or they can learn from you. So, you’re claiming you stand by your values — are you an atheistic-nihilist? That’s pretty easy to stand by values when there are none.
    The same for a materialist – subjective values which are meaningless.
    That’s the problem with anti-ID materialism.

  124. 124
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry 122

    Exactly. They throw very attacks and insults as if they’re smarter than everyone else. They think they speak for “science”. But when questioned about their own views, they run and hide.

  125. 125
    Silver Asiatic says:

    asauber

    They weren’t informed in a way that sticks in their thinking about how humans have tried and are trying to answer the Big Questions. Current culture is geared so that people think about anything but these things.

    Yes, agreed. Even some of the good apologetics sites do not get into the bigger questions and there’s a lot of confusion about evolution and creation and origins, etc.
    There are quite a lot of Catholics active in the DI so I think they can bring some good changes for people.

  126. 126
    jerry says:

    I have a very interesting twitter thread which all should read but not comment here. I’ll post it a couple places and maybe a discussion will get started. It’s not religious or political but explains a lot.

    In 40 tweets I’ll explain 40 useful concepts you should know.

    Reading time: ~7 minutes.
    Value: potentially a lifetime!

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1492255231169679365.html

    By the way, the guy is anti ID as you will see in one of the tweets.

  127. 127
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes, “We are all out of our depth here. This is not the place to discuss Christian theology.”

    We are all out of our depth here, to various degrees, on many of the subjects discussed here: quantum physics, philosophy of math and science, metaphysics, biochemistry, etc., and that doesn’t seem to stop us. We are all laypersons on almost everything we get involved in discussing.

    Jerry writes, “For example, my understanding of TE’s is that their God would have no need to intervene because He set in motion the dominos to lead to life and its major changes. And that ID is creationism and believes in an inferior God who couldn’t get it right and had to constantly tinker.”

    No, TE is not the same as deism, as you mistakenly claim. However, I think many might agree with the substance of your second sentence (but not the judgmental aspects) that ID implies that God is an interventionist, which they take to be bad theology.

  128. 128
    jerry says:

    TE is not the same as deism, as you mistakenly claim. However, I think many might agree with the substance of your second sentence (but not the judgmental aspects) that ID implies that God is an interventionist, which they take to be bad theology

    Not my understanding or implication.

    They are traditional Christians. For example, many main stream Christians accept a natural explanation for OOL and then Darwinian evolution after that. Nearly all Christian universities teach Darwinian evolution.

    There’s been long discussions here several years ago with TE’s who commented here. So that’s where my understanding comes from.

    They too would flee any open discussion on the science behind OOL and macro evolution. I assume they knew they would lose. Instead they sniped at ID from their Christian websites.

    They just said the evidence was overwhelming. Essentially they begged the question.

    TE’s are definitely Christians as far as I’m concerned but it’s easy to see how it could apply to other religious views. It’s always interesting to read the misinformation out there on ID.

    If the ones who espouse the nonsense they print on ID ever came here, they would lose the arguments on evidence and logic. But they don’t and if they do they either flee or evade discussion immediately. It’s the greatest proof there is that ID is on to something.

    Aside: comments are quick and imperfect summations of people’s beliefs so often are not completely accurate. They provide 20 minutes here to correct or explain a comment but often something is left out. As is this one now.

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, Theology is a particularly difficulty issue to discuss controversially without a panel of solid experts. For many reasons. Amateurs without true independent depth flailing around in the shallows is not a way to get to soundness, similar to many other disciplines. However, it is a very good way to drag things off on tangents towards toxic atmosphere clouding distractions. This is why I have pointed people, again and again, to the existence of sites with such specialists, starting with Craig’s Reasonable Faith. Basics — basics! — of phil are by comparison easy, I recall a historic debate that pivoted on the grammatical and semantic difference in Greek posed by an iota, and which ended up feeding into the ruin of the Roman Empire. When such come up here, I may give a 101, with often more of phil/worldview considerations than strict theology. That is for record, the implication is, go to the places where there are experts for detailed exploration, note, a short introductory Sys Theol is 1200 pp long, Enc size, 4 – 10,000 pp is more like it for serious works. I note that when for example serious debates have been linked, it is evident that often there has been no serious attempt to see what genuine experts have to say. KF

  130. 130
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    They too would flee any open discussion on the science behind OOL and macro evolution

    Yes – true. I’ve argued with TE’s (I consider many of them friends) for years. They run away from the science, and then turn around and claim that ID is theological. When asked to provide references in ID literature for how supposedly ID teaches that “God is interventionist” … well, there’s yet another reason to run from the discussion.
    They return to their Christian websites where they can attack ID in safety, without the threat of being challenged.

  131. 131
    Scamp says:

    SA:
    He’s attacking ID but won’t reveal what he thinks is the alternative.

    Where have I attacked ID? To the best of my knowledge the closest I came to talking about ID was in a response to a comment about sub-optimal design. I believe I said something along the lines that some IDists don’t believe that there is sub-optimal designs and others believe that they are due to the Judeo-Christian fall of man. That is hardly an attack. Just a statement of fact. Disagreements amongst tbose who support a theory is common and, in fact, healthy. That is how theories develop.

  132. 132
    Scamp says:

    Andrew:
    This is wrong. A person’s worldview contributes a lot towards how they view ID.

    Isn’t this a chicken and egg thing? I would argue that there are thousands of things that I use to inform my worldview. My views on ID being one of them. And, as my worldview changes over time as new information becomes available, my modified worldview might result in my view of some of the components that comprise it changing.

    A person’s worldview cannot be summed up in a single label. Any more that a person’s socio-political views can be summed up in a single word. Any more than a person’s moral values can be summed up by the labels Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc.

  133. 133
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Right, but we also have the concept of “chance” which God created so that we would know what design looks like.

    What? I’m confused.

    Are you saying that nothing happens via chance, that everything is predetermined by God?

    What would be the point of that?

  134. 134
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    What? I’m confused.

    Someone else said something about theistic evolution and how they view God’s relationship with creation. I can help explain the quote you posted:

    Right, but we also have the concept of “chance” which God created so that we would know what design looks like.

    Actually, I can’t get very far unless you have a good understanding of what is meant by the term “God” in theistic terms. That’s what this is referring to. This is not a theology blog so I can’t explain that concept very deeply. But you have to start with the attributes of God that we derive from reason alone. Once you get that, then you have to determine how God interacts with creation.
    After that, then you have the existence of what we call “chance”. That’s what I’m talking about.
    Chance is a concept that has meaning because it is related to order or design. If there was no order or design, there would be no chance.

    Are you saying that nothing happens via chance, that everything is predetermined by God?

    From God’s perspective, of course there is no chance. Chance is just a measure of our ignorance of causes. But God created every molecule of the universe and God’s providence is involved in every action, reaction, force, decision and movement of things that could ever exist.
    That’s what it is to be omnipotent, omniscient and creator of all things.

    But God created the concept of chance for us so that we could learn the value of design and order, and so we could bring order from chaos – things like that.

    I didn’t use the term “predetermined” – that’s something you introduced. God does not determine (like a physical force determines the movement of things) the action of His free creatures. We have some limited freedom so we have responsibility for our actions. We make decisions – not by chance, but through reason.

    We observe things in nature that look like random chance. Thus, we can test to see if designed objects could come from chance. But God is not dependent on material reality, since He is the creator of material reality — that reality is dependent on Him, not the other way around.
    So, God cannot be ignorant of the cause of anything. There can’t be any chance for an omnipotent creator.

  135. 135
    Viola Lee says:

    SA writes, “From God’s perspective, of course there is no chance. Chance is just a measure of our ignorance of causes. But God created every molecule of the universe and God’s providence is involved in every action, reaction, force, decision and movement of things that could ever exist.
    That’s what it is to be omnipotent, omniscient and creator of all things.”

    Well said, and the implication to me is that the designed/ not designed distinction is meaningless. Design is “just a measure of our ignorance of causes”, and, applied to evolution, genetic changes involved in the slow progression of changes in organisms is as God wills: “God’s providence is involved in every action, reaction, force, decision and movement of things that could ever exist.”

    It seems to me you’ve just made the argument for TE!

  136. 136
    asauber says:

    “the implication to me is that the designed/ not designed distinction is meaningless.”

    Does Not Follow
    Non sequitur
    Stretch

    Andrew

  137. 137
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    It seems to me you’ve just made the argument for TE!

    See asauber’s response @136

    Design is “just a measure of our ignorance of causes”

    No. Randomness or chance is aligned with ignorance of cause.
    Design is aligned with intelligence as in purposeful cause.
    We know of things that have been designed by intelligence. We see things in nature that appear to have been developed by that same cause. It’s not a measure of our ignorance, but rather, an inference based on what we already know. We then apply our knowledge, not ignorance, to what we observe.
    “Biology is the study of things that appear to have been designed for a purpose.” — R. Dawkins
    The TE approach to this is incoherent.

  138. 138
    Viola Lee says:

    Well, I’ve mostly been discussing my understanding of TE to show, as I said above, that the design/materialism dichotomy is not the only game in town. Lots of educated, thoughtful people, including some theologians, believe that TE is more theologically and scientifically sound than design. That’s not a popular idea here, but it might do you folks some good to try to understand it better. TE believes that the intelligence of God is evident everyplace, from the formation of a star spewing out new atoms to a rainbow to the progression of life forms, so they are, in my opinion, more in line with orthodox Christianity than is ID. But that’s all for me for now, I think.

  139. 139
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Consider this …

    ID proposes: Some aspects of nature give observed, evidence of having been designed by intelligence.
    You say: TE believes that the intelligence of God is evident everyplace …

    Both ideas are saying that a supreme intelligence is evident.
    Where do you think there is a problem or conflict between the two ideas?

  140. 140
    Viola Lee says:

    My question is why do people here reject TE so strongly? You write, “Both ideas are saying that a supreme intelligence is evident.”

    So where is the conflict???

  141. 141
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Good questions and commentary on this.
    First, I should add on your statement:

    the intelligence of God is evident everyplace, from the formation of a star spewing out new atoms to a rainbow to the progression of life form

    I fully agree with that. I also agree as you said that statement is consistent with orthodox Christianity – yes, true. So, I am an IDist and I fully accept that TE statement.
    The only difference between the two is in the science.
    ID says that the science supports the idea that God is evident in nature. TE disagrees with that.

  142. 142
    Viola Lee says:

    Does the scientific fact that sodium and chlorine combine to make table salt support the idea that God is evident in nature? Surely the fact that atomic structure and covalent bonds and the creation of the elements in stars, etc. exist and work as they do point to an intelligent foundation for our universe. Is there some part of nature that does not point to the intelligent foundation of the physical world as created by God?

  143. 143
    jerry says:

    TE’s support ID. They believe the universe was created/designed by God.

    Their form of ID does not acknowledge the problems of OOL and macro evolution. They say without any proof that these were set up in the original design of the universe.

    Other forms of ID point out there is no mechanism for this in nature. Thus, there most likely was an intervention by some intelligence in the creation of life and then advanced complex life.

  144. 144
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes, “They say without any proof that these were set up in the original design of the universe.”

    I think you continue to think that TE is the same as deism. It’s not.

    Jerry writes, “Thus, there most likely was an intervention by some intelligence in the creation of life.”

    Yes: as I said earlier, Christian ID posits a God who intervenes. Someone else said, no, ID does not, but Jerry seems to think it does.

  145. 145
    jerry says:

    I did not say the creator of the universe is the same intelligence that created life and complex life. It could be but that belief has nothing to do with ID.

    All ID says is that life and its progression is the result of an intelligence. Not who that intelligence is.

    ——————
    TE’s and deists are very different from each other. TE’s are Christians and deists are certainly not.

    Nearly ever Christian till the last 150 years believed God created all life but they then got defensive because of Darwin’s ideas and many then accepted naturalized evolution rather than appear backward.

    Many then said the building blocks for life were in the original creation. Thus, they could accept what they thought was good science and God too.

    The irony is that the science was bad. But they now defend the science. Most believe the lies told about ID and that they are all YECs. But they are not

    They desperately do not want to be seen as YECs.

  146. 146
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, but to Christians, it is the same intelligence, and it is Christian ID that is contrasted to TE, which is a Christian theology.

  147. 147
    jerry says:

    There is Christianity/other religions and there is ID. They are different. All accept a creator but could be different on the nature of the creator. So at that level there is acceptance of design. But that’s it

    There is no need to conflate the two.

  148. 148
    Querius says:

    Jerry @147,

    ID is even less specific than assuming a Creator God of some kind.

    For example, not a few scientists have postulated that we’re in some sort of computerized “ancestor simulation.” It’s still an intelligent design paradigm but assumes some non-theistic origin.

    As a Christian, I’m perfectly comfortable with leaving ID without any attempt at syncretism. In my opinion, the presumption of design is sufficient based on pragmatic results alone.

    -Q

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, I would point to quantum oriented statistical thermodynamics as a place where arguably chance is real and substantial, feeding into the macro picture. That is, statistical distributions are innate in the quantum part and the issue of statistical distributions of molecules etc is material, leading to for instance temperature as an index of avg randomly distributed energy per degree of freedom for relevant micro entities, with gas molecules as the usual start point. KF

  150. 150
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Surely the fact that atomic structure and covalent bonds and the creation of the elements in stars, etc. exist and work as they do point to an intelligent foundation for our universe.

    Exactly. That’s an ID argument of sorts. We observe this order, structure and function. Chemicals have properties that came from somewhere. They bind in certain ways. The periodic table shows the order and precision. They create substances like salt which has amazing properties for the support of life. So, this is evidence of intelligence governing the world.

    The difference with TE is that it is a religious argument. ID is a scientific argument.
    With TE, you have to start with: “God exists, and therefore …”
    So, TE says “God exists and God created everything, so everything is designed”.
    But does that argument refute atheism? An atheist is just going to accept the assertion “God exists and therefore all is created”? Obviously not – but TE relies on religion. You have to already believe in God to use TE.
    ID does not require belief in God. It’s a scientific argument. Anybody, no matter what religion, can use it. We observe intelligence exists. Intelligence can do certain things – we call that Design. We observe things in nature that could only be created by intelligent design.
    What you think about God is irrelevant. We know of intelligence – human, animal, insect, plant. Does this exhaust all the possibilities of intelligence acting in the world? That’s an inference – no, it’s a good conclusion to suggest that there are other intelligences and therefore a supreme intelligence as designer (although biological ID can accept even alien intelligence).

    Yes: as I said earlier, Christian ID posits a God who intervenes. Someone else said, no, ID does not, but Jerry seems to think it does.

    Right. The big problem for TE believers is the word “intervenes”. This is how they misunderstand ID.
    Nowhere in ID theory does it say “God intervenes” – nor does any intelligence “intervene”. That’s irrelevant to the theory. What God does, or what the designing intelligence does is not part of the theory. We observe things that appear to have been designed by intelligence – that’s it.

    The problem with the word “intervenes” is as the TE’s say it. They think it means that God is in heaven, having nothing at all to do with the world. The world is operating under blind, mindless, mechanical processes. Then all of a sudden, there’s ‘puncutated deism’ as you called it. God enters into the world, does a few things, and then goes back to heaven.
    Maybe some IDists think this – but that’s a theological/religious issue. There’s nothing in ID that says “God intervenes”.
    In classic orthodox Christian doctrine, God doesn’t “intervene” but instead He is “involved” in every aspect of every molecule of life.
    It’s like the word “random”. There are two contexts for that word:
    God’s perspective of random and
    Our perspective of random.

    From God’s perspective (which is not our own, obviously), there is no random. He knows everything.
    From our perspective, random exists. Why? Because God made it that way. God created the notion of random chaos to teach us about order and to show us what randomness (life without order) would be like, and how randomness cannot produce order.
    We call it “blind, mindless forces” because that’s what atheists think created the world. We all know what “blind, mindless” things are. We know what chance is. People learn that at Las Vegas, sadly, all the time. Chance exists – from our perspective. From God’s perspective, there’s no chance or randomness. God allows “blind” material processes to do things that look like chance.

    It’s the same with “intervening”. From God’s perspective, He’s not far removed from His world and then comes in for a while to do things. He is fully in the world and sustains it constantly. There is nothing outside of His knowledge and power.
    But from our perspective, there is “intervening” actions. It means we can observe things outside of the normal order.
    When the Israelites saw the Red Sea part – we think of that as an “intervention”.
    When Jesus calmed the waves of a storm with just His word – that’s an “intervention”.
    But it doesn’t mean that God was absent for a while, and then came into the world.
    That’s where TE gets it wrong.

    Is there some part of nature that does not point to the intelligent foundation of the physical world as created by God?

    No, not at all. Every molecule, every movement, every leaf on a tree, every star, every natural force or regularity – all of that shows God.
    ID is not saying “some things are not designed”.
    It’s just saying “we have scientific evidence that some things cannot be produced by blind, material (random) forces as atheists assert – so they show evidence of design (as the only known source for such things).”
    That’s the other problem with TE.
    ID says “some things give the appearance of design”.
    TE misinterprets that to mean “ID thinks that some things are not designed”.
    That’s false.

    ID is science – not religious. It just analyzes what is observed and makes inferences on the origin, based on what we know about intelligence. No religion or theology is required.

  151. 151
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    I would point to quantum oriented statistical thermodynamics as a place where arguably chance is real and substantial, feeding into the macro picture.

    It’s a theological question. Sure, you could believe that chance is real, based on your understanding of God.
    To say that chance is real, at the quantum level, is to say “God does not know what would happen – He has to wait and see”.
    But that cuts against omnipotence and omniscience. God created quantum effects as well as every molecule and the rules by which they exist, move and interact.
    In classic, Christian theism, there is not one possible thing in the created universe that could be outside of the knowledge of God. There can be no chance in God’s perspective. He is outside of time – He knows all of the past and all of the future.

    Some people disagree with that (Ken Miller for one, proponents of Open Theology like John Haught for another). They think that God didn’t know what would happen with random events. Miller says that God didn’t know that evolution would create humans.
    That’s consistent with Theistic Evolution since it claims that Darwinism is correct. Random things happen and God doesn’t intervene. So, some of them think that God lacks knowledge about what is happening in the universe and then He is surprised by it – like someone who wins a lottery.
    In my view (traditional Catholic) that’s beyond absurd – but that’s a theological debate and for the sake of ID, I accept that people have all sorts of religious views, but all they have to do is accept that there is evidence of design in nature.
    How that design got there is a different question.

  152. 152
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, There are some good comments there, but I think this sentence brings up a key issue: “Nowhere in ID theory does it say “God intervenes” – nor does any intelligence “intervene””

    OK, let’s leave the Christian God and TE out of it. The definition of ID given in the Resources says, “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.”

    But that definition is aimed at materialism, and I’m not discussing materialism. I am discussing the idea that accepting that intelligence can be seen as pervading the universe, which you seem to agree is a valid perspective, some things can be scientifically shown to have been designed. If I understand correctly, that means those things could not have happened through natural processes alone. But, if we are looking at this from a “pervasive intelligence” point of view, and not a materialistic point of view, that means that the pervasive intelligence in natural processes is not enough, so the designer/design force has to do more than the regularly embedded pervasive intelligence can do. That implies that events outside the regular flow of natural (and intelligently pervaded) processes have had to happen to lead to some special kinds of events..

    That sure looks like intervention to me.

  153. 153
    jerry says:

    That sure looks like intervention to me.

    Who is arguing against intervention?

    ID implies that an intelligence intervened at least a couple times in the history of the world, probably more. Otherwise how did life and complex life get designed and appeared. Some intelligence intervened is the likely answer since no natural processes seem capable of it. Neither of these interventions have to be the creator of the universe which is certainly some type of intervention.

    Richard Dawkins thought that would be a likely explanation if there were any evidence that such an intelligence existed. But he begged the question on that intelligence by requiring it had to arise naturally by gradual processes.

    Some extremely unusual extremely low probable origins:

    1) fine tuning of the universe
    2) life
    3) complex life
    4) consciousness
    5) earth

    ID accepts that natural processes produce 99.9999% of what we see in the universe but some things are so unlikely that an intelligence becomes the likely answer for its origin.

  154. 154
    asauber says:

    “pervasive intelligence in natural processes”

    Not to butt in, but I don’t understand what this is supposed to mean. I would think natural processes aren’t intelligent processes, as such.

    Andrew

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    As, the natural processes reflect signs of intelligence, they are not the cause of the intelligence. KF

  156. 156
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    That sure looks like intervention to me.

    Exactly. From the human perspective – from what you or I can see – it looks like intervention.
    We had natural processes that do all sorts of things. But then we see some things that cannot be explained by those processes. So it looks like intelligence intervened.
    However, that’s from our perspective.
    From God’s perspective, there’s no intervention. God is present in all things.
    Additionally, we think we know how natural laws are supposed to operate, but do we really? There could be additional dimensions to the regular laws that we’re not aware of.

    But, if we are looking at this from a “pervasive intelligence” point of view, and not a materialistic point of view, that means that the pervasive intelligence in natural processes is not enough, so the designer/design force has to do more than the regularly embedded pervasive intelligence can do.

    Or another way to look at it is that the designer exhibits some signature of the design. As you say, everything is designed, but some things are easier to see as “designed aspects”. It’s not an intervention, but it’s just the artist showing some of the brushstrokes so we know it’s a painting and not a photo. That sort of thing. The artist reveals some clues – so we can pursue and understand.
    It’s the same thing with randomness. The designer created randomness so we could understand the beauty of order. It’s a contrast.

    That implies that events outside the regular flow of natural (and intelligently pervaded) processes have had to happen to lead to some special kinds of events..

    That’s an assumption on how the designer had to work. We think the designer created a regular flow, then there are special events (interventions). But they can all be designed in a continuum – with some events purposely showing designed elements and others appearing as if they were created by blind, material causes.
    In any case, if there’s a pervasive intelligence that designed anything at all – that’s ID.

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, that God is aware of the trajectory of a particular molecule in a body of gas, does not imply that he has particularly determined its outcomes, but that he would have set up a world of law where such molecules obey a particular molecular statistics. KF

  158. 158
    asauber says:

    KF,

    Thank you. That helps.

    Andrew

  159. 159
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Who is arguing against intervention?

    That idea of intervention assumes that the Intelligence was absent for a while, then came in an intervened, and then went away and waited for the next opportunity.

    That’s a theological argument. Can God go away from creation? Can the world be sustained on its own power without the constant presence of God (God is omnipresent – how can he “go away” from the universe and then come back and “intervene”).
    The classical understanding is that God is always present and the power of God is absolutely necessary for everything to hold together.
    If God stopped supporting the universe with His Being, it would disappear.
    So, the idea that God comes out of heaven, intervenes and then goes away doesn’t work in classical theism.
    But a person can believe in a God like that. To me it doesn’t make sense but it doesn’t affect ID at all. ID doesn’t forbid or require intervention. It says nothing about it.

  160. 160
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    SA, that God is aware of the trajectory of a particular molecule in a body of gas, does not imply that he has particularly determined its outcomes, but that he would have set up a world of law where such molecules obey a particular molecular statistics.

    You’re speaking from a human perspective. From our perspective, randomness exists Random mutations, random weather patterns, random snowfalls, random wind, random throws of the dice.
    But it’s impossible for any created thing to exist or move on its own power for one millisecond. God is the energy that moves all molecules. They did not create their own energy or their own matter.
    If God removed His providential power from anything, it would cease to exist.
    There can be no randomness for God. God knows all events thoroughly.
    If there were chance events for God, that would mean God was ignorant. Something would surprise Him. But that’s not possible.
    On the question of whether everything is “determined” in that way – in other words, directly decided by God – some things are (miracles). But most other things are determined by the long chain of historical factors – the result of sin versus virtue. The rewards or decrements from human life since Adam and Eve. Those are not random, although they appear so to us. They’re also not unsupervised by God – they’re a necessary part of mercy and justice which governs the world.
    By prayer we can change the course of events.

    … just adding on your comment, that God created a world of law – that’s another way to say that things happen by providence, not by chance.

  161. 161
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andrew

    I would think natural processes aren’t intelligent processes, as such.

    Right, but in an ultimate sense they had to come from somewhere.
    God created all the natural laws and forces and processes – they were all intelligently designed (and actually are evidence of having been designed since laws require a law-maker).

  162. 162
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: There can be no randomness for God. God knows all events thoroughly.
    If there were chance events for God, that would mean God was ignorant. Something would surprise Him. But that’s not possible.

    But surely free will implies that even God doesn’t know, for sure, what we will decide to do? Otherwise, how could it be free will?

  163. 163
    asauber says:

    “God created all the natural laws and forces and processes – they were all intelligently designed (and actually are evidence of having been designed since laws require a law-maker).”

    SA,

    Agreed. Thanks for the clarification.

    Andrew

  164. 164
    jerry says:

    There is a mixture of religion and ID going on. From ID’s perspective there is no understanding of the way the creator operates except what evidence and logic tells us.

    People immediately jumped in and added Christian theology to the understanding of ID. But that is not ID. It’s Christian theology.

    This will give the impression that ID is an adjunct of Christian theology which it certainly isn’t. Ironically, most Christians reject ID. They do so for specious reasons. But they will maintain rightly that ID has nothing with Christian theology.

    These theological assumptions may be true but they don’t come from ID.

    What ID is, is proof of the absurdity of atheism. It does not however, point to any specific creator or reason for creation.

    We can make some conclusions about the creator. For example, the creation/universe is very finely tuned. That would seem to point to a purpose and that choices were made for this specific universe.

    We can also point to the natural law and life. The intelligence behind life and complex life seemed to build in certain inherent tendencies that lead to certain preferred behaviors based on these tendencies. Based on this certain motives of the designer of life may be speculated as likely.

    For example, people for years have speculated on the purpose of Stonehenge and recently there was a paper claiming to know why. Namely, it was a 365 day calendar. Are they right. Without interviewing the builders it would be impossible to know for sure.

  165. 165
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry @ 164 – agreed.
    Once we started talking about TE, then it’s different because TE is a religious idea.
    As you stated, ID does not require specific religious concepts about God like that.
    Plus, TE starts with the assertion that God exists. But where’s the evidence that supports their assertion? I actually heard a TE give evidence of God’s existence that was basically an ID argument.
    So, very often they haven’t sorted things out and a lot of them just want to stay on friendly terms with their bosses or faculty so they’ll never say anything against Darwin or even against materialism, even though they reject materialism itself.

  166. 166
    Querius says:

    Jerry @164,

    I agree with many of your observations. I’d also point out that while ID is highly pragmatic and consistently results in facilitating the progress of science, there are also those who reject ID on theological grounds–namely, they object to the existence of God in any form, typically as articulated in various Christian theologies. So of necessity, they feel they have to reject ID as well.

    I think a strong position of “I don’t know” is very legitimate both in science and in theology:

    – Traditional Christian theology makes a lot of assertions about God that aren’t explicitly found in the Bible. Good luck with that.

    – Scientists make a lot of bold assertions about things they don’t understand. So-called “junk” DNA immediately comes to mind as well as the 100+ so-called “vestigial” organs including ductless glands such as the thyroid. Good luck with that as well.

    Maybe God does indeed play with dice and knows exactly what the probability distribution is but chooses not to move forward in time to see the outcome. I don’t have any idea what existence outside of time would be like. There seems to be a limit to knowability in physics. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and conjugate variables come to mind. Why should that be?

    To build a merged worldview based on the poorly understood quantum physics and the poorly understood genius creator of astounding complexity seems to be a fool’s errand. And there are plenty of fools who volunteer.

    I think a more humble view has the best outcomes and is the most pragmatic in science, and in theology . . . not to mention politics.

    So, what do you get when you mix . . .

    Science and politics?
    Science and religion?
    Politics and religion?

    What conclusion can one easily draw?

    -Q

  167. 167
    vividbleau says:

    JVL
    “But surely free will implies that even God doesn’t know, for sure, what we will decide to do? Otherwise, how could it be free will?”

    How do you define free will ? Here is mine stolen from RC Sproul, the ability to choose what I MOST want to choose given the options available to me at the time the choice is made.

    Vivid

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, there is no reason why God cannot use the randomness in quantum states as a part of his design. And as God is present and aware at every where and when, knowing what happens does not imply causally forcing it. That extends to our freedom also. KF

  169. 169
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF – agreed.
    God created randomness as part of His design. Things look random to us – to teach us something.
    We have to model evolution with random variables – mutations, environmental conditions, fitness factors – they’re random (from our perspective). That’s why if evolutionists think that artificial selection is virtually the same as natural selection are wrong – because of the randomness of the latter.

    But from God’s perspective, He created things that appear random to us – but nothing is hidden from God, nothing is unknown to Him. “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered”- that’s one way of saying that there’s nothing random or unknown to God.

    But he uses randomness and secondary causes (gravity, mass, weight, chemical bonds) to create things from law-like orderly processes. The rock rolls down the hill. The exact path is difficult to predict, but we could if we had omniscience. The raindrop falls to earth – the wind moves it, gravity pulls it – where exactly it lands, we say “it’s random” but God knows all of those factors.

    Yes, just because God knows all does not mean that He has forced us to do things (except we cannot add one day to our life after the time appointed for us to meet Him at the end). We have free choice – and that’s not determined by evolution or forces, and it’s also not random since we use our reason to make intelligent decisions.

  170. 170
    Querius says:

    Supposedly the Harvard Law of Animal Behavior states that “In a carefully controlled environment, animals behave as they jolly well please.”

    I don’t know how true this is or to what degree among various animals, but I do believe that there’s no fundamental property of material particles that convey a tiny degree of consciousness or free will in a certain arrangement, in sufficient quantity, and under the right “vibrations.”

    I would speculate that God can CHOOSE to know something in our future or choose not to know. There are several places in the Bible that seem to indicate this is the case. It seems that we really and truly have consciousness and free will regardless of whether or not we can describe it philosophically or measure it scientifically. Again, how God operates inside and outside of space and time is completely unknown to me and I have no doubt to all others. And even if we did know, why should we assume that we could understand it?

    Back to the OP, what do you get when you mix . . .

    Science and politics?
    Science and religion?
    Politics and religion?

    -Q

  171. 171
    Seversky says:

    What is ID’s view of John Stuart Mill’s argument that design implies limitation not omnipotence?

    It is not too much to say that every indication of Design in the Kosmos is so much evidence against the Omnipotence of the Designer. For what is meant by Design? Contrivance: the adaptation of means to an end. But the necessity for contrivance—the need of employing means—is a consequence of the limitation of power. Who would have recourse to means if to attain his end his mere word was sufficient? The very idea of means implies that the means have an efficacy which the direct action of the being who employs them has not. Otherwise they are not means, but an incumbrance. A man does not use machinery to move his arms. If he did, it could only be when paralysis had deprived him of the power of moving them by volition. But if the employment of contrivance is in itself a sign of limited power, how much more so is the careful and skilful choice of contrivances? Can any wisdom be shown in the selection of means, when the means have no efficacy but what is given them by the will of him who employs them, and when his will could have bestowed the same efficacy on any other means? Wisdom and contrivance are shown in overcoming difficulties, and there is no room for them in a Being for whom no difficulties exist. The evidences, therefore, of Natural Theology distinctly imply that the author of the Kosmos worked under limitations; that he was obliged to adapt himself to conditions independent of his will, and to attain his ends by such arrangements as those conditions admitted of.

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, JSM indulged meaningless rhetoric, finding words to dismiss what he was clearly hostile to at outset. That one has used reasonable means towards an end and duly balances constraints implicit in logic of structure and quantity or laws of world or moral balance of character etc rather than being essentially arbitrary is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom. It seems he is tempted to grossly misunderstand divine attributes, e.g. omnipotence does not imply arbitrary power but maximal power compossible with other attributes of divinity. For example God cannot be deemed weak if he cannot make 3 + 2 = 6. Similarly, the silly false dilemma that speaks of God making a stone too heavy for him to move is grossly failed and misconceived. God is author of spacetime, and material bodies inherently can change locus therein, where an actual concrete entity made of particular atoms will have finite amount of mass so cannot have infinite inertia. Likewise, balancing features and aspects of physics or the parameters of a cosmos towards fine tuning in support of cell based life, is wisdom, not failing to have arbitrary power, which would be irrational. Just so, designing a creature to balance potential conflicting requisites, e.g. the hollow bones and weight saving features and streamlining of a bird, giving due but limited strength, is wisdom not failed arbitrary power. Indeed, part of this would be that a reasonable divine purpose would be to have an intelligible world so that finite, fallible minds could discern order to guide living, culture and thought towards truth and soundness. And more. KF

  173. 173
    Querius says:

    Seversky,

    What is ID’s view of John Stuart Mill’s argument that design implies limitation not omnipotence?

    To any engineer, architect, or other creative person, this statement is obvious.

    Engineering/Design is always about optimizing parameters to performance specifications, limitations (time, materials, quality, cost, etc.), and priorities. This is part of the ID paradigm.

    As an example, consider the energy expended by plants into leaves. Deciduous trees “manufacture” cheap throwaway leaves while evergreen leaves are far more expensive in terms of the energy expended in waxy coatings, insect repellents, and other elements designed for longevity. Which design is BEST?

    The answer as usual is “it depends” on the environment (or adaptability) for which it’s designed.

    Omnipotence might be ascribed to some engineers, but generally assigned to God as one of several superlatives in comparison to humans. But people get in logical trouble when using these terms in an absolute sense. For example

    Yes or no. Can God create a stone so large that He cannot lift it?

    -Q

    P.S. Honestly, I didn’t see Kairosfocus’ post that beat me to the punch by a few minutes.

  174. 174
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, notice, my approach is that of exploring the logic of being implied in the idea of God, i.e. an application of ontology. We can go further, to note that inherent finitude also extends to the causal temporal past and as non being has no causal power we need necessary being at root of reality. Where, as we are responsibly, rationally free and thus morally governed creatures we need a being at that root bridging the is ought gap. We thus confront a bill of requisites for an adequate cause of reality and necessary being with inherent goodness and utter wisdom. Where, once a NB candidate is possible, it is actual as possible implies existence in at least one possible world and necessity of being implies framework to any world. To see this try to imagine a distinct world without two-ness, duality, or where such begins or can cease. But already duality is framework to a distinct possible world, i.e. particular W implies another possible world W’ distinct from it, duality is a two way street, and yes we are seeing a branch on which we all sit first principle. A consequence of this is, those who imagine they know God is not or that they can dismiss God as a dubious notion imply a claim that God is impossible of being. Indeed, it is evident JSM, in his failed argument, was toying with that idea. So, in an era with the Plantinga free will defence — as opposed to theodicy — on the table, what can be offered that makes God a suspect notion? ________

  175. 175
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, insomnia power at work, let’s try to go back to sleep. KF

  176. 176
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, Do I need to point out that it being impossible for God to lie or do wrong is not a sign of weakness but shows the due balance of divine attributes that leads to the holographic/microcosm result that each attribute leads to the others? That is, we are looking at an inherently unified whole, each facet drawing on and contributing to all others? Where, this is also telling us God is not an assemblage of pre existing, detachable parts, which in turn is a characteristic of necessary being?

  177. 177
    jerry says:

    What is ID’s view of John Stuart Mill’s argument that design implies limitation not omnipotence

    You have been answered several times. Why do you keep repeating this inane question?

    An ecology requires that a characteristic not be optimal. Otherwise it would destroy the ecology and all the species in it.

    The best of all possible worlds would require an endless list of imperfects offsetting each other. It’s called trade-offs. Only an Omni-potent mind and Omni-powerful creator could accomplish it.

    So Mills while a smart guy didn’t understand this. But I bet if this was pointed out to him, he would have understood immediately.

    Now why can’t you?

  178. 178
    Viola Lee says:

    In response to Sev’s quote of Mill, KF writes, “JSM indulged meaningless rhetoric …”

    Lol.

  179. 179
    jerry says:

    JSM indulged meaningless rhetoric

    No , It was

    JSM indulged ignorant rhetoric

    Even the great minds are befuddled some times.

    I have a question:

    If something is ignorant is it also meaningless?

    In this case, I believe it is.

  180. 180
    jerry says:

    The best of all possible worlds scenario would imply that Darwinian processes would never generate superior characteristics because that would destroy ecologies. That is exactly what we see.

    Darwinian processes are extremely limiting. So those who look to Darwinian processes are looking at something that is self refuting in terms of Evolution. It’s great science but only for genetics.

  181. 181
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Sev

    What is ID’s view of John Stuart Mill’s argument that design implies limitation not omnipotence?

    ID is not a religious or theological teaching. Whether the designer is omnipotent or limited is not irrelevant.
    After that, from a classical theistic view or Christian view, there’s Mill’s idea can be refuted in many ways.

  182. 182
    Silver Asiatic says:

    181 “not relevant’

  183. 183
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF @ 174
    I found this an interesting aside:

    So, in an era with the Plantinga free will defence — as opposed to theodicy — on the table, what can be offered that makes God a suspect notion? ________

    I think claims that Plantinga defeated the logical problem of evil are wildly exaggerated, if not downright wrong. For an excellent discussion of this, Raymond Bradley’s article is a must: The Free Will Defense Refuted and God’s Existence Disproved
    https://infidels.org/library/modern/raymond-bradley-fwd-refuted/

  184. 184
    William J Murray says:

    JVL asks:

    But surely free will implies that even God doesn’t know, for sure, what we will decide to do? Otherwise, how could it be free will?

    I think the answer under the theological perspective here would be something along these lines: that it is a matter of perspective.

    From God’s perspective, He already sees the decisions we made throughout our lives. God isn’t imposing those decisions on anyone, but from His vantage point outside of space-time he can see them all, and what the end result is.

    From our position, we can make any choice we want. Seeing those decisions before we make them is not, in any way, influencing us to make those choices.

    That view is kind of undermined by quantum theory; if we are all under “under” or “within” God’s observational status, then God making those observations would, basically, be His opening the box with the cat – us – in it. God would then be determining what choices we make just by looking.

  185. 185
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD @183

    Bradley wonders: What are the laws of logic that prevent God from creating a world with free-creatures capable of moral goodness?

    Answer: The Law of Identity

    Bradley’s argument fails.

  186. 186
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: From God’s perspective, He already sees the decisions we made throughout our lives. God isn’t imposing those decisions on anyone, but from His vantage point outside of space-time he can see them all, and what the end result is.

    To ‘see’ or observe things in our universe requires detecting photons which exist in our universe. And if you’re in our universe then you cannot see all of time at once.

    So, how does God do it? How can a being be outside of space and time but still observe things in space and time?

  187. 187
    JVL says:

    Jerry: An ecology requires that a characteristic not be optimal. Otherwise it would destroy the ecology and all the species in it.

    Depends on your definition of optimal. Optimal could mean: best suited to utilise a given environment whilst allowing it to continue.

  188. 188
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    How can a being be outside of space and time but still observe things in space and time?

    There’s no outside or inside for God.

  189. 189
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Do I need to point out that it being impossible for God to lie or do wrong is not a sign of weakness but shows the due balance of divine attributes that leads to the holographic/microcosm result that each attribute leads to the others?

    If God knows that a major natural disaster is coming and doesn’t tell devote Christians who are likely to be killed by it is that lying by omission? Knowing that having people killed will be devastating to their friends and family?

    And if God doesn’t see major natural disasters coming is s/he all seeing and all knowing?

  190. 190
    kairosfocus says:

    D, right at outset, a strawman which seems to pivot on misunderstanding differences between defence and theodicy, as well as misunderstanding the difference freedom brings . . . inter alia the possibility of love thus of virtue and the possibility of actual reason:

    Plantinga, however, ignores clauses (a) and (c), and targets only clause (b), that involving God’s omnipotence. He sketches a scenario according to which God did his best to create a world without evil but had his plans thwarted by the freedom-abusing creatures he had created. “Given these conditions,” he argues, God could not have created a world free of evil. This “despite” his omnipotence. True, moral and natural evil exists. But that’s up to us, and Satan, respectively. It isn’t “up to God.” So Plantinga claims.

    Nope.

    Here is a summary, note, an outline:

    Plantinga’s free-will defense, in a skeletal form, allows us to effectively address the problem. For, it is claimed that the following set of theistic beliefs embed an unresolvable contradiction:

    1. God exists
    2. God is omnipotent – all powerful
    3. God is omniscient – all-knowing
    4. God is omni-benevolent – all-good
    5. God created the world
    6. The world contains evil

    [–> Notice, NOT ignored, that is false, and in context willfully misleading]

    To do so, there is an implicit claim that, (2a) if he exists, God is omnipotent and so capable of — but obviously does not eliminate — evil. So, at least one of 2 – 5 should be surrendered. But all of these claims are central to the notion of God, so it is held that the problem is actually 1.

    [–> again, not ignored]

    Therefore, NOT-1: God does not exist.

    However, it has been pointed out by Plantinga and others that:

    2a is not consistent with what theists actually believe: if the elimination of some evil would lead to a worse evil, or prevent the emergence of a greater good, then God might have a good reason to permit some evil in the cosmos.

    [–> Notice, the issue of misunderstanding]

    Specifically, what if “many evils result from human free will or from the fact that our universe operates under natural laws or from the fact that humans exist in a setting that fosters soul-making . . . [and that such a world] contains more good than a world that does not” ?

    In this case, Theists propose that 2a should be revised: 2b: “A good, omnipotent God will eliminate evil as far as he can without either losing a greater good or bringing about a greater evil.” But, once this is done, the alleged contradiction collapses.

    Further, Alvin Plantinga – through his free will defense — was able to show that the theistic set is actually consistent. He did this by augmenting the set with a further proposition that is logically possible (as opposed to seeming plausible to one who may be committed to another worldview) and which makes the consistency clear. That proposition, skeletally, is 5a: “God created a world (potentially) containing evil; and has a good reason for doing so.” Propositions 1, 2b, 3, 4, and 5a are plainly consistent, and entail 6.

    [–> if p1, p2 . . . pn are alleged to be inconsistent but if augmented by e become clearly consistent, p1 through pn are necessarily consistent already]

    The essence of that defense is:

    “A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures . . . God can create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For . . . then they aren’t significantly free after all . . . He could only have forestalled the occurrence of moral evil only by removing the possibility of moral good.” [NB: This assumes that moral good reflects the power of choice: if we are merely robots carrying out programs, then we cannot actually love, be truthful, etc.] [From: Clark, Kelley James. Return to Reason. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), pp. 69 – 70, citing Plantinga, God, Freedom and Evil, (Eerdmans, 1974), p. 30.]

    So, the attempted dismissal fails.

    The deductive or logical form problem of evil fails, and with the goods of reason, love, virtue and redemption etc, the inductive form is countered. The existential form is a matter of counselling, not logic.

    KF

  191. 191
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: There’s no outside or inside for God.

    What does that mean? If God experiences our universe then s/he must be able to perceive events and objects and such. To do that you must be able to detect photons, see events play out in time. Especially if you’re going to judge people ‘in the future’; you have to be able to see their actions in context.

    But if you are in our universe, detecting photons, then how can you be outside of it at the same time? How does the inside and outside part communicate?

    If you don’t know how that can work how can you be sure it can work?

  192. 192
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, So, CD, do you and Mr Ramsey have sufficient freedom to reason and have reliable results of reason including warrant for knowledge claims? Is such reason valuable and good? Or, are you in the boat Haldane highlighted:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For

    if

    [p:] my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain

    [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes; notice, “my brain,” i.e. self referential]
    ______________________________

    [ THEN]

    [q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true.

    [–> indeed, blindly mechanical computation is not in itself a rational process, the only rationality is the canned rationality of the programmer, where survival-filtered lucky noise is not a credible programmer, note the funcionally specific, highly complex organised information rich code and algorithms in D/RNA, i.e. language and goal directed stepwise process . . . an observationally validated adequate source for such is _____ ?]

    [Corollary 1:] They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically.

    And hence

    [Corollary 2:] I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. [–> grand, self-referential delusion, utterly absurd self-falsifying incoherence]

    In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    If you are, then your case collapses as reason is delusion. But if reason is delusion, so are its products including evolutionary materialistic scientism, hyperskepticism, atheism, agnosticism, deism etc. There is no reason, mind is dead.

    If however, reason is real, it needs to be accounted for as a powerful good, precisely the sort of thing that opens up a world of good not accessible to creatures that do not have that capability. So, contrary to being a refutation of God, the attempted resurrection of the logical problem of evil is an incoherent argument that undermines reason itself and can be safely set aside.

  193. 193
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, poetic phrasing of omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence. If x is in reality anywhere in any world W, God is present in W at x and is aware of and enables it. KF

  194. 194
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: poetic phrasing of omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence. If x is in reality anywhere in any world W, God is present in W at x and is aware of and enables it.

    HOW does that work? What does ‘enable’ mean? Allow? Can you ‘allow’ something when you perceive all of space and time?

    If you are aware of everything that has and will happen then are you enabling or allowing anything? Allowing or enabling implies making a decision at a particular moment in time which means intervening at that moment in time which means being able to influence physical/chemical/electrical reactions at that moment in time which means you have to be able to exerting physical/chemical/electrical forces at that particular moment in time which means you have to be able to wield those forces and how can you do that if you aren’t part of the universe?

    And if you’re part of the universe then how can you be outside of it as well? How does that work?

  195. 195
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    But if you are in our universe, detecting photons, then how can you be outside of it at the same time?

    Spaceless, timeless, infinite being – we know these things by analogy.

  196. 196
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    If God experiences our universe then s/he must be able to perceive events and objects and such.

    Do you think God has a physical body? That he sees things with two eyes? That he uses a telescope to see things that are very far away? Does He need a microscope to see what is happening in cellular life?

  197. 197
    chuckdarwin says:

    JVL @ 186
    You’ve hit on one of those intractable problems with Christianity, right up there with the problems of the trinity and evil.
    That’s why the Jesuits came up with the truly bizarre and incomprehensible notion of “middle knowledge.” Here’s a definition from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    [Middle knowledge] is best characterized as God’s prevolitional (sic) knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom.

    Clear as mud, no? I took a full semester course at Jesuit college in Molinism (where the doctrine of middle knowledge comes from) and still have no idea what it is.
    It’s like “explanations” for the trinity–by the time you hack through them and realize that Christianity is really a form of polytheism, the philosophers have moved on to solving other mysteries.

  198. 198
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    “A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures . . . God can create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For . . . then they aren’t significantly free after all . . . He could only have forestalled the occurrence of moral evil only by removing the possibility of moral good.” [NB: This assumes that moral good reflects the power of choice: if we are merely robots carrying out programs, then we cannot actually love, be truthful, etc.]

    That is a good summary. We cannot learn, love, discover, create or have any rational discourse.
    Reason requires that “error exists” – error being a form of evil.
    It is logically necessary for evil to exist as long at the great benefit of value is given to morally conscious creatures.
    Bradley never explains how a moral world with free creatures could exist – he doesn’t give an example. Instead, he says:

    Most of the victims of his choice would willingly sacrifice the supposed benefits of libertarian freedom in order to avoid the hellish conditions that prevail in much of the world.

    One of the benefits of libertarian freedom is the reward of eternal bliss in a loving relationship with God.
    So, to sacrifice free-choice is to sacrifice happiness itself.
    And like many atheists, he weighs only the pain of temporal existence and does not factor in eternal recompense.

  199. 199
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Spaceless, timeless, infinite being – we know these things by analogy.

    How do you know a) if they’re possible or b) how that works?

    Do you think God has a physical body? That he sees things with two eyes? That he uses a telescope to see things that are very far away? Does He need a microscope to see what is happening in cellular life?

    How do you ‘see’ things without detecting photons? How do you detect photons without some kind of detector?

    You don’t really know how it all works do you? You assume it does, somehow, but you can’t say how. You can’t rectify the laws of physics we know with what you think a deity does.

    It’s okay if you just ‘believe’. But at least have the honesty to say so.

  200. 200
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, you sound like you need a good survey on idea of God and/or Systematic Theology, with focus on attributes of God. I suggest Grudem as a useful introduction https://archive.org/details/WayneGrudemSystematicTheology As for the concept that God enables, he is creator-sustainer of worlds, without his presence and active providence, no entity x in any world W would exist, nor would x go through any process, activity, etc. God is not part of the universe, he is its necessary ground of being and creator. That’s why c 50 AD in Athens, Paul told the Areopagites that some of their thinkers had caught a glimmer of truth: we are his offspring, in him we live, move and have our being. Much more can be said, however the sufficiently disinclined, suspicious and hostile will find it very hard to understand or appreciate and in recent decades some took up the blunder of positivism and thought they wrote God off as meaningless, only to be exposed as self referentially incoherent. Note, by referring you to an introductory work, I am again pointing out that for topics like this, you need to go to panels of genuine experts, a blog combox is not going to be able to take the matter up in full depth. KF

  201. 201
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, pardon your hyperskepticism is showing and is also exposing gaps in phil. KF

  202. 202
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    How do you ‘see’ things without detecting photons?

    Ok, thanks. You think God has a physical body – maybe it came from evolution?
    He’s got two eyes also. I wonder if He lost some capability over an infinite time span and got some glasses to help. Bifocals? Or does He go with contact lenses?
    Tough questions, yes – sorry about that.

    How do you detect photons without some kind of detector?

    In your idea of God, yes true. God would need some good scientific equipment in order to view things. Where would God purchase that equipment?
    I think that would be a very good follow-up question for you.

    It’s important for us to understand what you mean by the term “God” and I’m getting a good idea now.

  203. 203
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: you sound like you need a good survey on idea of God and/or Systematic Theology, with focus on attributes of God.

    I would just like someone to explain how all the things attributed to God work based on our understood and verified laws of physics. And I would like some of the of quoted properties of God explained and defined. How can you detect and observe events in time and space and be outside of time and place?

    Just pontificating on some kind of being existing doesn’t explain how it interacts and intervenes in our physical universe.

  204. 204
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    JVL, you sound like you need a good survey on idea of God …

    That is essential.
    Summa Theologica First Part, questions 2-26
    That’s just a basic review. Every educated person should be familiar with it.
    https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1.htm

  205. 205
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Ok, thanks. You think God has a physical body – maybe it came from evolution?

    I didn’t say that, I’m asking how it all works. You seem to think that God has a physical body.

    It’s important for us to understand what you mean by the term “God” and I’m getting a good idea now.

    I don’t know what ‘God’ means. But I think some of you imply that your version of ‘God’ has certain capabilities and I’m wondering how those abilities and powers fit in with our known and verified laws of physics.

    And if they don’t fit in with those then are they really laws at all? If it’s possible to violate or override those laws then they are only of limited applicability, i.e. they aren’t ‘laws’ at all.

    So what are the real ‘laws’ of the universe? Are there any real ‘laws’ at all? If Christianity is a basic motivation for the development of science but the deity violates all the laws discovered by the endeavours of science then is it all just a scam?

  206. 206
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    I don’t know what ‘God’ means.

    This is something you should study and learn more about – gain knowledge.
    Then you will be able to ask more informed questions.

  207. 207
    Querius says:

    Jerry @180,

    The best of all possible worlds scenario would imply that Darwinian processes would never generate superior characteristics because that would destroy ecologies. That is exactly what we see.

    Excellent point! I once wrote an ecology simulation and discovered what I later learned was a very common problem. The simulations are notoriously unstable, tending toward increasingly wild swings that quickly result in the degradation of the carrying capacity of the ecosystem and the extinction of the ecological web.

    -Q

  208. 208
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    I am again pointing out that for topics like this, you need to go to panels of genuine experts, a blog combox is not going to be able to take the matter up in full depth.

    I’d suggest also for JVL:

    The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
    https://www.amazon.com/Blackwell-Companion-Natural-Theology/dp/1444350854

    … gathers together original contributions from a variety of leading philosophers to provide a timely and thought-provoking exploration of the nature and existence of God as manifested in the existence, order, and character of the natural world.

  209. 209
    asauber says:

    JVL is trollin’ large today.

    Andrew

  210. 210
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    what are the real ‘laws’ of the universe?

    We have to start with the first principles of reason. KF references these frequently.
    The law of identity – necessary and immutable. From that one law, all the others can proceed.

    If Christianity is a basic motivation for the development of science but the deity violates all the laws discovered by the endeavours of science then is it all just a scam?

    Christianity does not hold that a law must be absolute and unbreakable to be a law – although the First Principles I mentioned are such. But the laws are created by God, in a contingent universe. They are “regularities” created so that we can understand order.

  211. 211
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Here is Grudem doing a points notes outline on God’s attributes: https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/attributes-of-god and this is an even simpler outline on key attributes: https://www.equip.org/article/the-attributes-of-god-what-are-the-attributes-of-god/ On God as redeemer (thus warranting the gospel and the scriptures that teach it), start here: includes a 1 hr vid, and in that light, you may proceed to for example here on the specifically Christian, scripture guided triune understanding of God. BTW, this is one place where Wiki gives a helpful introduction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity . There is much, much more out there that can be helpful, even for one who disagrees but wishes to do so with responsible, accurate understanding. That said, UD is not the place for a full orbed exploration, which is already highly tangential to the OP above. KF

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, regrettably, Summa will be very stiff reading for most today. KF

  213. 213
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, God would be author of the laws of physics and enabler of their operation. As statements they are simply summaries of regularities, sometimes put in a dynamical-stochastic context informed by logic of structure and quantity, they are not self explanatory nor do they give rise to a universe. For that you need to appreciate that a transfinite causal-temporal past poses the infeasible supertask of traversing a transfinite span of say years. There was a beginning and that points to something that set up the laws you point to as though they are ultimate. In that context, you are looking at necessary, world root reality that escapes trying to get reality from utter non being. And much more, the matter is a worldviews matter not a physical one. KF

  214. 214
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    You ask some very interesting questions.

    From your previous posts, I believe you’re very familiar with quantum mechanics, yet like most of us, you easily fall into the “physical reality” myth.

    Science doesn’t know how the “Laws of Physics” came into being and what determined them. They seem to fit into mathematical expressions that are generally predictive but get “fuzzy around the edges” (I’m sure you know what I mean). For example, in a conversation with some physics professors, one of them asked the question why should the inverse squared law commonly encountered have an exponent of exactly 2.0000 . . . ?

    Then, we consider the following (which I’ve mentioned several times before):

    Vlatko Vedral is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College. As a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, here’s how he expresses it:

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information––and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”

    The key insight here is the realization that when we simply observe light, electrons, even small molecules or viruses in the famous double-slit experiment, it determines results in either a particle or a wave pattern depending on how they’re observed.

    Then, when we postulate a “God” of some sort as the origin of existence out of non-existence based on INFORMATION as the fundamental reality, together with conscious observation and free-will choices of what to observe, we start drawing some hypothesis about both ourselves and this postulated “God.”

    If my free-will choice of what I observe collapses the wavefunction resulting in particles and energy out of probability waves, then “God” must also be able to choose what NOT to observe.
    Perhaps “God” does “play with dice” after all. And if “God” created/is creating space-time, then “God” cannot be a subset within that space-time.

    And this is why supposedly a majority (~60%) of physicists believe we must be living in some sort of simulation, perhaps an “ancestor simulation.”

    As a Christian, I’m comfortable with the concept of living in some sort of filtering simulation, which I believe is entirely compatible with some strange statements found in the Bible, even quotes from Jesus.

    -Q

  215. 215
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: This is something you should study and learn more about – gain knowledge.
    Then you will be able to ask more informed questions.

    I’d be most interested in resources and publications which would address my physics-based questions. Can you recommend something?

    The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
    https://www.amazon.com/Blackwell-Companion-Natural-Theology/dp/1444350854

    gathers together original contributions from a variety of leading philosophers to provide a timely and thought-provoking exploration of the nature and existence of God as manifested in the existence, order, and character of the natural world.

    Okay, that’s one.

    But the laws are created by God, in a contingent universe. They are “regularities” created so that we can understand order.

    But those ‘laws’ are not hard-and-fast if God can override them.

    Are there any laws which are always and in every situation true and immutable?

    The law of identity – necessary and immutable. From that one law, all the others can proceed.

    In logic, the law of identity states that each thing is identical with itself.

    How does that explain how God relates to our laws of physics?

  216. 216
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: God would be author of the laws of physics and enabler of their operation. As statements they are simply summaries of regularities, sometimes put in a dynamical-stochastic context informed by logic of structure and quantity, they are not self explanatory nor do they give rise to a universe. For that you need to appreciate that a transfinite causal-temporal past poses the infeasible supertask of traversing a transfinite span of say years. There was a beginning and that points to something that set up the laws you point to as though they are ultimate.

    I understand regularities and probabilistic arguments that state that such and such is generally true or true a certain percentage of the time.

    But we have never observed a violation of the laws of thermodynamics. Those seem to be immutable. I assume you assume that God can violate those rules at will thereby not being subject to the rules his influence on Christian thought regarding logic brought into human experience in the first place.

    So . . . just checking . . . God created laws or rules that human beings would be subject to and gave us reason so we could discover those and marvel at the ‘logic’ of the universe even though God was/is not subject to those rules. Is that right?

  217. 217
    JVL says:

    Querius: Perhaps “God” does “play with dice” after all. And if “God” created/is creating space-time, then “God” cannot be a subset within that space-time.

    But then how does God interact with space-time without having a component or power or energy that is part of that system?

    As a Christian, I’m comfortable with the concept of living in some sort of filtering simulation, which I believe is entirely compatible with some strange statements found in the Bible, even quotes from Jesus.

    Okay. So, the point of this incredibly compelling and binding simulation is . . . ? Does that not bring into question the idea of a loving and caring god? Does that not suggest a jester, manipulative deity that is just playing with us for it’s own benefit?

    If our perceived universe is just a simulation then why should we take it seriously? Why should we respect the being that keeps us trapped in that falsehood and yet requests our devotion and respect?

  218. 218
    jerry says:

    JVL just agreed with me that this is the best of all possible worlds. He probably doesn’t realize it nor apparently does anyone else.

  219. 219
    JVL says:

    Jerry: JVL just agreed with me that this is the best of all possible worlds. He probably doesn’t realize it nor apparently does anyone else.

    If it’s not real then it cannot be the best of all possible worlds since it’s not a world at all.

  220. 220
    Querius says:

    JVL @219,

    This world is certainly real as we experience it. But reality is fundamentally INFORMATION rather than particles and energy.

    I don’t don’t believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds for several reasons:

    1. How do we determine what’s “best,” and what parameters does one use to evaluate “worlds”?

    2. Best for whom or what?

    3. Even theologically, the Bible never makes such a statement. For example, the text in Genesis asserts that God saw the completed creation and judged it as “very good.” It doesn’t say “best.” And even this observation was for the original creation before evil entered it.

    -Q

    Silly side note: “Good” is a grade of B. Very Good is a B+ due to synergy in this case. But apparently, the stuff that was created on the second day, the atmosphere, received an “Incomplete” because no grade was given for that day. (wink)

  221. 221
    jerry says:

    I don’t believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds

    Then you believe the creator of this world created an inferior world.

  222. 222
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Querius
    This world is certainly real as we experience it. But reality is fundamentally INFORMATION rather than particles and energy.

    I don’t don’t believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds for several reasons:

    Then you are saying God is not good.

    1. How do we determine what’s “best,” and what parameters does one use to evaluate “worlds”?
    2. Best for whom or what?

    Are you saying that God created this world without a specific purpose or you just don’t know it?

    3. Even theologically, the Bible never makes such a statement. For example, the text in Genesis asserts that God saw the completed creation and judged it as “very good.” It doesn’t say “best.” And even this observation was for the original creation before evil entered it.

    Are you a theologian? 😆 Evil didn’t enter into this world it was allowed by the free will of Adam and Eve .

  223. 223
    Viola Lee says:

    Earlier today KF accused John Stuart Mill indulging in “meaningless rhetoric?’ Since then there have been 50 posts of what would then be equally meaningless rhetoric. All hat, no cattle, as the saying goes.

  224. 224
    Querius says:

    Jerry @221,

    Then you believe the creator of this world created an inferior world.

    Inferior to what and on what basis?

    The Bible says that God saw the creation as “very good.” It does not say “best of all possible” or “inferior.”

    -Q

  225. 225
    Querius says:

    Lieutenant Commander Data @222,

    Then you are saying God is not good.

    No, I’m not saying that. How did you jump to that conclusion?

    God is wonderful, loving, merciful, extremely creative, and impossible to fully understand (without your head exploding). He created the universe and judged it to be “very good” according to the Bible. From what I’ve seen and studied, the universe and living things are totally amazing, extremely complex, and incredibly well engineered. Take your immune system for example.

    Are you saying that God created this world without a specific purpose or you just don’t know it?

    Again, how did you jump to any of those conclusions from what I stated? How can any human claim to understand the thoughts and motives of God unless God reveals it in part somehow?

    As I’m writing this, my dog is curled up near my chair. Do you think my dog is capable of judging my motives and means as I tap this message on my keyboard? Then how much less can we pretend to fully understand God’s thoughts and motives? (this is a Kal v’Chomer argument)

    Are you a theologian? Evil didn’t enter into this world it was allowed by the free will of Adam and Eve.

    No, and theologians shouldn’t pretend to understand God’s thoughts and motives either. They just logically arrange the various speculations and collective ignorance of others, occasionally adding to them. My general statement about evil entering this world should be self evident, especially nowadays. My statement made no statement on how it entered.

    -Q

  226. 226
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD @ 197

    I took a full semester course at Jesuit college in Molinism (where the doctrine of middle knowledge comes from) and still have no idea what it is.

    I attended a high school run by Jesuits and we didn’t have anything like that. But it sounds unfortunate for you, in any case. I find Jesuit spiritual exercises to be excellent and very helpful for improving prayer and meditation. And the Jesuit missionaries through the world are among my favorites to learn about. But in the case you mention, the theology sounds like it got too intellectualized. It sounds like a pre-Vatican II approach, less scriptural and more focused on technicalities. Most of that kind of wrangling has dropped away.

    >blockquote>It’s like “explanations” for the trinity–by the time you hack through them and realize that Christianity is really a form of polytheism, the philosophers have moved on to solving other mysteries.

    If philosophers conclude that Christianity is polytheism, then they haven’t solved anything.
    In fact, if philosophers attempt to analyze and define the Trinity, then they’re reaching beyond their competence – since the Trinity is not natural knowledge (for philosophy) but revealed doctrine that comes from God. It’s a topic of theology, not philosophy. Theology requires the gift of Faith – which is infused at Baptism. Lacking that, it will be difficult to comprehend the teaching. But billions of Christians do embrace it – and it’s not polytheism.

  227. 227
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    How does that explain how God relates to our laws of physics?

    You’re asking how God interacts with the physical world, or how physics can model God’s being, or why God is not bound by the laws He created (you’re posing that as an injustice).

    First, you know that God is not a physical being, created out of matter. So physics and math are not going to be able to model His infinite, incorporeal being. They’re just not the right tools for the job.

    Secondly, immaterial entities can enable actions as we know. A thought can drive a decision then an act. Mozart composed a symphony entirely in his mind and then put it on paper. So, the immaterial thought existed first, then was actualized in reality in the music. The design of a building can come to someone in an immaterial vision – then the building is constructed according to the plan. That’s how design works – from immaterial idea to material object.

    Finally, why God can transcend the laws He created is because He had to transcend them, since He created them for this physical universe, which at one time did not exist. So, He was always transcendent to the laws.
    As for natural laws, like humans need to eat and sleep to survive – God “violates” those because He does not need them, since He is not a human being, but the divine eternal being the source of all life.
    Finally, in regards to miracles (like the resurrection of Christ, for example) God transcends natural laws to show us that we are not entirely bound by them. We too can transcend the physical laws with the help of God – that’s why we pray. Otherwise, everything would be dominated by physical forces and we would be helpless against them.
    But miracles happen – to show the triumph of the human spirit (and the grace of God) over determinism.

  228. 228
    Viola Lee says:

    Q writes, “God is wonderful, loving, merciful, extremely creative, and impossible to fully understand (without your head exploding)”

    Dylan wrote, in “Where Are You Tonight?”,

    The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure, to live it you have to explode.

    Has Q been listening to Dylan?

  229. 229
    jerry says:

    Earlier today KF accused John Stuart Mill indulging in “meaningless rhetoric?’

    I’ll repeat

    John Stuart Mill indulged in ignorant rhetoric

    It was also meaningless because it was ignorant.

  230. 230
    Sandy says:

    Silver Asiatic
    … immaterial entities can enable actions as we know. A thought can drive a decision then an act. Mozart composed a symphony entirely in his mind and then put it on paper. So, the immaterial thought existed first, then was actualized in reality in the music. The design of a building can come to someone in an immaterial vision – then the building is constructed according to the plan. That’s how design works – from immaterial idea to material object.

    🙂 Very powerfull argument . Yep the universe was a symphony in God’s mind then He wrote it on “paper”.

  231. 231
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, 223, I did not emptily “accuse,” I showed the misfire by an admittedly significant mind, in 172. KF

    PS, as it is obviously needed:

    JSM indulged meaningless rhetoric, finding words to dismiss what he was clearly hostile to at outset. That one has used reasonable means towards an end and duly balances constraints implicit in logic of structure and quantity or laws of world or moral balance of character etc rather than being essentially arbitrary is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom. It seems he is tempted to grossly misunderstand divine attributes, e.g. omnipotence does not imply arbitrary power but maximal power compossible with other attributes of divinity. For example God cannot be deemed weak if he cannot make 3 + 2 = 6. Similarly, the silly false dilemma that speaks of God making a stone too heavy for him to move is grossly failed and misconceived. God is author of spacetime, and material bodies inherently can change locus therein, where an actual concrete entity made of particular atoms will have finite amount of mass so cannot have infinite inertia. Likewise, balancing features and aspects of physics or the parameters of a cosmos towards fine tuning in support of cell based life, is wisdom, not failing to have arbitrary power, which would be irrational. Just so, designing a creature to balance potential conflicting requisites, e.g. the hollow bones and weight saving features and streamlining of a bird, giving due but limited strength, is wisdom not failed arbitrary power. Indeed, part of this would be that a reasonable divine purpose would be to have an intelligible world so that finite, fallible minds could discern order to guide living, culture and thought towards truth and soundness. And more.

    PPS, I would suggest that the exchanges across today should not be blanket dismissed as meaningless. They don’t fall into the sort of blunder JSM regrettably fell into.

  232. 232
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, actually, once we look at the micro view, thermodynamics is about statistics and relative statistical weight AKA thermodynamic probability, with fluctuations a key point. So, while say a violation of entropy for a macro entity would be utterly implausible it is not logically impossible. The classical generalisations are based after the fact on stat mech, which is probabilistic. And that is specifically what I had in mind, my old profs would be disappointed if I did not instantly think in those terms. KF

  233. 233
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, some “laws” seem to be local, making up much of physics in our going concern world. It is conceivable that other worlds with different physics are possible, hence fine tuning issues. Other laws are there by force of logic of being. No one can make 2 + 3 = 6. No one can abolish distinct identity. God, could for argument create a world that has different physics, but as necessary entities etc are framework for any world, including a core of Math, identity and its close corollaries etc, those would bind any world. Next, you seem to think laws of physics have necessary force similar to 2 + 3 = 5. But that is not so, there is no compelling reason why the author of our world, who is actively present in and enables all processes, cannot act outside of the usual pattern for good reason. Empirical generalisations cannot forbid such relatively rare exceptions. Also, I find it puzzling that some now imagine that the author of our world would be challenged to interact with it. KF

  234. 234
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, the triune understanding of God is not polytheism in disguise. There are no detachable bits and pieces of God, God is not assembled from prior parts. The scutum fidei may help a bit, but the story of the shamrock is able to help us clarify concepts. on being challenged, he plucked a shamrock and challenged the questioner, is this one leaf or three. It is in fact a unity a whole with aspects that are trifold. Sometimes I ask can one stand in one spot and be due north of London, Bridgetown and Kingston? At first it seems a contradiction, but on realising that Earth is a spheroid, we realise . . . go to the North Pole. Just so, this is a matter calling for paradigm shift, much as is so all over science.

  235. 235
    kairosfocus says:

    Pardon, he is Patrick as literary character. Similarly consider the wavicles of the quantum world.

  236. 236
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @228,

    Has Q been listening to Dylan?

    Yes, Q once did. A lot. But in this case, Q’s thought was in constructive interference with Dylan’s.

    -Q

  237. 237
    JVL says:

    I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my cantankerous queries. Some follow-on questions came to mind but I thought perhaps I should mull over what’s already been said before continuing. Somethings do take time to sink in after all.

    Have a nice weekend!

  238. 238
    ram says:

    The True Creator will never torture you forever. You can rest in His Goodness.

    –Ram

  239. 239
    ram says:

    Silver Asiatic: “I don’t know what ‘God’ means.” This is something you should study and learn more about

    That’s like saying to know a particular woman you should study and learn about her. Theory is good up to a point.

    To know a woman you need to experience her.

    Same with the True Creator.

    –Ram

  240. 240
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, strawman, compounded by loaded language, and likely serving as a toxic distractor. This is a note for record as you have been directed to responses already. KF

  241. 241
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Ram
    The True Creator will never torture you forever. You can rest in His Goodness.
    –Ram

    This is the theology of criminals.

  242. 242
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ram

    That’s like saying to know a particular woman you should study and learn about her. Theory is good up to a point.

    It’s an important point – true. It’s not enough to know about God, but as you say, to experience the presence and reality of God is even more essential.
    Question: What do you suggest as a good way for someone to begin to experience God?

  243. 243
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL – @ 237 – thank you also! That was an admirable comment. Yes, “cantankerous”, and I’m sorry that sometimes I get irritated with your questioning and I will doubt your sincere interest in the topic.
    But taking time to let thoughts about God sink in? Giving serious consideration to replies offered before writing your own?
    That is an awesome response – and very rare to find among anyone, believers or not.
    I can learn a lot from it.
    I’ll suggest to my fellow-believers here — please consider offering a prayer or two for JVL as he contemplates these ideas. The grace of God brings light to the mind – and by prayer we help each other find the path forward.

  244. 244
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Pardon, he is Patrick as literary character.

    But a real person – bishop, evangelizer, man of God, bringer of mercy and teaching …
    He helped enact a very big change from paganism to Christianity – and he worked some powerful, public miracles among the Druids that brought them a new conviction.
    Getting ready for his feast day on the 17th.

  245. 245
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Has Q been listening to Dylan?

    Far better if Mr. Zimmerman got those ideas from Querius.

  246. 246
    Scamp says:

    KF:
    Ram, strawman, compounded by loaded language, and likely serving as a toxic distractor.

    Not everything that you don’t have a convincing argument against is a strawman leading to a toxic distractor.

    Ram’s comment was discussed at length in a recent thread. I believe that it was WJM arguing the very same thing that Ram has said. I don’t believe that I commented on that thread but it was obvious that WJM had the most convincing argument.

  247. 247
    chuckdarwin says:

    SA @ 197
    I would be surprised if Molinism was taught at the high school level, even in a Jesuit high school. It is an upper-level college theology topic. I am being a bit facetious when I say I didn’t understand it, but it is one of those ridiculously complicated Catholic “solutions” to problems that cannot be solved. In this case, the “tension” between human free will and the sovereignty of God. While not so popular these days in Catholic intellectual circles, it is a big deal in evangelical circles, e.g., William Lane Craig has debated it a number of times, particularly with Calvinists like James White.

    I always look to the trinity as the paradigm case for Christianity’s convoluted attempts to make things something they are not. The Christian trinity is polytheism pure and simple. No amount of mental gymnastics can escape that fact. Just look at KF’s comment at 234 which completely begs the question. The “me” that is north of these various locations is just one simple “me,” standing in one place, not “me” split into three “me’s,” in three locations,yet somehow also not a split up “me,” and so on ad infinitum. It’s also a trivialized use of the term “paradigm shift.”

  248. 248
    Viola Lee says:

    This is one of those “meaningless rhetoric” things I was referring to. There are all sorts of logical conflicts with this idea of an omni-everything God and his supposed role in the world, and so people go to all sorts of lengths to try to explain them away. But since it’s all fiction, in my opinion, people can make-up whatever they want to try to make it make sense.

  249. 249
    Querius says:

    And what does all this have to do with “the blatant political flavor of many sciency magazines”?

    The True Creator will never torture you forever. You can rest in His Goodness.

    What shall I do with this troll? Take the bait and return to the thread where I asked my two questions, one from mathematics, the other from physics? Perhaps if we go around this circle a few more times . . .

    The Christian trinity is polytheism pure and simple. No amount of mental gymnastics can escape that fact.

    Shall I once again complain that unsupported assertions do not constitute irrefutable proof? And this one is based on ignorance. So, do the references in the Tanakh to the Ruach HaKodesh falsify the Shema?

    Or shall we somehow return to the OP?

    -Q

  250. 250
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @248,

    This is one of those “meaningless rhetoric” things I was referring to. There are all sorts of logical conflicts with this idea of an omni-everything God and his supposed role in the world, and so people go to all sorts of lengths to try to explain them away.

    And continually do so regardless of the topic.

    But since it’s all fiction, in my opinion, people can make-up whatever they want to try to make it make sense.

    Sure. For example, some believe that nature created nature from nothing before time began. They believe in a cosmic turtle named “Multiverse” who lays eggs called universes. And Multiverse had a mother named “Multimultiverse.” It’s turtles all the way up and elephants all the way down.

    Is science fantasy better than stopping at Intelligent Design?

    Is science fantasy made better by mating it with political fantasy?

    -Q

  251. 251
    EDTA says:

    It’s noteworthy that, after KF et al replied to Chuck D’s insertion of Bradley’s argument,…there was no substantive reply from Chuck D defending Bradley’s argument. Typical. Care to argue back in defense of his supposedly “excellent” article, Chuck?

    Beyond what KF et al said, it must be noted that Bradley’s argument also fails for the following reason: he is arguing from a human perspective. He thinks and argues from a human viewpoint about God’s omni-* characteristics, and only there finds problems. We have no idea what God’s actual capabilities are, nor what commitments he has, nor what priorities he operates with, nor how all his superior and/or infinite characteristics interact. Bradley is like the kid who digs up a mathematical contradiction while playing with the concept of infinity, and gives up on mathematics as a result.

    Despite Bradley’s posturing and bravado–two things he does excel at, his argument is not so excellent.

    Once again, Chuck, do you care to defend it with more than just rhetoric?

  252. 252
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL says about our understandings of God, His attributes and action in the world:

    “it’s all fiction”

    Ok, that’s one way to look at it. The entire body of theistic theology from the Jewish Scriptures through the Christian Fathers to Islamic philosophy through Aquinas, Bonaventure, Duns Scotus through multiple volumes of contemporary theology …
    It’s all just fiction. Everybody just made it up.

    Ok, good to know. That’s like entering a conversation on Renaissance art:
    “It’s all just a bunch of paint on canvas. That’s my view.”
    Ok, thanks for your opinion! We certainly won’t expect you to take the conversation any farther than that. Nice talking with you though. 🙂

  253. 253
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, I live in the second territory where St Pat’s Day is a national holiday. Mostly and officially due to an uprising, but also some of Irish heritage celebrate it and he is patron saint. That said, there is no good reason to believe the shamrock conversation holds more actuality than some of Plato’s Dialogues with Socrates. KF

  254. 254
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF – yes, ok certainly with regards to the shamrock story. I’d say it has some ancient roots, but it may have been a literary interpretation as you said.

  255. 255
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    I pick up your:

    There are all sorts of logical conflicts with this idea of an omni-everything God and his supposed role in the world

    No, misconceived even as I cautioned about one single north point being superficially incoherent because we do not habitually think in terms of the surface of a spheroid. Likewise, we can note on wave-particle duality and the nature of photons, electrons etc. Sometimes, our preconceived ideas block understanding.

    We can note of Divine Attributes, that a core criterion is mutual compossibility. Indeed, stronger, there is a holographic-microcosm-facet principle at work, each leads to the others and indeed each contributes to the others. Omnipotence is not contradicted by God being unable to make 2 + 3 = 6, that is a logical impossibility. Similarly, the concept of a particular rock being so massive God cannot move it is incoherent. Likewise, that God cannot lie reflects his perfection of character not a genuine breakdown of omnipotence. And of course, cosmological fine tuning and the intricate design of organisims and ecosystems reflects wisdom not a deficit of divine power — which is where Mill erred into meaninglessness, doubtless because of ignorance on divine attributes.

    And more.

    We are not asking you to agree with the understanding of God, just to recognise that it is a carefully worked through framework. No, it is not simplistic incoherent nonsense.

    KF

  256. 256
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, my best info so far is it has traceability only to C19, I would welcome earlier evidence. KF

  257. 257
    jerry says:

    it’s all fiction

    Translation.

    Because I do not espouse it, it is fiction. I have no basis for this interpretation but I hold it nevertheless.

  258. 258
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, this is a case where the principle that worldviews lie behind everything comes out. Sufficient misconceptions emerge that some commentary is advisable, sadly, it is things like that that are poisoning the general atmosphere for discussion. If one side projects to the other side that they believe in blatantly incoherent nonsense, they cannot acknowledge that we can have views worth paying attention to. And then it is going to be hard to accept that they have badly misconstrued the concept of God. It is manifest to me, too, that since the early 90s at least, magazines of some repute such as Sci Am and Nat Geog went off the rails. To the point that I basically cannot read either anymore. Pop Mech is now better than Sci Am, sad. KF

  259. 259
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    The Christian trinity is polytheism pure and simple. No amount of mental gymnastics can escape that fact.

    In Dialogue 142 of the revelations to St. Catherine of Siena (Doctor of the Church), God explained to Catherine that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, perfectly united in a Trinity of persons:

    Then I who exalt the humble drew to myself this soul’s love and longing and gave her knowledge in the abyss of the Trinity, myself, God eternal. I enlightened her understanding in my own the Father’s power, in the wisdom of my only-begotten Son, and in the mercy of the Holy Spirit — for we are one and the same thing.

    Ok, I accept that do not believe the teaching of the Catholic Church on the revelation of the Trinity to Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
    From that then, trying to understand the supernatural teaching of the Trinity using natural, “mental gymnastics” is not going to work.
    Analogies such as the shamrock are “directional” – they point, but are not univocal.
    Clearly, you know that God is not a physical body – even deism knows that.
    So, philosophy alone is not going to be able to analyze the teaching.
    To analyze the data on the Trinity – you have to start with the New Testament. That’s where it’s revealed. Not with Aristotle or Plato. Not with the rules of logic alone (they help but are not sufficient).
    You have to start with the data – and theology requires faith, otherwise your stuck with just philosophy (human knowledge).
    The data is Jesus’ teaching from heaven. If you don’t believe it is true, revealed teaching – then you can’t go any farther. It’s not accessible to scientific instruments. You can’t evaluate the Trinity with a slide-rule or telescope. You have to accept first that Jesus is who He said He was.
    From that, you can begin to analyze the text and discuss the Trinity and understand it.
    Otherwise, you’re just rejecting the quality of the data before you even can study it.
    The data is revealed teaching, not human knowledge.

  260. 260
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    To ‘see’ or observe things in our universe requires detecting photons which exist in our universe.

    Then how do we see in dreams?

    Furthermore, do you think sight is produced where a photon strikes the eye? How do synesthetes see music as colors? Are music photons striking their eyes?

    Photons do not cause the experience of sight. Or, at least, no one has demonstrated that they do. There is a case of a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder that had an alter that was actually blind, not just “faking” it.

    In materialist and dualistic ontologies, there is still the hard problem of conscious experience and how any external information is translated into personal, conscious experience.

  261. 261
    chuckdarwin says:

    EDTA @ 251
    You fault Bradley arguing “from a human perspective” only to make this statement:

    We have no idea what God’s actual capabilities are, nor what commitments he has, nor what priorities he operates with, nor how all his superior and/or infinite characteristics interact.

    Querius @ 249
    I’m sorry but the nuns and priests only taught me Latin, not Hebrew….

  262. 262
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus,

    Omnipotence is not contradicted by God being unable to make 2 + 3 = 6, that is a logical impossibility. Similarly, the concept of a particular rock being so massive God cannot move it is incoherent. Likewise, that God cannot lie reflects his perfection of character not a genuine breakdown of omnipotence.

    This is why I don’t use omni- terms. It’s far too easy to commit the logic equivalent of divide-by-zero errors in applying reduction and deduction to a cartoonish caricature of God.

    It is manifest to me that since the early 90s at least, magazines of some repute such as Sci Am and Nat Geog went off the rails. To the point that I basically cannot read either anymore. Pop Mech is now better than Sci Am, sad.

    Same here. When Sci Am fired a long-time contributor when they found out he was (gasp) a Christian, it demonstrated their highest priority.

    -Q

  263. 263
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin @261,

    All EDTA claimed was that humans don’t understand God. And you find this is a contradiction of some kind?

    I’m sorry but the nuns and priests only taught me Latin, not Hebrew….

    So, you’re now paralyzed by your ignorance? If you’re sorry, you could look up the terms–I’d assume you have internet access.

    -Q

  264. 264
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    St Pat’s Day is a national holiday

    I would wish for that here. As it stands, they have to move the parades to the Saturday before because the 17th is a work day. So, everything is green here today.
    St. Bridget was added to the national holidays in Ireland just this year – so they get two patrons.
    I didn’t know that about the islands and the Irish presence there with you – interesting.

  265. 265
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    I’m sorry but the nuns and priests only taught me Latin, not Hebrew….

    I’ll echo Querius’ comment. It’s important to keep learning. Latin is a great foundation and you were blessed by the men and women who devoted themselves to teaching kids (and a private school education). But I remember when they stopped teaching Latin – I was one of the last grades that had it and it became optional and almost extinct once the liturgy changed.
    From that, I can calculate how old you are.
    I also know a number of ex-Catholics your age who complain about the nuns. I find that sad and unfortunate, but I’m sympathetic because it was a difficult transition for many. (I liked and admired the nuns – still do.)
    But back to the main theme … don’t let the hurts of the past restrict your growth and learning for the future.

  266. 266
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF
    Wikipedia gives the earliest reference as:

    the earliest surviving records associating Patrick with the plant are coins depicting Patrick clutching a shamrock which were minted in the 1680’s
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

    I thought it went back farther, but we have to accept that for the story to make it to a coin, it had to be in oral tradition for some time before that – and written records are scarce anyway prior to the 10th century. Biographies of Patrick before then don’t mention the story, but it could have been anecdotal from the region or the people who witnessed it and only emerged later.

  267. 267
    Querius says:

    EDTA @251 and nod to Jerry @257,

    We have no idea what God’s actual capabilities are, nor what commitments he has, nor what priorities he operates with, nor how all his superior and/or infinite characteristics interact. Bradley is like the kid who digs up a mathematical contradiction while playing with the concept of infinity, and gives up on mathematics as a result.

    Exactly so! Great analogy, too. Of course, mathematics is intangible and has no one has any evidence for its material existence . . . And as previously posted, what’s interesting about information is that when observed/measured, it can transform into particles and energy, and humans can cause this at a tiny scale.

    Silver Asiatic @252,

    Ok, thanks for your opinion! We certainly won’t expect you to take the conversation any farther than that.

    Heh. Reductionism ultimately ends up with nothing to say.

    Silver Asiatic @265,
    Plus, there are some great tools available that allow people to compare translations from Greek and Hebrew, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint (completed before Christ), and some fascinating discoveries in ancient manuscripts and archaeology.

    But comfortable old excuses require almost no effort, no research, no learning, and exercise only the fingers and the ego.

    -Q

  268. 268
    Querius says:

    By the way, has anyone else noticed the blatant political flavor of many sciency mags these days?

    I stopped reading them as a result. My wife also cancelled a couple of her non-sciency magazines for the same reason.

    -Q

  269. 269
    kairosfocus says:

    The firing of Forrest Mims was inexcusable. KF

  270. 270
    chuckdarwin says:

    SA @ 265
    I’m not complaining about the Catholic education I received. It was far superior to anything I would have received in public schools. I also have no complaint about nuns or priest, they were excellent teachers. In college, I spent many an evening drinking beer and discussing science, law, philosophy and theology with my Jesuit professors. Most of them had multiple doctorates. An unbelievably educated group of individuals. Some might say over educated.
    I can’t say I ever “left” the Church because I don’t think I ever belonged. Even as early as my first communion, it never resonated as remotely true to me. So, I’m not an emotionally damaged refugee from Catholicism–I simply don’t buy it. Nonetheless, I delighted in the investiture of Pope Francis because he actually has a sense of openness and acceptance (he’s also the first Jesuit pope) that his predecessors couldn’t fathom, excepting perhaps John XXIII. I was deeply moved when I read of the incident where he told the young child of an atheist father that God would not abandon his father. Unfortunately, the American Catholic Church doesn’t share those qualities which is why it is losing membership.

    But that does not change my fundamental skepticism of Christianity, especially the smug and self-righteous form of American evangelicalism which manifests today.

  271. 271
    Viola Lee says:

    Replying to my statement that “it’s all fiction”, Jerry wrote, “Translation. Because I do not espouse it, it is fiction. I have no basis for this interpretation but I hold it nevertheless.”

    This is a total misrepresentation of my position, which possibly Jerry has paid some attention to, but maybe not. My position is that the very large variety of religious perspectives about things we don’t actual experience, and the wide variety of associated religious beliefs, traditions, ceremonies, taboos, etc. are strong evidence that all religions are cultural inventions. Jerry’s statement about why I consider the whole of Christian theology fiction is very wrong.

  272. 272
    jerry says:

    strong evidence that all religions are cultural inventions

    Certainly not true about Christianity.

    This was pointed out to you before but apparently you did not read or understand it.

  273. 273
    Viola Lee says:

    Many people have said that Christianity is the one true religion. I know a lot of the arguments, and I don’t believe the conclusion. Many other people believe theirs is the one true religion also. Christianity has a long history, but it’s just as much a cultural invention as all other religions.

  274. 274
    EDTA says:

    Chuck @ 261,

    You fault Bradley arguing “from a human perspective”…

    Yes, and for good reason: it may be the biggest flaw in his argument. Since none of us here is God, we argue from a limited perspective. Nothing surprising. Nor does my statement undermine itself.

    But as I expected, you made no effort to buttress his argument in any way.

  275. 275
    EDTA says:

    VL @ 271,

    My position is that the very large variety of religious perspectives about things we
    don’t actual experience, and the wide variety of associated religious beliefs, traditions, ceremonies, taboos, etc. are strong evidence that all religions are cultural inventions.

    If all religions where human creations, then I would expect a variety of beliefs. But I don’t see that the implication has to go the other way. One belief system could be closer to the truth than the others, but their similarities don’t mean they are all wrong. We have lots of beliefs about cosmology, but does that fact alone mean that cosmology is all bunk?

    Let me know if I haven’t understood you point correctly.

  276. 276
    jerry says:

    but it’s just as much a cultural invention as all other religions

    Absolute nonsense.

    You haven’t a clue what you are talking about.

  277. 277
    Viola Lee says:

    EDTA, there is a significant difference between religion and cosmology. One is that I’m not sure there is a comparable “lot of beliefs about cosmology” by any means.

    The difference is that religions continue to vary widely because there is no method for working towards a consensus equivalent to the means by which we study cosmology. I don’t think your comparison is very strong.

  278. 278
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, how do you explain the very wide range of religions, both modern and “primitive” that exist in the world? Do you think that all religions but Christianity is a cultural invention, or do you think other religions are also true in some ways, as Christianity, and are not cultural inventions. What is your explanation for the extremely wide variety of religous beliefs that exist?

  279. 279
    jerry says:

    I said that Christianity was not a cultural development. And I get this irrelevant gobbledygook as a reply.

    how do you explain the very wide range of religions, both modern and “primitive” that exist in the world? Do you think that all religions but Christianity is a cultural invention, or do you think other religions are also true in some ways, as Christianity, and are not cultural inventions. What is your explanation for the extremely wide variety of religous beliefs that exist?

    Christianity originated in a specific place. It was not an outgrowth of any culture. It anything it was extremely counterculture. In fact the local culture rejected it.

    It spread very quickly (less than 20 years) by word of mouth to several disparate geographic areas and ethnic groups. It maintained centralized controlled by a few who were located in places different than its origin. It then grew steadily voluntarily over the next few centuries in areas over a thousand miles apart.

  280. 280
    Viola Lee says:

    I don’t think you are trying very hard, Jerry. What is goobledygook about “What is your explanation for the extremely wide variety of religious beliefs that exist?”

  281. 281
    Querius says:

    There are many counterfeit currencies floating around in the U.S., all of them claiming to be genuine. Can we deduce from this that all currencies are therefore counterfeit?

    Actually, EDTA does have a strong point because science has become a religion in many respects.

    Do you believe that nature created nature from nothing before time began?

    How about the multiverse? Do you believe in a cosmic turtle named “Multiverse” who lays eggs called universes, and that Multiverse had a mother named “Multimultiverse.”

    It’s still turtles all the way up and elephants all the way down. And all kinds of contorted logic to try to explain how the universe had a natural beginning and how life “musta” spontaneously generated itself out of non-life, and how consciousness “musta” emerged from particles, all of which which takes a MASSIVE amount of faith to believe.

    -Q

  282. 282
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, this is also not a valid analogy. We know there is one valid currency in ways that are not at all comparable to what we know about religions.

  283. 283
    jerry says:

    Someone observed that some religions are cultural and makes the conclusion that all religions are cultural when it is obviously not true. Christianity is an obvious counter example.

    That is a logical fallacy and gobbledygook.

  284. 284
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, it is hard sometimes to respond to you because you add more after your first post.

    Christianity has a centuries old cultural tradition, and the spreading of it was a cultural event. I’m not sure what understanding of “cultural” you are using.

    Wkipedia writes,

    Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.

    All of these are products of what people do. Christianity grew in the context of the sociological and political environment in which it was found through the actions of lots of people, and as such it was a cultural event.

  285. 285
    Viola Lee says:

    Again, Jerry, questions which are not gobbleygook. What is your understanding of what “cultural” means? And how would you explain the wide variety of religious beliefs that exist in the world and how do you think they have come about? Are they cultural products in ways Christianity is not, and why?

  286. 286
    jerry says:

    The phrase “cultural invention” was used. Christianity was not a cultural invention. It was counter culture and spread to many different cultures and was adopted by some within each of these very different cultures. But definitely not all.

    Over time, centuries, many of the very different cultures adopted Christianity some almost universally but kept their own cultures. The British, Irish, Franks, Iberians, Germans, Italians, Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians had very distinct cultures but all were Christians.

    It was anything but an outgrowth of any culture but did affect various cultures but only partly.

    So your basic proposition is nonsense.

    And you keep asking irrelevant questions. What explains one religion is definitely not universal so why keep repeating these irrelevancies. They have nothing to do with how Christianity originated and spread.

  287. 287
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, “counterculture” is still part of culture. By cultural invention I mean that it’s components were invented by people and at any one time played a role in the cultures in which they found. I really don’t think you are understanding the word “culture” properly, but I can see that without a basic understanding what the word means in cultural anthropology, sociology, and history what I have to say will continue to be nonsense to you. Over and out.

  288. 288
    Viola Lee says:

    And, Jerry, how do you explain the very wide variety of religions that exist and have existed in the past? Why is there a Hindu religion, and Zoroastrianism, and native American religions, and the Australian aborigine religion, and countless small, older religions in the past and still partially alive today in South America and Africa and Asia? What is your explanation of where they came from and why they are all so different?

    Why won’t you answer this question? All those religions are cultural inventions.

  289. 289
    jerry says:

    My guess is that you have no idea of how Christianity started and how different it was from anything that preceded it. To say something was counter cultural means it was so different from the cultural in which it originated. As I said the culture in which it originated, rejected it. So how did it develop?

    It was the idea of a single person. And also it didn’t develop over time. It happened within a very short time, three years and then spread quickly to several other cultures.

    By the way I thought you had given up but then you repeat the same nonsense about some other religions as if that has some relevance. And I have answered your irrelevant questions. Whatever, the origin for other religions, has no relevance for Christianity. It’s a logical error to imply it.

  290. 290
    EDTA says:

    VL,

    You are correct that a good bit of the variety of religions is because there is less for us to go on, and people can invent things with no way to compare them to reality. And people get more creative when they know it will be more difficult to check something against reality. Human nature would guarantee such an outcome.

    Although the variety of opinions in cosmology, etc., is less varied, and there is at least some science to compare things with, the overall phenomenon of ideas multiplying beyond what is warranted is just a matter of degree (like the multiverse idea that Querius mentioned above.)

    I don’t see how that is evidence that a particular core fact is false, only that people extrapolate too much.

  291. 291
    Viola Lee says:

    I agree that there are untestable ideas in cosmology that some people are advancing (although I’m certainly not defending them.) But yes, people get creative when it is difficult to check against reality. And my point is that there is no consensus way to check religious beliefs against reality. They are stories about aspects of reality that can’t be tested, or checked. We can’t check whether it’s the Christian God vs Allah vs Vishnu vs the Great Spirit and Earth Mother of Native American religions that really exist. Christianity is widespread because it’s associated with the dominant culture of the Western world, but that’s an historical fact that doesn”t translate to “Christianity is more true.”

    By the way

  292. 292
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    Jerry’s absolutely correct in describing Christianity as historically counter-culture at it’s inception. And counter-culture means that it runs against cultural norms, falsifying your assertion.

    Do you know what charge was used by the Romans to convict and kill Christians?

    Do you know that there’s one “valid currency” for the origin of the universe?

    Incidentally, a friend of mine spent a large part of his life in some of the remotest area of Papua New Guinea, where he brought Christianity to a tribe that had just ended the practice of head hunting, at least officially. He lived with them and after a time when they began to trust him, asked them to take him to their “man house” and tell him their stories. They related a fragmented but recognizable portion of Genesis. My friend then recited to them in their trade language the parts that were missing from their account and they were astonished, telling him something like, “You’ve restored everything that we’ve forgotten!”

    Check this out:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

    -Q

  293. 293
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, you write, “Jerry’s absolutely correct in describing Christianity as historically counter-culture at it’s inception. And counter-culture means that it runs against cultural norms, falsifying your assertion.”

    As I said above, “counter-culture” doesn’t mean something is not cultural. When we look back at the 60’s, clearly the counter-culture movement (of which I was part, FWIW) was part of the culture of the 60’s. Cultures are not monolithic things, and they always contain parts that are in tension with each other. I don’t think the argument that Christianity was “counter-cultural” doesn’t change the fact that it was invented and promulgated by the beliefs and actions of people in a cultural context, and that the stories which were part of it were not ontologically true, any more than the various gods I mentioned in 291 are.

  294. 294
    EDTA says:

    VL,

    We can’t check whether it’s the Christian God vs Allah vs Vishnu…

    Not necessarily in a scientific way. One has to analyze historical claims, which is a different sort of inquiry. But still do-able. And still worth it in my opinion.

  295. 295
    kairosfocus says:

    VL (attn Cd et al], you are manifestly using cultural as if it were a valid way to dismiss without assessing warrant on actual merits. This rhetorical tack of course reflects cultural relativism, which falls victim to the blind men + elephant + narrator fallacy. What you are implying is that as an entity originating in a time and place with a culture, you can presume core falsity without responsible evaluation of truth or core warrant, i.e. you presume that diversity of views can be inferred as general falsity. But that is self-referential question-begging of the worst kind, the narrator too is culturally contextual and just as suspect as any of the alleged blind men groping around the elephant. Further to the which, given the earlier issue on knowing the nature of God, it is manifestly a tangential evasion of your responsibility to reassess your dismissiveness above towards the concept and by extension, reality of God as necessary, maximally great world root being. You need to rethink, again, given duty to truth and to right reason. KF

    PS: For record, I note, reality and particularly our world is not self explanatory, especially our own reality as manifestly responsible, rational, significantly free, contingent creatures.

    That becomes significant, given

    1: the causal-temporal, finite stage [years for short], thermodynamical successiveness of our world, where

    2: this cannot reflect a transfinite succession, as the traversal of the transfinite is an infeasible supertask, i.e. the causal-temporal past is finite based on logic of structure and quantity. Similarly,

    3: This cannot reflect circular retro-causation, as that would require the not yet to cause itself/ Nor,

    4: can this reflect a world from utter non-being as non being or true nothingness has no causal power. Thus,

    5: we are led to conclude on logic of being that our world is contingent (supported by big bang observations and evident fine tuning of our cosmos, the only actually observed cosmos). and

    6: that it comes from necessary being as world root, i.e. we need a being that is causally independent and framework to any possible world as world and wider reality root, i.e.

    7: we are discussing not cultural presumed fictional narratives but serious candidate world/reality root being and what we can know about such through in the first instance logic of being; not

    8: futilely debating or evading or even begging questions on whether cultural traditions or counter culture traditions or accounts can reflect objective, responsibly warranted knowable truth on the reality at root of our world. Such,

    9: is further constrained by our being responsible, rational, branch on which we all sit, conscience guarded, first duties driven, morally governed creatures as a pivotal first fact, That is

    10: no account of world/reality root that cannot account adequately for this can be valid, especially if such accounts imply that we are under grand delusion as

    11: that would be self referential, and absurd as self-refuting. Thus,

    12: we are led to the fundamental nature of the is-ought gap as core to our morally governed nature. So,

    13: our world/reality root entity must not only be finitely remote, a necessary being causally independent of other entities and framework to any possible world, but also

    14: must be an adequate ground of moral government. This sets up

    15: a worldview level inference to root explanation subject to comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and balanced explanatory power. Further to which,

    16: given the need to successfully bridge the Is-ought gap in that root (on pain of self-referential incoherence undermining credibility of mind, reason and knowledge claims), we can freely observe

    17: that, there is but one serious candidate root meeting the constraints, namely

    18: the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary [so, eternal] and maximally great [= supreme] being, worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. Where,

    19: as this is an exercise in philosophy — not the side track above, culturally relativised and implicitly dismissed religious traditions — would be objectors are invited to provide an alternative ____ and to assess on comparative difficulties ________ especially showing how they avoid grand delusion and/or self referential incoherence ________. Of course,

    20: this challenge has been in the background all along here at UD and the above is an inadvertent admission by evasion that no compelling alternative is on offer. Where, too,

    21: The characterisation above also helps us understand the non-arbitrary nature of God and his attributes, defining generic ethical theism [as opposed to an appeal to particular theistic religious traditions], which reasoning is in fact part of philosophical and systematic theology, especially in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, including directly in foundational texts. For,

    22: God is understood as inherently good, utterly wise, creator so world root necessary being and as maximally great, possessing great making attributes to maximum compossible degree. Such involves,

    23: that God is eternal, independent of any external entity, is not made up from detachable independent parts [is inherently One], is good and utterly wise as to core character [implying omnibenevolence, utter trustworthiness, omniscience and ability and will to make the best possible decision etc], is thus too personal [not abstract force or a blind part of reality], is creator and eternal root of reality [thus, ultimate Father], is the supreme being who is source and sustainer of reality, being actively present every-where and every-when, etc. A familiar vision. Where, too,

    24: Such a God is already clearly worthy of loyalty, love and service, indeed is reasonably addressed through sincere prayer. Which, he can be expected to answer . . . and by millions of accounts of life transforming encounter, does answer. Thence,

    25: we come to the institution of the authentic prophet, thence record i.e. scripture. Such, being authenticated by speaking with the voice and power of God, e.g. knowing and predicting the strategic future, here, particularly that of messiah. Here, I note how

    26: AD 55, Paul, writing to the Corinthians in context of polarised, ill-informed theological debates, confusions and moral challenges, calls to authentic, well warranted, penitent, life transforming trust in God in the face of Christ, messiah — both meaning, anointed one — fulfilled:

    1 Cor 15: 1 Now I would remind you, brothers,1 of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:

    – that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures [cf. esp Isa 52:13 – 53:12],

    – 4 that he was buried,

    – that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and

    – that he appeared [to the 500, including 20+ who are specifically identifiable]

    to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. [inviting eyewitness lifetime cross check, obviously successful or his ministry and mission would have collapsed in utter discredit] 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me . . . .

    12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

    13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

    19 If in Christ we have hope2 in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

    27: This, of course, does not persuade you, but it does not bear that burden, as we are ever so prone to selective hyperskepticism. Instead,

    28: it warrants confident, authentic knowledge regarding God, Christ, the gospel, the scriptures, and the stance that if someone does not speak in accord with what is authentic, there is in that speaking no light of day. So, then,

    29: we may freely conclude that contrary to objections and evasions, a responsible understanding of God and his attributes is possible through analysis of the logic of being. This,

    30: brings us to a powerful understanding of God, and leads us to why we can have good confidence in what has come to us through the judaeo-christian deposit. Where, too,

    31: we may note that a serious candidate necessary being is either impossible of being [similar to the classic square circle] or else is actual. Those who profess to knowledge that there is no God or more evasively deny knowability of God as existing, face a serious and so far unmet burden of warrant. And no, the latest summary linked above does not meet the necessary warrant, despite enthusiastic self promotion and endorsement.

    So, we can return to the substantial focus. Let us highlight the case of Forrest Mims and his expulsion from Sci Am.

  296. 296
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: we may observe at Creation Wiki:

    Mims had written some Amateur Scientist columns in Scientific American in 1990. But the Scientific American refused to hire him when they found out that he was a creationist, although they admitted that his work was “fabulous”, “great” and “first rate”,and “should be published somewhere”.[5]

    Mr Forrest Mims was asked in 1989 to write three trial articles for Scientific American’s ‘The Amateur Scientist’ column. Mr Mims and the staff at the magazine expected the trial articles to lead to permanent work if they were satisfactory. The three trial articles were published in June, August, and October 1990. After being asked about his opinion about the theory of evolution, Mims said he was a conservative Christian and believed in the biblical account of Genesis. At the same time, a senior editor of the magazine also asked his views on abortion. he was denied future work with the magazine.[6]

    Despite the magazine’s editor, Jonathan Piel denied in a telephone interview that Mr. Mims had been the victim of religious discrimination, others who worked at the magazine at the time said there had been considerable debate over what to do with Mr. Mims. Mr. Appenzeller, now senior editor at The Sciences magazine, said “I was among those who felt we should have hired him”.[7]

    Mims has of course continued his promotion of amateur science in the decades since.

    We see here, a grievance that speaks discredit to the radically secularist, evolutionary materialist, scientism driven establishment. And, it easily explains what we are seeing under colour of science.

    KF

  297. 297
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    Many people have said that Christianity is the one true religion. I know a lot of the arguments, and I don’t believe the conclusion. Many other people believe theirs is the one true religion also. Christianity has a long history, but it’s just as much a cultural invention as all other religions.

    I believe EVERYTHING a ressurected person says. A historical person . We have evidences for.

    PS :I believe in everything you say if you tell me one concept that is morally superior to anything Jesus said and you will do something that is superior to ressurection.

  298. 298
    jerry says:

    As I said above, “counter-culture” doesn’t mean something is not cultural

    Using culture in this way just means that any event involving humans since the beginning of time is a cultural event.

    As such, it is a meaningless use of the word.

    Also if there is truth and someone states it and someone else says something different that is not consistent then under this interpretation either there is no truth or they are both equally truthful.

    As I said gobbledygook.

  299. 299
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, as I noted above in the for record, the narrator is just as culturally situated as the six blind men groping around the elephant. So, we can see how the cultural relativism as disqualifying thesis becomes self referential and self defeating. In reality the argument serves as distraction toward dismissal, implying that the attempts to deride the concept of God as meaningless incoherence have little merit. KF

  300. 300
    chuckdarwin says:

    Querius @ 263

    All EDTA claimed was that humans don’t understand God. And you find this is a contradiction of some kind?

    That’s not all that EDTA claimed:

    EDTA @ 251
    Beyond what KF et al said, it must be noted that Bradley’s argument also fails for the following reason: he is arguing from a human perspective. He thinks and argues from a human viewpoint about God’s omni-* characteristics…. (emphasis added)

    I shouldn’t even have to explain this, but…. EDTA faults Bradley for “arguing from a human perspective.” But there is–and this should be as obvious as the nose on your face–no other perspective from which a human can argue. Juxtaposed with the claim that “[w]e have no idea what God’s actual capabilities are,” etc., shows that EDTA engages in the age old sophistry that mere humans cannot pretend to understand God, or in this case, the trinity, so any attempts to do so are doomed to failure. But that “barrier” applies equally to Christian philosophers, including Plantinga, the target of Bradley’s critique. The Christian philosopher doesn’t get to claim a privileged position where he or she can dismiss everyone else’s arguments as merely “human perspectives.”

    I’m sorry but the nuns and priests only taught me Latin, not Hebrew….
    So, you’re now paralyzed by your ignorance? If you’re sorry, you could look up the terms–I’d assume you have internet access.

    I fully admitted ignorance when it comes to Hebrew. Guilty as charged. But I was talking about the trinity, a Christian concept. Maybe next, you can pull something equally irrelevant out of the Qur’an, because I will admit to also being ignorant of Arabic……

  301. 301
    Viola Lee says:

    This is good, from CD

    I shouldn’t even have to explain this, but…. EDTA faults Bradley for “arguing from a human perspective.” But there is–and this should be as obvious as the nose on your face–no other perspective from which a human can argue. Juxtaposed with the claim that “[w]e have no idea what God’s actual capabilities are,” etc., shows that EDTA engages in the age old sophistry that mere humans cannot pretend to understand God, or in this case, the trinity, so any attempts to do so are doomed to failure. But that “barrier” applies equally to Christian philosophers, including Plantinga, the target of Bradley’s critique. The Christian philosopher doesn’t get to claim a privileged position where he or she can dismiss everyone else’s arguments as merely “human perspectives.”

    [end cheerleading]

  302. 302
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, it was pointed out in 190 above how Bradley misunderstood, set up and knocked over a strawman. The real argument, in outline was given. Do I need to point out that Mackie conceded Plantinga’s point regarding the deductive form problem of evil, decades ago? For sure, Plantinga did not ignore or side step premises, he corrected where there is a common error, then provided an augmenting term that then leads to manifest coherence. The deductive argument claims incoherence but when a correct form of a set of propositions, augmented is not incoherent, none of the members stand in mutual contradiction. And this is why this is a defence not a theodicy, it does not pivot on plausibility of premises to objectors. KF

    PS, I draw your attention to 295 above https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/has-anyone-else-noticed-the-blatant-political-flavor-of-many-sciencey-mags-these-days/#comment-749218

  303. 303
    Viola Lee says:

    The general point that I am applauding is that we can do nothing but argue from a human perspective. That is undeniable.

    It makes no difference who one is, that is an insurmountable limitation.

  304. 304
    EDTA says:

    It sounds like we agree that we can only argue from a human perspective. That’s good, then. Therefore, we should be in agreement that Bradley’s argument fails, because that is one of the reasons for its failure.

    Consistent with this, you don’t see me arguing that I understand God more fully. I’m the one arguing that our human perspective prevents Bradley’s (and other atheist’s) arguments from working. I don’t need a higher perspective to achieve that. I just need to point out to everyone down here that our limitations prevent certain forms of argument from being successful.

    I don’t need to be able to divide by zero to point out that none of us should divide by zero.

    We were supposed to get back to the main topic, though. Go Forrest Mims!

  305. 305
    Viola Lee says:

    EDTA, you write, “I’m the one arguing that our human perspective prevents Bradley’s (and other atheist’s) arguments from working.”

    But doesn’t that limitation also apply to Plantinga and the whole line of theologians through Aquinas and Augustine, as well as all of us here (you, me, SA, Querius, KF, etc.)? What “forms of argument” escape this limitation?

  306. 306
    jerry says:

    I just read Bradley’s argument. It’s nonsense.

    It suffers from the age old problem, lack of definition.

    So those who believe Bradley is on to something, define evil. (I asked this hundreds of times and never got a coherent answer)

    We can go from there. As some will know, we love to use the term “evil” but never use consistently. Just as the term”evolution” is rarely used consistently.

    This is probably not the place to have this discussion since probably a hundred threads and 20,000 comments have been expended already over the last 15 years on the nature of evil.

    Aside: Bradley is arguing against the Judeo/Christian God, not a creator per se. Thus, it’s hardly a support for atheism.

    Aside2: ChuckDarwin is either batting a thousand or zero depending on how one looks at it. Every thing he brings up is wrong. So is that a thousand or zero. So those who agree with him, realize what his batting average is.

  307. 307
    EDTA says:

    VL,

    Yes, it applies to everyone who tries too hard to reason about a superior/supreme being, wherein they claim to know what God would have to do/allow/etc., based on a human understanding of his omni-* characteristics. But while that might limit Plantinga and other theists somewhat, it completely destroys every argument against God from the existence of evil and from supposed contradictions arising from a human understanding of God’s omni-* characteristics.

    All theists need to do is argue that it is possible that God has reasons or other extenuating factors that allow for evil, avoid contradictions, etc. They don’t have to specify what they are (i.e., they just have to make a defense, not a theodicy). But someone attacking the Christian God, or the idea of a supreme being, has to show that they know the contradiction is unavoidable, which requires information they cannot possess.

    Many theists do overreach here, but that’s surely a separate discussion of particulars. But atheists’ arguments of this type all fall for this cause.

  308. 308
    EDTA says:

    Jerry,

    ChuckDarwin is either batting a thousand or zero depending on how one looks at it. Every thing he brings up is wrong.

    😎

  309. 309
    chuckdarwin says:

    Kairosfocus @ 302

    I’m curious as to the citation where J.L. Mackie conceded “Plantinga’s point” decades ago. I’ve seen this claim by Christian theologians and philosophers a number of times, but I have never actually seen a citation attributable to Mackie, himself, to that effect. If you have it, I would love to see it.
    I also note that neither you nor EDTA address Bradley’s argument substantively, i.e., point by point. You both engage in vague generalities like “Bradley misunderstood, set up and knocked down a straw man” Actually you use that hackneyed faux critique for anyone with whom you disagree.

  310. 310
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, insofar as logic of being obtains, it is not particularly human bound. For example, we can develop an exposition of the logic of structure and quantity and by showing that core aspects are framework to any distinct possible world, the results are universal. Of course this is core mathematics. We thus see by case, that we can in at least some aspects achieve rationality that transcends being specifically human. That we, with our error proneness, are rational does not lead to rationality being a suspect notion; indeed, rationality is seen to transcend being human. Much the same objectivity obtains for a fair bit of physics etc and arguably at least as far as history. So, we are not hopelessly locked up in our humanness and culture etc, which is of course a self referential argument that threatens to undermine rationality, warrant, knowledge in general. It is in that context that we can see that rationality and objectivity are not grand, self referential delusions. Further to which, we may and do have ability to reason about being, including world root being. In which context, we can develop a responsible conception of Deity i.e. philosophical theology is not a self defeating exercise and were it deemed such on cultural or humanity limitations, the same would extend to arguments of atheism, science, mathematics [= [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity] etc, thus becoming self referentially self defeating. The ethical theistic concept of God is not meaningless self contradictory fictional nonsense. KF

  311. 311
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, sadly typical.

    First, any reasonable examination of Bradley’s reframing of Plantinga will immediately be seen to be a weakened caricature of Plantinga’s actual argument, which pivots on clarifying then AUGMENTING “the theistic set” and thereby seeing that the result is coherent, defeating claimed incoherence of the propositions. In short, the LAST thing Plantinga did was to ignore the propositions in the set.

    As for Mackie, I simply pass on what I saw reported long since on the matter, it is trivial as Plantinga manifestly succeeds. What happened is a shift to inductive arguments, but those too were responsibly countered, i.e. the presence and incidence of grave evils reflects our abuse of the very powers and good gifts that make us rational, responsible and able to be creative, decisive, active and loving. One who argues against such argues self defeatingly. Beyond, the existential/pastoral problem is a matter of needing proper pastoral care, such as I have needed in the face of triple bereavement. Right now, my word of healing is to see butterflies showing beauty, bringing joy and blessing to what they touch.

    That you refuse to acknowledge something as manifest as that case of weakened caricature rhetorically pummelled, leads to the point that you are clinging to a strawman fallacy. This extends to your ad hominem attempt to deride the undersigned as inappropriately raising the strawman issue habitually. In short, there is evidence of cognitive dissonance and confession by projection of blame on your part. More generally, for over a decade it has become clear that a typical pattern with objectors to design theory and similar issues is the trifecta pattern: red herring distractors led away from focal issues to strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere, frustrating serious discussion.

    I could point to Dawkins’ notorious ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. This very thread has been seriously diverted, but rather than go to fresh OP’s, I have thought it advisable to engage underlying issues as they seem to be drivers of characteristic patterns of objection and the tone of too many objections.

    Meanwhile, it really is the case that there is a manifest breakdown as News highlighted.

    KF

  312. 312
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @293,

    Why don’t you consider responding to my questions to you in 292 rather than quibble about counter-culture being a part of culture?

    -Q

  313. 313
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, my comment about counter-culture was not a “quibble”: it was in response to what I saw as a significant misunderstanding about what “culture” means. And I didn’t see how the questions you asked me were relevant.

  314. 314
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin @300,

    EDTA engages in the age old sophistry that mere humans cannot pretend to understand God

    Yep, and I agree with EDTA. This “sophistry” goes all the way back to Isaiah when he quoted the Holy One of Israel around 700 BCE as saying: (Isaiah 55:6-9)

    ”Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.

    Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.

    Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

    “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    – Isaiah 55:6-9 (NIV)

    Regarding the Trinity, references in the Tanakh to God, the Holy Spirit, and the Son/Messiah were also referenced in the New Testament/Covenant and amplified in Catholicism.

    Extrapolations, speculations, and arguments about the nature of God beyond what’s recorded in the Bible are on extremely shaky ground and historically were very likely due to pressure from the earliest gnostics and their teachings.

    Maybe next, you can pull something equally irrelevant out of the Qur’an, because I will admit to also being ignorant of Arabic.

    No, because the points you raised weren’t about the Qur’an.

    -Q

  315. 315
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @313,

    And I didn’t see how the questions you asked me were relevant.

    Why be evasive? Let me suggest that your own “scientific” beliefs are a “cultural myth” as well:

    Actually, EDTA does have a strong point because science has become a religion in many respects.

    Do you believe that nature created nature from nothing before time began?

    How about the multiverse? Do you believe in a cosmic turtle named “Multiverse” who lays eggs called universes, and that Multiverse had a mother named “Multimultiverse.”

    It’s still turtles all the way up and elephants all the way down. And all kinds of contorted logic to try to explain how the universe had a natural beginning and how life “musta” spontaneously generated itself out of non-life, and how consciousness “musta” emerged from particles, all of which which takes a MASSIVE amount of faith to believe.

    What non-cultural, non-quasi-religious scientific evidence can you present that obviates the need for an extra-natural Creator?

    -Q

  316. 316
    EDTA says:

    As time allows, I will work up a more lengthy and specific reply to Bradley’s argument. Probably won’t be in time for this thread, though. But, knowing us, the topic will come up again.

  317. 317
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, rev315: I haven’t been discussing “my scientific beliefs”. All those things you mention in your quote don’t even apply to me, so I’m not sure why you are asking me about them.

    Also, those questions were in post 281 not 292, which is why your post 312 didn’t make sense.

  318. 318
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @317,

    Christianity is widespread because it’s associated with the dominant culture of the Western world, but that’s an historical fact that doesn”t translate to “Christianity is more true.”

    By cultural invention I mean that it’s components were invented by people and at any one time played a role in the cultures in which they found.

    Since you’re talking about cultural invention and counter culture in the quotes above, let me again suggest that your own “scientific” beliefs are a “cultural myth” as well.

    But let’s go back to the Roman culture after Christ. Do you know what charge was used by the Romans to convict and kill Christians?

    My point with knowing that there’s one “valid currency” for the origin of the universe means that there is a true story of the origin of the universe. The fact that there are many religious, quasi-scientific, and speculative ideas that supposedly account for the origin of the universe implies that all but the true one are, to use my analogy that you rejected, “counterfeit.” That there are many counterfeits doesn’t imply anything about the true story.

    -Q

  319. 319
    jerry says:

    As time allows, I will work up a more lengthy and specific reply to Bradley’s argument

    Save you time.

    It fails on definitions. At step 2 it assumes things that are not true

  320. 320
    William J Murray says:

    I believe EVERYTHING a ressurected person says. A historical person . We have evidences for.

    Why?

  321. 321
    William J Murray says:

    Q said:

    What non-cultural, non-quasi-religious scientific evidence can you present that obviates the need for an extra-natural Creator?

    What does “natural” mean, in light of 100+ years of quantum physics experimental results?

  322. 322
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the problem of definition of evil is itself significant, yes. However, from his opening remarks, Bradley set up and knocked over a strawman. What becomes significant, is that we need to ask why is there an attempt to cling to this argument. The answer comes back, this is what they have, and they feel they must destroy the theistic concept of God, much less credibility of believing in his existence. Instinctively, they know that as necessity of being is core to God, they must have an impossibility in the concept of God to go where they wish. So, they have set out on rhetorically rehabilitating what failed 50 years ago. It fails again, but as Plantinga’s actual presentation is complex and extended, targetting professional peers in philosophy, they don’t have to address his argument as it is, as few will work their way through it with all its ramifications, secondary issues etc. I took up a skeletal form of the argument, to at least show the strawman. You are right that the perception of evil and connected branch on which we all sit sense of moral government, leads to deep challenges to the problem, as there is a need for a root of goodness to get to a sound understanding of evil, which carries us right back to what sort of root of reality is needed to have a world with creatures governed morally, without that being grand delusion destroying rationality. The best answer is, we are purposeful, and fulfillment of due purpose is good, evil being what frustrates, perverts or distorts that end, the privation of good out of due end; which means evil is a secondary, parasitical warping not something of primary being. But such is again loaded with the import that the root of reality is the inherently good and utterly wise. They are found kicking against the pricks. KF

  323. 323
    jerry says:

    evil being what frustrates, perverts or distorts that end, the privation of good out of due end

    The problem with this definition or any definition it that it could mean that anything is evil because any act or happenstance frustrates something or has some less than desired effect for someone. Thus, it is a meaningless or trivial term.

    That is one flaw of the argument. Everything could be evil.

    But again this it is not appropriate to discuss it here and has been discussed zillions of times elsewhere. It was just another lame attempt by one of the Whack-A-Mole commenters to disrupt with nonsense and people then jump all over it.

    This latter event, responding to nonsense, is the most frequent thing that happens on this blog. It’s what people like to do the most.

  324. 324
    Viola Lee says:

    Q writes, “let me again suggest that your own “scientific” beliefs are a “cultural myth” as well.”

    Q, let me repeat what I wrote at 317: ” I haven’t been discussing “my scientific beliefs”. All those things you mention in your quote don’t even apply to me, so I’m not sure why you are asking me about them.”

  325. 325
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF @ 311
    I will give you credit, KF, for at least being honest re my post 309, that you don’t have a citation for Mackie’s alleged concession to Plantinga’s “free will defense” despite trying to downplay it…..

  326. 326
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me clip from God, Freedom & Evil, to give a flavour of how Plantinga actually argues in his slightly less technical work:

    I believe that some recently won insights in the
    philosophy of logic-particularly those centering about the idea of possi­ble
    worlds-genuinely illumine these classical topics [ontological argument
    and the problem of evils] ; a moderately innovative feature of this book,
    therefore, is my attempt to show how these insights throw light upon these topics.

    . . . . Perhaps the most widely accepted and impressive piece of
    natural atheology has to do with the
    so-called problem of evil. Many philosophers believe that the existence
    of evil constitutes a difficulty for the theist, and many believe that the
    existence of evil (or at least the amount and kinds of evil we actually find)
    makes belief in God unreasonable or rationally unacceptable . . . .

    Now one reply would be to specify God’s reason for permitting evil
    or for creating a world that contained evil. (Perhaps evil is necessary, in
    some way, to the existence of good.) Such an answer to Hume’s question
    is sometimes called a theodicy . When a theist answers the question
    “Whence evil?” or “Why does Cod permit evil?” he is giving a
    theodicy. And, of course, a theist might like to have a theodicy, an
    answer to the question why God permits evil. He might want very badly
    to know why God permits evil in general or some particular evil-the
    death or suffering of someone close to him, or perhaps his own suffering.
    But suppose none of the suggested theodicies is very satisfactory. Or
    suppose that the theist admits he just doesn’t know why God permits
    evil. What follows from that? Very little of interest. Why suppose that
    if God does have a good reason for permitting evil, the theist would be
    the first to know? . . . The fact that the theist doesn’t know why God
    permits evil is, perhaps, an interesting fact about the theist, but by itself
    it shows little or nothing relevant to the rationality of belief in God.
    Much more is needed for the atheological argument even to get off the
    ground . . . .

    [Plantinga is pointing to the importance of a defense as opposed to a theodicy]

    To make out [his] case, therefore, the
    atheologian cannot rest content with asking embarrassing questions to
    which the theist does not know the answer. He must do more-he might
    try, for example, to show that it is impossible or anyhow unlikely that
    Cod should have a reason for permitting evil . . . .

    [TURNING TO OMNIPOTENCE AS PIVOTAL, BUT NOTE HE IS ALWAYS
    ADDRESSING THE THEISTIC SET AND WILL GO ON TO POSSIBLE WORLDS]

    What doe s it mean to say that
    a being is omnipotent? That he is all-powerful, or almighty, presumably.
    But are there no limits at all to the power of such a being? Could he
    create square circles, for example, or married bachelors? Most theologians and theistic philosophers who hold that God is omnipotent, do not
    hold that He can create round squares or bring it about that He both
    exists and doe s not exist . . . .

    [–> that is, there is no possible world in which such things or states of affairs obtain]

    what the atheologian must add to get a formally contradic­tory set is

    (21) If God is omniscient and omnipotent, then he can properly elimi­nate every evil state of affairs. [–> and we can add, compressing, but does not]

    Suppose we agree that the set consisting in A plus (l9c), (20), and (21)
    is formally contradictory. 50 if (19c), (20), and (21) are all necessarily
    true, then set A is implicitly contradictory. We’ve already conceded that
    (l9c) and (20) are indeed necessary. So we must take a look at (21 ). Is
    this proposition necessarily true?

    No. To see this let us ask the following question. Under what condi­tions would an omnipotent being be unable to eliminate a certain evil
    E without eliminating an outweighing good? Well, suppose that E is
    included in some good state of affairs that outweighs it. That is, suppose
    there is some good state of affairs G so related to E that it is impossible
    that C obtain or be actual and E fail to obtain.

    Thus, we can see that the argument is much more sophisticated than Bradley makes out.

    KF

  327. 327
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, I am not going to go digging in a library of books to track down a trivial point where it is already obvious on the merits that it fails, and it is further obvious from the decades old switch to the inductive form of the problem, which then runs into the self referential issue of undermining our rationality and moral government. Where, Jerry is quite right to point out that a pivotal connected point is, what is the nature of evil, especially where some wish to eliminate God as ground of good. I simply noted what I observed years ago in discussion of this argument; and it showed that Mackie was a serious thinker. And if you think you can do a further sidetrack, take another think, as if necessary, I will further elaborate from Plantinga directly. Already, the strawman problem is manifest. I think Bradley does not understand that he is not dealing with a theodicy, and I suspect he does not understand the reason why Plantinga took time to draw out the issues of capability to eliminate evils. As I have noted, goods such as ability to reason or to love etc require freedom and freedom includes that one can abuse by twisting out of alignment with due end. Where, pointing to the Biblical trajectory, there is a reason it starts in a garden and ends in a city, with a massive injustice outside a city turned into the pivot of redemption and transformation by the power of God. KF

  328. 328
    Viola Lee says:

    That is, evil exists because there is some greater good that can’t be obtained if evil doesn’t exist. Is that an accurate summary?

    Also, in your last sentence C, as far as I can tell, is not identified. What does C stand for?

  329. 329
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, no there is much more, where context counts. I am excerpting from a much longer opening discussion in a book. The discussion with its nuances, is important. The referred propositions are in that more elaborate discussion. Plantinga is symbolising. KF

    PS, C should be G, I believe.

  330. 330
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmm. If what you posted is not enough to get an accurate summary, why did you post it?

    I wrote, “That is, evil exists because there is some greater good that can’t be obtained if evil doesn’t exist. Is that an accurate summary?”

    Can you answer that question?

  331. 331
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bradley says that it’s logically possible for a world to have free creatures capable of moral choice without the existence of evil. He never explains how that is possible.
    Instead, he changes the argument to say that most people would prefer to live in a world where they didn’t have free choice in order to avoid evil.

    Until demonstrated otherwise, it is not possible to have a world of free, rational creatures, capable of moral choice (and therefore of love relationships) without having the existence of evil.

    Being able to love, grown, learn, reason, discover, create — those give life a higher quality than that of being forced to live with no free will choice possible, and no ability to choose the good.

  332. 332
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    That is, evil exists because there is some greater good that can’t be obtained if evil doesn’t exist.

    That seems right to me.
    Bradley says it would be better to not have any possibility for free choice. So, everything would be determined by external factors to be whatever they are – as inanimate objects are.

  333. 333
    jerry says:

    I just dropped a fork on the floor. Explain why that’s not evil.

  334. 334
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bradley would prefer the destruction of all rational human life rather than have the possibility of evil.
    That’s what a lot of dictators and evil powers think also – better to keep people in concentration camps or just kill them outright rather than allow them free choice.
    That’s what we end up with.

  335. 335
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Here’s Bradley speaking for all of humanity here …

    Most of the victims of his choice would willingly sacrifice the supposed benefits of libertarian freedom in order to avoid the hellish conditions that prevail in much of the world.

    That’s how Marxists sell their utopia. “Just sacrifice the supposed benefits of freedom and we’ll enable you to avoid the problems in your life”.
    Actually, drugs do that for a lot of people. Sacrifice your freedom and the drug will give you bliss on earth.

  336. 336
    asauber says:

    “I just dropped a fork on the floor. Explain why that’s not evil.”

    Jerry,

    Did you drop the fork intentionally? Accidentally?

    Andrew

  337. 337
    jerry says:

    Did you drop the fork intentionally? Accidentally?

    Does it matter?

    Aside: I’m trying to point out how absurd this discussion is. Everyone is discussing a word which they cannot define coherently. But I guarantee that will not stop them.

  338. 338
    asauber says:

    “Does it matter?”

    Jerry,

    I think it does.

    “Aside: I’m trying to point out how absurd this discussion is.”

    I sorta agree with this. It’s a change-the-subject type of pivot because trolls can’t engage seriously.

    Andrew

  339. 339
    jerry says:

    I think it does

    One way it is a moral evil, the other way it’s a natural evil. If it’s evil?

    sorta agree with this. It’s a change-the-subject type of pivot because trolls can’t engage seriously

    It’s about something that doesn’t exist. That’s the irony.

  340. 340
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I think Jerry dropped his fork on my comment? Or on Bradley’s?
    There are degrees of evil. Of course we can have some understanding of what evil is.
    The only thing that does not possess some “privation of good” (a term for evil) is God.
    There is moral evil, physical evil and metaphysical evil (deprivation of being).

  341. 341
    William J Murray says:

    I think the easier argument on the God side is, you can’t experience/know the value of good, unless one also experiences evil. Of what value is good in a vacuum, if that’s all you ever know/experience? It would just be an invisible, unnoticed, ubiquitous commodity.

  342. 342
    jerry says:

    I think Jerry dropped his fork on my comment? Or

    No, on the whole discussion. I have been commenting on this issue for years. Everyone runs a way after awhile because they cannot define the magic word.

    Under your definition, everything but one thing is the magic word which everyone wants to use all the time but cannot define.

    So if everything is the magic word, what purpose is the word. It tells you nothing.

    Again this discussion should be someplace else. So any time someone uses the magic word they should sent to the “magic word” OPs. And there I guarantee it will go in circles.

    There are hundreds of “magic word “ OP’s over the last 15 years.

  343. 343
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “Everyone is discussing a word which they cannot define coherently”

    What it is not is a thing.

    Vivid

  344. 344
    jerry says:

    What it is not is a thing

    But that is everything except one thing.

    Everyone point around the room or place they are and everything you point to is the magic word (using definition: privation of good.) How is that helpful?

    Again: we should stop all discussion of this here. It’s a complete waste of time. If those who want to discuss it, they should ask Denyse for a new thread or go to one of the hundred others from the past.

    But I guarantee it will go nowhere.

    Aside: for all those going to your dictionaries or encyclopedias, it won’t work. That’s all been tried before.

  345. 345
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    So if everything is the magic word, what purpose is the word. It tells you nothing.

    No, as I said – there are degrees. There’s a hierarchy of value and degrees of perfection.
    It tells us quite a lot to know that there is grave, severe evil (deliberate moral evil) attacking the higher goods (like murdering hundreds of innocent children) or very minor, slight physical evils like a mosquito bite which hurts your arm.
    We have to make distinctions to gain understanding.
    Saying “everything is evil” lacks definition and makes discussion impossible.
    It’s like saying “there’s only one color of red – if it’s got any red in it, we have to call it red.”
    We make distinctions and recognize the gradation of good and evil.
    God is the supreme, perfect good.
    Everything else has less than this — as is easy to see.

  346. 346
    vividbleau says:

    Jerry
    “But that is everything except one thing.”

    And what is that one thing?

    Vivid

  347. 347
    Viola Lee says:

    What I don’t understand is if Jerry thinks so much of these discussions are fluff, trollish, and gobbledegook, why does he continues to fill up the thread with his own empty posts?

  348. 348
    jerry says:

    We make distinctions and recognize the gradation

    You are part way there.

    But still everything is the magic word So the term is still meaningless.

    You are mixing bad stuff that happens to people with your definition. So is it subjective? What may be very bad for someone may be desired by another.

    I will find a thread from last year that was used and suggest that instead. But that won’t really do because people desperately want to do discuss Bradley.

    Here is a long comment I made a year ago about this issue

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-argument-from-evil-is-absurd/#comment-725262

    I will answer your following comment on that thread.

  349. 349
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    You are mixing bad stuff that happens to people with your definition. So is it subjective? What may be very bad for someone may be desired by another.

    I already explained, there are three kinds of evil: Physical evil, moral evil and metaphysical evil
    From that, we can observe degrees of evil in each category.
    What is bad for someone is a certain degree of evil – more or less. That someone desires something that is bad for someone is a certain degree of good, more or less.
    Every object has some shade of light – from 0 to 100. We don’t say “it’s got some light so everything is light”. The same with darkness. Everything may have some dimness in lighting. We don’t say “everything is dark”.
    As for subjective: We start with metaphysical evil and recognize that Being relates to Goodness and deprivation of being is a limit in perfection, to some degree or another.
    It’s the same with knowledge – we have degrees of what we know and there can be ideas entirely false. Just because something gives a partial understanding of the truth (privation of good) we don’t say “it’s entirely false”.

  350. 350
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    So everything is evil but some are more evil?

    It’s your view that “everything is evil”, not mine. So, you have to explain it.
    I tried to respond to your view:

    SA said: It’s like saying “there’s only one color of red – if it’s got any red in it, we have to call it red.”

    So, we can’t say orange, or purple, or pink – it’s all red. “So everything is red except some is more red?”

    A question arises: How could God create anything that is not perfect?
    God cannot create another perfect supreme Being. He can’t create another one of Himself. There are limits on what God can create. Every created Being necessarily has those limits. That’s just reality.
    God cannot create a world with free, moral, rational agents without evil (falsehood, deprivations). It’s just not logically possible – just like a square circle is not.

  351. 351
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I will bow out now.
    Feel free to have the last word.

  352. 352
    jerry says:

    Feel free to have the last word.

    Some have already been posted on the other thread.

    Everybody can go back to what they want to do most.

  353. 353
    Querius says:

    William J Murray @321,

    What does “natural” mean, in light of 100+ years of quantum physics experimental results?

    Here are three definitions of naturalism, to which I was referring:
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/naturalism-philosophy
    https://naturalism.org/
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/

    I think 100+ years of quantum physics has pushed the concept of naturalism toward information, observation, and the so-called “holographic universe.” Unfortunately, most people who ascribe to naturalism are either blissfully unaware of QM, are in denial, or are working hard to try to show that QM somehow doesn’t falsify materialistic determinism.

    -Q

  354. 354
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @324,

    Q writes, “let me again suggest that your own “scientific” beliefs are a “cultural myth” as well.”

    You made a number of assertions about Christianity in context of “cultural myths,” but now you’re complaining that your own beliefs are somehow out of bounds?

    -Q

  355. 355
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I excerpted to give a flavour of how Plantinga argues, enough to further demonstrate the strawmannish caricature. What you have above is accurate but skeletal and incomplete. I intend to give more. Omitted, for example, is his elaboration of steps and stages in evolving propositions, there is a reason why he reaches over twenty and has subtypes a, b, c etc. All of that provides nuances that Bradley seems to have missed. For example he takes steps to draw out what possibility/impossibility implies, what pitfalls are there in the idea of eliminating evils in trying to do good and more. He even gives a discussion drawing out possible worlds to maximal degree — tantamount to alternative realities — and variants on being a necessary being etc. (My use of PW’s is more like world models, a weak form as usual.) And more. KF

    PS, your summary misses features in the original, stick to Plantinga, you are dealing with things where subtle seemingly insignificant differences of phrasing have potentially watershed import. You will note where he is going from 190, the takes time to get there, drawing out adjustments etc, it is not arbitrary:

    2b: “A good, omnipotent God will eliminate evil as far as he can without either losing a greater good or bringing about a greater evil.”

    Contrast Bradley’s caricature, “He sketches a scenario according to which God did his best to create a world without evil but had his plans thwarted by the freedom-abusing creatures he had created.” Loaded and strawmannish. The scenario sketching he derides is material to understanding why things are not as simple as it may superficially seem, and why a great good can include room for evils. I am pretty sure Bradley et al value ability to reason, choose, love [so, be virtuous], those do not come without responsible, rational, morally governed significant freedom. And more.

  356. 356
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, above I gave a longstanding definition in a nutshell of evil, privation etc of the good out of alignment with due end, which end of course is sometimes (but not necessarily) naturally evident. Those whose worldviews preclude ends and/or freedom to make real choice, will have serious problems defining/understanding good and evil. KF

  357. 357
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, you have caught one of the ruinous — mutiny on the ship of state — consequences of inadequate reasoning on subjects as subtly complex and significant as this. KF

  358. 358
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: More from Plantinga, on choice:

    some philosophers say that causal determinism and freedom, contrary to what we might have thought, are not really incompatible.13 But
    if so, then God could have created free creatures who were free, and free
    to do what is wrong, but nevertheless were causally determined to do
    only what is right. Thus He could have created creatures who were free
    to do what was wrong, while nevertheless preventing them from ever
    performing any wrong actions-simply by seeing to it that they were
    causally determined to do only what is right. Of course this contradicts
    the Free Will Defense, according to which there is inconsistency in
    supposing that God determines free creatures to do only what is right.
    But is it really possible that all of a person’s actions are causally deter­
    mined while some of them are free? How could that be so? According
    to one version of the doctrine in question, to say that George acts freely
    on a given occasion is to say only this: if George had chosen to do
    otherwise, he would have done otherwise. Now George’s action A is
    causally determined if some event E-some event beyond his control
    -has already occurred, where the state of affairs consisting in E’s
    occurrence conjoined with George’s refraining from performing A, is a
    causally impossible state of affairs. Then one can consistently hold both
    that all of a man’s actions are causally determined and that some of them
    are free in the above sense. For suppose that all of a man’s actions are
    causally determined and that he couldn’t, on any occasion, have made
    any choice or performed any action different from the ones he did make
    and perform. It could still be true that if he had chosen to do otherwise,
    he would have done otherwise. Granted, he couldn’t have chosen to do
    otherwise; but this is consistent with saying that if he had, things would
    have gone differently.

    This objection to the Free Will Defense seems utterly implausible.
    One might as well claim that being in jail doesn’t really limit one’s
    freedom on the grounds that if one were not in jail, he’d be free to come
    and go as he pleased. So I shall say no more about this objection here. 14

    Compatibilism is, manifestly, deeply problematic. I find it hard to differentiate it from holding that while we perceive ourselves as choosing, in fact given antecedent circumstances independent of ourselves, our actions will be determined by those antecedents. That, to my mind, boils down to reducing mind, reasoning, knowledge etc to grand delusion.

    Which defeats itself.

    Including, in arguing for compatibilism.

    KF

  359. 359
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Note his rough, introductory statement of his defense:

    Given these definitions and distinctions, we can make a preliminary
    statement of the Free Will Defense as follows. A world containing
    creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than
    evil actions) is more valuable, an else being equal, than a world contain­ing no free creatures at all. Now God can create free creatures, but He
    can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if He does
    so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; they do not do what is
    right freely. To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore, He
    must create creatures capable of moral evil; and He can’t give these
    creatures the freedom to perform evil and at the same time prevent
    them from doing so
    . As it turned out, sadly enough, some of the free
    creatures God created went wrong in the exercise of their freedom; this
    is the source of moral evil. The fact that free creatures sometimes go
    wrong, however, counts neither against God’s omnipotence nor against
    His goodness; for He could have forestalled the occurrence of moral evil
    only by removing the possibility of moral good.

    I said earlier that the Free Will Defender tries to fi nd a proposition
    that is consistent with
    (1) God is omniscient, omnipotent, and wholl y good
    and together with (l ) entails that there is evil. According to the Free
    Will Defense, we must find this proposition somewhere in the above
    story. The heart of the Free Will Defense is the claim that it is possible
    that God could not have created a universe containing moral good (or
    as much moral goo d as this world contains) without creating one that
    also contained moral evil. And if so, then it is possible that God has a
    good reason for creating a world containing evil.

    Here, the point is, logical coherence, which breaks the argument pivoting on implying incoherence in the concept of God similar to that in the concept, square circle.

    Notice, again, the contrast between the real argument and the strawman set up to be knocked over.

    Also note that the issues imply the parasitical, and relatively rare, self limiting nature of key evils. For example lying parasites on truthfulness and if it even becomes reasonably common, communication and thriving as a community of social creatures would collapse. This is of course a point in Kant’s categorical imperative.

    KF

  360. 360
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, caught my eye, 189 as inferring lying by omission. To lie is to speak, with disregard to truth, in hope that one profits by what is said or suggested being taken as true. Lying thus simply does not apply in a world where we live under natural laws and forces that give rise to tectonic movements, volcanoes, hurricanes etc. That we fail too often to take responsible precautions is our fault. Similarly, officialdom suppressing and discrediting effective treatments of relatively low cost while promoting vaccines with relatively high adverse event rates [especially affecting the cardiovascular system] is our fault. That a geostrategic vulture takes advantage of a manipulated US election leading to deep polarisation and a regime of clear geostrategic incompetence is our fault. Taking the Christian understanding of God as main focus, what part of it is appointed to man once to die then to give account, or that the last enemy to be destroyed is death, would be a willfully misleading, manipulative falsity? KF

  361. 361
    jerry says:

    you have caught one of the ruinous — mutiny on the ship of state — consequences of inadequate reasoning on subjects as subtly complex and significant as this

    This is ironic.

    When one cannot answer simple questions, accuse others of inadequate reasoning or “mutiny on the ship of state.” Then say it is so subtly complex, which implies no one cannot explain it in any way that’s understandable.

  362. 362
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, you write again, “You made a number of assertions about Christianity in context of “cultural myths,” but now you’re complaining that your own beliefs are somehow out of bounds?”

    And yet I’ve repeatedly explained that the statements you make (nature causing nature, multiverses, etc.) ARE NOT MY BELIEFS. I’m not saying my beliefs are out of bounds, I’m saying that you aren’t correctly ascribing beliefs you think I have to me. I can’t comprehend how you don’t get that.

    Also, I have explained repeatedly in past threads that I don’t think anyone knows what the metaphysical nature of reality is, so that whatever beliefs I like the most are just speculations: that is, they are also stories. I apply the same standard to my own metaphysical beliefs that I apply to others.

  363. 363
    Scamp says:

    I agree with Jerry that evil, as a unique unambiguous entity, doesn’t exist. It is a word we apply to any behaviour or thought that we, as individuals, find to be unacceptable. The bigger the gut reaction we get to it, the more “evil” it is.

  364. 364
    asauber says:

    “The bigger the gut reaction we get to it, the more “evil” it is.”

    Scamp,

    This is just emotionalism. It doesn’t equate at all to how evil something is.

    Andrew

  365. 365
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    consequences of inadequate reasoning on subjects as subtly complex and significant as this.

    Thank you and yes, agreed.
    I note that some of us would just want to discard concepts that they find difficult. But philosophy is a process of dealing with what is there and refining our understanding. We start with absolutes which are the foundation of rationality – building out to explore the more difficult things. It takes patience and careful analysis.
    Saying something like “it’s all unknown” is not accurate. We know a lot. Just because we don’t know everything doesn’t mean that our true knowledge is wasted.
    Or saying “we can’t define it perfectly so it doesn’t exist” is also an unwarranted short-cut.
    Life is messy. We can’t clean it up by just getting rid of all the mysteries we cannot fully solve. That’s just destructive to life and our understanding.
    Instead, we take what we know and keep working on it to improve.
    God made life this way, so every generation would have the mysteries to solve and at the same time, make progress with knowledge about them.
    So, we shouldn’t get frustrated and just want to kill off philosophical reasoning. As you say, there are serious consequences to doing that sort of thing.
    Humility towards life and towards God means we stand in awe of life and the universe and we don’t demand or claim that we know everything.

  366. 366
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andrew @ 364
    True. We measure evil against the good that it harms.
    So, harms against innocence, purity, trust, potential of life – are more serious evils (murdering innocent children) than harm against somebody’s non-living property (breaking down their picket fence). Both are evils but are weighed by how much damage they do to what is good.
    An evil that damages generations of people in the future is greater than others. So, deliberately desecrating something that is held in sacred memory is a serious evil.

  367. 367
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I bowed out of the discussion with Jerry @351 but not on the thread itself.

  368. 368
    Viola Lee says:

    Speaking of “my story”, I ran into a buddhist meme recently that expresses one of my deep feelings:

    When I start thinking about the nature of reality and realize that every philosophical or religious paradigm is just a subjective human opinion and, in truth, the origin and purpose of consciousness is not only unknown but unknowable, I realize the only proper response to existence is radical humility and surrender to the mystery.

  369. 369
    Scamp says:

    Andrew:
    This is just emotionalism. It doesn’t equate at all to how evil something is.

    You state this, but can you prove it? For example, KF frequently uses the example of kidnapping, torturing and killing a child for pleasure as an example of evil. He also says that lying is evil. So, what is more evil? Telling a woman that you like her perfume, when you don’t, or killing a child?

  370. 370
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    every philosophical or religious paradigm is just a subjective human opinion and, in truth, the origin and purpose of consciousness is not only unknown but unknowable

    Note the phrase in bold.
    Can you see that what this meme says is incoherent and contradictory?

  371. 371
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Scamp

    So, what is more evil? Telling a woman that you like her perfume, when you don’t, or killing a child?

    We talk about such things frequently here. From a Darwin perspective, you’re right. The genocide of an entire race of people, putting them in gas chambers is not more evil than being dishonest about perfume.
    That’s the barbaric nature of materialist atheism in a nutshell.

  372. 372
    asauber says:

    Scamp,

    Why would I need to prove it? I doubt you require proof for a lot of your own positions.

    Assessing evil requires a moral structure. I’m a Catholic Christian, if that helps you understand where I’m coming from.

    Andrew

  373. 373
    Viola Lee says:

    re 370, to SA: It’s someone else’s meme. How’s this:

    When I start thinking about the nature of reality and realize that every philosophical or religious paradigm is just a subjective human opinion and the origin and purpose of consciousness is not only unknown but unknowable, I realize the only proper response to existence is radical humility and surrender to the mystery.

    Of course these are, I will own them, my realizations, and they are things I choose to hold as true for and to me, even though I also realize that they might not actually be true. But, as Dylan wrote, “You can’t open up your mind, boys, to every conceivable point of view”: I have chosen the perspective that seems best to me, for multiple reasons, even though I understand that it is “my story” and not some definitive statement that I know is true.

  374. 374
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry,

    pardon, but the very definition of philosophy, is that it is the department of difficult questions, there will therefore be no simplistic answers, though they may be simple in how they are worded.

    Accordingly, exacting formulation comparable to mathematics, legal agreements and systematic theology will be key.

    A famous warning, from everybody’s favourite fisherman, in his theological will, is:

    2 Peter 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

    Yes, some things genuinely are difficult and turn on subtle differences of meaning that can have big consequences.

    That evil is, classically, privation of the good is simply put, but unpacking it is subtle and not simplistic. And I daresay, this answer has been provided many, many times and unpacked, by several people, but has often been sidelined and treated as though it had not been given.

    Likewise, the point of Plantinga’s argument turns on the difference between a theodicy and a defense, the latter only requiring logical possibility [as opposed to plausibility to an arbitrarily hyperskeptical objector] and coherence to overturn the accusation that there is incoherence in the ethical theistic concept of God. Astonishingly, just now I saw yet another case of someone writing in the literature and making that error.

    A theodicy aims at plausible truth, establishing a conclusion as to what is the case. A defense in this context, only seeks to overturn claimed incoherence, which then opens up the issue of the implications of God as serious candidate root of reality and self-existent necessary, maximally great, utterly wise and inherently good being.

    It is in order to note on that sort of issue, and it is appropriate to lay out that an alleged refutation objectively sets up and knocks over a strawman version of the argument.

    It is further in order to note that too many objectors in and around UD and in other spheres habitually use red herrings led to strawmen soaked in ad hominems, which they set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere for discussion.

    KF

    PS, the mutiny on the ship of state has to do with wanting the helm and scheming to get it, while lacking key capability, leading to predictable disaster.

  375. 375
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    >>every philosophical or religious paradigm is just a subjective human opinion>>

    self referential and incoherent, as this is just such an opinion or paradigm.

    >> and the origin and purpose of consciousness is not only unknown but unknowable>>

    Translated, my preferred worldview cannot answer so I project the same fault to others.

    KF

  376. 376
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: As it seems advisable to give context, Plato’s Socrates on the Ship of State:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State [ –> here we see Plato’s philosopher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. [–> the issue of competence and character as qualifications to rule] The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction [–> the sophists, the Demagogues, Alcibiades and co, etc]; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable [–> implies a need for a corruption-restraining minority providing proverbial salt and light, cf. Ac 27, as well as justifying a governing structure turning on separation of powers, checks and balances], and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

    KF

  377. 377
    Viola Lee says:

    re 375 to KF. I addressed those points in 373. Our posts probably crossed in the mail, so to speak.

  378. 378
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, yes. We did not walk away when quantum and relativity presented us with puzzles. Nor, the transfinite. For that matter, no one can give a precising definition of life. Instead we go by paradigm examples and family resemblance. For evils, post 1945, Hitler’s 3rd Reich is a classic case of reference, though Stalin and Mao are comparably bad. Kant gave the Categorical Imperative, which is a good yardstick for identifying principal evils. We can go on to evils that do not arise directly from morally governed responsible freedom of choice and first duties, but from circumstances of a world governed by laws and potential impacts of tectonic events such as the Lisbon 1755 quake vs the Port Royal quake. Oddly, the latter, 1692, was generally seen as judgement on the richest, wickedest city in the world, reducing it to a sleepy fishing village with ruins and a church with a testimony on a grave in the wall. KF

  379. 379
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    >> they are things I choose to hold as true for and to me>>

    This defines opinion, not truth or warrant, you imply or invite the inference that there is no adequate warrant, but as these beliefs are themselves claiming or suggesting that they are true never mind the caveats put up, they fall under self referential incoherence.

    Opinion is not warranted truth.

    Is it your second order opinion that these beliefs are warranted or at the least as warranted as any other, if so why.

    If not, then recognise that what you may opine is a suggestion without grounds, and one that will run into self referential incoherence.

    >>even though I also realize that they might not actually be true.>>

    So then, kindly do not insist on making sweeping objective claims as I responded to above.

    Such claims are manifestly self referential and incoherent.

    KF

  380. 380
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I have chosen the perspective that seems best to me, for multiple reasons, even though I understand that it is “my story” and not some definitive statement that I know is true.

    In philosophical discussions, the task is a search for the truth about things. When we discover a truth, it has value for everyone. So, we discuss it objectively. We seek universal values that can help human life. If we find these to be true in an ultimate sense, then we can teach them to others.
    That’s what Socrates did, and Aristotle and Confucius. Jesus took it farther from philosophical truths to divine teachings from God.
    But in all these cases, they weren’t saying “this is my personal story”.
    Yes, you’re free to do that. But as you say, these are not “truths” that you’re adhering to, but just your opinion. They cannot be taught to others as truths.
    But we do have truths about life, the universe and humanity that are not just personal stories.
    They’re solid truths that transcend the individual – they come from God.
    You use those truths all the time when you try to rationally discuss things with people.
    The First Principles of Logic are not subjective stories. They are the foundation for reality and for human intelligence. From those first principles, we learn about the universe and about God.
    With that, saying that the attributes of God are entirely unknown is contradictory.

  381. 381
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I realize the only proper response to existence is radical humility and surrender to the mystery.

    This a profound notion and a very good one, in my view.
    The key ideas are humility and surrender.
    But I suggest there is a conflict if “the mystery” is unknowable ultimately and forever.
    The reason for this is because humility and surrender bow us down in a spirit of awe before something greater than ourselves.
    This is why Idolatry would be a vice or sin for humans. To bow ourselves down before a non-living rock, for example. Or to “surrender” to a block of wood, destroys our own integrity as human beings.
    We are far greater beings than rocks or wood carvings – so we can’t rightly be humbled before them. We can’t treat a dead tree branch as if it has the same, sacred integrity and value, as a living human being.
    So, humility always points to something greater.
    But if we are “humble before the unknowable mystery” – that’s a problem because whatever is “possible to be known” in some way, is greater than an “unknowable force” that exists without love.
    If we are humble before God who is the perfect greatness of all things – wisdom and love especially, then we are acting rightly.
    If we’re humbled before an impersonal “force” of some kind – then we’re degrading ourselves.

  382. 382
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, SA that is what you seek. I have expressed my opinions about the limitations of that. KF says opinion is not warrant. I say that the warrant he thinks can be found can’t in fact be found, and we have to live with uncertainty. I’m not trying to convince you of that, but I am trying to make it clear that alternate perspectives exist.

    You say, “They’re solid truths that transcend the individual – they come from God.”

    That is your opinion. It’s no less an opinion than my opinions. We have, and live by, different metaphysical opinions.

    You write, “The First Principles of Logic are not subjective stories. They are the foundation for reality and for human intelligence. From those first principles, we learn about the universe and about God.”

    I accept that the use of logic is a part of our rational abilities. I’ve always said that, multiple times. However, I don’t pretend, as you do, to know why.

  383. 383
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I accept that the use of logic is a part of our rational abilities. I’ve always said that, multiple times. However, I don’t pretend, as you do, to know why.

    The use of first principles of logic is an objective basis for rational analysis. We arrive at truths which transcend personal opinions.

    That is your opinion. It’s no less an opinion than my opinions. We have, and live by, different metaphysical opinions.

    If everything is merely subjective stories, then there’s no reason for me to believe you and I can just disagree.
    “My story” says that I’m right and you’re wrong.
    “My story” says that there are no other good perspectives except my own.
    My personal, subjective storytelling says that I’m correct and you are not.
    But that kills the idea that we are rational beings and we must arrive at truths about humanity and not merely be guided by our own personal storytelling. We have to be grounded in a shared reality. Otherwise, there can be no foundation for understanding.

  384. 384
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, you write,

    “My story” says that I’m right and you’re wrong.
    “My story” says that there are no other good perspectives except my own.
    My personal, subjective storytelling says that I’m correct and you are not.

    That’s not what I believe. It is what many here believe: i.e., Christianity is the only true religion.

    I’m not guilty of what you wrote, but you are.

  385. 385
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I’m not guilty of what you wrote, but you are.

    You’re saying someone can be “guilty” for believing their own story?
    Or perhaps your story is “more correct” than anyone else’s?

  386. 386
    Viola Lee says:

    I think being being absolutely sure that your perspective is right and there are no other true perspectives is wrong.

    We are all human beings wanting to have some structure for understanding the mysteries of existence.

    One solution ( to use the analogy of the blind man and the elephant that KF is fond of) is to believe that all the different approaches to the mysteries contain some value, even though they all are in some particular cultural context. The other solution is the on in my quote: radical humility and surrender to the mystery. That is, to recognize that we don’t know and can’t, and that our analytic attempts to understand the mysteries are misguided.

  387. 387
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the issue is, the narrator claims a privileged viewpoint which he has no right to. One, that is self referential and incoherent. It is incoherent to assert, imply or invite the conclusion that objective knowledge in general, or regarding particular subjects of interest is impossible or unattainable or even unattained. As, all of these are claimed or implied objective knowledge on the subjects in question. So, the claims, implications or invitations destroy themselves. What one can safely say is that we are error prone, that the subject is controversial or difficult, that particular errors are identified or that one has doubts on claims so far [preferably with specific reasons] or the like. BTW, an identified particular error on a domain of knowledge, D, is an objective point of knowledge, ~d in D. Of course, to claim that for all existing or possible claims d, ~d obtains instead, is to assert a global albeit negative knowledge claim in D. Self referentiality is a real bear in analysis, reasoning and epistemology. KF

  388. 388
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, as usual, “It is incoherent to assert, imply or invite the conclusion that objective knowledge in general, or regarding particular subjects of interest is impossible or unattainable or even unattained. As, all of these are claimed or implied objective knowledge on the subjects in question.”

    No, I am not claiming or implying “objective knowledge on the subjects in question.” I’ve made that very clear, I think.

    Also, I’m not talking about objective knowledge in general. I am talking about specific issues in metaphysics. Let’s be clear about that also.

  389. 389
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    It might be helpful to sort this out.

    No, I am not claiming or implying “objective knowledge on the subjects in question.” I’ve made that very clear, I think.

    Your philosophical views are not founded on objective truths, but on subjective opinions. That’s your belief. What that means is, you could be wrong and those you disagree with could be right.

    You have said it, you don’t know if your views are true or not.

    You state:

    we don’t know and can’t, and that our analytic attempts to understand the mysteries are misguided.

    So, you could be wrong about that. You give a philosophical opinion, unsupported by objective truth – so it could be wrong.

    So in the end, it might be nice to know your opinions but they do not advance our knowledge except that we know what VL’s opinion is and we also know that on your own standard, you don’t know if your philosophy is right or wrong.

    So, when you make declarative statements, you do not have an objective reason for affirming or denying them. You’d have to accept that anything KF or myself says “could be right” and everything you say in opposition could be wrong. You simply don’t know either way.

    In fact, I think you’d necessarily have to say that you have no objective basis upon which to disagree with us.

  390. 390
    Silver Asiatic says:

    St. Thomas Aquinas teaches about the value and meaning of philosophy:

    Now the reason why the philosopher is compared to the poet is that both are concerned with wonders. For the myths with which the poets deal are composed of wonders, and the philosophers themselves were moved to philosophize as a result of wonder. And since wonder stems from ignorance, they were obviously moved to philosophize in order to escape from ignorance. It is accordingly evident from this that “they pursued” knowledge, or diligently sought it, only for itself and not for any utility or usefulness.

    So, philosophy begins with “wonder” – and that may rightly be viewed as having humility before the things we see or encounter. But wonder is caused by ignorance. And philosophy is the work we do to “escape from ignorance”.
    Simply resting in the idea that our nature and origin and the meaning of things is “unknowable” leaves us in ignorance – and we should seek to escape from that condition.

    Pythagoras, when asked what he professed himself to be, refused to call himself a wise man as his predecessors had done, because he thought this was presumptuous, but called himself a philosopher, i.e., a lover of wisdom.f 1 And from that time the name “wise man” was changed to “philosopher,” and “wisdom” to “philosophy.” This name also contributes something to the point under discussion, for that man seems to be a lover of wisdom who seeks wisdom, not for some other reason, but for itself alone. For he who seeks one thing on account of something else, has greater love for that on whose account he seeks than for that which he seeks.

    https://archive.org/details/AquinasCommentaryOnTheMetaphysics/Aquinas.CommentaryOnTheMetaphysicsOfAristotleI/page/n48/mode/1up

    Contemplation is the greatest activity we can undertake and philosophy is the contemplation of reality in its highest form. So, we should see wisdom – that’s the greatest work we can do.
    Theology is the highest form of contemplation where we put our minds, by faith, into the understanding of the highest possible reality – the Divine Being.

  391. 391
    chuckdarwin says:

    VL @ 386
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” — Bertrand Russell

  392. 392
    Viola Lee says:

    re 389, to SA.

    Well, SA, I appreciate you sticking with this.

    I wrote, “No, I am not claiming or implying “objective knowledge on the subjects in question. [that is, metaphysical beliefs] I’ve made that very clear, I think.”

    You replied,

    “Your philosophical views are not founded on objective truths, but on subjective opinions. That’s your belief. What that means is, you could be wrong and those you disagree with could be right. You have said it, you don’t know if your views are true or not.

    You state: “we don’t know and can’t, and that our analytic attempts to understand the mysteries are misguided.
    So, you could be wrong about that. You give a philosophical opinion, unsupported by objective truth – so it could be wrong.

    Yes, I could be wrong.

    Before I go further, let me continue to emphasize that I am talking about metaphysical beliefs, such as the existence of gods of any sort, or the nature of some reality before and/or behind the universe we know, or the nature of consciousness. That is what the word “mysteries” is referring to in this discussion right now.

    With that said, in your quotes above you twice refer to my opinions not being supported by objective truths. However, my position is that objective truths about these mysteries don’t exist, so your objection, from that point of view, carries no weight.

    In my opinion, your subjective opinion that there are objective truths is just that: a subjective opinion, no different than any other philosophical or religious opinions about the mysteries of life and the universe.

    You write, “So in the end, it might be nice to know your opinions but they do not advance our knowledge except that we know what VL’s opinion is and we also know that on your own standard, you don’t know if your philosophy is right or wrong.”

    True. All any of us can do is share our opinions about the mysteries and perhaps find others with whom we can share our beliefs, or even influence people to have opinions more like ours.

    You write, “So, when you make declarative statements, you do not have an objective reason for affirming or denying them. “

    True. I addressed that in the paragraph that begins “With that said …”

    ===============
    As I’ve thought about this, I realize a distinction that I’d like to make clearer.

    I don’t believe (this is what I am claiming) that these mysteries of existence are knowable, and that thus my own beliefs about the mysteries are merely speculative, as are everyone’s: I choose to hold my speculative beliefs as true for me, very vaguel,y for various reasons, but I don’t, and can’t, claim that they are ontologically true.

    But I also claim that all philosophical and religious metaphysical beliefs are not true, and for that I think I have some good evidence. The fact that so many different religious perspectives exist shows that creating and adopting religious stories is a fundamental human need. I also think there is evidence from the psychology of belief systems that supports the idea that people build and defend belief systems, and once they get committed to a way of believing, starting with being a child, they are not likely, in many cases, especially when surrounded by like-minded people and particularly if they feel threatened by the existence of other possible beliefs pressing in on them, to change their beliefs or even entertain the thought of others being right.

    So I think (and I’ve said his before) all such metaphysical systems are thus human inventions which, once embedded in a culture and passed on through the generations become as water is to the fish: such a part of people’s cognitive environment that they can’t even imagine thinking differently.

    And for those of you who protest that there might be one correct view, and all the rest are wrong, no one has responded to my question from posts above (stated somewhat differently than this): how do you account for all these wrong systems, and why do you think somehow your system escapes the conditions that make all the others wrong?

  393. 393
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    But I also claim that all philosophical and religious metaphysical beliefs are not true, and for that I think I have some good evidence.

    This is the point I was getting at. You’re making a philosophical statement here, but making it an “evidence based” proposal. You’re pointing to an objective standard (evidence) and not just a subjective idea.
    Now there’s something to discuss. Is your evidence good or bad? That’s an objective, fact-based approach. So, it’s not merely subjective. Otherwise, if it was just your subjective opinion – there’s nothing anybody could say much about it since you can based your opinion on nothing at all.
    But again, here you’re pointing to a “truth” – based on “evidence”.
    Now we can analyze and discuss and possibly learn. But that also means, you have to be open to the fact that philosophy can be (as yours is) based on evidence and not just on subjective opinion.

    how do you account for all these wrong system

    Wilhelm Schmidt’s theory of primitive monotheism still stands as the pre-eminent study on the historical development of religion. The original religions worldwide were monotheistic.
    In the same way that mutations tend to break down an organism over time, mutations in religion broke the original revelation into polytheism: idolatry of various kinds, totemism, fetish, mythology, ancestor worship, nature worship, pantheism, etc.
    It’s the result of sin and the rebellion within the human heart against the revelation of God – but even within the pagan polytheisms, there’s a single, supreme God – which traces back to the original revelation.
    It’s more of a question as to why is there this common belief in all tribes, continents, nations, races, ethnicities.
    That’s a far bigger problem for atheism to deal with. Evolution has no answer for it. Religion does not confer adaptive advantage – on the contrary, religion always comes with a very high cost and big risks which argues directly against selection for fitness.

  394. 394
    Scamp says:

    SA:
    We talk about such things frequently here. From a Darwin perspective, you’re right. The genocide of an entire race of people, putting them in gas chambers is not more evil than being dishonest about perfume.

    That’s the barbaric nature of materialist atheism in a nutshell.

    But I am not talking about the Darwinist, materialist or atheist perspective. I am talking about evil being ranked on a gut reaction perspective.

    Leave aside everyone’s belief system and worldviews. Is there anyone who doesn’t think that killing children is a worse evil than a white lie? And why is that? I propose that it is a ranking based on a personal gut reaction.

  395. 395
    Viola Lee says:

    re 393, to SA: SA writes, “The original religions worldwide were monotheistic.”

    I seriously doubt that. I have a degree in anthropology with an emphasis on religion, and have studied primitive religions. I’m not sure what “original” religions are being referred to, or what the source of this claim are, but I don’t think this is true.

    I looked at the Wikipedia article on Schmidt. One comment was , “On Primitive Revelation, Eric J. Sharpe has said: “Schmidt did believe the emergent data of historical ethnology to be fundamentally in accord with biblical revelation. . . A revised and augmented version of this apologetical monograph was published in an English translation as Primitive Revelation (Sharpe 1939).”[5]”

    I don’t think an apologetic approach “fundamentally in accord with biblical revelation” is likely to be the “pre-eminent study on the historical development of religion.”

    Also, you write, “That’s a far bigger problem for atheism to deal with. Evolution has no answer for it. Religion does not confer adaptive advantage – on the contrary, religion always comes with a very high cost and big risks which argues directly against selection for fitness.”

    First, I’ll remind you that I am not a materialist, which is often mistaken as equivalent to atheism. But with that said, I don’t think this has anything to do with evolution. We’re talking about human beings, irrespective of how they got here, going back tens of thousands of years, and especially concerning the past hundreds of years for which we have written and observational evidence of religion in many cultures.

    Religion plays an important role in all societies. It is often the core around which social structure and stability is build. Usually the metaphysical portions (gods, spirit, etc.) are linked with numerous beliefs about norms, cultural roles, social cohesion, etc. From a culture point of view, it is not correct to say that “religion always comes with a very high cost and big risks.” What high costs and big risks does religion have in a culture?

  396. 396
    EDTA says:

    Perhaps in a different thread, but I thought I replied to your question: Whether one idea is true or none, human beings will always invent variations, possibly in proportion to the inability to test the details. But that troublesome bit of human nature says nothing about whether part or all of the idea is true or false, or to what degree. How could it?

  397. 397
    Viola Lee says:

    EDTA, you write, “human beings will always invent variations, possibly in proportion to the inability to test the details. ”

    I agree. My position is that the probability of testing the details of our religious metaphysical beliefs is extremely small, if not zero, so the likelihood that we will invent stories is almost certain.

    You write, “But that troublesome bit of human nature says nothing about whether part or all of the idea is true or false, or to what degree. How could it?”

    But if we can’t test metaphysical details, then yes, how could we get any evidence that one set of beliefs is true, or not. If you strip away the cultural specificities, the Australian aborigenes might have the the core ideas right, or the Taoist, or the Hindus with the numerous personified forces, or the Native Americans, or …. Without a way to test, how could we tell?

    This is why the best conclusion to come to is that the specifics of the various religions are all wrong. One might look at commonalities among all religions (as comparative religion does) but even there the most likely explanation is that those commonalities reflect common aspects of human social and psychological needs, not some common access to ontological truths.

  398. 398
    EDTA says:

    If we cannot test the details at the fringe, perhaps we can test the core: look for basic things that have a solid grounding. For instance, that infusing large amounts of information into matter requires a mind of some sort. But it sounds as if you have given up the whole project, with no desire to search any further. I guess I just have this urge to keep digging no matter what, despite the difficulties posed by human nature.

  399. 399
    vividbleau says:

    SA / EDTA
    Thought you might find this from Tim Keller of interest
    “Skeptics believe that any exclusive claims to a superior knowledge of spiritual reality cannot be true. But this objection is itself a religious belief. It assumes God is unknowable, or God is loving but not wrathful, or God is an impersonal force rather than a person.. All these are unprovable faith assumptions. In addition, their proponents believe they have a superior way to view things…. Their view is also an exclusive claim about the nature of spiritual reality. If all (exclusive ) views are to be discouraged this one should be as well.”

    Vivid

  400. 400
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    Pardon, but there you go again — and it is not merely me speaking “as usual,” you really need to face the self referentiality issue:

    you twice refer to my opinions not being supported by objective truths. However, my position is that objective truths about these mysteries don’t exist, so your objection, from that point of view, carries no weight.

    See the literally central claim to objective truth, hiding in oh it’s just my opinion?

    A claim that denies objective truth to a realm you have become dismissive of. But instead, you have claimed privileged knowledge of the realm.

    BTW, disagreement and diverse opinion does not imply absence of objective truth or actual reality. It simply means, we err and disagree about things close to our hearts. So, we need to seek and follow first principles and first facts. While, not falling into selective hyperskepticism, as if one dismisses what one ought not, it is typically because one swallows what s/he didn’t ought to: crooked yardsticks.

    Meanwhile there is on the table a laying out of a coherent framework for ethical theism, contrary to your dismissiveness above. And, the attempt to use the logical problem of evils to blunt it failed fifty years ago. Those who then switched to inductive forms then run into the challenges that rational, responsible, morally governed significant freedom is at the heart of our vaunted rationality. So, we need an adequate framework for that that does not dissolve into self referential incoherence or manifest error. The ability to identify good and evil is one facet. The implication post Hume that only at reality root can we bridge is and ought is another. That that root is finitely remote is another again, i.e. there was no infinite, year by year successive transfinite causal temporal past able to reach to now because of the implicit infeasible supertask of transfinite traverse. That we need necessary being at world/reality root becomes another. So does the evident fine tuning of our observed cosmos, fitted to C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life. And more.

    All of these support the point that there is just one serious candidate: the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being; one, worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. If you doubt, simply provide another ______ and address comparative difficulties __ especially without falling afoul of self referential incoherence.

    I have already laid out above, what we can say without such self-refutation, on this and many other philosophically tinged matters:

    [387:] What one can safely say is that we are error prone, that the subject is controversial or difficult, that particular errors are identified or that one has doubts on claims so far [preferably with specific reasons] or the like. BTW, an identified particular error on a domain of knowledge, D, is an objective point of knowledge, ~d in D. Of course, to claim that for all existing or possible claims d, ~d obtains instead, is to assert a global albeit negative knowledge claim in D. Self referentiality is a real bear in analysis, reasoning and epistemology.

    BTW, we are probably both able to recall the 70’s and 80’s, where economics was widely viewed as tangled in hopelessly tangled debates. Much of that was driven by the ideological push of Marxism, and a lot more by starry eyed progressives who imagined their Keynesianism would solve the problems. Across the 80’s the recession to break the great inflation with stagnation, the exposure of how the media sought to ideologically manipulate news [especially in the US — what has been happening recently is just they have gone even farther], the breakdown of the Communist central planning and fall of the iron curtain as the cold war, the real slow burn WW3, was won, revealed a very different picture. For, von Mises was right in the 1920’s, yes, before Keynes. The market is central to the economy, and centralised planning is self defeating due to problem of valuation and required information processing. Debates there yet are, but the sense that oh there is nothing there to be objectively known has evaporated.

    We can point to the breakdown of classical physics that itself came about by revolution, indeed that is how revolution took up the meaning of political and institutional upheaval. From the 1880’s to the 1930’s there was a transformation, one that has left us with many mysteries and has firmly entrenched the pessimistic induction. Our science, though objectively tested by empirical means, is subject to radical revision or replacement. The notion of settled science boils down to a blind appeal to the celebrity scientists or the lab coat clad voices of officialdom. As, more and more are seeing with this pandemic, and as, worryingly the incidence of cardiovascular system damage may well point to.

    So, to first principles and first duties of right reason we must go. Likewise, to realising that error exists is a self evident, undeniable first truth that establishes that there are knowable, even utterly certain, truths. This already shatters relativisms, subjectivism and the like. As was pointed out long ago for cause but which was of course side stepped.

    From such humble first truths, much can be done, much can be learned. If, we are willing.

    KF

  401. 401
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, yes. The self referential incoherence is blatant. But, it will be predictably side stepped. KF

  402. 402
    William J Murray says:

    VL,
    You’ve decided to “live in the mystery,” so to speak. Perfectly valid way for you to choose to live and arrange your beliefs, IMO.

    However, I wonder why you also have in your personal set of beliefs the belief that no one can know metaphysical truths. You’ve repeated that several times. If you don’t mind my asking, what value does that add to your perspective and choice to live in the mystery of you, yourself, not knowing?

  403. 403
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    “The self referential incoherence is blatant. But, it will be predictably side stepped. KF”

    Of course it will it’s called cognitive dissonance or maybe it’s a lack of cognition ability

    “objective truths about these mysteries don’t exist, “

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the self referential incoherence of the above.

    Vivid

  404. 404
    Viola Lee says:

    I have responded to this charge multiple times. My explanation is not accepted. We are looking at things from different perspectives. My perspective is incoherent to you because it is not framed in your perspective: what you are saying is that they way to be coherent is to agree with you. Doesn’t work. We disagree about fundamental things. C’est la vie.

  405. 405
    Viola Lee says:

    re 402: WJM asks a question: “However, I wonder why you also have in your personal set of beliefs the belief that no one can know metaphysical truths. You’ve repeated that several times. If you don’t mind my asking, what value does that add to your perspective and choice to live in the mystery of you, yourself, not knowing?”

    Good question. I think my continued concern is that people thinking they are right and everyone else is wrong about religion is one of the most divisive forces in the world. If people were less attached to their metaphysical dogmas I think the world would be a better place.

  406. 406
    jerry says:

    If people were less attached to their metaphysical dogmas I think the world would be a better place.

    Now that is a belief. But definitely not justified.

    The modern world is the result of specific beliefs taking hold. Now the modern world has lots of shortcomings but can anyone point to a better time and place.

    Obviously No!

    Somehow the world has gotten better in many ways. Shouldn’t one try to understand this?

    While all cultures may have something to offer for everyone, nearly all have left their populations stagnated over the centuries. The modern world arose in a small place a few centuries ago and then spread gradually to surrounding geographical areas and to their colonies and then suddenly to a lot of the world.

  407. 407
    kairosfocus says:

    CD,

    I have decided, on observing the onward exchanges, that it is worth some time to respond regarding Mackie’s concession, as it draws out some of the underlying patterns and issues in the exchanges here and elsewhere.

    Let us therefore notice, from Mackie’s post humous The Miracle of Theism, the guarded, reluctant retraction of the earlier confident argument that the logical form of the problem of evil was decisive against theism. That is, in two separate passages:

    [W]e can concede that the problem of evil does not, after all, show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another. [–> explicitly, a concession, and a big one] But whether this offers a real solution of the problem is another question. [p. 154] . . . .

    [A]ll forms of the free will defence fail [–> really? We shall see . . . ], and since this defence alone had any chance of success there is no plausible theodicy on offer [–> note improper conflation of a defense with theodicy]. We cannot, indeed, take the problem of evil as a conclusive disproof of traditional theism, [–> the buried headline and lead!] because, as we have seen, there is some flexibility in its doctrines, and in particular in the additional premisses needed to make the problem explicit. [–> a key point of Plantinga was that the alleged contradiction was not explicit so an implied or invited premise had to be identified] There may be some way of adjusting these which avoids an internal contradiction with-out giving up anything essential to theism.

    [–> better, atheists etc have not found such an additional premise: a necessary truth or a construct acceptable to theists as what informed theists actually believe and so the logical form of the problem of evils as advertised for centuries by atheists etc, fails to deliver as advertised]

    But none has yet been clearly presented [–> he disputes Plantinga], and there is a strong presumption

    [–> not, demonstration! He confesses to a faith commitment here as he cannot claim a proof]

    that theism cannot be made coherent without a serious change in at least one of its central doctrines. [p. 176] [J L Mackie, The Miracle of Theism (1982, i.e. post mortem), pp. 154, 176.]

    We can readily see:

    1: that he has indeed conceded the logical problem of evil, and we can discern his general attitude to philosophical theism from his term, “doctrines,” a term that obviously suggests dogmas and dogmatism, when premises would be more apt — so we must discount for that attitude in parsing his concession.

    2: As he tries to dismiss theodicies, only defenses are on offer, but he will not here call Plantinga by name.

    3: When he speaks of “flexibility” and “the additional premisses needed to make the problem [of evil] explicit” he clearly implies that Plantinga is right to note that there is no explicit contradiction, and that

    4: to get a contradiction, additional propositions are needed, which need to be necessarily true and/or acceptable to academically serious ethical theists — on pain of, yes, strawman fallacy (a, sadly, commonly encountered problem).

    5: That Mackie manifestly cannot produce such a necessary or acceptable augmenting proposition — or he would triumphantly announce it — tells the rest of the story. For, instead,

    6: he is forced to concede, tellingly, “We cannot, indeed, take the problem of evil as a conclusive disproof of traditional theism” . . . in short, the original claim that that had happened, has failed.

    7: Which is all we need to know the true balance on the merits, despite his assertions that Plantinga’s arguments fail. For,

    8: had he a decisive refutation, Mackie would not have had to leave the door open like that.

    9: No wonder, then, that we can see how, Michael Palmer, in The Atheist’s Primer, admits:

    Mackie, in his The Miracle of Theism (1982) concedes that Plantinga has shown how God and evil can co-exist – that he has successfully resolved a logical problem

    [–> oh, nothing more than showing among professional philosophers that the claimed irrefutable incoherence and impossibility of God due to the logical form of the problem of evil fails; grade D, work harder!]

    – but that the substantive issue still remains unanswered. After all, as Plantinga himself has made clear, a defence is not a theodicy,

    [–> but it opens up reasonable confidence in God and a possible way to better understand his key attributes, so too the value of our responsible, conscience guided freedom to reason, decide, love, know etc]

    and the reason why evil exists at all still remains to be explained.[Lutterworths (2012), p. 64.]

    . . . so, too, we see in the Oxford Handbook of Atheism, the almost in passing remark:

    Planting stipulates that, in order to show theism to be self-contradictory and thus irrational, the burden is on the non-theistic critic to utilize propositions that are essential to theism, or necessarily true, or logical consequences of such propositions [–> another way to be necessary]. Clearly, there is no logical problem for the theist if he is not committed to each proposition in the [theistic] set [as presented and/or augmented by atheologians] or if the set does not really entail a contradiction. The logical argument faded as theists were generally successful in rejecting the assumption that free will is compatibilist in nature as well as the assumption that God must eliminate all evil [to be good, omnipotent and omniscient]. Mackie’s concession, however, comes short of full surrender:

    [W]e can concede that the problem of evil does not, after all, show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another. But whether [the Free Will Defence] offers a real solution of the problem is another question. (1982: 154)

    Following this admission, most thinkers transitioned to the evidential argument from evil while some continued searching for a viable logical argument.[Oxford (2013), eds Bullivant & Ruse, in Ch. 5, “The Problem of Evil,” by Michael L. Peterson.]

    and, in a recent Reddit post, by u/deleted under the r/DebateReligion subreddit, essentially the same admission is given as the majority view of relevant philosophers:

    The logical problem of evil was supposed to show that a three-trait god (all-knowing, all-powerful, maximally-good) was logically impossible. After Plantinga vs. Mackie, I think most philosophers would agree that Plantinga at least showed there was no logical impossibility.

    However, there still probably remained a great unlikelihood,

    [–> actually not, as once God is a serious candidate necessary being, once such is credibly possible he is credibly actual. Further, those who object based on inductive forms, are apparently in effect attaching themselves to a compatibilist form of determinism, which is hugely controversial and arguably self referentialy incoherent. For, they assume the credibility of their own reasoning but imply or invite that our apparent freedom, responsibility and rationality, thus ability to credibly argue and know are in fact driven and controlled by antecedent forces that are irrelevant to our choosing and predetermine our behaviour, thought, argument etc. If they do not, they need to explain ______ including why the Atheist’s Handbook argues in that light.]

    and that unlikelihood is known as the evidential problem of evil . . .

    10: So, we freely conclude that the holder of the field is Plantinga’s: [2b:] “A good, omnipotent God will eliminate evil as far as he can without either losing a greater good or bringing about a greater evil.”

    11: This directly shows that the theistic set is coherent as if there is a good reason to do so an utterly wise God would know it and an utterly good God would act to gain in creation a whole new category of virtue due to genuine, significant freedom to love, reason, think, warrant, know and decide. That is,

    12: We see [5a:] “God created a world (potentially) containing evil; and has a good reason for doing so.” Where,

    13: the notion that significant freedom can be antecedently programmed and determined — compatibilism — is false on its face. Which, arguably, is tantamount to transworld depravity: no world with significantly free thus ought guided creatures capable of moral, intellectual and cultural good is possible in which across the span of reality all such creatures at all times only use freedom to the good. (And yes, equally arguably for Judaeo-Christian theism, heaven is part of a package deal, with an associated world of soul test.) So,

    14: the logical form of the problem of evils is dead and conceded to be dead.

    15: As noted, the inductive form faces two key challenges,

    [a] coherently defining good/evil without implying that the world/reality root is indeed recognisably the inherently good, utterly wise, necessary and maximally great being and creator God of generic ethical theism; also

    [b] arguing without self referentially reducing our rational, responsible, morally governed significant freedom to grand delusion or utter dubiousness.

    16: Objectors to the God of ethical theism are therefore invited to answer the challenges __________ and/or to explain why the Mackie concession fails __________ . (Predictably, hard to do or it would have been done by 1981 by the leading modern proponent of the attempt to refute theism by appealing to the repulsiveness of evil.)

    KF

  408. 408
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    What high costs and big risks does religion have in a culture?

    I think Jesus paid a high cost. For a contemporary version, the life of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta or St. Padre Pio … good starting points. Lots of sacrifice and suffering for a non-worldly ideal. Evolution has nothing to offer on that.

    But I’ll mention this also, VL – you quickly jumped to a different topic after I pointed out that you are using objective truth to establish your worldview. It’s not subjective, as you had claimed.
    Running after an entirely different topic is not the best way to pursue that understanding, but if you are reflecting on what I said, that is great – no need to respond. I just don’t think it makes sense to drop that one thing and start pursuing the history and development of religion.

  409. 409
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    You responded to WJM’s question with this:

    I think my continued concern is that people thinking they are right and everyone else is wrong about religion is one of the most divisive forces in the world. If people were less attached to their metaphysical dogmas I think the world would be a better place.

    But you’ve said that’s just a subjective philosophical opinion and you don’t know if it is true or false.

    However, my position is that objective truths about these mysteries don’t exist

    As above, you don’t know if that philosophical statement is true or false – so I think WJM’s question stands. You just have mysteries, subjective opinions and no objective truths in your philosophy – how does that help? How can you advance in knowledge or wisdom about life?
    Anybody can accept that you have various opinions, of whatever kind – but they are inaccessible to reason and logic and objective fact, since you say they’re just subjective and based on unknowable mysteries.

  410. 410
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    My perspective is incoherent to you because it is not framed in your perspective: what you are saying is that they way to be coherent is to agree with you.

    I pointed out that you’re making objective, evidence-based statements but then just saying you’ve got a personal, subjective opinion and the topic is unknowable.
    To make that coherent, you have to accept there is evidence-based, objective fact and truths that can be discussed and analyzed.
    This does not eliminate all the mystery of life and the world, but it means that we can use the tools of reason and truths to get understanding.

  411. 411
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, actually, your claim is incoherent because you assert an objective truth claim that implies denial of such claims. I have offered to you suggestions as to how you can raise concerns, doubts and beliefs etc without such self referential incoherence. But so far, you reject them or side step them at the least, showing that arguably you are actually committed to the claim that is self referential and incoherent. KF

    PS, note:

    [387:] What one can safely say is that we are error prone, that the subject is controversial or difficult, that particular errors are identified or that one has doubts on claims so far [preferably with specific reasons] or the like. BTW, an identified particular error on a domain of knowledge, D, is an objective point of knowledge, ~d in D. Of course, to claim that for all existing or possible claims d, ~d obtains instead, is to assert a global albeit negative knowledge claim in D. Self referentiality is a real bear in analysis, reasoning and epistemology.

  412. 412
    EDTA says:

    VL,

    Sorry to bring this up again, but I must, as it is extremely relevant: In offering that argument for the finitude of the past, I am offering a metaphysical position that is not based on anything cultural, no historical claims, nothing of that sort. The argument is just a philosophical/mathematical way to see that the past must be finite. That could be your _first_ solid metaphysical position, and it avoids the things you consider problematic.

  413. 413
    EDTA says:

    VL,

    I think my continued concern is that people thinking they are right and everyone else is wrong about religion is one of the most divisive forces in the world. If people were less attached to their metaphysical dogmas I think the world would be a better place.

    Right now we (in the US anyway) are arguing over basics that we once had agreement on, like which extreme end of the political spectrum is going to be in charge (shades of 1920/30s Germany, btw). We only got into this predicament after the US’ religious core decayed beyond a certain point.

  414. 414
    EDTA says:

    KF @ 407,

    Excellent! Thank you very much for posting that.

  415. 415
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    I think my continued concern is that people thinking they are right and everyone else is wrong about religion is one of the most divisive forces in the world. If people were less attached to their metaphysical dogmas I think the world would be a better place.

    EDTA

    Right now we (in the US anyway) are arguing over basics that we once had agreement on, like which extreme end of the political spectrum is going to be in charge (shades of 1920/30s Germany, btw). We only got into this predicament after the US’ religious core decayed beyond a certain point.

    1: We are seeing, of course today’s form of the black legend. Somehow, RELIGION (and especially Christian faith) is singled out as the or a leading cause of war, oppression etc all because of intolerant ill informed dogmatism on dubious metaphysics matters.

    2: In actuality, a much better case can be made for lawless oligarchy as the root of distress. Sometimes, that has been through church leaders failing to live by the gospel’s integral ethics. Most of the time however, it is power without effective accountability and with breakdown of cultural buttresses of lawfulness that led to and yet leads to rapaciousness.

    3: For instance, the undeniably single worst holocaust in history is advancing globally at another million victims per week, on a base of 800+ millions in 40+ years, likely 1.4+ billions, the slaughter of our living posterity in the womb, often under slogans about right to choose or the like.

    4: So heinous and manifest is this that it marks our era as the darkest of ages, and we can readily see why this is a pons asinorum. If someone cannot recocnise and acknowledge this case, for cause, we have no good reason to trust their moral or intellectual judgement. And, given how corrosively corrupting blood guilt is, we can readily see why this watershed issue has corrupted every aspect of policy, government and politics.

    5: So, we know whose report is likely to be twisted and ruinous, not excepting US politics.

    6: Given such widespread warping and its penumbra of tainting, it is not surprising — though it is sad, to see that we often see confession by projection on root reality issues. So, s/he who dares to point to first truths and first duties is suspect, stigmatised and accused, evading the little matter of objective warrant and the other little one of fairness.

    7: Once this pernicious mindset is entrenched, one who insists on pointing to such first truths and duties will often be perceived in terms of incendiary, toxic scapegoated stereotypes: fundy, extreme right wing theocratic Christofascist or the like.

    8: Neatly, this allows locking out without ever having to consider the merits seriously.

    9: Yes, that is the fallacy of the hostile, closed, bigoted mind, precisely what those who go down this road would brand others with. Hence, cognitive dissonance defended by projection to the other.

    10: Now, I am not saying any particular person here at UD is like that, I am pointing out a toxic cultural dynamic. From which, we need to turn away.

    11: Where, worldviews analysis on comparative difficulties and taking principled stances in that light would be the very opposite of untutored, indoctrinated dogmatism. Such involves logic, warrant and evaluation of fallacies.

    12: As far as political spectra go, the Left-Right model started with U-shaped legislature halls and seating the monarchists in the place of honour, on the Speaker’s right. So, the increasingly disreputable were more and more leftward. Which, came to be associated with radical socialist ideologies. And yes, such are legion.

    13: Then, after 1916 – 18, the monarchical empires collapsed, and the right had no real definition.

    14: In Germany, for instance we saw a National [vs Lenin’s International] Socialist German [victim group to be rescued] Worker’s/Labour Party, NSDAP, Nazi for short. So, as it was right of Stalin, who in his mind was the centre of the political world, it was deemed right wing. Mussolini, a socialist, was similarly deemed right wing, fascism; never mind the common socialisation theme, statist political messianism and myth of unprecedented crisis crying out for a man of destiny superman political messiah above and beyond law.

    15: Instead, a sounder historically anchored view starts with autocracy [a temporary state, one man cannot rule a nation by himself] > oligarchy [lawless vs lawful] || > Constitutional Democracy > Minimal state libertarianism > state of nature or anarchy [so intolerable it repels to the other end]. The || wall implies that until printing, vernacular Bibles, literacy spreading on that, newspapers, tracts, pamphlets and bills, coffee houses etc there was no effective basis for that unstable but buttress-able balance, Constitutional Democracy.

    16: What is happening in the US and elsewhere, is deep rooted, entrenched subversion and usurpation pursuing the manifest design of lawless ideological oligarchy, effectively a new form of idolatrous political messianism.

    17: it is time to take up a naturally upright and straight plumb line and challenge the crooked yardsticks and their champions.

    KF

  416. 416
    Viola Lee says:

    re 412, to EDTA:

    Hi EDTA. We don’t know what the nature of time is, or if that concept even makes sense, applied to whatever came “before” or is “outside” of our universe. All of my discussion with you and others was about using the integers as a model for time, but I’m sure I offered the disclaimer that it was just the mathematics that I was interested in because I don’t really think we can use the integers as a model for time past the point where we believe our universe again.

    So I was never discussing real metaphysics in those discussions. I think if one went back and looked at those discussions one would find that I tried to be clear about that.

  417. 417
    Viola Lee says:

    re 408, to SA: You wrote.

    “But I’ll mention this also, VL – you quickly jumped to a different topic after I pointed out that you are using objective truth to establish your worldview. It’s not subjective, as you had claimed.

    Running after an entirely different topic is not the best way to pursue that understanding, but if you are reflecting on what I said, that is great – no need to respond. I just don’t think it makes sense to drop that one thing and start pursuing the history and development of religion.

    But you’re the one who brought up Wilhelm Schmidt’s theory of primitive monotheism! How am I jumping to a different subject by responding to something you said???

  418. 418
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    But you’re the one who brought up Wilhelm Schmidt’s theory of primitive monotheism!

    You asked the question in 392. I answered.

    How am I jumping to a different subject by responding to something you said???

    By avoiding entirely the refutation of your view that I provided, which was the original topic and jumping to the question of religious development. The topic that was being discussed was the nature of metaphysical, religious and philosophical belief.
    If you accept my explanation of the objective nature of the philosophical search, then you should say that. If you don’t accept, then you should say why.

  419. 419
    Viola Lee says:

    SA you write, “If you accept my explanation of the objective nature of the philosophical search, then you should say that. If you don’t accept, then you should say why.”

    Too many posts have gone by: can you explain again what your explanation is, or point to the post in which you stated it?

  420. 420
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, time is primarily a thermodynamic concept, before/after — thus too simultaneity — is about causal flow and energy constraints. Thus, entropy is pivotal to time. Then too we have regular cyclical processes starting with pendulums and water clocks or graded candles then mechanical clocks which we then harness to give interval scaling with in principle analogue flow. Then of course relativity enters and we get spacetime, with simultaneity influenced by speed of light constraints. BTW, last I checked, time is the most precisely measured quantity. KF

  421. 421
    EDTA says:

    VL,
    I was just offering up a non-cultural, non-historically-based thing that we might be able to find agreement on. Yes, it does deal with time, but if just defined as a succession of moments of some size, that does not seem controversial…we shouldn’t need to know everything about the nature of time to see that it cannot be past-infinite…

    May I ask how many individuals, initially dogmatic about metaphysical matters, you have succeeded in converting to metaphysically-agnostic?

  422. 422
    Viola Lee says:

    re 420, to KF. Thanks for the lecture about things I already know, KF, but not relevant to my point, which is that the nature and flow of time in our universe can’t be extrapolated back before our universe began. That is very unlikely to be the case, and certainly nothing we have any evidence for. So thinking about the number line as a model of time that extends back past the start of our universe is a fallacious idea, I think.

  423. 423
    Viola Lee says:

    EDTA, first, my remarks to KF at 421 apply here, also: the integers as a model for time cease to become applicable before the beginning of the universe, so the question of thinking of time as continuing on in a linear fashion before that point is not applicable. It can be an exercise in the mathematics of infinity, but not something that can tell us anything metaphysical about whatever existed “before” our universe.

    As to your second question, I have no idea, and I don’t thing “converted” is the right word. In various forums over the years I have found people who have appreciated what I’ve had to say and how I said it. Also, one of the values of discussions is one learns things about what one believes by articulating their thoughts, so I’m sure I have influenced others, in part by being a part of their exploring their own thoughts, and been influenced by others, on these matters.

  424. 424
    vividbleau says:

    VL
    “My perspective is incoherent to you because it is not framed in your perspective”

    No it is in incoherent to me because it is indeed illogical, incoherent, self refuting and contradictory. Ones perspective does not nullify rationality nor abrogate the laws of logic.

    “objective truths about these mysteries don’t exist, “

    VL is the above true?

    Vivid

  425. 425
    Viola Lee says:

    The word “objective” is used in multiple ways around here. What I mean is that we don’t have any evidence to base objective truths about the mysteries of existence in the sense of common experiences that we can use to determine if something is true. Why is there a universe like ours? Why does consciousness exist, and how does it interact with the physical world? What is there besides the universe, or was before the universe. We have no evidence about these things, so we have nothing to base an objective truth on.

  426. 426
    EDTA says:

    VL,

    …so the question of thinking of time as continuing on in a linear fashion before that point is not applicable.

    Since the argument for the finitude of the past does not assume that time goes back indefinitely–that would be silly–, that does not seem to be a valid objection to the argument.

    (You are a very skeptical person, I find!)

  427. 427
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmmm. I didn’t say indefinitely in the line of mine you quoted. But the argument for the finitude of the past did assume that it went back past the beginning of the universe, didn’t it?

  428. 428
    Querius says:

    Vividbleau @424

    “objective truths about these mysteries don’t exist, “
    VL is the above true?

    LOL

    Viola Lee @425,

    We have no evidence about these things, so we have nothing to base an objective truth on.

    Wishful thinking. We have tons of evidence: logical, experiential, revelatory, historical, and natural.

    That’s not what I believe. It is what many here believe: i.e., Christianity is the only true religion.

    It’s my belief that authentic Christianity is the opposite of religion. If you can construct a general definition that encompasses all religions, including motivation, you’ll be in a position to see why I would make this assertion.

    My unanswered question from 292 and 318 will give you a clue: “Do you know what charge was used by the Romans to convict and kill Christians?”

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” — Bertrand Russell

    Yes, but his observation is incomplete: fools, fanatics, charlatans, and . . . eyewitnesses.

    VL @397. . . how could we get any evidence that one set of beliefs is true, or not. Without a way to test, how could we tell?

    Ahh. Let me list some of the tests:
    • Exhibit profound wisdom, coherence, consistency, purpose
    • Doing things that only God can do
    • Predicting events that only God could predict
    • Knowing things that only God could know
    • Fruit of profoundly transformed lives for the better
    • Personal experience, revelation, preceded by willingness to try
    • A surplus of imitators, frauds, charlatans, and phonies
    • Unexpected aspects that differ from natural and typical social behaviors

    -Q

  429. 429
    EDTA says:

    VL,
    The argument does not reference the beginning of the universe.

  430. 430
    Viola Lee says:

    OK, then my point is that it is an unjustified extrapolation to think that time as we know it in our universe applies to whatever something came before our universe. Time as we know it involves a set of causally connected moments that at least at the macro level can be modeled by a number line. I don’t think we are justified at all in thinking that same kind of linear progression of events went on before the universe came into being.

    So the model of time on a number line really only applies to our universe. That is why my position in all our previous discussions was that we weren’t really talking about real time–we were using the language of time, as a model, to talk about the mathematics of infinity.

  431. 431
    Viola Lee says:

    Some documentation. Sometimes I save my posts. In a thred with BA a year ago, I found this.

    ET writes, “The problem is thinking in terms of space-time (infinity) and applying it before space-time existed.”

    I’m just talking about the mathematics of infinity. I agree with you that space-time as we know it in our universe can’t be extrapolated back before or outside our universe, whatever that means.

    And in a comment to you, I wrote, “First, I already said to ET above that I don’t think we know at all what the nature of time might be outside our universe. I’m just discussing this from a mathematical point of view.”

    And to you,

    Also above I wrote (and this is something I have said every time this subject has come up, “I don’t think we know at all what the nature of time might be outside our universe. I’m just discussing this from a mathematical point of view.” I am making no arguments about what real time might be: I am just discussing the notion of time as modelled by the negative integers.

    So I think I’ve been consistent about making this distinction.

  432. 432
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, now you know why I use an abstract count of epochs. The point is, causal-temporal space is often held infinite in the past, as you know as you were there when it was debated. Such, however counted, cannot be transfinite in the past. And yes, we can ask questions about what is the nature of eternity or whatever, all we know is it is there as necessary so eternal being must underlie reality as its root. We do not get a world from non being and circular retro-causation is the same in disguise. That only leaves a necessary being world root, which we can therefore regard as warranted so objectively known to be the case. That we know very little about that different order, we see through a glass darkly, does not obfuscate or distract from what we do know and what we do know is pivotal regarding ultimate origin. KF

    PS: Spotty Internet

  433. 433
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, We both know that the cosmological discussion of a quantum foam etc or the like where sub cosmi like ours are held to pop up as fluctuations, is a continuation of causal-thermodynamic thus temporal reasoning. That is the precise reason why its transfinite past extension becomes problematic. There is no room to obfuscate the need for a finitely remote necessary being as reality root.

  434. 434
    kairosfocus says:

    Q:

    VL: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” — Bertrand Russell

    Q: Yes, but his observation is incomplete: fools, fanatics, charlatans, and . . . eyewitnesses.

    Prezactly.

    KF

  435. 435
    Viola Lee says:

    KF you write, ” We both know that the cosmological discussion of a quantum foam etc or the like where sub cosmi like ours are held to pop up as fluctuations, is a continuation of causal-thermodynamic thus temporal reasoning.”

    So you think our universe came about by popping up as a continuation of causal-thermodynamics? – True? That is, you think that time as we know was also passing before our universe came into existence? – True?

    Note well: I’m not discussing the infinite/finite past issue. I’m discussing the issue of whether time existed before our universe began in the same way it is passing now in our universe.

  436. 436
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the context of discussion is necessarily involving modern cosmology and therefore the fluctuation universe model. Once we take what you say you know seriously, causal-thermodynamic, thus temporal process continues beyond the point of our local universe’s singularity. As that has a corner of the debate, it is reasonable to argue in that light as was done for several years with you present. In short, this is a key model of the past of origins that needs to be addressed, whichever model of origins turns out to be more or less correct. This model brings with it the issue of an onward past without limit, which BTW can be counted in years for convenience as finite stages and using the singularity as zero point [rather than transition i BC to 1 AD, or exhausting Julian date and projecting negative values etc] thus bringing in negative numbers in the count. So, they all come in the door together. KF

  437. 437
    Viola Lee says:

    So do you believe that is it most probable that other universes have popped-up, and continue to do so, and that there are therefore many universes, which may or may not be like ours?

  438. 438
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, it does not matter what I think [which happens to be that multiple sub cosmi are possible though perhaps it can be argued not plausible enough to be taken for granted], it is the case that this is a significant model that must be appreciated in its own terms. Where, the thermodynamic-causal, energy flow view of time will then extend beyond our own singularity. In that context the beginning is pushed back but still will be finitely remote. And BTW, the older oscillating cosmos model runs out of thermodynamic steam eventually. KF

  439. 439
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus,

    Viola Lee apparently doesn’t understand the close association with space and time . . . so much that it’s now called space-time.

    The inflation and expansion of the universe resulted in almost all of the observed red shift of light from distant stars, and which is not limited by the speed of light. The red shift is not due to stars moving but as space-time moving “under” the stars

    This has been compared to inflating a balloon covered with dots. The dots aren’t moving on the surface of the balloon, but the balloon is expanding “under” the dots.

    Extrapolating backwards, this is how scientists estimate that the age of the universe is about 13.8 billion years from a singularity, the beginning of space-time (there was no “before”).

    But if time is infinite, so is space, and if space-time is expanding–as we know from the red shift–so is the distance between stars. However, the red shift has been measured and it’s not infinite or else we would not be able to see any stars.

    In fact, the red shift is used to get an approximate distance from the earth which is proportional to Hubble’s constant.

    When Viola Lee refers to probabilistic “quantum foam” or “quantum fluctuations one cannot forget that probabilities cannot exist outside of time.

    But there’s more to the story. Stephen Hawking devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to try to come up with a plausible way of how nature could create nature from nothing (non existence) without needing to acknowledge God.

    Here’s a great article on the subject:
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/physicists-debate-hawkings-idea-that-the-universe-had-no-beginning-20190606/

    -Q

  440. 440
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, it was KF who first mentioned “probabilistic “quantum foam” or “quantum fluctuations” and speculated that time as we know it might exist outside of our universe, not me. Almost everything you addressed to me in your post aren’t things that I’ve been talking about. It seems like I’m an imaginary person in your mind, not really me.

  441. 441
    kairosfocus says:

    VL & Q, I am pointing to a major model of the past on the table. We have to take it seriously but not as certain truth. And yes space, time, mass, gravity are all intertwined. One of the tricks of expansion is that gravitationally bound regions such as galaxies are like raisins in a bread swelling as yeast bubbles. The big scale cause-effect themodynamic influence also applies. After all the expansion is temporally cumulative. KF

  442. 442
    William J Murray says:

    The thing about the past is that nobody can demonstrate it ever existed at all. It’s kind of like the theory of a reality external of experience; nobody can demonstrate it exists. As sentient beings, we’re all locked into the experiential now. There’s no escape from it.

    I raised the question some time ago to the effect of: “Where did God create space? When did God create time?” These questions point to the absurdity of the notion that God “created” space and time. KF’s answer, if I remember correctly, was that other space or other time could exist outside the framework of our particular universe.

    That was question-begging at its finest. Okay, so God existed in some kind of space-time continuum before he created this one. Where did that space-time continuum come from? There are all sorts of logical conundrums here that don’t make sense.

  443. 443
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    “Where did God create space? When did God create time?” These questions point to the absurdity of the notion that God “created” space and time.

    But that assumes that the creation act has to take place in a space or a time.
    But even in human creations, we can have immaterial ideas. A great invention, for example, is not the product of a physical space. It occurs as an immaterial idea in the mind.

  444. 444
    Viola Lee says:

    Does time exist in the immaterial world? 🙂

  445. 445
    William J Murray says:

    Sentient experience of any sort, it seems to me, requires coherent sequences of experiences, and that in any reasonable sense of the term, can be called “time.”

  446. 446
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/444

    Does time exist in the immaterial world? ?

    I would say that unless you can demonstrate the existence of an immaterial world then the question is immaterial.

    Of course, if you hold that this world is immaterial then the answer is ‘yes’, although I would still advise against walking in front of fast-moving vehicles.

  447. 447
    Viola Lee says:

    :-). So how long has it been true that 2 + 2 = 4? Does that fact have a finite or infinite past? Inquiring minds want to know.

  448. 448
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/447

    :-). So how long has it been true that 2 + 2 = 4? Does that fact have a finite or infinite past? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Hmmm, that’s a tough one.

    If there is a conservation law for information – in other words, it can be neither created nor destroyed – then it must always have been true and always will be.

  449. 449
    Querius says:

    Seversky @448,

    Yes, information is conserved and it’s the fundamental essence of reality, but where does it come from?

    Freeman Dyson – ‘God appears to be a mathematician’
    https://youtu.be/ESyqh1M_kf0

    I find it a miracle. I mean, I don’t pretend to understand it and I think it is absolutely marvelous that nature somehow thinks like a mathematician, that was what James Jeans said that… that God appears to be a mathematician. And it is astonishing that somehow all these weird mathematical ideas which we have invented for purely aesthetic reasons, essentially just as works of art, as intellectual constructions, turn up then unexpectedly to be used in nature. There’re so many examples of this, of course. Of course, the classic case was differential geometry which was invented by Gauss for very practical purposes, just for projecting maps from the spherical earth onto a plane, onto a piece of paper, so he invented this differential geometry as a way of representing curved surfaces on a flat plane. And then 50 years later Riemann applied that to a description of space and conjectured that space itself might actually be curved, but it was still sort of purely an intellectual hypothesis without any kind of physical basis. And then another 50 years later it turned out to be the essential tool for Einstein to understand gravitation. It is in fact what Einstein used for general relativity. So, it’s built… it’s built deep into the structure of space-time.

    But some people still prefer to believe that nature created nature from nothing before time began.

    They choose to believe in a cosmic turtle named “Multiverse” who lays eggs called universes. And Multiverse had a mother named “Multimultiverse.”

    Thus it’s turtles all the way up and elephants all the way down.

    -Q

  450. 450
    Viola Lee says:

    Q writes, “They choose to believe in a cosmic turtle named “Multiverse” who lays eggs called universes.

    Actually KF implied this might figuratively be the case in posts 433 and 438 above, although where the “quantum foam” came from is the next level question.

  451. 451
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the logic of structure and quantity behind 2 + 3 = 5, is part of the framework for any world to exist. So, given that utter non being has no causal capability, and that circular retrocausation is this by another route, we have infinite causal-thermofynamic-temporal past or finitely remote necessary world root being. On either case, the logic of structure and quantity would still be there. Of course, infinite past has a traversal roadblock, but that is onward. The logic of structure and quantity behind such, always was and cannot cease to be, it is a cluster of necessary, world framework entities. KF

  452. 452
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I simply report what others have seriously argued. KF

  453. 453
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee @450,

    Obviously, you didn’t read the paper I linked to in @439. Did you watch the video of Freeman Dyson in @449?

    -Q

  454. 454
    Viola Lee says:

    No, I did neither.

    I don’t believe something came from nothing, or that nature came from nature, so Hawkings doesn’t interest me, and that topic hasn’t been part of this discussion.

    And I don’t believe in God, so saying “God is a mathematician” doesn’t interest me, and I don’t think that has been part of this discussion. I do appreciate the role Dyson played in helping popularize Feynman, but my beliefs are more like Feynman’s. (However, my daughter did have lunch with Dyson one time!)

  455. 455
    Viola Lee says:

    re 451: KF agrees with Sev. 2 + 2 =4 has always existed, in some sense. It seems one can conclude that whatever the nature of that existence is, it is outside of time. (Although it is also inside time, so how it gets here is an another mystery!

  456. 456
    Querius says:

    Viola Lee,

    If you don’t believe that everything came from nothing before time began and don’t believe in God, that doesn’t leave you with very much.

    That mathematics can exist in time but is not time (actually space-time) dependent isn’t much of a mystery. The concepts of love, justice, and mercy also exist within time but are themselves timeless.

    Just sayin’

    -Q

  457. 457
    zweston says:

    Viola, what do you believe about the history of the cosmos and its origins (or lack thereof?)

  458. 458
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, you write, “If you don’t believe that everything came from nothing before time began and don’t believe in God, that doesn’t leave you with very much.”

    I’m not sure whether you’ve been in on discussions with me, but I think you have, and I’ve certainly discussed my thoughts on this, including offering alternatives to the materialism/God dichotomy to which you refer.

    Also, even if the concepts of ” love, justice, and mercy also exist within time but are themselves timeless”, which is a separate subject, that doesn’t make the ways in which timeless concepts and reality within time interact any less mysterious.

  459. 459
    Viola Lee says:

    to Zweston. I’m very much a layperson when it comes to cosmology. I accept the basic idea that the universe is about 14.8 billion years old, began as a “singularity”, expanded, stars formed from the first elements, heavier elements formed in stars, etc: pretty much the standard current theory. I’m not quite sure why you asked me, though, as this doesn’t seem to what I’ve been discussing in this thread.

  460. 460
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, necessary being entities pervade any possible world as part of its framework. We are familiar with time, not with necessary being. As for refusing faith in God, it is your choice; however as God is manifestly a serious candidate NB, you need to answer to on what grounds you hold him impossible of being, and having done so, you need to answer to the grounding of our rationally and responsible free being — requisites or even imperatives of rational discourse — without self referential incoherence. The they are all fiction, no one knows etc fail the self referentiality test. KF

  461. 461
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: We are familiar with time, not with necessary being. As for refusing faith in God, it is your choice; however as God is manifestly a serious candidate NB, you need to answer to on what grounds you hold him impossible of being, and having done so, you need to answer to the grounding of our rationally and responsible free being — requisites or even imperatives of rational discourse — without self referential incoherence. The they are all fiction, no one knows etc fail the self referentiality test.

    I do apologise; I know you’ve laid out the argument for the above many, many times and I was thinking about what I remembered of that argument and I was thinking about a particular step in that argument when it occurred to me that my memory of the statements made might be incorrect. So, I would greatly appreciate if you would point me to your best summary of the case. I want to be sure I’ve got it right before I make a comment, IF I make a comment. Thanks.

  462. 462
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I don’t know what you want. If it is the categorisations of logic of being, that is just a use of possible world speak to clarify what is possible/impossible of being, and of the former, what is contingent and what is necessary. For the latter case, ponder seven sided pentagons. It is almost a footnote to observe that what is always present in any PW must be something framework to such worlds, e.g. the structures and quantities behind core mathematics. That is, necessity of being is non-arbitrary, it has a natural sense and carries import of permanency: imagine a distinct world W without twoness, already, oops distinct is carrying duality with it, and obviously this neither began nor can it cease, it is of eternal character. Hence too universality of core Math. In that context, we can ponder serious candidate NB’s, which will either be impossible [think square circles etc] or else actual, i.e. possible, so in at least one world and framework to worlds so in all. As a weak form, consider, credibly necessary. As regarding God as conceived through generic ethical theism, obviously a serious candidate. So, either impossible or else actual, and it matters but little if you soften it. Thus, the challenge to those who would dismiss God. KF

  463. 463
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, similarly, if it is about our self moved, reflexive responsible, rational, significant freedom, my point is, branch on which we all sit. So, to object is self referentially incoherent; that, comes out in many ways. Only if we are sufficiently free and self moved can we rise above the computationalism of dynamic-stochastic substrates . . . non rational, GIGO limited, blind processing . . . to credibly think, reason, argue, judge, conclude etc with any credibility. Whether hypercalvinist [and I have known such] or materialist or psychosocial determinist or whatever, my concern is self defeat of reason. Let us at least recognise that though we may and do err, we can reason, correctly conclude, warrant and know. KF

  464. 464
    zweston says:

    Viola Lee at 459…

    I just think in order to rule out God, don’t you have to have a position on what created the universe? That is what your last few posts have been about. Origin of the universe.

    If it had a beginning, where did it come from? What do you hold to? What would be a position you would want to defend at this time? Surely you have one…

    I just don’t see how anyone can get around a supernatural (out of nature) cause for the universe.

  465. 465
    William J Murray says:

    Well, since this IS the immaterial world, I’d say that yes, math exists in the immaterial world. So does everything else.

    You guys let me know when science finds evidence of a material world.

  466. 466
    Viola Lee says:

    Zweston writes, “I just think in order to rule out God, don’t you have to have a position on what created the universe? ”

    My position is that no one knows. I would rather live with uncertainty than think I, or anyone, knows more than we do. I think it’s reasonable to not have a position on something that is beyond the reach of our experience.

    Saying that there must be something supernatural that created nature is an empty statement in that, as I said above, we don’t know anything about what that something is. “Supernatural” in this case is just a placeholder term for “we don’t know”.

  467. 467
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “you need to answer to on what grounds you hold him [God] impossible of being”, and Zweston asks, “I just think in order to rule out God …”.

    Both these statements assume that the default (correct) belief is God, and anyone who doesn’t believe in God has to justify their disbelief. I don’t accept that assumption. The burden of proof is on the believer, not the non-believer.

    KF’s comment is odd for another reason. Of course, God is possible. So is the Hindu trio of gods of creation, maintenance, and destruction, or Allah, or the Tao, or the Aborigene dreamtime. Do I have to prove them all impossible? One certainly can’t believe all possible things: one has to sort out all the evidence and believe what seems most likely, balanced by an estimate of how certain one is in general. Saying that I need to show that God is impossible is not true: that is in fact an impossible demand, and not one I need to take seriously.

    Also KF writes, “you need to answer to the grounding of our rationally and responsible free being.”

    This is another “need” that I don’t have. I have said innumerable times that I accept the reality of our rational mind and our free will, and I’ve said innumerable times that I don’t know, and don’t think we can know, where that comes from. I have also often said that my own favored, speculative beliefs–my own preferred narratives–are for an underlying, unknown impersonal Oneness out of which both the physical and the mental worlds arise. My emphasis is thus not to devise some analytic explanation of what I can in fact not know, but rather to concentrate on how to live well given the capacities that I have as a human.

  468. 468
    William J Murray says:

    “I just think in order to rule out God, don’t you have to have a position on what created the universe? ”

    That would depend on one’s ontological presuppositions.

  469. 469
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, if it is root of reality, ponder our causal-thermodynamic temporal order and say the succession of years or epochs to and beyond the singularity or the like. Succession like that by finite stages cannot traverse the transfinite exhaustively. It began, at some point. So we need a root of worlds/reality, world zero if you will. And given the world from utter non being that haunts both “from nothing” and circular retrocausation, that root is finitely remote and necessary being, not causally dependent, framework to any possible worlds but with power to be source of worlds, not like mathematical abstracta etc. Further, with us as clearly morally governed as a branch on which we sit root of our responsible, rational freedom — which we have, or else rational discussion is empty delusion [including whatever leads some to such inference] — that entity is in the only place is and ought can be soundly bridged. At that point, and all of this is outline, we face worldview level inference to the best explanation on comparative difficulties. There is but one serious candidate that has the required inherent goodness and utter wisdom to bridge, after centuries and eras of debates. The inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. If one doubts, provide an alternative _____ and do so without self defeating incoherence etc. _______ KF

  470. 470
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, there is no question begging assumption or a priori imposition that God is default. There is a discussion of why we need a necessary being of some sort as reality root, and of how our existence as morally governed creatures conditions the evaluation of that root. Further to which, it is noted that after centuries it remains true that there is just one serious candidate to bridge is and ought in the root. Note, a serious candidate NB will be either impossible of being or actual. The issue, then is to provide another serious alternative capable of bridging the is ought gap or else showing why God is impossible of being or else why, despite much serious thought on the subject God is not in fact a serious candidate. I only pause to note that the attempt to deny knowledge on such matters is a knowledge claim, as has been pointed out several times for cause as outlined. KF

  471. 471
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Both these statements assume that the default (correct) belief is God, and anyone who doesn’t believe in God has to justify their disbelief. I don’t accept that assumption. The burden of proof is on the believer, not the non-believe

    The default is that things which exist, have a reason for their existence. Things that begin to exist, have a cause for their existence. That’s the default because those are universally evident truths.
    Beyond that, some proposals for the origin of the world are “more reasonable” than others.
    To say that an immaterial entity exists, but we can know nothing about it – is not as reasonable as saying “an immaterial entity exists and therefore we can know something about it” (since we must know something to know it exists).
    The default, therefore, is that there is a ground of being – or origin for things and that origin cannot be material, since the material cannot create the material. So, there’s an immaterial origin with the power and capability of creating the material. That says quite a lot right there.

  472. 472
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, One assumption you are making, and it is a faith-based assumption, is that morality extends back to the root of reality, and that there is an is-ought gap to be bridged.

    I don’t believe that. We’ve had interminable discussions about this before, so no need to go there again.

    You also assume that a necessary being at the root of reality is, well, necessary.

    I don’t believe that. Whatever is at the root of reality may just be without necessarily being so.

    Your beliefs come out of a certain academic tradition. There are other perspectives. Yours doesn’t have a special predominance in metaphysics.

  473. 473
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Whatever is at the root of reality may just be without necessarily being so.

    That’s an irrational conclusion. It would mean that we are more rational than the root of reality (from where we obtained our rational nature) is.

  474. 474
    Viola Lee says:

    re 473: SA, I was referring to necessity, not rationality in the line you quoted.

    Also, re 471, you wrote, :The default, therefore, is that there is a ground of being – or origin for things and that origin cannot be material, since the material cannot create the material. So, there’s an immaterial origin with the power and capability of creating the material. That says quite a lot right there.”

    As I wrote to Zweston at 466, that actually doesn’t say anything, because “immaterial” is just a word meaning “not material” without any other content. I listed a bunch of “possible” metaphysical things in 467, such as “The Hindu trio of gods of creation, maintenance, and destruction, or Allah, or the Tao, or the Aborigene dreamtime”. Those are all “immaterial”, but without further information (which we do not have) we know nothing more. Zwestn used the word “supenatural” and you use the word “immaterial”, but both are just placeholders for “I don’t know what, but not material.”

  475. 475
    Scamp says:

    VL:
    You also assume that a necessary being at the root of reality is, well, necessary.

    I have only marginally been following this thread but I think that you have touched on the crux of the issue.

    KF has made no secret that he believes that the Christian God is the origin of everything. And there is nothing wrong with that. Because of his beliefs, he jumps on the idea of a necessary being, as it is consistent with the beliefs he already has. But none of this is proof that a necessary being is needed. The most we can say is that we don’t know how it all began, or even if there was a beginning.

  476. 476
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I was referring to necessity, not rationality in the line you quoted

    We arrive at the requirement for necessity through the rational process. Denying it creates an irrational origin – which is harder to explain.

    “immaterial” is just a word meaning “not material” without any other content.

    Immaterial carries with it quite a lot of information and content.
    Do the laws of physics apply? Can it be modeled mathematically? Can it be bounded by physical space? Can it by measured by physical elements (time)? Is it composed of parts? Does it have size, weight, shape, density? Does it have physical operations? Can we understand immateriality by things we experience and encounter in human life? Is “mind” a candidate? Are “intellectual processes” compatible? Is rationality compatible with immateriality?
    Can there be more than one immaterial origin? If so, how can multiple be related? What distinguishes them – their boundaries.

    Saying merely “we don’t know” closes off all of those inquiries where we can have “greater or lesser” understanding from ideas that are more reasonable or less reasonable.
    Positing the existence of multiple immaterial beings brings a lot of problems that a single immaterial origin avoids.

  477. 477
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus and Silver Asiatic,

    Viola Lee is simply morphing issues and putting words in our mouths, and this admittedly without even attempting to understand the debates among physicists and cosmologists. I provided links to this subject, but being filled with opinion, didn’t bother looking at them.

    I’m honestly sorry that Viola Lee is not actually engaging with cogent reasoning. What comes to my mind is Proverbs 18:2. In the NIV translation, it reads like this:

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.

    Currently, there’s vigorous informed debate in the scientific community on this subject. Scientific options and their implications are well known. In comparison, the objections here amount to baby talk.

    Scamp,
    None of the Christians here claim that their belief in God is a scientific conclusion, but rather it’s a paradigm. Conversely, there are no professional cosmologists that claim scientific proof of the origin of the universe, and there are no origin of life researchers who claim scientific proof of a particular path of the origin of life. Dr. James Tour famously challenged them with a “show me” to provide a chemical pathway to life and no one has been able to do so.

    Intelligent Design makes no claims about the type of intelligence behind our reality, but simply takes a pragmatic position that the ID paradigm results in faster scientific progress than any other paradigm such as random chance.

    It’s even been estimated that among secular cosmologists, 60% believe in a holographic universe and that what we experience is a simulation of reality. However, this again is a pragmatic position and takes no position on God. In fact, some of them believe we’re living in an “ancestor simulation.”

    -Q

  478. 478
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I make no such assumption. I believe you were present when the discussion was highlighted that there are two challenges, the older Euthyphro dilemma as it is called, and Hume’s guillotine: his being “surpriz’d” to see IS-IS then — gap — ought ought. Answering the second, I accept that at no level subsequent to the reality root can the IS-OUGHT gap be bridged, that is why the answer is sought there. And that brings up Euthyphro in support: the required goodness must neither be arbitrary nor itself just there out of nothing. As well, to imagine that oughtness is meaningless or the like would so devastate much of our constitution as responsible, rational creatures (not least, involving grand delusion) the answer needs to be meaningful and reasonable. What I actually did, many times, is to highlight a bill of requisites for the root of reality. Necessary being, antecedent to causal-thermodynamic temporal order, where we also saw why that must be finitely remote. Causally capable of sourcing a cosmos. This includes being able to bridge is and ought, implying that the ultimate is grounds goodness, inherent to its nature and has wisdom so the order of reality exhibits purpose that is not chaotic, a Demiurge fails. This is the context in which I have spoken to a worldview level inference to best explanation across alternatives. I noted, on history, just one serious candidate after many centuries, a familiar figure, but invited a serious alternative. Candidate to beat: the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. One, worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, rational service that accords with our evident nature. KF

    PS, Sc, what I have laid out in summary is actually the God of Philosophers, God as conceived through ethical theism informed by logic of being etc.

  479. 479
    Viola Lee says:

    Q, I have explained that I’m not interested, at least in this thread, about the debate between “cosmologists and physicists”. I’m interested in other topics. You say, “I provided links to this subject” and “Currently, there’s vigorous informed debate in the scientific community on this subject.”

    What topic? You aren’t clear. Have you paid attention to my previous responses to you?

    You write, It’s even been estimated that among secular cosmologists, 60% believe in a holographic universe and that what we experience is a simulation of reality.”

    Source?

    “In comparison, the objections here amount to baby talk”

    Not a helpful comment.

  480. 480
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    You said earlier …

    “If you don’t believe that everything came from nothing before time began and don’t believe in God, that doesn’t leave you with very much.”

    I take it also to mean “it doesn’t leave us with very much to discuss further”.
    I said that before – there’s nowhere to go with the discussion at that point, and nobody should be forced to talk about things they don’t want to talk about.
    But it’s a caution to myself when I add a comment here or there.
    I think the same is true for nihilistic-materialism and deism. There’s nothing to discuss if the person doesn’t want to probe the meaning of their own worldview.
    Some of those people, however, spare nothing in attacking ID or ridiculing God – but when asked to defend their own view they become defensive and quiet.
    At the same time, I would agree with anyone who said that physical science has no answers for immaterial entities. Science and math are not the right tools for analyzing such, except in a negative way (it’s not this or that).

  481. 481
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, KF, you assume that morality goes back to the root of reality. No amount of philosophy can show that morality is anything other than something humans do on our own.

  482. 482
    kairosfocus says:

    Sc, no, your ad hom imaginary strawman reconstruction fails. I am not arbitrarily jumping on the idea of a necessary being, I am looking at logic of being with possible worlds as a framework. In part, my considerations are actually in the context of answering Wigner’s wonder on the power of Mathematics, and decades ago, to the nature of number and even what is Mathematics. Best answer, [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity, i.e. an extension of logic of being. That builds on Lesson 1 in Uni Math, from a Famous Professor I silently tip hat to again. He defined Math as study of structure, my extension just draws up interesting details. In that context, we can see what is possible vs impossible of being, then of the former, contingent vs necessary. A fire is Copi’s example: contingent on enabling on/off causal factors as per fire tetrahedron. So, consider beings — contingent ones are in some but not all, and causes can be identified through factors switching on/off etc. Necessary, because framework to any world existing, any world. I gave two-ness, tied to distinct identity, just a distinct PW already has it present as framework. There is no distinct PW without duality, nor can it be switched on or off. And so forth. The impossibility of a world from utter non being (including circular retrocausation) and the infeasibility of traversing a transfinite span of years for convenience, leads to need for necessary, world root being at finite remove, one with power to cause a world. Including, one with morally governed creatures. KF

  483. 483
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you clearly refuse to see the point Hume drew out in his guillotine. Duly noted. KF

  484. 484
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, the inference that morality is relativist or subjective or emotive runs into self defeating trouble in many ways as has been highlighted many times. Here is a basic clip:

    Excerpted chapter summary, on Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism, in Doing Ethics 3rd Edn, by Lewis Vaughn, W W Norton, 2012. [Also see here and here.] Clipping:

    . . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right. This doctrine (as well as cultural relativism) is in stark contrast to moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone.. Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement

    Cultural relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. The argument for this doctrine is based on the diversity of moral judgments among cultures: because people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, right and wrong must be relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles. This argument is defective, however, because the diversity of moral views does not imply that morality is relative to cultures. In addition, the alleged diversity of basic moral standards among cultures may be only apparent, not real. Societies whose moral judgments conflict may be differing not over moral principles but over nonmoral facts.

    Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.

    Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.

    Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

  485. 485
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmmm. I think I’ve offered a lot to defend my views, if you’re talking about me, including my view that we need to carefully distinguish between things we can know about and things we can’t.

  486. 486
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I think I’ve offered a lot to defend my views

    On the topic of origins, your view is that you don’t know and it’s unknowable. There’s no God. There’s something immaterial.
    When asked to defend it, you’ve said that metaphysics is entirely subjective opinion.

    If that’s good enough for you, I don’t know why anyone would be interested in going further (note of ironic-caution to myself in responding here …)

  487. 487
    Viola Lee says:

    Moral judgments are choices. We can bring to bear multiple “is’s”–factual statements– but we also then consult our values and make a moral choice. There are other views than thinking there is a bridge at the root of reality. I know Hume lies in a certain tradition, but just quoting Hume doesn’t address some alternative views.

  488. 488
    Viola Lee says:

    SA says, “When asked to defend it, you’ve said that metaphysics is entirely subjective opinion.”

    Well, that’s not exactly my view. My views are 1) we can’t really know about metaphysical issues, and 2) we often adopt speculative metaphysical narratives that seem to add to our lives even though they are not really true in any ontological sense, for various practical reasons.

  489. 489
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    I take it also to mean “it doesn’t leave us with very much to discuss further”. I said that before – there’s nowhere to go with the discussion at that point, and nobody should be forced to talk about things they don’t want to talk about.

    Yes, exactly.

    When I post something, I usually try to include something informative–new information that colors the discussion.

    However, I don’t appreciate comments that simply cast an unsupported judgment as a sort of imperious equivalent of Jabba the Hutt.

    To me a parade of colorful opinions is pointless and a waste of time.

    -Q

  490. 490
    Viola Lee says:

    ” as a sort of imperious equivalent of Jabba the Hutt.”

    ??? 🙂

  491. 491
    vividbleau says:

    Q
    “However, I don’t appreciate comments that simply cast an unsupported judgment as a sort of imperious equivalent of Jabba the Hutt.”

    The most preachy self righteous poster here( not referring to you) however we are treated constantly to wonderful word salads .

    Vivid

  492. 492
    Viola Lee says:

    KF?

    Seriously, I’ll leave.

  493. 493
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: that root is finitely remote and necessary being, not causally dependent, framework to any possible worlds but with power to be source of worlds, not like mathematical abstracta etc

    This is part of what puzzles me . . . everything must have a cause at some time except, since you don’t accept an infinite regress, it must stop somewhere and that cause must be an all knowing and loving God (after a few more deductive steps)?

    I’m just trying to get all those argumentative steps elucidated and clear.

  494. 494
    Querius says:

    Vivid,

    Word salads indeed! So, here’s something to consider.

    A lot of chatbots, particularly those designed for customer support, include a library of short FAQ answers in response to keywords. One can easily imagine a matrix of these answers, each with a spectrum of attitudes ranging from conciliatory to complimentary to accusative to pejorative.

    To “humanize” these responses, one can include several versions of each response in the library. This helps avoid suspicion.

    Thus, imagine a chatbot/trollbot designed with a strong ideological focus. One can also program it to quote previously posted sentences containing the triggering keyword.

    We know that chatbots now pass the Turing test, but what we don’t know but suspect is that a large number of social media responses are actually computer-generated propaganda (CGP).

    “Word salad” responses are a little more challenging than response libraries, but still highly likely considering that Natural Language Parsing (and synthesis) has been around since the 1950s.

    None of these technologies require a human to interact with us, and so represent an entirely plausible way to waste our time in pseudo debate.

    Sobering thoughts.

    -Q

  495. 495
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, everything must have a cause has literally infinitely many exceptions, start with every n in N, the counting naturals. The sounder rule is, that which begins or ends or is otherwise contingent has a cause. Our causal-thermodynamic, temporal order extends to the actual past, and that past is contingent at each stage (for convenience, years). It cannot be transfinite, as successive traversal of such is an infeasible supertask. Where, a world from utter non being fails and with it circular retrocausation. We therefore need a world/reality root that is finitely remote and of non contingent possible character, i.e. a necessary being, capable of causing worlds. The issue then is nature of that root, and a further constraint comes from adequate grounding of our morally governed responsible rational freedom, which post Hume etc can only be addressed through bridging the IS-OUGHT gap in the root. That poses an explanatory challenge on inference to best explanation at worldview level informed by comparative difficulties. (Such is an abductive matter, not a deductive one, as in general is worldview choice.) KF

  496. 496
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: We therefore need a world/reality root that is finitely remote and of non contingent possible character, i.e. a necessary being, capable of causing worlds.

    Why does it have to be a ‘being’? And, if that being did not have a ’cause’ or origin then it must have always been around, i.e. infinitely far in the past, yes? Because there was never a ‘time’ it was not around.

  497. 497
    Scamp says:

    KF:
    Sc, no, your ad hom imaginary strawman reconstruction fails.

    You obviously do not understand what an ad hom is.

    I am not arbitrarily jumping on the idea of a necessary being, I am looking at logic of being with possible worlds as a framework. [followed by something I can’t even begin to make sense of].

    Who is suggesting that you are arbitrarily jumping to the conclusion of a necessary being? Concluding something that is consistent with and supportive of your existing beliefs is anything but arbitrary. But you have to admit that it is certainly comforting and self-reinforcing.

    We have pretty good theories, although very incomplete, about what happened shortly after the event we call the Big Bang up until the current universe. But we don’t known what the Big Bang was, how it was caused, if anything existed before that, and thousands of other things. Throwing a “necessary being” into the mix is simply not warranted, and can only bias our search.

  498. 498
    vividbleau says:

    Scamp
    “But we don’t known what the Big Bang was, how it was caused, if anything existed before that,”

    Logically we know something must have existence “before” that.

    Vivid

  499. 499
    EDTA says:

    VL,
    As I read back through today’s comments, I have to ask myself whether you know enough things with certainty to be able to legitimately say that we can’t know the things we claim to know. This is how hyperskepticism comes back to bite a person… At the very least, your skepticism would seem to make it very difficult to persuade others that they don’t know the things they think they know. Sounds like you have staked out an uphill battle for yourself.

  500. 500
    Scamp says:

    VB:
    Logically we know something must have existence “before” that.

    If what existed before followed the physical laws as we understand them today then I would agree with you. But since we don’t know this, any proposal would be unsupported speculation, and therefore not logical. In other words, the only conclusion we can reach is that we don’t know.

  501. 501
    vividbleau says:

    Scamp
    “But since we don’t know this, any proposal would be unsupported speculation, and therefore not logical.”

    Ahh no. An unsupported speculation is just that it’s unsupported. There are lots of unsupported speculations that are not illogical. What is illogical is that which began to exist came from nothing. Nothing can cause nothing , nothing has no ontological existence, no casual power whatsoever.

    Logic cannot tell us what is true it can only tell us what cannot be true and for existence to spring from non existence is illogical. We are left with the absurd conclusion that something exists before it exists.

    Vivid

  502. 502
    vividbleau says:

    EDTA
    “ I have to ask myself whether you know enough things with certainty to be able to legitimately say that we can’t know the things we claim to know.”

    To say we can’t know certain things would not one have to first know something about the thing we can’t know? Just another example of self referential incoherence dressed up as a sophisticated argument.

    Vivid

  503. 503
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    Why does it have to be a ‘being’? And, if that being did not have a ’cause’ or origin then it must have always been around, i.e. infinitely far in the past, yes? Because there was never a ‘time’ it was not around.

    What is present in the effect must be present, in potential, in the cause. So, we look at the cause of various beings – thus the cause must be being capable of causing all others.
    Our regress back through causes stops with one necessary one.
    We see train cars moving on the track. Ultimately, that string of effects ends with an engine car, the cause of its motion.
    In another sense – all things we observe have their existence derived from something else. Eventually, there needs to be a source for the “derivitave being” — a source that gives those properties which cannot come from the derivative beings themselves.

  504. 504
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EDTA

    At the very least, your skepticism would seem to make it very difficult to persuade others that they don’t know the things they think they know. Sounds like you have staked out an uphill battle for yourself.

    That’s the problem – skepticism undercuts the claims of the skeptic, and thus, as you say – it becomes difficult for the skeptic to convince anyone of anything (except to be skeptical, but even that’s not convincing).
    Yes, a very steep uphill battle.
    We can’t hide from the responsibility of life – to live with meaning and purpose and to make the best use of the time we have on earth. That means, we should always seek the truth and seek to live by it.

  505. 505
    Querius says:

    JVL @496,

    Why does it have to be a ‘being’? And, if that being did not have a ’cause’ or origin then it must have always been around, i.e. infinitely far in the past, yes? Because there was never a ‘time’ it was not around.

    There are several problems with your statements:

    1. A being. Presumably you mean a conscious, sentient being outside of space-time.
    If consciousness is instead a property of matter and its arrangement, you have the problem of identifying a new property in quarks that imbue consciousness and sentience that’s detectable when in sufficient quantity and arrangement.

    2. A being existing infinitely in the past.
    The problem is that space-time originated with the big bang: there was no space or time before the big bang, so there’s no “before.” Speculating that some being exists in a different space-time merely kicks the can down the road.

    -Q

  506. 506
    kairosfocus says:

    Sc [& attn JVL], whatever comes before the singularity needs not follow the same physics — hence the fine tuning discussion and the concept of possible other physical domains — but core logic of being including key matters of structure and quantity truly are framework to any possible world. Where, a PW is a sufficiently complete description of how this or another world is, was or could be. One of the points of that logic is, that utter non being — the true nothing — can have no causal powers so were such the case it would forever obtain, i.e. there would never be a world. That a world is, implies something else, the reality/world root always was, a necessary being. That it is credible our cosmos began to exist, perhaps 13.75 BYA, implies a causal antecedent. Where, the issue then is to characterise that root and something like our being morally governed is relevant. And being is used very broadly here, it is not synonymous with physicality. KF

  507. 507
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, being does not imply person though it can include such, in the relevant sense, 0, 1, 2, . . . are beings. Be-ing is about existence. Some are personal, others are not, e.g. a rock or the number 2. But as I noted, there is no distinct possible world where 2 is not framework, just distinction to have a particular possible world is enough to show that. KF

  508. 508
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @506,

    Yes. And this is where quantum mechanics kicks in. It’s currently believed that the fundamental reality we experience is not particles and energy, but information.

    The conscious observation of information in the form of mathematical probability waves results in their collapse into particles and energy.

    Where does this information originate?

    -Q

  509. 509
    kairosfocus says:

    Sc, BTW, look at what you wrote above, in 475:

    KF has made no secret that he believes that the Christian God is the origin of everything. And there is nothing wrong with that. Because of his beliefs, he jumps on the idea of a necessary being, as it is consistent with the beliefs he already has.

    That is a classic case of setting up and knocking over a strawman given what I have been at pains to do, and in context it is laced with ad hom too. So, we know that not only will you do something like that but in short order +24 comments is it, you will rhetorically suggest you have not.

    Sad, but to be taken into the reckoning.

    KF

  510. 510
    Seversky says:

    Skepticism, it seems to me, is very little different from Hume’s dictum that a wise person proportions their belief to the evidence. If someone tells me the have fairies at the bottom of their garden but all they can offer as proof is a grainy photograph that could very easily have been faked then I am under no obligation to believe that claim. It may still be true but unless and until better evidence comes along it is more likely to be false.

    The reality is that there are very few things of which we can be certain. In the majority of cases, in my view, it’s more accurate to say that we have varying degrees of confidence in things. It is unwarranted certainty in religious beliefs or political ideologies that causes so much mischief.

  511. 511
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, that is a recipe for infinite regress of doubts and disputes, and thus for selective hyperskepticism. Instead, as we are finite, fallible, struggling and too often ill willed, we need to recognise that we all have faith points at core of our world views which are subject to comparative difficulties on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power. Where, a relatively few self evident first facts and principles help us test the quality of our thought, but we can never compose a full worldview just from those. And right now it is unwarranted confidence in radically secular ideas dressed up in lab coats that are leading to deep, deep trouble. KF

  512. 512
    Seversky says:

    Querius/505

    1. A being. Presumably you mean a conscious, sentient being outside of space-time.
    If consciousness is instead a property of matter and its arrangement, you have the problem of identifying a new property in quarks that imbue consciousness and sentience that’s detectable when in sufficient quantity and arrangement.

    Consciousness would seem to be a property of certain arrangements of matter and energy. We see it associated with physic animal brains but not with rocks or trees, for example. We are also struggling to say what consciousness is. If it’s a property of matter then presumably quarks come into it somewhere but exactly how is still beyond us.

    2. A being existing infinitely in the past.
    The problem is that space-time originated with the big bang: there was no space or time before the big bang, so there’s no “before.” Speculating that some being exists in a different space-time merely kicks the can down the road.

    We don’t know that space-time originated in the Big Bang. All we can really say is that observational data points back to a time some 13.8 bn years ago or thereabouts when the Universe was much smaller and denser. Originally, it was thought that this pointed towards everything being compressed into a primordial singularity of infinite density and mass but it now appears that this assumption is being questioned.

    The argument that kf and I have put forward is that, since there is something there must always have been something, the reason being that, if there had ever been truly nothing, there would still be nothing because you can’t get something out of nothing.

    I think that what we can say with a high degree of confidence is that, while we know a lot more than we used to, there is still an awful lot that we are missing.

  513. 513