Fine tuning Intelligent Design

Hitchhiker’s Guide author’s “puddle” argument against fine-tuning — and a response

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At Stand to Reason, Tim Barnett reminds us of an argument against fine-tuning of the universe Douglas Adams (1952–2001) offers in one of the Hitchhiker books (he Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time):

This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

Barnett responds:

In the puddle analogy, the puddle—Doug—can exist in any hole. That’s how puddles work. The shape of the hole is irrelevant to the existence of the puddle. If you change the shape of the hole, the shape of the puddle changes, but you always get a puddle.

The problem is, life doesn’t work like that. Life cannot exist in any universe. The evidence from fine-tuning shows that a life-permitting universe is extremely rare. If you change certain conditions of the universe, you cannot get life anywhere in the universe. For instance, slightly increase the mass of the electron or the up quark, and get a universe with nothing but neutrons. No stars. No planets. No chemistry. No life.

Tim Barnett, “Why the Puddle Analogy Fails against Fine-Tuning” at Stand to Reason (April 22, 2021)

It’s a good argument. But in reality, any argument against fine-tuning will be accepted, whether it makes sense or not. It is only the defenders of a rational universe who need to make sense. And that’s not for the other guy; it’s for you.

See also: What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?

400 Replies to “Hitchhiker’s Guide author’s “puddle” argument against fine-tuning — and a response

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    That Doug attempts to utilize a simplistic analogy to arm wave away fine-tuning just shows how far away his meat brain is from science.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    The original fine-tuning argument was derived from the observation that, if the values of certain fundamental physical constants fluctuated by even a small amount from their measured values, this Universe would not exist. As I remember, there was an intriguing Australian TV sci-fi mini-series based on the premise that one of those constants was beginning to change.

    The problem is that creationists made the unwarranted leap to the claim that this is evidence that this Universe must have been made especially for us, completely ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of the observed Universe is implacably hostile to human life.

    Adams’s “puddle” analogy was simply making that point, that we might be wrong thinking this was all created just for us.

  3. 3
    hnorman42 says:

    The puddle argument is irrelevant to probablistic arguments around fine tuning and natural selection. That a puddle fits it’s hole is true by definition. The probability is 1. There are no odds to surmount.

  4. 4
    Ralph Dave Westfall says:

    To have a liquid fit a puddle, no matter how complex its dimensions, requires only two very simple things:
    1-it has to be at least somewhat fluid but the viscosity can vary a lot
    2-there has to be gravity sufficient to overcome the viscosity

    Contrast this with the fine-tuning requirements for intelligent life:
    1-a large number of variables have to be tuned
    2-the tuning has to be extremely precise

    In other words, the puddle analogy fails miserably as a counterargument.

  5. 5
    AaronS1978 says:

    What are fundamentally childish argument
    Life conforms to its environment is the whole message

    Here’s one for you the puddle wakes up in the morning “wow the world fits me perfectly it’s so perfect it must be made for me”

    Wow that means everybody that the lease and intelligent design is just being Ignorant

    And then reality kicks in

    And the puddle looks up into the sky and stares at the sun which is is just a few degrees to hot. The puddle is evaporated by the unrelenting sun and Ceases to exist

    Guess things had to be just right after all

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, once water is in a depression, it will by mechanical necessity flow to fill the shape. So, this is a case of knocking over a strawman. Now consider a puddle in which the water spells out “puddle” in a cursive script, so the letters are joined together. That would be a different story. KF

  7. 7
    paige says:

    I think people are reading far too much into this. Adam’s five part trilogy is just an entertaining story of the ridiculous, in the same vein as Monty Python’s Holy Grail or Life of Brian.

    He is probably laughing from the grave over the fact that people are taking his little asides in the story as serious arguments.

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    I think Life of Brian is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen and, yes, Adams’s humor was based in an appreciation of the ridiculous. And for a species of ape to come into existence 13.8 bn years after the Universe was created and immediately assume that the whole thing was created just for them is pretty ridiculous if you think about it.

  9. 9
    paige says:

    I loved Life of Brian as well. The part I like the best is when Brian yells to the crowd that they are all individuals, and the crowd responds in unison “We are all individuals.”

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AaronS

    What are fundamentally childish argument

    I had a debate with an atheist once and he brought up the puddle argument. His atheist buddies all loved that Douglas Adams book also. These guys are (supposedly) grown men and they were giggling like little girls about it. Adams is a “genius” – and the puddle argument is “brilliant” etc.

    Childish is the right word for it.

    I try not to laugh at atheists. I find them to be tragic figures, totally lost with no direction, no purpose — no reason to even mature and work on virtue or have a reason to take responsibility or a higher role. Jordan Peterson has some devastating commentary about that very thing.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    And for a species of ape to come into existence …

    You describe yourself as a “species of ape” who came from nothing and will end in nothing. There’s not much value there.
    But no – you are loved by God, and have received transcendent gifts – spiritually and intellectually. You have infinite value. You’re capable of loving others, making sacrifices and contributing great things – and very capable of finding God, happiness and the fullness of life. You have unspeakable value because you were created in the image of God and called to friendship with Him and to purify your soul, live in virtue and change the world for the better.

    The atheist argument against that is that you’re worthless.

    Why not try looking at yourself from a different perspective?

  12. 12
    Viola Lee says:

    SA says, “I try not to laugh at atheists. I find them to be tragic figures, totally lost with no direction, no purpose — no reason to even mature and work on virtue or have a reason to take responsibility or a higher role.”

    Over on another thread, WJM wrote, in a discussion about the downside of labelling people, “It’s really hard to understand and properly respond to any individual perspective or argument; it’s much easer to just label them X and trot out all the old arguments against X.”

    I then replied, “There are certainly ample examples of this here at times.”

    Case in point.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Viola Lee

    Just wondering – are you male or female? “Viola” has a female sound to it, but would help to know. Thanks.

  14. 14
    paige says:

    SA

    Just wondering – are you male or female?

    Just wondering – why does it matter? Why are labelling individuals so important? Are you suggesting that the opinions of women aren’t as important?

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Paige

    Why are labelling individuals so important?

    I try to be respectful of the labels that people give to themselves. So, it’s important to know them.

    Are you suggesting that the opinions of women aren’t as important?

    If people didn’t tell me if they were male or female in these discussions, how would I be able to draw any conclusion about your question?

  16. 16
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, I also want to know why it makes a difference, for me or Paige? One of the features, for better or for worse, of internet forums is the anonymity that most posters prefer because, among other reasons, it reduces the number of preconceptions that are brought into a discussion.

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ok, I understand.
    As a rule, I don’t argue with women. I was taught that is not what a gentleman should do.

  18. 18
    paige says:

    But SA, now that you think it is important, are you male or female? Based on your nom du plume, are you Asian? Japanese? Chinese? Thai? Korean? Indian?

  19. 19
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Male – mixture of ethnicities

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    You both sound like women to me. Viola argues like a woman, and Paige certainly seems like one now.

    I’m done with this topic

  21. 21
    paige says:

    SA

    Viola argues like a woman, and Paige certainly seems like one now.

    Well, I just have to ask. How does a woman argue differently than a man? And how does a woman “seem” like a woman on a blog? Are we emotional? Are we “bitchy”? Are women irrational?

  22. 22
    Viola Lee says:

    Wow!

    SA, you write, “Ok, I understand. As a rule, I don’t argue with women. I was taught that is not what a gentleman should do.”

    Do you discuss things with women, as opposed to argue? Or do you think that women just don’t belong at the table in intellectual discussions? And what is it about my posts here that makes you think I “argue like a woman.” Perhaps Seversky is a woman? Should you be concerned about that, or, does he argue enough like a man, and has a gender-neutral name, that you aren’t concerned about him?

    I’d certainly be interested to hear more.

  23. 23
    Viola Lee says:

    The viola is a musical instrument, and Lee is a gender-neutral name, so maybe I’m a non-binary viola player? 🙂

  24. 24
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Perhaps Seversky is a woman?

    Seversky self-identifies as a species of ape who came from nowhere and is ultimately going nowhere.
    As I mentioned before, I find that a tragic and sad way to view oneself, but without God who loves us, created us for a good reason and wants us to fulfill a real destiny — that’s really all one can say. Just some chemistry that accidentally formed self-replicating molecules – an assemblage of cells, lucky enough to be descendants of apes. So, that’s pretty good, I guess. Calling oneself “a man” or “a woman” is actually giving more dignity to that view than it deserves. There’s really no personhood there. To say that someone is “a woman” (or a man) is to impart quite a lot of value and significance. But if the worldview holds that the organism came from nothing and will return to nothing – then that term of significance is misplaced.
    I don’t accept that view, so I would refer to Seversky as a man. He has the potential to be a very great man in the eyes of God – we never know what changes can take place. The last will be first and the first last. Those we thought to be in some way diminished (by bad philosophy) can rise up to greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven.
    That’s what I hope and pray for.

  25. 25
    paige says:

    SA, with respect (but most likely, not) that is a bunch of BS. Are the points made by Viola and myself afforded any different worth based of gender? Wasn’t there a recent discussion on the danger of assigning labels to individuals?

    Maybe it wasn’t done intentionally, but your statements about gender are extremely offensive given the nature of the discussions. The fact that you are oblivious to this is very informative.

  26. 26
    paige says:

    VL

    The viola is a musical instrument,

    I played the violin, viola and cello in high school. Very challenging instruments.

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Paige

    your statements about gender are extremely offensive

    I didn’t intend them as such, but I apologize for how it came across.

  28. 28
    paige says:

    SA

    I didn’t intend them as such, but I apologize for how it came across.

    Apology accepted. But do you realize how you came across?

  29. 29
    Viola Lee says:

    SA. I have seen other places where you have shown yourself to be a thoughtful and civil participant in discussions, including me even though the subject of gender never came up. But I’m going to object to your statement (and this is really a general irritant to me) that “I didn’t intend them as such, but I apologize for how it came across.”

    I don’t see that statement as an apology (a friend of mine once coined, I think, the term notpology) because it basically shifts the blame to the person being offended. Saying simply, “I didn’t intend them as such, but I apologize” would be better.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    The problem is that creationists made the unwarranted leap to the claim that this is evidence that this Universe must have been made especially for us, completely ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of the observed Universe is implacably hostile to human life.

    Umm, that claim is warranted to the Creationists via the Bible. And the fact that the rest of the universe is inhospitable to life (it isn’t) just makes our existence that much more remarkable, to those Creationists.

  31. 31
    ET says:

    The Hitchhiker series was brilliant. The quote in the OP is as serious as his flying dolphins How many of you have tried to fly by throwing yourself at the ground and trying to miss? 🙂

  32. 32
    Viola Lee says:

    The Bug Blatter Beast of Traal is one of my favorites. If it attacks, you put your hands over your eyes, because it is so dumb it thinks that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you! 🙂

  33. 33
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/17

    As a rule, I don’t argue with women. I was taught that is not what a gentleman should do.

    I neither know nor particularly care whether Viola Lee or Paige are male or female and I was raised to believe that a gentleman treated everyone with due respect, regardless of sex, ethnicity, political ideology or faith.

  34. 34
    Karen McMannus says:

    Seversky: The problem is that creationists made the unwarranted leap to the claim that this is evidence that this Universe must have been made especially for us, completely ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of the observed Universe is implacably hostile to human life.

    “Completely ignoring”? Huh? Have you done a poll? I don’t know anyone who ignores that fact that most of universe as we understand it is hostile to life. Life on earth is (apparently) rare and special with a myriad of tightly constrained variables that determine life’s existence.

    At any rate, 99% of the Linux kernel has nothing directly to do with the user interface. Does that mean the Linux kernel is irrelevant to the user interface? Of course not. The universe at large can be (partially) considered to be an element generator. Several generations of stars led to an abundance of higher weighted elements to complete what we call the Periodic Table of Elements.

    You can learn about that here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIF6X4dGp40

    You might want to read Privileged Planet and reconsider whether or not your statement above is a good argument.

    https://www.amazon.com/Privileged-Planet-Cosmos-Designed-Discovery/dp/0895260654

  35. 35
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/11

    You describe yourself as a “species of ape” who came from nothing and will end in nothing. There’s not much value there.

    That depends on who’s doing the valuing.

    Isn’t value – like beauty – in the eye of the beholder? An atheist could argue that, if this is the only brief span of life we get, then it should be valued on the basis of that rarity and be lived on that understanding. For Christians, who believe in a much better life after this one, shouldn’t they be moving on from here just as fast as they can?

    But no – you are loved by God, and have received transcendent gifts – spiritually and intellectually.

    Some may be so blessed but there are also many whose lives are filled with such hardship and suffering that they are entitled to believe that God’s love is notable by its absence.

    The atheist argument against that is that you’re worthless.

    Not quite, the atheist position is to ask why should our value or worth only be that which some other being judges us to have? Why not what we think of ourselves?

  36. 36
    Seversky says:

    Karen McMannus/34

    99% of the Linux kernel has nothing directly to do with the user interface. Does that mean the Linux kernel is irrelevant to the user interface? Of course not. The universe at large can be (partially) considered to be an element generator. Several generations of stars led to an abundance of higher weighted elements to complete what we call the Periodic Table of Elements.

    So I understand but none of that means that this whole Universe was created just for us.

    If we eventually find that we are the only life in this galaxy and nearby galaxies then there would be a case for asking why we are the only life here. Maybe we are special. On the other hand, if we eventually find life on other worlds, even if it’s not very common, then the case for us being a special or favored life-form becomes a lot harder to make.

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Thread is off track and open to the sort of agit prop “woke-ist” stratagems discussed here. I suggest a return to substance. We can take it that the puddle anti-fine tuning argument has failed, hence distractions. Distractions do not answer to the merits on fact and logic. KF

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, the point is more basic, without fine tuning starting with Hoyle’s resonance enabling the C & O abundance, we would not have a cosmos that generates the span and relative abundance of elements that are foundational to C-chem, aqueous medium, terrestrial planet, Galactic habitable zone, cell based life. Without that locally fine tuned operating point, we would not be here. Note, our operating point leads to H, He, O and C as first four elements, with N close by in our galaxy: Stars, gateway to the rest of the periodic table, Water, Organic Chem, Proteins. That is yet another suspiciously design-like pattern. KF

  39. 39
    Viola Lee says:

    The issue about whether Paige or myself is a woman or a man is minor. I am much more bothered by this that SA wrote:

    “I try not to laugh at atheists. I find them to be tragic figures, totally lost with no direction, no purpose — no reason to even mature and work on virtue or have a reason to take responsibility or a higher role.”

    We’ve been discussing worldviews. One of the things I’ve advocated for is making a genuine effort to understand other worldviews, in part in the interest of reducing some of the divisiveness we have in the world. What good is there in just lumping large numbers of people into a group based on a label, and considered them all tragic, lost, etc. What kind of an attitude towards fellow human beings is that?

    I am an atheist, but not a materialist, and I find SA’s attitude towards me about that considerably more off-putting than his attitude would be if he knew I was a woman (which he doesn’t, although he thinks I argue like a woman, whatever that means).

    I am certainly not lost, with no direction. I am certainly mature in multiple ways, including working on virtue and taking responsibility for what I see are higher roles. On another thread (they have all gotten jumbled together) we discussed the following question: if two people agree about a judgment or action, does it make any difference whether our rationalizations for those actions ae based on different worldviews?

    How are we all to live together if people like SA dismiss people like me as he did because I see the world differently than he does, based on a label and with very little knowledge of who I am as a person.

  40. 40
    Karen McMannus says:

    Seversky @36,

    To clarify, I wasn’t addressing the “especially for us” claim of creationists, as you put it. I’m addressing what you wrote after the comma: “completely ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of the observed Universe is implacably hostile to human life”, as if this is an argument against the “especially for us” claim. It isn’t. It’s a valid question, but it’s not an argument.

  41. 41
    Viola Lee says:

    A side note: we don’t know whether all the people here with masculine names are men. Sometimes women, I’ve been told, take masculine names on internet forums on the grounds that they will be taken more seriously, as equals to the men, rather than be subjected to some of the negative stereotypical attitudes towards women and intellectual activity.

  42. 42
    Bob O'H says:

    The viola is a musical instrument,…

    Strictly, I think (as a former violist) it should be viewed as a non-musical instrument. To be played by people not good enough to play the violin.

  43. 43
    vividbleau says:

    Viola
    “maybe I’m a non-binary viola player?”
    Maybe, but your certainly XX ie a biological female

    Vivid

  44. 44
    vividbleau says:

    Viola

    . “I am much more bothered by this that SA wrote:

    “I try not to laugh at atheists. I find them to be tragic figures, totally lost with no direction, no purpose — no reason to even mature and work on virtue or have a reason to take responsibility or a higher role”

    That’s not my perception as well. Honestly I have a great deal of respect for atheists even though I myself am a Christian. If I was not a Christian I would become an atheist. I find that they have very strong arguments.

    One of the toughest ones (not thee toughest nor an argument I got from an atheist)for me is why God created man and thus ushered in by that choice the resulting unimaginable atrocities,suffering, etc, what’s the point?

    Vivid

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, the ability to think freely, warrant through right reason prudently applied, choose wisely and especially to love [thus, to be virtuous, just, fair, caring, humble, servant-minded etc] depend on opening up a space beyond the dynamic-stochastic and computational. That is, the answer is that the terrible, awesome gift of freedom opens up a world of good but — and, oh, what a but — freedom cannot be free if it is not actually free. Which means, that we are free to abuse, warp, pervert the gifts of freedom. Hence, evil not mere calamity. KF

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, much more to the point, evolutionary materialistic scientism definitely undermines meaningfulness including genuine vision and purpose. I guess it takes a Provine to put it bluntly, drawing it out of the shadows of throwing the spotlight on Big-S Science:

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

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

    Heine, the great German writer, saw this even before Darwin wrote, and prophesied . . . with shocking accuracy . . . where the great rebellion against the legacy of the Christian synthesis at the root of our civilisation as we know it, would lead, c 1830:

    Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered [–> the Swastika, visually, is a twisted, broken cross . . do not overlook the obvious], the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame [–> an irrational battle- and blood- lust]. …

    The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals. …

    Do not smile at my advice — the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians [–> the ugly gulch between appearance to us and being as it is], Fichteans [–> subjectivity i/l/o the gulch and i/l/o chance and mechanical necessity, rejection of revelation beyond moral law], thesis-antithesis-synthesis triad etc], and philosophers of nature [–> Scientists]. Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder … comes rolling somewhat slowly, but … its crash … will be unlike anything before in the history of the world.

    At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead [–> cf. air warfare, symbol of the USA], and lions in farthest Africa [–> the lion is a key symbol of Britain, cf. also the North African campaigns] will draw in their tails and slink away. … A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll. [Religion and Philosophy in Germany, 1831]

    Much more can be said. For the moment, let us just note that it is not for nothing, from nowhere, with no ideas root that nihilism, sociopathic radicalism, lawless ideologies seeking to domineer, demonic perversities, deep despair and worse haunt our age.

    KF

    PS: Evolutionary materialistic scientism lies at the heart of modern atheism. Yes there are or can be atheists of other stripes but that is the centre of gravity.

  47. 47
    JVL says:

    Vividbleau: One of the toughest ones (not thee toughest nor an argument I got from an atheist) for me is why God created man and thus ushered in by that choice the resulting unimaginable atrocities, suffering, etc, what’s the point?

    And what conclusion did you come to?

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Regarding, “an atheist, but not a materialist” and “Isn’t value – like beauty – in the eye of the beholder? An atheist could argue that, if this is the only brief span of life we get, then it should be valued on the basis of that rarity and be lived on that understanding” as well as shouldn’t Christians more or less kill themselves.

    1: Suicide is self-murder, the ultimate rejection of being made in God’s image and a strong sign of despair rooted in one who cometh but to steal, kill and destroy.

    2: Likewise, reckless, self-centred, short-sighted living is the opposite of the Spirit of Christ.

    3: Where, this is a world of transformative service, guided by truth and powered by grace.

    4: Subjectivity, of course, is not the opposite of objectivity, and our sense of dignity, worth, value and vision all point to sehnsucht, Lewis’ Joy that echoes and points to a world beyond this one. Joy is the very serious business of Heaven.

    5: Beauty of course impacts the beholder, but is in fact the capital example of the valuable that has strong objective principles that we may learn to recognise and appreciate. So, no, beauty and value do not lie merely in the eye of the beholder. A theme that extends to ethical value.

    6: There is a reason why justice, truth and beauty come together and positively vibrate with and radiate sehnsucht. They point to ultimate fulfillment beyond this age of the soul-test of life.

    7: Now, of course, there are non-materialistic forms of atheism, e.g. some forms of Buddhism, some forms of magical worldviews, forms of panpsychism, and the like, some of which pose ideals for moral life. But, nowadays, given the use of negative definitions, disbelief in God is often expressed as skeptical non-belief that shuts the door on evidence that warrants acknowledging God.

    8: Atheism, in short — and this is meant to balance the assumption that equates it to the most common form today — is a component of a wider worldview, not the sum of the view in itself. (And nowhere is it seriously held that worldviews are necessarily coherent, factually adequate or explanatorily satisfactory, much less fully thought through by adherents.)

    9: I note from Pew:

    1] The share of Americans who identify as atheists [~ 4%] has increased modestly but significantly in the past decade. [I think, other categories are/may be implicitly atheist.]

    2] The literal definition of “atheist” is “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods,” according to Merriam-Webster. And the vast majority of U.S. atheists [81%] fit this description . . . roughly one-in-five self-described atheists (18%) say they do believe in some kind of higher power. None of the atheists we surveyed, however, say they believe in “God as described in the Bible.”

    3] Atheists make up a larger share of the population in many European countries [–> where for 200+ years now, the root of the trend is] than they do in the U.S.

    4] In the U.S., atheists are mostly men and are relatively young [–> reflecting aggressive promotion in formal and informal education and the media]

    5] The vast majority of U.S. atheists say religion is not too or not at all important in their lives (93%) and that they seldom or never pray (97%) [–> so, ~ 1 in 30 atheists pray and 1 in 12 have some religious affinity] . . . atheists are more likely than U.S. Christians to say they often feel a sense of wonder about the universe (54% vs. 45%). [–> a reflection of sehnsucht]

    6] Where do atheists find meaning in life? Like a majority of Americans, most atheists mentioned “family” as a source of meaning . . . atheists were far more likely than Christians to describe hobbies as meaningful or satisfying (26% vs. 10%). Atheists also were more likely than Americans overall to describe finances and money, creative pursuits, travel, and leisure activities as meaningful. [–> man’s search for meaning, again reflecting sehnsucht. We are creatures of a character that transcends the materialc world, with yearnings that this world cannot satisfy, leading to the dynamics of cognitive dissonance in the heart of our civilisation’s aggressive secularism]

    7] In many cases, being an atheist isn’t just about personally rejecting religious labels and beliefs – most atheists also express negative views when asked about the role of religion in society [–> hostility, esp to the Christian faith and heritage]

    8] Atheists may not believe religious teachings, but they are quite informed about religion. [–> however, likely with a negative twist]

    9] Most Americans (56%) say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral, while 42% say belief in God is necessary to have good values [–> note, fact vs value dichotomy, and a sense of need to justify oneself]

    10] Americans feel less warmly toward atheists than they do toward members of most major religious groups . . . [–> reflecting concerns over morality, the way atheists often project themselves and respond to believers, also the history of atheism in power over esp the past century; no, there is no year zero pass]

    10] The underlying issue of course is that inescapably, we are morally governed contingent creatures in a world that is contingent and marked by signs of design. Where also, an infinite regress of causal-temporal, thermodynamically connected stages is dubious, pointing to the need for causally adequate necessary being at finite remove as world root. Where, that being has to also be adequate to ground goodness.

    11] So, we see that we need a powerful designer of the cosmos of necessary being character [so, eternal], with inherent goodness.

    12] There is just one serious candidate to fill that bill, the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary [so, eternal] and maximally great being. The alternatives have to sacrifice one or more of the requisites and may also fail the test of accounting for or rational, responsible, morally governed freedom.

    13] In particular, those inclined to disbelieve in God need to address, cogently, the significance of serious candidacy to necessary being: such is either impossible of being due to incompatibility of requisite core characteristics, or is actual as part of the framework for any world to exist.

    14] The God of generic ethical theism as just outlined, further, is obviously close indeed to the God of our civilisation’s foundational, Bible-rooted, Hebraic-Christian tradition. This comes out further as systematic theology is explored.

    KF

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, you may find 45 above relevant. KF

  50. 50
    asauber says:

    I find Atheists to be shallow, unscientific thinkers, almost invariably incapable of an honest conversation about ideas they don’t like. They have no commitment to the truth, as their worldview is dedicated to proclaiming truth doesn’t exist. Self-fulfilling bags of meat.

    Andrew

  51. 51
    Viola Lee says:

    Asauber’s comments at 50 are worse than SA’s at 10. This all pertains to the running issue of how are people with different worldviews to live together constructively in a world that is increasingly diverse. One step needs to be to be able to understand the basic common humanity that underlies different worldviews, and to accurately understand how that basic humanity and those worldviews intersect and interact.

    People like Asauber are part of the problem: unkind and wrong, both, in respect to people who don’t believe as he does.

  52. 52
    asauber says:

    “One step needs to be to be able to understand the basic common humanity that underlies different worldviews”

    VL,

    I understand basic common humanity well enough. This understanding informs my position. You just don’t like what I have to say.

    Andrew

  53. 53
    Viola Lee says:

    It is true that I don’t like what you say, both because it is unkind (bigoted might be a better word), and wrong.

  54. 54
    asauber says:

    “I don’t like what you say, both because it is unkind (bigoted might be a better word), and wrong.”

    VL,

    But not untrue, eh? 😉

    Andrew

  55. 55
    ET says:

    On the other hand, if we eventually find life on other worlds, even if it’s not very common, then the case for us being a special or favored life-form becomes a lot harder to make.

    Only to people who cannot think for themselves.

  56. 56
    jerry says:

    One can have opinions. We all have many. But how many of them approach truth?

    There are ways of evaluating whether an opinion has truth value or not.

    Can an atheist have any basis for being an atheist? I have never seen anything approaching truth to justify that stance or opinion. To use a common argumentative technique these days

                                                                    Prove me wrong!

    If correct, why is it bigoted or wrong?

  57. 57
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m not talking about whether atheism is wrong or not. I’m talking about the characterization of atheists as being “shallow, unscientific thinkers, almost invariably incapable of an honest conversation about ideas they don’t like. They have no commitment to the truth, as their worldview is dedicated to proclaiming truth doesn’t exist. Self-fulfilling bags of meat.” [asauber] and ” I find them to be tragic figures, totally lost with no direction, no purpose — no reason to even mature and work on virtue or have a reason to take responsibility or a higher role.” [Silver Asiatic].

    Those are the things I am saying are wrong, and an example of why we are so divided over the issue of worldviews rather than able to work constructively with the reality of there being different worldviews.

  58. 58
    ET says:

    Those are their opinion based on their (limited) dealing with atheists, Viola. And if what they say is true then how can it be wrong?

  59. 59
    jerry says:

    I’m not talking about whether atheism is wrong or not.

    I’m talking about the characterization of atheists as being “shallow, unscientific thinkers, almost invariably incapable of an honest conversation about ideas they don’t like. They have no commitment to the truth, as their worldview is dedicated to proclaiming truth doesn’t exist. Self-fulfilling bags of meat.”

    I find them to be tragic figures, totally lost with no direction, no purpose — no reason to even mature and work on virtue or have a reason to take responsibility or a higher role.”

    Ok. Let’s strip all of the extreme rhetoric. Is some/most of this an accurate description? None?

    I’ll definitely go for keeping unscientific. I will add illogical.

    To get away from labeling people which seem to be currently verboten, is atheism as a philosophy shallow and unscientific? I just made that claim above.

    Can an atheist have any basis for being an atheist?

    So are those who endorse atheism being shallow and illogical? Are those who accuse theists (believe there is a creator) being wrong being dishonest? Especially if they endorse atheism.

  60. 60
    William J Murray says:

    I’ve found atheism to be an understandable position. I was an atheist for several years. I understand that in many but certainly not all cases, atheism (such as my own) can be largely, at least in part, a reaction to the utterly ridiculous spiritual and religious descriptions of God and the Rube Goldberg metaphysical contraptions (in the case of Christianity, apologetics) built around explaining various aspects of the religion or spirituality in question.

    Unfortunately, from my perspective, these kinds of arguments are entirely about and from two sides firmly entrenched in the Christian perspective. Even the atheist’s arguments (for the most part) against God are almost entirely and exclusively about the Abrahamic God, as if that is the only kind of God they have ever considered.

    The Christians argue against atheistic materialists whether they exist here or not; the atheists argue against the Abrahamic God as if that argument is an argument against any and every “God.”

    But, I don’t think anyone here is being dishonest. I don’t think anyone here is unintelligent. And I have to say, SA, your comments regarding how you view atheists and the gender of commenters made me literally laugh out loud and shake my head in disbelief.

    This is one of the reasons I participate here, comments like that. They are a wonder to behold.

  61. 61
    Viola Lee says:

    Interesting comment. FWIW, my lack of disbelief in “God” and other metaphysical beliefs is not aimed exclusively at Christianity at all, but is rather based on the anthropological view that all religions are cultural narratives developed to explain things we don’t know about, and used as an important core of belief for individual and social stability.

  62. 62
    Viola Lee says:

    re 54? By “wrong” I mean “untrue”, although it could also mean “not something you should do” in this context.

  63. 63
    asauber says:

    “all religions are cultural narratives”

    VL,

    Like that means anything. Please explain how Atheism is not a cultural narrative.

    Andrew

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I should note that for every atheist who sees life as rare and precious, there is another who sees it as cheap and expendable. That is the history of atheistical regimes over the past 100 years. KF

  65. 65
    Viola Lee says:

    “Cultural narratives” means systems of understandings, including stories, statements of beliefs, norms about how to behave, etc. developed in a society and passed on from generation to generation by both explicit teaching and being implicitly embedded in the everyday actions of people.

    Atheism just means that none of those are ontologically true. You may be conflating atheism with materialism, which does have aspects of being a cultural narrative. There is nothing perjorative about the phrase “cultural narrative”: human beings make meaning via the narratives we build to make sense of our experience. Making meaning via narratives is a key characteristic of human beings.

  66. 66
    William J Murray says:

    VL @61,
    How is that not the same kind of generalized, dismissive perspective as Christians classifying the beliefs of everyone who disagrees with them as “atheistic materialists?”

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    As & VL,

    Sadly, this is far too often generally true . . . and not just of some or even many atheists:

    “shallow, unscientific thinkers, almost invariably incapable of an honest conversation about ideas they don’t like. They have no commitment to the truth . . .”

    Part of that is the moral hazard of being human and drifting along with a culture that has long since dismissed the intellectual virtues. But part of it is being error prone, intellectually limited, morally struggling and too often ill-willed.

    We need to find a path to re-awakening to the duties of reason.

    As regards the other point:

    their worldview is dedicated to proclaiming truth doesn’t exist

    As regards evolutionary materialistic scientism, hyperskepticism, radical relativism and the like, this is sadly all too close to the mark, as I pointed out in 45. Notice again, Provine:

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

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

    KF

  68. 68
    jerry says:

    Again, I will repeat my comment.

    are those who endorse atheism being shallow and illogical?

    If not why not?

  69. 69
    asauber says:

    VL,

    These Things Follow From Atheism

    Systems of Understandings = Everything is ultimately the result of chance
    Stories = Life Just Happened Accidentally or it Always Was
    Statements of Beliefs = Believing There Is No God (that’s a belief)
    Norms About How to Behave = Be Nice To Each Other. All Things Being Equal (This one is tricky, because it’s just kind of made up, ie groundless)

    Andrew

  70. 70
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “But part of it is being error prone, intellectually limited, morally struggling and too often ill-willed.”

    I’ll have to add that to the list of comments, along with SA’s and asuaber’s, already noted in this thread.

  71. 71
    Viola Lee says:

    re 68 and 69. The subject here, for me, is not whether atheism is true, or not. The subject is how we see and interact with people with different worldviews. Can we work to understand them and live with them in order to heal some of the divisiveness we have in the world, or do we demonize them and add to that divisiveness?

  72. 72
    William J Murray says:

    What I find to be a wonder is that, outside of myself and BA77 (and ET when it comes to … well, er .. ETs,) everyone argues about some things that come up as if there’s no evidence. The nature of our existence. Whether or not an afterlife exists, and what it’s like. I mean, we have actual evidence that answers some of these questions.

    Yet, people in all camps argue about these subjects as if no such evidence can even possibly exist from which we can reach a rational, evidence-based conclusion.

    I guess most worldviews and perspectives thrive as long as there is sufficient ambiguity. No better way to maintain ambiguity than to ignore the evidence.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you just inadvertently underscored the point. Did you notice that I spoke to the moral hazard of being human and noted that we face a general problem on those lines, across the board? Did you notice, “generally true”? KF

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I started with 500 witnesses not shaken by dungeon, fire, sword and worse. I also pointed to death transition experiences including my own witness. KF

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    everyone argues about some things that come up as if there’s no evidence

    Nonsense. Most consistently ask for evidence of evolution and atheism. None is ever provided.

    There is substantial evidence for a creator and that evolution could not have happened unguided. Nothing to contradict this.

    From another thread yesterday

    UD is not about religion especially any specific religion. It is about science and its implications. A creator is certainly under the purview of ID because the science points to a creator. Now most of the contributors here are Christians of various backgrounds. So Christianity comes up frequently.

    Can one study religion using the tools of epistemology? Yes! But that is not ID but is semi related to ID in the sense that ID uses the tools of epistemology too (evidence, logic, inference to the best explanation, justification etc.) So they often get conflated.

    Especially since a creator is an important issue of both.

  76. 76

    There are basically 2 kinds of people, those who conceive of choice in terms of figuring out the best option, and those who conceive of choice in terms of expression of emotion and personal character.

    The first kind are always high, as in stoned out of their skull, on the “best”. It’s just a way of thinking that makes the brain produce psycho-active substances, which makes them high. These people are generally all the same.

    The second kind, people who conceive of choice in terms of expression of emotion, there’s a wide variety among them, because they accept freedom is real.

    Atheists are generally always the first kind of people. The atheists nitpick a lot on weak atheism vs strong atheism, but really they are just all the same kind of people. They are basically drug addicts, addicted to the psycho active substances the body and brain itself produces.

    Fact obsessed people, who are clueless about subjectivity. People who regard what is good and evil as facts, which facts of good and evil they then use to calculate the “best” option with.

    Like with Covid. The atheists just calculate an optimal policy, and then as being total fascists, they force the policy, because it is “the best”. Or like Mao with his steel producing drive. He optimized the steel production, simply by destroying perfectly good steel products, melting them down to produce more steel. To optimize a particular factor, in total disregard of all other factors, that is typical of the atheist psychology.

    People are always attributing atheists with some kind goal, like to say they do it for power, or wealth. But that is very naive. They are just doing it to get high.

  77. 77
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, KF, you did say

    Sadly, this is far too often generally true . . . and not just of some or even many atheists:

    “shallow, unscientific thinkers, almost invariably incapable of an honest conversation about ideas they don’t like. They have no commitment to the truth . . .”

    I guess you’re saying that you meant to apply that statement to more than atheists, but that’s not particularly clear. Are you just referring to people in general, of all worldviews?

  78. 78
    William J Murray says:

    KF:

    WJM, I started with 500 witnesses not shaken by dungeon, fire, sword and worse. I also pointed to death transition experiences including my own witness

    The problem, KF, is that your worldview cannot incorporate the experiences of countless other such witnesses offering testimony and evidence that contradicts your overall worldview, other than to dismiss them as errors, lies, misconceptions, hallucinations, or some other way that would bring their counterfactual testimony and evidence into agreement with your worldview.

    The question is, given the weight of all the evidence, how much of what we think about the evidence is rooted in ideological interpretation? If one takes away the ideological limitations and interpretations, and does not cherry-pick the evidence to favor a particular ideology, the vast bulk of the evidence agrees on certain facts. Those facts are rationally irreconcilable with what I understand about your worldview, and that of most Christians here – and that of anyone who believes there is no such thing as what we call “an afterlife.”

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, it is a general part of the moral hazard of being human. Humans are prone to err, struggle morally [or worse, have given up!], are too often ill willed etc. That makes that first clipped from AS a general issue, esp in today’s sort of age. KF

  80. 80
    William J Murray says:

    IOW, KF, I see your “500” witnesses, and raise you millions of witnesses from every religious and spiritual perspective and background, including atheists and materialists.

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the witness is what it is. For my dad, for example there were two of us present as he said his farewells and went with who had come for him, his Lord. An old friend from student days had an angelic delegation standing by for a considerable time, and spoke to those who were with him about them. I know of delegations involving the others already there. And, I know of many others who were there at such transitions in similar cases and noted the same general pattern of a partial opening of the usual veil between worlds. I don’t need to go down rabbit trails beyond that. KF

    PS: I will give this much:

    Rom 2: 6 He [God] will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing [–> implies persistently walking by the light you have or should acknowledge, however stumblingly] seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life . . .

  82. 82
    William J Murray says:

    I don’t need to go down rabbit trails beyond that.

    Especially not when those millions of other “rabbit trails” contradict your worldview and the idea that what you and your friends experienced represent some absolute truth about the nature of what everyone will experience in the afterlife.

    But, I guess that’s just me. I’m interested in looking at all the evidence, not just that which supports my perspective.

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    This caught my eye.

    WJM states, “KF, I see your “500” witnesses, and raise you millions of witnesses from every religious and spiritual perspective and background, including atheists and materialists.”

    And WJM, within your version of Mental Reality Theory (MRT) exactly how do you differentiate which of those worldviews is the true worldview and which ones are false?

    Or do you actually believe that they could all be true for each society and/or for each individual? i.e. extreme Relativism?

    If I understand your MRT correctly, you give outside empirical evidence little credence so as to differentiate between the worldviews and give each individual’s personal subjective experience maximum weight so as to override any contradictory empirical evidence that has or may come along.

    In fact, If I recall correctly, you once told me that outside empirical evidence does not really matter in your theory, (or you said something very similar to that effect).

    At that point, when you said that, I just washed my hands of your theory since I knew right then and there that you had left the field of scientific inquiry.

    I have discussed your theory very little with you since, and from my brief perusals of your posts since that time, I don’t think you have significantly changed your position in regards to how little weight you give outside empirical evidence to being able to correct any individual’s personal subjective experience.

    The only reason I address you now is because you are now claiming that all worldviews, even atheistic materialism, is just as valid as Christianity, (if not even more valid than Christianity)

    This is beyond the pale.

    For crying out loud, if atheistic materialism is true, even your own MRT cannot be true.

    So again, do you actually believe in some form of extreme relativism? Where there really is no objective truth, and all individual, and societal, truths are just as equally valid as all the other ones?

    As a Christian, I can, (fairly easily), defend the superiority of my worldview over all the other worldviews by appealing to outside empirical evidence. But if you don’t respect outside empirical evidence, (besides you leaving the field of scientific inquiry), my arguments to you defending the superiority of Christianity would simply be in vain.

    So WJM, please clarify exactly where you stand in regards to relativism, i.e. in regards to the belief that there is no objective truth and all subjective truths are equally valid.

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

  84. 84
    Viola Lee says:

    Hey, we’ve been distracted from the other distractions! 🙂

  85. 85
    paige says:

    Just makes me want to jump into a puddle. 🙂

  86. 86
    Sandy says:

    Bornagain77
    This caught my eye.

    Nobody believes MRT. Pardon my french :it’s garbage.
    My opinion.

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    Sandy, No need for me to pardon your French. From what little I’ve seen of MRT, It is Garbage.

    Translation of “it is garbage”: French – c’est des ordures

    How to pronounce c’est des ordures in French
    https://translate.google.com/?sl=fr&tl=en&text=c%27est%20des%20ordures&op=translate&hl=en

  88. 88
    jerry says:

    Nobody believes MRT

    It’s a troll. And many have fallen for the troll by treating it seriously.

    If someone came here and denied gravity, some would expend thousands of words showing that gravity works and experiments used to prove it citing Galileo, Newton and Einstein etc..

  89. 89
    Viola Lee says:

    WJM is not a troll. He is serious and thoughtful about what he believes, and comments here in part, I think, because it’s a place where he can articulate his beliefs and use the feedback, even if it is strong criticism, to develop his thoughts. I think you do him a disservice to call him a troll.

  90. 90
    Viola Lee says:

    P.S. WJM does bring up MRT in multiple threads in ways that are perhaps repetitive and don’t further the active discussion, but there are other prominent posters who do likewise, so we can’t single him out for that, I don’t think.

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I think you may find Don Richardson’s Eternity in their hearts interesting as reading. the record he reports may surprise you but is worthwhile. KF

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, it is clear that the puddle argument was decisively answered. See above. KF

  93. 93
    Viola Lee says:

    Nobody here took the puddle analogy seriously in the first place.

    At 7, Paige wrote, “I think people are reading far too much into this. Adam’s five part trilogy is just an entertaining story of the ridiculous, in the same vein as Monty Python’s Holy Grail or Life of Brian.

    He is probably laughing from the grave over the fact that people are taking his little asides in the story as serious arguments.”

    Then at 10 SA wrote that he tried not to laugh at atheists, and the thread went away from the puddle, never to return.

  94. 94
    Seversky says:

    The fine-tuning claim, for me, raises a question about MRT. If there is only this mental reality, does it exist or was it created just for us or could there be “alien” entities here as well?

  95. 95
    Karen McMannus says:

    BA77: As a Christian, I can, (fairly easily), defend the superiority of my worldview over all the other worldviews by appealing to outside empirical evidence.

    A bold claim. Maybe someone should start a thread.

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I hear you, however, regrettably, I have seen this raised as an intended objection to fine tuning inferences here at UD. If it has come up here, it is going to come up elsewhere. So, sometimes, there is need to deal with a low substance, high rhetoric/imaginative argument. It is significant that the locus of high contingency, the bed of the puddle is diverted from to highlight the conformation of the fluid to the bed, a matter of mechanical necessity as fluids by definition lack sufficient structure to retain shape under their own weight, hence their tendency to flow and to pond. This actually corresponds to the per aspect form, design inference filter: low contingency is assigned to lawlike necessity (with perhaps some noisiness causing scatter). Then, the default for high contingency is blind chance, i.e. the typical pond bed is shaped into a complex curvature by whatever contingencies happened to be there. However, when we can see a simply describable highly specific complex functional pattern, we properly infer design. For example, years ago first images of Xe atoms on a substrate were circulated. What was the best explanation of the fact that the image just happened to spell out IBM? (No prizes for guessing.) KF

  97. 97
    kairosfocus says:

    KM & BA77, in reality, there was a link above that addresses the degree of warrant behind the 500 witnesses and I gave samples from the many thousands since who have witnessed death transitions to eternal felicity as was alluded to in Rom 2 as cited. Which text, is far broader than those who have an explicit opportunity to respond to the gospel; the text clearly states the generosity of the grace of God given the degree of light one has or has responsible access to. I would also note that there are in fact millions alive now and multiplied millions across the ages who have experienced a living transformation to eternal life through the gospel per Jn 3:14 – 17 (which has changed the course of civilisation for the good many, many times . . . think of an Aquinas, a Francis, a Wesley, a Finney, a Booth, a Sharpe or a Knibb or a Gordon [Jamaica], a Williams etc), I suspect the three of us are cases in point. My father was the [lay-]preacher in my case, and my second father my counsellor. Both are now in happier estate. The significance of “according to the scriptures,” i.e. prophecy fulfillment by the manifest, death-breaking power of God [cf Isa 52:13 – 53:12 etc, a corpus of 300 predictions fulfilled] as “a more sure word” should also be recognised. All of that said, UD is not a theology and Bible forum, so while occasional exchanges do come up, those who want to explore and debate this subject can readily access many resources only a search click or two away. KF

    PS: I think it is appropriate to cite the apostle Peter’s theological will as he faced judicial murder on the false accusation of treasonous arson i.e. insurrection (the more things change, the more they are the same once lawless oligarchy worms its way to power . . . well do I recall a SW radio programme describing the last words of an unjustly condemned Irish priest from the scaffold: beware the wiles of the King’s Attorneys):

    2 Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return48 of our Lord Jesus Christ;49 no,50 we were51 eyewitnesses of his52 grandeur.53

    17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that54 voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted.”55 18 When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves56 heard it, for we were with him on the holy mountain.57 [NB: this was before the case of the 500 in 1 Cor 15, but a fortiori it extends to the latter]

    19 Moreover,58 we59 possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing.[ or, a more sure word, i.e. than simple eyewitness testimony] 60 You do well if you pay attention61 to this62 as you would63 to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star64 rises in your hearts.65 [–> the soul-test of responsiveness to reasonably accessible light, per Rom 2:6 – 8, cf vv 12 – 16]

    20 Above all, you do well if you recognize66 this:67 No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination,68 21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men69 carried along by the Holy Spirit [–> with typhoon force] spoke from God. [NET]

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I add regarding the more sure word, this is a second testimony, a more sure word than simple eyewitness testimony: vision of the now fulfilled future, centuries ahead faithfully transmitted through sound chain of custody in scripture worthy of acknowledgement as recording the word of God. KF

  99. 99
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: in reality, there was a link above that addresses the degree of warrant behind the 500 witnesses

    Just curious . . . what’s your view on some of the more modern Marian visitations such as The Miracle of the Sun witnessed by tens of thousands of people.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun

  100. 100
    bornagain77 says:

    Karen McMannus, a ‘fairly easy’ way to demonstrate the superiority of the Christian worldview over all the other worldviews is simply to note that Christianity has had a tremendously positive impact on the world when compared to the other worldviews.

    21 Positive Contributions Christianity Has Made Through the Centuries By D. James Kennedy (excerpted from “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?”)
    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.
    (3) Literacy and education for the masses.
    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.
    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
    (6) The separation of political powers.
    (7) Civil liberties.
    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
    (9) Modern science.
    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
    (11) The elevation of women.
    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
    (13) Higher standards of justice.
    (14) The elevation of common man.
    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.
    (16) High regard for human life.
    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.
    https://verticallivingministries.com/tag/benefits-of-christianity-to-society/
    Defense of all 21 claims: (Dec. 2019)
    1-5
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690247
    8-11
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690251
    12-16
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690252
    17-21
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/historian-christianity-has-been-the-worlds-greatest-engine-for-moral-reform/#comment-690256

    Surely it is impossible for a false worldview to produce so many tremendously positive results.

    Shoot, the fact that the Christian worldview gave us modern science itself should be enough, all by its lonesome, to prove that Christianity is the superior worldview when compared to all the other worldviews.

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature (that enabled the rise of modern science).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    As Francis Bacon, the founder of the scientific method, himself stated, “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.”

    Is Biology Approaching the Threshold of Design Acceptance? – January 8, 2019
    Excerpt: Simultaneously, biomimetics fulfills one of the goals of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the champion of systematic, methodical investigation into the natural world. In Aphorism 73 of Novum Organum, Bacon told how best to judge good natural philosophy, what we call science: “Of all signs there is none more certain or worthy than that of the fruits produced: for the fruits and effects are the sureties and vouchers, as it were, for the truth of philosophy.” Good fruits are pouring forth from the cornucopia of biologically inspired design. What has Darwinism done for the world lately?
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/01/is-biology-approaching-the-threshold-of-design-acceptance/

    All the other wordlviews simply don’t hold a candle to Christianity in terms of ‘fruits produced’:

    Matthew 7:18-20
    A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

  101. 101
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, not something I have investigated, I found the case of Juan the Aztec at Guadeloupe interesting. KF

  102. 102
    ET says:

    Viola Lee:

    Nobody here took the puddle analogy seriously in the first place.

    Atheists everywhere take is seriously. They still use it.

  103. 103
    jerry says:

    WJM is not a troll

    He is on record that he lies for his own amusement. I’ll call that type of person a troll.

    Jerry, it is clear that the puddle argument was decisively answered. See above. KF

    I was not referring to the puddle argument. I am not really sure what the puddle argument is. Please, no one try to explain it.

  104. 104
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 @83:

    And WJM, within your version of Mental Reality Theory (MRT) exactly how do you differentiate which of those worldviews is the true worldview and which ones are false?

    I appreciate the question, but to be clear my interaction with KF on this matter is not about IRT (Idealism Reality Theory, formerly Mental Reality Theory.) It’s about whether or not the Christian perspective of things (generally represented by KF, you and others here) is supported by a rational examination of the evidence. That Christian view is indeed supported by some of the evidence, but one does not get to cherry-pick available evidence to make their case and just ignore or dismiss the rest if they want to reach a sound conclusion about what the evidence indicates.

    Or do you actually believe that they could all be true for each society and/or for each individual? i.e. extreme Relativism?

    Under IRT, all possible realities exist as potential (information,) eternally in the mind of God or universal mind. That would mean that members of a particular faith can experience everything that their faith promises to them, be it pearly gates or Valhalla. However, inasmuch as such people believe that their experiences are the only kind of experiences available to anyone anywhere, they would be objectively wrong.

    If I understand your MRT correctly, you give outside empirical evidence little credence so as to differentiate between the worldviews and give each individual’s personal subjective experience maximum weight so as to override any contradictory empirical evidence that has or may come along.

    In fact, If I recall correctly, you once told me that outside empirical evidence does not really matter in your theory, (or you said something very similar to that effect).

    What I told you some time ago is that I personally do not use evidence other than what I personally, empirically experience myself in the formulation of my personal views. I did not use external evidence to arrive at IRT.

    Also, I have said that I was not trying to create a model of “true reality,” but rather one that more pragmatically served my goal of maximally enjoying my life. However, how I personally sort and evaluate evidence, and my motivations for creating my model, are irrelevant to the debate about whether or not at least some form of IRT is supported by evidence other people hold as valid, such as the quantum physics experimental results you so often cite.

    At that point, when you said that, I just washed my hands of your theory since I knew right then and there that you had left the field of scientific inquiry.

    Personally, yes. My personal beliefs do not require any external (of my experience,) evidential support. It just so happens that IRT (which is part of my personal views) can be supported (beyond supported; it has been demonstrated) using that kind of evidence. IOW, people here could prove some model better than IRT with sound reasoning from such evidence, and I would agree with them that they had done so, just as you did with the evidence for geo-centrism. The reason I can do that is because my personal beliefs are not dependent on any external evidence.

    IOW, you or KF can win the argument about the evidence and reasoning, and I will be happy to admit it, but it’s not going to change my personal beliefs. If someone had a sound, evidence-based, or purely logical argument for Christianity or an ERT, I’d be happy to admit it because it’s no skin off my nose whatsoever.

    I have discussed your theory very little with you since, and from my brief perusals of your posts since that time, I don’t think you have significantly changed your position in regards to how little weight you give outside empirical evidence to being able to correct any individual’s personal subjective experience.

    If your intent is to change my personal beliefs, that would the wrong way to go about it. The only way to change my personal beliefs is to convince me that some other perspective is more effective at delivering maximum enjoyment. That would be a very tall order, given the current level of my enjoyment of life and the efficacy of my current model in providing that which I desire.

    If your goal is to get me to admit your view “wins” the reasoning and evidence battle, that’s certainly possible. It’s happened here several times.

    The only reason I address you now is because you are now claiming that all worldviews, even atheistic materialism, is just as valid as Christianity, (if not even more valid than Christianity)

    Not exactly. The evidence shows that the Christian claim of a kind of afterlife exclusivity is objectively wrong from the ERT perspective. I’m arguing this point from the ERT perspective, not the IRT or my personal views. I’m using reasoning from external evidence. When in Rome, and all that.

    For crying out loud, if atheistic materialism is true, even your own MRT cannot be true.

    I’m not sure where this is coming from. I’ve clearly argued and stated that materialism has been scientifically disproved. I only said that atheistic materialists have had experiences of the afterlife, not that their experience of the afterlife validated their materialism.

    So again, do you actually believe in some form of extreme relativism? Where there really is no objective truth, and all individual, and societal, truths are just as equally valid as all the other ones?

    Of course there is absolute, objective truth. My arguments rely on it. Everyone’s argument relies an that fact and assumption. We both know this.

    As a Christian, I can, (fairly easily), defend the superiority of my worldview over all the other worldviews by appealing to outside empirical evidence. But if you don’t respect outside empirical evidence, (besides you leaving the field of scientific inquiry), my arguments to you defending the superiority of Christianity would simply be in vain.

    I respect all evidence in terms of the arguments here and have demonstrated myself being able to admit what the evidence indicates; it’s just not likely going to affect my personal beliefs, because those are working out tremendously well for me.

    In the words of Barry Soetero, let me be clear: Under IRT, materialism is objectively false. Substance dualism is objectively false. Thus, any religious or spiritual perspective that necessarily includes substance dualism is objectively false. This puts a burden of ontological origin of exclusivity if one particular reality is the only one we can experience out of all those possible others; how is that exclusivity achieved? IOW, how would the Christian system of reality be the only reality we can experience in an ontologically idealist existence? That other reality information exists; why can we not access it for experience? I’d like to see you make that argument without first assuming that only one particular reality is available.

    BTW, “materialism” and “substance dualism” are not possible actual realities under IRT.

  105. 105
    paige says:

    KF

    VL, I hear you, however, regrettably, I have seen this raised as an intended objection to fine tuning inferences here at UD. If it has come up here, it is going to come up elsewhere. So, sometimes, there is need to deal with a low substance, high rhetoric/imaginative argument.

    The best way to deal with a ridiculous argument is to ignore it.

    Do you ever think that some people bring up Adam’s puddle as an argument against fine tuning because they like to laugh at the people who take the argument seriously and try to counter it?

  106. 106
    asauber says:

    VL,

    The claim that religions are merely Cultural Narratives is a Cultural Narrative itself.

    You do realize that, don’t you?

    Andrew

  107. 107
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes. We can’t avoid cultural narratives: there are a key component of what human beings are.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, there are people who take it seriously. That’s why the OP took notice. It also inadvertently highlights how the design inference explanatory filter is often misunderstood. That’s why I took time to provide a corrective. Further to this, if fine tuning objectors are raising things like this, that says a bit on the balance on merits. KF

  109. 109
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM claims,

    Under IRT, all possible realities exist as potential (information,) eternally in the mind of God or universal mind. That would mean that members of a particular faith can experience everything that their faith promises to them, be it pearly gates or Valhalla. However, inasmuch as such people believe that their experiences are the only kind of experiences available to anyone anywhere, they would be objectively wrong.

    WJM, a few years back I spent several days researching Near Death Experiences from other non-Judeo Christian cultures, and contrary to popular belief, the Near Death Experiences of those other cultures are marked by a profound lack of pleasant, heavenly, experiences.

    Here are some samples of what I found.

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand:
    Excerpt: The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of `going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves. (Murphy 99)
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    Near Death Experience Thailand Asia – video (personal testimony)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8M5J3zWG5g

    Near-Death Experiences Among Survivors of the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake (Chinese)
    Excerpt: Our subjects reported NDE phemenological items not mentioned, or rarely mentioned in NDE’s reported from other countries: sensations of the world being exterminated or ceasing to exist, a sense of weightlessness, a feeling of being pulled or squeezed, ambivalence about death, a feeling of being a different person, or a different kind of person and unusual scents. The predominant phemenological features in our series were feeling estranged from the body as if it belonged to someone else, unusually vivid thoughts, loss of emotions, unusual bodily sensations, life seeming like a dream, a feeling of dying,,, These are not the same phemenological features most commonly found by researchers in other countries. Greyson (1983) reported the most common phemenological feature of American NDE’s to be a feeling of peace, joy, time stopping, experiencing an unearthly realm of existence, a feeling of cosmic unity, and a out of body experience.
    http://www.newdualism.org/nde-.....-39-48.pdf

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:
    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibe.....4&amp

    The Japanese find death a depressing experience – From an item by Peter Hadfield in the New Scientist (Nov. 30th 1991)
    Excerpt: A study in Japan shows that even in death the Japanese have an original way of looking at things. Instead of seeing ‘tunnels of light’ or having ‘out of body’ experiences, near-dead patients in Japanese hospitals tend to see rather less romantic images, according to researchers at Kyorin University. According to a report in the Mainichi newspaper, a group of doctors from Kyorin has spent the past year documenting the near-death experiences of 17 patients. They had all been resuscitated from comas caused by heart attacks, strokes, asthma or drug poisoning. All had shown minimal signs of life during the coma. Yoshia Hata, who led the team, said that eight of the 17 recalled ‘dreams’, many featuring rivers or ponds. Five of those patients had dreams which involved fear, pain and suffering. One 50-year-old asthmatic man said he had seen himself wade into a reservoir and do a handstand in the shallows. ‘Then I walked out of the water and took some deep breaths. In the dream, I was repeating this over and over.’ Another patient, a 73-year-old woman with cardiac arrest, saw a cloud filled with dead people. ‘It was a dark, gloomy day. I was chanting sutras. I believed they could be saved if they chanted sutras, so that is what I was telling them to do.’ Most of the group said they had never heard of Near-Death Experiences before.
    http://www.pureinsight.org/node/4

    Researching Muslim NDEs, on the web at the NDERF home page, I found that there were only a handful of Muslim NDE experiences out of the thousands of NDE’s they have listed on their web site. There was only one really deep Muslim NDE in which there is a reference to “the Light”. Not surprisingly, this NDE occurred to a teenage boy. In the handful of somewhat deep adult Muslim NDEs that I have read about, the Muslim NDES never mentioned “the Light”, “Supreme Being” or a “Being of Light”. If this holds steady for all adult Muslim NDEs, then this will fall into stark contrast to the majority of deep Judeo/Christian NDE testimonies of adults for the western world which mention an indescribably beautiful heavenly paradise.

    And WJM, as should be needless to say, these findings contradict your claim.

  110. 110
    Karen McMannus says:

    BA77: Shoot, the fact that the Christian worldview gave us modern science itself should be enough, all by its lonesome, to prove that Christianity is the superior worldview when compared to all the other worldviews.

    Hmm, I wonder what those particular Greek philosophers, Jews, Arabs, Hindus, Freemasons, and all the other significant players in the advancement of human mathematics, knowledge and science would say about that. And the “Christian worldview”, whatever it is, was ripped off from the Hebrews, in general, and Philo of Alexandria, in particular.

    Most of D. Kennedy’s cherry-picked laundry list could just as well be applied to FreeMasonic philosophy’s and the Royal Society’s influence on the world. It was Deism that was the primary impetus of modern science. Yes, some of the actors were “Christians”, but you might want to closely check out Newton’s, Descart’s and Bacon’s views before you yoke them too tightly with “Christianity.” And all of the moderns were standing on the shoulders of a lot non-Christians with regards to mathematics, logic, and natural science. Unless you think Aristotle was a “Christian.”

    Your view is quite simplistic and naive.

  111. 111
    William J Murray says:

    BA77,
    Perhaps this will help to make sense of what I’m saying about “different realities” vs “objective reality.”

    Ontologically speaking, IRT would represent objective reality. However, there are “infinite” sub-realities that can be experienced within IRT by groups of people, or even by individuals, operating under different subconscious programs that access different sets of information. One group might be using a materialist subconscious program that accesses materialism-friendly information; another group might be using a Christian subconscious program accessing Christianity-friendly information, processing it in a Christian-friendly way.

    However, IRT claims and predicts that no matter what kind of subconscious “operating system” you are using, or what kind of mental information you are accessing, you cannot escape the objective fact that you are using an operating system and you are accessing a particular set of information and processing it into experiences that meet the parameters and support the operating system or subconscious “reality” program. That objective fact is discoverable in any sub-reality or worldview. It may be extremely difficult to find and recognize and accept, since the operating system produces various cognitive safeguards, like anti-virus, to keep the worldview intact.

    The underlying, objective fact of IRT would still be discoverable, just as quantum physics research found when it was essentially trying to salvage some form of materialism or “external reality.” You can easily see the kind of cognitive issues people have with this evidence.

    The same would hold true about Christianity or any other religious, spiritual or metaphysical “operating system.” A good rule of thumb is that if your worldview depends on excluding counterfactual evidence, such as the millions of people that have experiences of the afterlife that contradict Christian exclusivity, then you’re protecting ideology and not making a rational case from all pertinent, available evidence.

    This is exactly like the quantum theory experiments that show that what is observed/experienced depends on the state of the observer/experiencer. Some observers experience the Christian afterlife. Many experience entirely different afterlives. You’re the one that, like materialists, are insisting that reality is local writ large; you’re claiming that the inherent reality of what exists, the exclusively Christian afterlife (so to speak,) is the reality “out there,” the only thing we can experience.

    That’s not what the evidence is. Sure, SOME of the photons land in the Christian strike zone, so to speak, but you’re ignoring all the other photon landing points that show a wave distribution to many different locations. “Local reality” = “particle” = conceptual materialism = Christian afterlife exclusivity.

    Christian exclusivity is, thus, essentially a materialist/ERT/”local reality” perspective, unless you can show otherwise by reasoning from all available pertinent evidence or by showing it necessary logically.

  112. 112
    Viola Lee says:

    to asauber: Actually my calling religions “cultural narratives” is not itself a cultural narrative because it is not a view deeply embedded in the culture. It is indeed a narrative, held by many people in the fields of socialogy, anthropology, comparative religion, and psychology: it is an explanatory framework common within a certain sub-culture of people who study human nature.

  113. 113
    asauber says:

    “it is not a view deeply embedded in the culture”

    VL,

    Yes it is. It defines the culture of Progressives who fancy themselves superior to people who have religious beliefs. Without it the Progressive culture would disintegrate. It’s a vital narrative to the life of the Prog Tribe.

    Andrew

  114. 114
    bornagain77 says:

    Karen McMannus,

    There a many mistakes in your short post, but to focus on just one mistake.

    You mentioned Aristotle,

    And all of the moderns were standing on the shoulders of a lot non-Christians with regards to mathematics, logic, and natural science. Unless you think Aristotle was a “Christian.”

    Actually, the deductive logic that Aristotle used proved to be a major stumbling block in the rise of modern science. A major stumbling block that had to be overcome.

    Bacon’s inductive methodology, which he introduced as a check and balance against humanity’s fallen sinful nature(i.e. The Christian belief of original sin),, was a radically different form of ‘bottom up’ reasoning that was, practically speaking, a completely different form of reasoning than the ‘top down’ deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks which had preceded it. A form of reasoning in which people “pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”
    – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415

    Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph
    https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg

    Inductive reasoning
    Excerpt: Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning. While, if the premises are correct, the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.[4]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

    Again, this new form of ‘bottom up’ inductive reasoning, which lays at the basis of the scientific method itself, was first elucidated and championed by Francis Bacon in 1620 in his book that was entitled Novum Organum. Which is translated as ‘New Method’.

    In the title of that book, Bacon is specifically referencing Aristotle’s work Organon, which was, basically, Aristotle’s treatise on logic and syllogism. In other words, Organum was, basically, Aristotle’s treatise on deductive reasoning.

    The Organon and the logic perspective of computation – 2016
    Excerpt: The works of Aristotle on logic are collectively known as the Organon, that is, the ” instrument ” or ” tool ” of thought. In the ” Prior Analytics “, Aristotle introduced a list of inference rules that concern with the relation of premises to conclusion in arguments (syllogisms). His aim was to determine which kinds of arguments are valid. The validity of an argument is characterized and inferred based on its logical form (deduction) and for this reason Aristotle is considered as the father of formal logic.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303407444_The_Organon_and_the_logic_perspective_of_computation

    And thus in his book “Novum Organum”, Bacon was specifically and directly championing a entirely new method of inductive reasoning, (where repeated experimentation played a central role in one’s reasoning to a general truth), over and above Aristotle’s deductive form of reasoning, (where one’s apriori assumption of a general truth, (i.e. your major premises), played a central role in one’s reasoning), which had been the dominate form of reasoning that had been around for 2000 years at that time.

    Deductive and Inductive Reasoning (Bacon vs Aristotle – Scientific Revolution) – video
    Excerpt: Deductive reasoning, which uses general premises to arrive at a certain conclusion, has been around since Aristotle. In his book Novum Organum (1620, translated ‘new method’), Sir Francis Bacon advanced a new way of philosophical inquiry known as inductive reasoning, in which the inquirer comes to a probable conclusion based on several specific observations.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAdpPABoTzE

    And indeed, repeated experimentation, ever since it was first set forth by Francis Bacon, has been the cornerstone of the scientific method. And has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more “exacting, and illuminating”, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, “educated guesses” that follow from Aristotle’s deductive form of reasoning.

    Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
    Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water.
    https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html

    Moreover, Francis Bacon was far more Christian in his beliefs than you insinuated in your post.

    Francis Bacon was a devout Anglican,,,
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/scholarsandscientists/francis-bacon.html

  115. 115
    asauber says:

    See, the Religions as Cultural Narratives Narrative that Progs utilize allows them to dismiss rather than investigate. Progs are an intellectually lazy lot.

    Andrew

  116. 116
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, frankly I have no clue what you are going on about.

    I can point to our most powerful theories In science in order to support my belief in Christianity, and you are basically saying it all for not because of your IRT?

    Like I said before, as far as I can tell you have completely left the field of empirical science.

    January 2021
    Whereas atheists have no observational evidence that the Multiverses that they postulated to ‘explain. away’ the fine tuning of the universe are real, nor do Atheists have any evidence that the ‘parallel universes’ that they postulated to ‘explain away’ quantum wave collapse are real, Christians, on the other hand, can appeal directly to Special Relativity, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics, (i.e. our most precisely tested theories ever in the history of science), to support their belief that God really does uphold this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in the reality of a heavenly dimension and in the reality of a hellish dimension.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/closer-to-truth-are-there-really-extra-dimensions/#comment-722947

  117. 117
    jerry says:

    It would be kind of hard to call Christianity a cultural narrative. In fact it is just the opposite.

    It spread to many different cultures quickly within the first 30 years. That is what Paul and his disciples were about. Others went in different directions with a consistent message that was brand new and did not arise from any other culture. It took a long time to get a hold on large numbers but they were definitely not from the same culture.

    In fact the message was very anti the culture of the originators. A lot of the stories in the gospels were about Christ challenging the current way of life of the Jews with their hierarchy.

    It had doctrines early on. This happened quickly. Yes, there were stories written down within a short time and then codified. But those stories were from a specific time period that was short and didn’t represent any growing tradition. It was sudden and definitely new.

    It was certainly not concentrated in any sense with a narrative/story building out of a particular place or group of people.

    Christianity focused on an end point for all people and how best to reach that end point. This was brand new. For the first 100 years or so the movement/religion was not called Christianity but “The Way.”

  118. 118
    asauber says:

    Jerry,

    Indeed. Not all religions are the same. Progs hate that fact. They generate Cultural Narratives to attempt to make it all go away.

    Andrew

  119. 119
    Sandy says:

    WJM
    millions of people that have experiences of the afterlife that contradict Christian exclusivity,

    🙂 You mean millions of people that have experiences of the afterlife that confirm Christian truth. Yes exist life after death,yes there is an immortal soul that survive the flesh(body) ,yes this world is a time of testing for a next level existence.
    The “millions of people” even they are not christians are made by the same Christian God and have the same manifestation ,behaviour of their soul .
    God will judge every person acording to his knowledge. People which didn’t hear about christianity or lived before Christ will not be judged acording to christian commandments but according with their conscience. People who live after Christ and heard about christianity and ignored or even worse fought against will be judged after christian commandments because they heard about truth but they rejected .

  120. 120
    Viola Lee says:

    re 118, asauber says, “Not all religions are the same. Progs hate that fact.” Speaking for myself, I don’t “hate” the fact that most Christians believe Christianity is the one true religion. I think that is wrong, and try to explain what my view is. But to think that is hate is to ascribe an intense emotion that just doesn’t apply to how I feel. My guess is that most people who agree with me don’t feel hate about that either.

  121. 121
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 @109:
    If you’ve done your research, then you know I can post examples of non-Christian positive NDEs. As I said, some of the evidence supports the Christian view. When non-Christians experience the “being of light,” for example, they often interpret them as a significant being in their religion or culture.

    Just as problematic, though, is other lines of evidence, such as the evidence for reincarnation; the evidence provided by technological communication with the dead; the evidence that comes from credible evidential mediumship under controlled conditions; and from the practice we refer to as “astral projection” or out-of-body visits with the dead and the afterlife.

    Yes, you can cherry-pick the evidence, ignoring or dismissing the counterfactual evidence that is available, but that is all your evidential argument ultimately rests on.

  122. 122
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 @116;
    I don’t know what you mean by “all for naught” because of my IRT. I’m sure all of that evidential support you have is very meaningful to you. I’m not trying to pry you out of your Christian beliefs. Your Christian heaven awaits your arrival and I am happy that you will see it, and I mean that sincerely.

    That’s just not where I want to go.

  123. 123
    William J Murray says:

    BTW, BA77,

    I’m not challenging your evidence as false or “not evidence;” I’m just saying it doesn’t make the case that the Christian perspective represents some kind of existential monopoly or experiential exclusivity. So, you don’t have to, for example, trot out your Shroud of Turin evidence – I’m accepting all of that evidence arguendo. Plus, I agree with you on the nature of what kind of event was necessary to produce that image.

    However, that doesn’t move the exclusivity case forward a single inch.

  124. 124
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually WJM. I have done quite a bit of research and it is very hard to find any extremely positive NDEs in non-Judeo-Christian cultures.

    I went thru all this ‘all NDEs are the same argument’ with a Shirley McClain type New Ager a while back. And, after he did a bit of research, he thought he had me. He presented me a case of a Chinese girl who had an extremely positive NDE. But when I dug into the details of her case, it turned out that she was educated in a British school in Hong Kong and thus she had been heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian influences.

    Sure, I bet if you dug around you might find a few positive ones. But my main point in all this is that foreign NDEs, for the vast majority of instances, are very unpleasant when compared to the majority of extremely positive Judeo-Christian NDEs.

    WJM stated, “That’s (Heaven is) just not where I want to go.”

    LOL, And you got something better? LOL

    “The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like “love” make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never.”
    Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience Testimony

  125. 125
    jerry says:

    That’s just not where I want to go.

    I suggest you take your troll to another site. To constantly peddle nonsense to a group of 25 people seems small time for a concept that turns the world upside down. It demands a bigger stage. At least 50 people.

    Besides being boring.

  126. 126
    bornagain77 says:

    William J Murray 123,

    Your post just underscores my point that empirical evidence is basically useless in countering your personal ‘toy’ model of reality.

  127. 127
    paige says:

    I see that the labelling game prevails on this site as well.

  128. 128
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM mentioned ‘reincarnation’ as a counter argument to the extremely positive Judeo-Christian NDEs, (we’ll leave his claim for ‘astral projection’ to the side for now) 🙂

    Might I suggest that the evidence for reincarnation is not nearly as strong as he presupposes it to be? (and certainly not nearly as strong as it is for NDEs)

    “the evidence (for reincarnation) is not flawless and it certainly does not compel such a belief. Even the best of it is open to alternative interpretations,”
    Ian Stevenson – (the late) was considered a leading reincarnation researcher
    http://www.skepdic.com/stevenson.html

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, strictly, the worldview is ethical theism, with forms tied to the main monotheistic traditions; which are related and come out of the Levantine coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. In terms of civilisation, we start with the key river valleys of Mesopotamia and Egypt, which fed into the historical complex of the great inland sea that joins three continents. The issue is that we had a Christian synthesis of the heritage of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, with Jesus of Nazareth as pivot and Paul of Tarsus the man who quite literally embodied the heritage. There are influences and contributions from all over, e.g. the Hindu decimal, place value system probably first tracing to the abacus. We have partial collapse of empire then gradual resurgence over centuries, with the printing revolution exploiting alphabetic script as key breakthrough. Notice, aleph + beth, ox plus house. Further observe, a Christian German [beyond the limits of the old Empire but part of the renewal of continental empire vision from Charlemagne on] uses a levantine writing invention to print in Latin language, the continentwide language of learning. This fosters the religious, cultural and general ferment that leads to scientific and democratising revolutions. And more. For sure, the Greeks are part of that, though the division with Latin is part of the story . . . I observe the Eastern empire continued to 1453. I recall, here, visiting the grave of a royal Paleologos in Christ Church [–> cross check says, St Johns], Barbados, in the grounds of the parish church. And yet more. KF

  130. 130
    bornagain77 says:

    Karen McMannus,

    I think it is very important for me to point out that I am not denying that other cultures provided ‘tools’ that were very useful, even very essential, for the rise of modern science. What I am claiming is that the other cultures lacked the correct overarching worldview in order for science to take root and flourish.

    In his new book, “The Return of the God Hypothesis”, Dr. Stephen Meyer, who has a PhD in the philosophy of science from Cambridge University, listed the necessary Christian presuppositions that lay at founding of modern science 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.”
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA
    April 2021: Defense of all 3 presuppositions
    1
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727893
    2
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727959
    3
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727980

    And it is not just Stephen Meyer who is making this claim. Many notable historians of science have also noted that the Christian worldview was necessary for the rise of modern science.

    The truth about science and religion By Terry Scambray – August 14, 2014
    Excerpt: In 1925 the renowned philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead speaking to scholars at Harvard said that science originated in Christian Europe in the 13th century. Whitehead pointed out that science arose from “the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher”, from which it follows that human minds created in that image are capable of understanding nature.
    The audience, assuming that science and Christianity are enemies, was astonished.
    http://www.americanthinker.com.....igion.html

    The Christian Origins of Science – Jack Kerwick – Apr 15, 2017
    Excerpt: Though it will doubtless come as an enormous shock to such Christophobic atheists as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and their ilk, it is nonetheless true that one especially significant contribution that Christianity made to the world is that of science.,,,
    Stark is blunt: “Real science arose only once: in Europe”—in Christian Europe. “China, Islam, India, and ancient Greece and Rome each had a highly developed alchemy. But only in Europe did alchemy develop into chemistry. By the same token, many societies developed elaborate systems of astrology, but only in Europe did astrology develop into astronomy.”,,,
    In summation, Stark writes: “The rise of science was not an extension of classical learning. It was the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine: nature exists because it was created by God. In order to love and honor God, it is necessary to fully appreciate the wonders of his handiwork. Because God is perfect, his handiwork functions in accord with immutable principles. By the full use of our God-given powers of reason and observation, it ought to be possible to discover these principles.”
    He concludes: “These were the crucial ideas that explain why science arose in Christian Europe and nowhere else.”
    https://townhall.com/columnists/jackkerwick/2017/04/15/the-christian-origins-of-science-n2313593

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    per town hall
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    It should also be noted that many lies have been spread, by atheists, that Christianity is at war with science. And that it was ‘enlightenment’ thinking, not Christianity, that gave rise to modern science.

    That is a patently false claim.

    Christians – Not the Enlightenment – Invented Modern Science – Chuck Colson – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: So why the Columbus myth? Because, as Stark writes, “the claim of an inevitable and bitter warfare between religion and science has, for more than three centuries, been the primary polemical device used in the atheist attack of faith.” Opponents of Christianity have used bogus accounts like the ones I’ve mentioned to not only discredit Christianity, but also position themselves as “liberators” of the human mind and spirit.
    Well, it’s up to us to set the record straight, and Stark’s book is a great place to start. And I think it’s time to tell our neighbors that what everyone thinks they know about Christianity and science is just plain wrong.
    http://www.cnsnews.com/comment.....rn-science

    Here is an excellent site, (maintained by an atheistic historian no less), that debunks many of the myths that atheists have created over the years to falsely portray Christianity as somehow being at war with science instead of being essential for science:

    THE GREAT MYTHS – Tim O’Neill
    History for Atheists’ “Great Myths” series is a collection of longer articles that addresses the most persistent and widespread myths about history that tend to be used by anti-theist activists. This is an ongoing project, so the list below will be added to as the series continues, with new additions made about every two to three months.
    The Great Myths Series
    The Great Myths 1: The Medieval Flat Earth
    The Great Myths 2: Christmas, Mithras and Paganism
    The Great Myths 3: Giordano Bruno was a Martyr for Science
    The Great Myths 4: Constantine, Nicea and the Bible
    The Great Myths 5: The Destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria
    The Great Myths 6: Copernicus’ Deathbed Publication
    The Great Myths 7: “Hitler’s Pope”?
    The Great Myths 8: The Loss of Ancient Learning
    The Great Myths 9: Hypatia of Alexandria
    The Great Myths 10: Soviet Atheism
    https://historyforatheists.com/the-great-myths/

  131. 131
    hnorman42 says:

    A couple of more thoughts about the puddle analogy —
    Regardless of Adams’ intent, many people take it as a strong argument. I think the argument is wrong but it has a great deal of persuasive power. Why is that?
    I think the problem is the apparent appropriateness of the metaphor of water. Water fills in gaps and takes the shape of its container. Natural selection allegedly causes life to fit in with its environment. Unfortunately, water serves as a metaphor only for what natural selection is said to accomplish. It does not in any way illustrate the underlying mechanics by which it would do so.
    Now, if the issue is fine tuning rather than natural selection — well, I’m on shaky ground with respect to the anthropic principle. However, here again I think we’re dealing with arguments that are designed to deal with probability difficulties. With water filling its container, there are no odds to surmount.

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    HN42,

    Interesting thoughts. Yes, a fallacy (intended or not) is persuasive to a significant number, so we need to learn why we can be vulnerable and how to resist its attractions.

    The crude analogy that just as water fills a pond’s depressions, natural selection searches and fills the space of possibilities step by step, is highly insightful of a key failure. What you are doing is inverting the climb the fitness landscape hills model that is so commonly used.

    That model fails, as from molecules on up, complex, specific function based on configuration of many components comes in deeply isolated islands in configuration spaces. The problem in actuality is not to climb hills step by step, but to find beach-heads on deeply isolated islands within the time and atomic resources of the solar system or observed cosmos. That is why origin of life in a Darwin’s pond or the like environment runs into an information hurdle and it is why onward origin of body plans becomes such a challenge.

    Our sol system [10^57 atoms] or observed cosmos [10^80 atoms], in 10^17 s might generously account for 500 or 1,000 bits of functionally specific, complex organisation and/or information. Just the genetic information for first cell based life requires 100,000 to 1 million+ bits, and body plans require 10 – 100+ million bits. Each additional bit DOUBLES the configuration space from 000 . . . 0 to 111 . . . 1, where as codes, strings, 3-d entities can all be reduced to bit based description languages, discussion on bits is without loss of generality.

    So, the baseline assumptions we have all been indoctrinated with on the grand powers of natural selection are fallacious but obviously intoxicating and deeply embedded.

    This metaphor then drives our imaginations as we go afield, it is a flawed bur powerful paradigm, so yes we can see how there is a no problem answer that there must be a cosmological fitness landscape that is climbed by some sort of multiverse natural selection where we won the lottery.

    Overlooked, lotteries have to be fine tuned to be profitable, enticing and winnable, which isn’t easy. Lotteries are a design-driven system, even as the artificial selection analogy skips over the designing role of the breeder. And, the hard limits that tend to emerge sooner or later as genetic room is used up.

    Coming back to fine tuning, the issue is the sheer contingency of laws and parameters as found over centuries and especially in recent decades. Back in the 50’s it was recognised that a nuclear resonance with 4% wiggle room allows creation of the palette of atomic elements that undergird C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based terrestrial planet life. Since then dozens of parameters [and no, the suggestion that they are constrained to be where they are fails on the whole] have emerged, leading to recognising that we are in a cosmos at a deeply isolated island of function in the space of contingent possibilities. Islands of function amidst seas of non function again.

    No, we do not need to posit global isolation, as Leslie pointed out in his flies on the wall argument:

    “One striking thing about the fine tuning is that a force strength or a particle mass often appears to require accurate tuning for several reasons at once. Look at electromagnetism. Electromagnetism seems to require tuning for there to be any clear-cut distinction between matter and radiation; for stars to burn neither too fast nor too slowly for life’s requirements; for protons to be stable; for complex chemistry to be possible; for chemical changes not to be extremely sluggish; and for carbon synthesis inside stars (carbon being quite probably crucial to life). Universes all obeying the same fundamental laws could still differ in the strengths of their physical forces, as was explained earlier, and random variations in electromagnetism from universe to universe might then ensure that it took on any particular strength sooner or later. Yet how could they possibly account for the fact that the same one strength satisfied many potentially conflicting requirements, each of them a requirement for impressively accurate tuning?” [Our Place in the Cosmos, The Royal Institute of Philosophy, 1998 (courtesy Wayback Machine) Emphases added.]

    AND:

    “. . . the need for such explanations does not depend on any estimate of how many universes would be observer-permitting, out of the entire field of possible universes. Claiming that our universe is ‘fine tuned for observers’, we base our claim on how life’s evolution would apparently have been rendered utterly impossible by comparatively minor alterations in physical force strengths, elementary particle masses and so forth. There is no need for us to ask whether very great alterations in these affairs would have rendered it fully possible once more, let alone whether physical worlds conforming to very different laws could have been observer-permitting without being in any way fine tuned. Here it can be useful to think of a fly on a wall, surrounded by an empty region. A bullet hits the fly Two explanations suggest themselves. Perhaps many bullets are hitting the wall or perhaps a marksman fired the bullet. There is no need to ask whether distant areas of the wall, or other quite different walls, are covered with flies so that more or less any bullet striking there would have hit one. The important point is that the local area contains just the one fly.” [Emphasis his.]

    Walker and Davies also help us:

    In physics, particularly in statistical mechanics, we base many of our calculations on the assumption of metric transitivity, which asserts that a system’s trajectory will eventually [–> given “enough time and search resources”] explore the entirety of its state space – thus everything that is phys-ically possible will eventually happen. It should then be trivially true that one could choose an arbitrary “final state” (e.g., a living organism) and “explain” it by evolving the system backwards in time choosing an appropriate state at some ’start’ time t_0 (fine-tuning the initial state). In the case of a chaotic system the initial state must be specified to arbitrarily high precision. But this account amounts to no more than saying that the world is as it is because it was as it was, and our current narrative therefore scarcely constitutes an explanation in the true scientific sense.

    We are left in a bit of a conundrum with respect to the problem of specifying the initial conditions necessary to explain our world. A key point is that if we require specialness in our initial state (such that we observe the current state of the world and not any other state) metric transitivity cannot hold true, as it blurs any dependency on initial conditions – that is, it makes little sense for us to single out any particular state as special by calling it the ’initial’ state. If we instead relax the assumption of metric transitivity (which seems more realistic for many real world physical systems – including life), then our phase space will consist of isolated pocket regions and it is not necessarily possible to get to any other physically possible state (see e.g. Fig. 1 for a cellular automata example).

    [–> or, there may not be “enough” time and/or resources for the relevant exploration, i.e. we see the 500 – 1,000 bit complexity threshold at work vs 10^57 – 10^80 atoms with fast rxn rates at about 10^-13 to 10^-15 s leading to inability to explore more than a vanishingly small fraction on the gamut of Sol system or observed cosmos . . . the only actually, credibly observed cosmos]

    Thus the initial state must be tuned to be in the region of phase space in which we find ourselves [–> notice, fine tuning], and there are regions of the configuration space our physical universe would be excluded from accessing, even if those states may be equally consistent and permissible under the microscopic laws of physics (starting from a different initial state). Thus according to the standard picture, we require special initial conditions to explain the complexity of the world, but also have a sense that we should not be on a particularly special trajectory to get here (or anywhere else) as it would be a sign of fine–tuning of the initial conditions. [ –> notice, the “loading”] Stated most simply, a potential problem with the way we currently formulate physics is that you can’t necessarily get everywhere from anywhere (see Walker [31] for discussion). [“The “Hard Problem” of Life,” June 23, 2016, a discussion by Sara Imari Walker and Paul C.W. Davies at Arxiv.]

    No, the pond/puddle analogy falls apart.

    KF

  133. 133
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 said,

    LOL, And you got something better? LOL

    Yes. An afterlife with my friends, family and loved ones, and one that is not presided over by a tyrant demanding my love and worship or else.

    As far as evidence concerning positive non-Christian and other-culture NDEs, as well as NDEs that come back with a decidedly non-Christian message:

    May Eulitt’s and Her Two Companions Group NDE https://near-death.com/may-eulitt/
    She and her two friends had the same very positive experience, but each of them interpreted the experience in terms of their own religious beliefs. The “being of light” was seen by one to be an angel, by the second as his father, by the third as Buddha. The message they all got was that religion, doctrine and creed did not matter.

    Sandra Rogers’ Suicide Near-Death Experience https://near-death.com/sandra-rogers-suicide-nde/
    Sandra brings a decidedly non-Christian message back from her NDE, among other things,
    1. Satan and demons are what you make them. Evil only exists because we fear and think unkind thoughts.
    2. There is one God who is worshipped through many different teachings of many different religious faiths.
    3. Those organizations, or religions, which claim some singular relationship with God, claim superiority over others, or exclude people for various reasons, go against God’s law that we love one another as we love ourselves.”

    Arthur Yensen’s Near-Death Experience https://near-death.com/arthur-yensen/
    During his NDE, Arthur was told that in the hereafter, each person lives in the kind of a heaven or hell that he prepared for himself while on Earth.

    Arthur: “When I asked what a person should do while on Earth to make it better for him when he dies, he answered, “All you can do is to develop along the lines of unselfish love. People don’t come here because of their good deeds, or because they believe in this or that, but because they fit in and belong.”

    From research involving 267 NDErs,

    Noteworthy, are the comments about pre- and post-religious preferences. Out of 267 NDErs, the largest category of NDErs (119 or 44.6%) reported no change in their religion. However, many NDErs did tend to shift their beliefs in their particular religion (78 or 29.2%). For 87.2% of these NDErs, the shift was in the direction of spirituality. There was also a group of NDErs who changed religions (69 or 25.8%). Of those reporting a change, 71.0% changed in the direction of spirituality, 4.3% changed to a more religious background, while 24.7% the direction of change could not be determined based upon their comments. The categories of those who shifted or changed in religion represents a total of 55.1% of the respondent total. Of this 55.1% of those who shifted or changed religions, 79.6% of these people shifted or changed in the direction of spirituality. This trend is consistent with the data above that shows the marked change of spirituality that goes from 2 (0.71%) people as pre NDE religious preference to 49 (17.5%) people reporting post NDE religious preference as spiritual/universal.

    There are a few other trends that bear commenting on. “Spirituality” was looked at as moving from the dogma of organized religion to actually living the spirit of the religion. It is a bit ironic that Christians who changed to Buddhism considered this a more liberal religion. Many people considered moving from “religion” to “having no religion” as a liberal move. There were many people who considered it “spiritual” to move from externalized organized religion, to their internalized own form of spirituality, as a liberal change that is more in keeping with the universal order observed from their NDE. Many people found that church was unnecessary and concentrated on development for all people, and religions, with a tendency towards universality.

    What is interesting is that, as far as I’m aware, not a single NDEr has come back with the message that one must accept Christ to get into Heaven; the virtually unanimous message that comes back regardless of one’s experience is that religion, doctrine, etc., do not matter. What matters in terms of a better “afterlife” experience, is love.

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the use of tyrant and or else speaks, and may explain much. For cause, I continue to note that there is no good reason to wholesale discount the testimony of our senses, and that any scheme of thought that does so is self referential and self defeating. KF

  135. 135
    bornagain77 says:

    At 111 WJM argues against ‘Christian exclusivity”. And basically argues that all other worldviews are just as equally valid as Christianity is. (I guess only WJM’s own IRT theory escapes the charge of extreme relativism)

    A good rule of thumb is that if your worldview depends on excluding counterfactual evidence, such as the millions of people that have experiences of the afterlife that contradict Christian exclusivity, then you’re protecting ideology and not making a rational case from all pertinent, available evidence,,,
    You’re the one that, like materialists, are insisting that reality is local writ large; you’re claiming that the inherent reality of what exists, the exclusively Christian afterlife (so to speak,) is the reality “out there,” the only thing we can experience.
    That’s not what the evidence is. Sure, SOME of the photons land in the Christian strike zone, so to speak, but you’re ignoring all the other photon landing points that show a wave distribution to many different locations. “Local reality” = “particle” = conceptual materialism = Christian afterlife exclusivity.
    Christian exclusivity is, thus, essentially a materialist/ERT/”local reality” perspective, unless you can show otherwise by reasoning from all available pertinent evidence or by showing it necessary logically.

    First off, in defending ‘Christian exclusivity’, it is important to note that I have not ignored evidence of “millions of people that have experiences of the afterlife that contradict Christian exclusivity”.

    In fact, at post 109, just two posts prior to WJM’s false claim that I was ignoring millions of foreign NDE’s, I directly addressed foreign NDE’s and showed how they fall into a pattern that is ‘predicted’ by ‘Christian exclusivity’.

    Which is to say that all foreign, non-Judeo Christian, NDE’s fall into a pattern of being negative, to extremely negative, when compared to the extremely positive Judeo-Christian NDEs.

    The exceptions to this general rule of NDE’s being unpleasant for foreign NDEs are few and far between. With the rare exceptions generally happening for children, or for people who have had Judeo-Christian influences in their life.

    Again, none of this challenges ‘Christian exclusivity’.

    WJM claims that there are ‘millions’ of foreign NDEs that challenge ‘Christian exclusivity’. Yet I am the only one who has actually presented any foreign research papers to support my position (post 109) that foreign NDEs fall into a pattern expected by ‘Christian exclusivity”. (I note that WJM’s post at 133 are all studies that were conducted within the confines of a Judeo-Christian culture, and thus his post at 133 does not contradict my claim that foreign NDE’s, (cultures free from cultural Judeo Christian influences), fall into the pattern predicted by ‘Christian exclusivity’)

    WJM also claimed that reincarnation challenged ‘Christian exclusivity’. And I noted that his evidence from reincarnation, from a leading reincarnation researcher no less, is found to be wanting,

    “the evidence (for reincarnation) is not flawless and it certainly does not compel such a belief. Even the best of it is open to alternative interpretations,”
    Ian Stevenson – (late) was considered a leading reincarnation researcher

    Thus contrary to WJM’s claim, I have not ‘excluded’ counterfactual evidence against ‘Christian exclusivity’. But I have instead taken it into consideration and have found it to be wanting.

    The one place I did not look at counterfactual evidence was with ‘astral projection’. Perhaps I can be forgiven for finding the claim that ‘astral projection’ is a serious threat to ‘Christian exclusivity’ to be a joke.

    But hey, I’m still open WJM. Present your scientific evidence for astral projection being a serious threat to “Christian exclusivity’ and we will see if that dog can hunt.

    But anyways, to now present the positive evidence for “Christian exclusivity”.

    In science we have three theories of the universe that are extremely powerful in that, in so far as experimental verification will allow, we can find no discrepancy between what the mathematical predictions of those theories predict, and what experiments of those predictions show us to be true.

    Those three theories are Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity. (Of note: Quantum Electrodynamics, which is also an extremely powerful scientific theory, is a combination of Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity).

    It is also important to note that Quantum Mechanics has a irreducible subjective element to it, and that both relativity theories are, basically, objective scientific theories in that a conscious observer is not essential to completing the measurement process in those theories.

    On The Comparison Of Quantum and Relativity Theories – Sachs – 1986
    Excerpt: quantum theory entails an irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view.
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

    Moreover, it is important to note that in joining Quantum Mechanics with Special Relativity, in order to produce Quantum Electrodynamics, that it was necessary for Richard Feynman to ‘brush infinity under the rug’.

    In the process of ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, Feynman ended up also brushing quantum measurement itself under the rug. As Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Sheldon Lee Glashow stated, “Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.”

    Not So Real – Sheldon Lee Glashow – Oct. 2018
    Excerpt: Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and their contemporaries knew well that the theory they devised could not be made compatible with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. First order in time, but second order in space, Schrödinger’s equation is nonrelativistic. Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.
    https://inference-review.com/article/not-so-real

    Yet ‘measurement’ in quantum mechanics is exactly where the entire enigma of ‘conscious observation’ makes its presence fully known in quantum mechanics,

    The Measurement Problem – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE

    As the following researcher stated, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it, (Delayed Choice) quantum experiment confirms –
    Mind = blown. – FIONA MACDONALD – 1 JUN 2015
    Excerpt: “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” lead researcher and physicist Andrew Truscott said in a press release.
    http://www.sciencealert.com/re.....t-confirms

    In short, although ‘brushing infinity under the rug’ has been extremely successful as a scientific theory, (i.e. Quantum Electrodynamics), that ‘brushing infinity under the rug’ still came at the unacceptable cost of brushing the observer himself, i.e. you and me, under the rug.

    Obviously, if a theory brushes you and me ‘under the rug’, and since you and me are certainly a very important part of ‘everything’ in our view of things, then the ‘renormalization’ of infinity that led to Quantum Electrodynamics can’t possibly be the correct first step towards the quote unquote ‘theory of everything.’

    And yet, if we don’t allow the ‘measurement problem’ to simply be brushed under the rug, and if we insist that quantum mechanics retain its irreducible subjective element, then we find out some VERY interesting things,

    Namely that humans themselves are brought into the laws of nature at their most foundational level.

    As Steven Weinberg, an atheist himself, states in the following article, In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    The fact that humans cannot be excluded from quantum mechanics has now been firmly established by Anton Zeilinger and company with the closing of the setting independence and/or ‘free will’ loop hole:

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of approx. 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    In short, Anton Zeilinger and company have now pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    First and foremost, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://youtu.be/Vpn2Vu8–eE

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178

    Thus in conclusion, although WJM may harbor an aversion to ‘Christian exclusivity’, I hold that it is pretty dog gone ‘exclusive’ for Christianity to offer, in my honest opinion, the only realistically viable solution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’:

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  136. 136
    asauber says:

    hnorman42,

    Just wanted to let you know I appreciate your contributions to this thread. This is one of the reasons why I hang around UD, to read things I wouldn’t think about otherwise.

    Andrew

  137. 137
    kairosfocus says:

    Q; Why would one who is all-good and utterly wise, ever require that free willed creatures love their Eternal Father and their fellow creatures, expressing love in words and deeds, including worship, regular instruction and support to neighbour, especially to the marginalised? (As in, what could Hobbes et al have ever missed?)

    A: _____________

    KF

  138. 138
    William J Murray says:

    Notice what BA77 actually says:

    Actually WJM. I have done quite a bit of research and it is very hard to find any extremely positive NDEs in non-Judeo-Christian cultures.

    First, when trying to support a claim of Christian exclusivity, what does this matter even if it is true? Why should an atheist or a non-Christian living in a Christian culture have positive NDEs at all? Why do the vast bulk of NDErs come back without messages of Christian exclusivity; in fact most often espousing the opposite?

    Second, this claim of “rare” non-Christian culture positive NDEs is just incorrect. For evidence of this:
    https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/Research/non_western_ndes.htm
    and
    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799184/m2/1/high_res_d/vol26-no4-249.pdf

    Remember, the case that BA77 is trying to make is that of Christian exclusivity, not that the Christian heaven is one of many and varied locations in the afterlife. I’m not challenging that there is evidence that the Christian heaven exists. What the NDE evidence implies is that the afterlife is either interpreted via social/cultural/religious beliefs, or there are actual differing locations, or both – IOW, what this seems to be is a more “macro” version of quantum physics: the state of the observer determining what the observer experiences in their “afterlife” near-death experiences.

    Now let’s see how BA77 employs two different standards when he address the evidence for reincarnation:
    BA77 said @128:

    Might I suggest that the evidence for reincarnation is not nearly as strong as he presupposes it to be? (and certainly not nearly as strong as it is for NDEs)

    “the evidence (for reincarnation) is not flawless and it certainly does not compel such a belief. Even the best of it is open to alternative interpretations,”
    Ian Stevenson –

    Note the different standard: “flawless.” The NDE evidence is anything but “flawless” in terms of supporting Christian exclusivity. It’s not only flawed, it’s counterfactual.

  139. 139
    jerry says:

    A: _____________

    Because is it the path to true happiness? Boethius and Jordan Peterson interview?

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/some-thoughts-from-richard-feynman-on-science-and-religion/#comment-729257

  140. 140
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 said:

    At 111 WJM argues against ‘Christian exclusivity”. And basically argues that all other worldviews are just as equally valid as Christianity is. (I guess only WJM’s own IRT theory escapes the charge of extreme relativism)

    What WJM actually said:

    In the words of Barry Soetero, let me be clear: Under IRT, materialism is objectively false. Substance dualism is objectively false. Thus, any religious or spiritual perspective that necessarily includes substance dualism is objectively false.

    So no, I am not “basically” arguing that “that all other worldviews are just as equally valid as Christianity is.”

  141. 141
    bornagain77 says:

    Jesus reduced the extremely burdensome Mosaic, and/or Levitical, law of the Old Testament to this,

    Matthew 22:37-40
    Jesus declared, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    WJM’s response in shorthand:

    “You tyrant!”

    WJM’s response is not uncommon. And unfortunately not entirely undeserved. ‘Organized religion’ often comes across as being very dogmatic and not very loving.

    But it might interest WJM to know that Jesus’s main enemies were not the ‘sinners’ of his day, but that Jesus’s main enemies were the leaders of ‘organized religion’ of his day.

    In fact, it was the leaders of ‘organized religion’ who orchestrated Jesus mock trial and subsequent crucifixion.

    And Jesus was nothing less than scathing of the religious leaders of his day for preventing, not enabling, people to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 23: 13 and 15
    “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter it yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

    In the same passage, Jesus refers to the religious leaders of his day as “hypocrites’ and “Serpents, brood of vipers!”

    Might I be so bold as to suggest that Jesus had a much greater animosity towards ‘organized religion’ than WJM currently has?

    The point I am trying to make clear in all this is that Jesus’s message that we ought to, for our own eternal good, love God and love one another is, unfortunately, being lost because many people often view Christianity as WJM currently views Christianity.

    Which is to say that many people view Christianity as being more of a ‘organized religion’ rather than being an intimate loving relationship with God the father.

    Moreover, of all the religions on earth, I hold that only Christianity forcefully demonstrates the fact that God loves us.

    John 15:13
    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    Does any other ‘organized religion’ on the face of earth even come close to the love that God has demonstrated for us through Jesus?

    1 John 4:7-12
    God Is Love
    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

  142. 142
    jerry says:

    Interesting? Barry Soetero or Barry Soetoro?

    The latter is a supposed alias for Barack Obama.

    The troll goes on.

    Does repeating nonsense often enough make it seem true? Does responding to nonsense give it credibility?

    We have actual proof of that proposition here. The answer is most definitely yes!

  143. 143
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 @1335,
    Let’s assume arguendo that Christianity uniquely predicted all of the scientific knowledge you claim it does. So what? That doesn’t move the case for Christian exclusivity forward an inch; all it means is that Christianity either predicts these things, states them in some format, or provides the mental tools necessary for making these discoveries. How does any of that make the case for Christian existential exclusivity?

    You offered up the following quote to support your position on Christian exclusivity of a great afterlife:

    “The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like “love” make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never.”
    Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience Testimony

    I don’t see any message of Christian exclusivity in that testimony.

    Here’s a challenge for you to make your case for Christian exclusivity form NDE accounts: Find, cite and provide reference to some “positive” NDE accounts that includes a message or an experience that directly makes a statement in support of Christian exclusivity.

  144. 144
    paige says:

    KF@132, please take heed of the comment at 105.

  145. 145
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 said:

    The point I am trying to make clear in all this is that Jesus’s message that we ought to, for our own eternal good, love God and love one another is, unfortunately, being lost because many people often view Christianity as WJM currently views Christianity.

    You are minimizing the “or else” part of my “tyrant” description, by characterizing it as “for our own eternal good.” Unless I’m mistaken, there are severe consequences to “not loving God,” regardless of how much love you have for anyone else. And yes, any being that demands to be loved with all your heart “or else,” is not only a tyrant; they are a horribly abusive tyrant undeserving of love, much less worship.

    IMO, many Christians are like anyone in abusive relationships; they think they deserve the abuse and work to please their abuser and make excuses for that abuse. In Christianity, those excuses are called “apologetics.” Ironic, that term, isn’t it?

  146. 146
    William J Murray says:

    Let’s compare my version of God vs the Christian version of God:
    Christian version of God: “I created you into a particular existential framework without consulting you (obviously.) You have a few years to choose one of two very particular eternal conditions after you die; one immensely pleasant, the other very unenjoyable (or, “non-existence, depending on the particular interpretation.) That choice is: to love me or to not love me. These few years will likely be very, very difficult, confusing, painful, and full of distractions, doubts and temptations leading you to make the wrong choice. Go!” (and so, you are born.)

    My version of God (if it could talk like a person, and putting it in a comparative framework:) “Hello, eternal being. You are free to do as you wish, experience whatever you wish, for eternity. You will never be locked into any one particular place, situation or experience; using your free will, you can move anywhere in infinite experiential worlds and states. If you wish, at any time, you may move towards me and feel the unconditional love I have for you that will be beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. You can come and go as you please, we have all of eternity! You are always welcome to come near me and enjoy this love, or move away from me and experience other kinds of things, any other possible thing. It’s all up to you! I have no judgement on anything you do or experience.”

    I’ll leave the reader to decide which god is the more loving and better, and which one is better characterized as an abusive tyrant.

  147. 147
    paige says:

    We often refer to God as “our Father”. Sticking to that analogy, a good father’s prime role is not to insist on worship and devotion from his children. His role is to provide the necessary teaching and unconditional love so that his children can grow into happy and loving adults. If you want a father image who demands worship at the threat of punishment, move to North Korea.

  148. 148
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM presents the following sites as evidence that foreign NDE’s are just as positive as the overwhelmingly positive NDEs experienced in Judeo-Christian cultures:

    Second, this claim of “rare” non-Christian culture positive NDEs is just incorrect. For evidence of this:
    https://www.nderf.org/NDERF/Research/non_western_ndes.htm
    and
    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799184/m2/1/high_res_d/vol26-no4-249.pdf

    And yet when we look at his sites we find that the billing does not live up to WJM’s hype

    In WJM’s first site, Many of the NDEs happen in cultures that are influenced by Judeo-Christian influences (Hong Kong, Korea, Kenya). And many of the NDEs can be classified as being rather mundane to being unpleasant. Perhaps 4 or 5 of the testimonies from his site mention the tunnel and/or the “Being of light’, and are therefore very close to what we hear about in ‘typical Judeo-Christian NDEs,

    But even then it is unclear if the people are totally free from Judeo Christian influences and/or what their specific religion actually is. After all, India, and Korea are known to have heavy Judeo Christian influences in different regions of their countries.

    The second site, though not as ambiguous as WJM’s first site, is less promising for WJM’s claim that foreign NDE’s are just as pleasant as ‘typical’ Judeo Christian NDEs,

    a few quotes from his second site:

    In each of these accounts, no tunnel experience was reported, although one person proceeded “through a void” (Becker, 1984, p. 163). Neither the out-of-body experience (OBE) nor the life review was mentioned in these accounts. ,,,

    Once again, though, there was no report of a tunnel sensation. However, emerging from a “darktubular ‘calyx'” was reported

    we are unsure whether the tunnel sensation was a volunteered descriptor for this part of their experience.

    In a total of 45 cases, then, Pasricha (1992, 1993) and Pasricha and Stevenson (1986) found no evidence of a tunnel sensation.

    However, on closer inspection, all three of those who supposedly reported tunnel sensations actually reported a sensation of darkness. One respondent agreed that her experience of darkness was “tunnel like” only after accepting this suggestion from Blackmore.

    Murphy argued that the appearance of Yamatoots, guides sent on behalf of the Lord of the Underworld (Yama), more often acted as evidence to the NDEr that he
    or she had died. There were no reports of tunnels or tunnel-like sensations, although a tunnel was reported as part of an otherworld journey. In that context, Murphy observed that “Tunnels are rare, if
    not absent, in Thai NDEs” (2001, p. 170).

    The tunnel experience was not described in most non-Western accounts, though an experience of darkness of sorts was often reported.
    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799184/m2/1/high_res_d/vol26-no4-249.pdf

    Thus from WJM’s own citation, i.e. his second site, it appears that the more clarity we have in examining the exact details of his claim that foreign NDEs are just as pleasant as ‘typical’ heavenly Judeo-Christian NDEs, the more WJM’s claim seems to evaporate into thin air.

    Shoot I suggest everyone closely read WJM’s second site, (reading past the author’s own personal bias), and see for themselves that foreign NDE’s don’t hold a candle to ‘typical’ heavenly Judeo-Christian NDEs.

  149. 149
    bornagain77 says:

    I could not agree with Paige’s succinct comment at 147 more.

  150. 150
    paige says:

    BA77

    I could not agree with Paige’s succinct comment at 147 more.

    I am not asking you to.

  151. 151
    bornagain77 says:

    Sorry Paige, I just admire when someone can summarize quickly what usually takes me many more words to do.

  152. 152
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM states: “Here’s a challenge for you to make your case for Christian exclusivity form NDE accounts: Find, cite and provide reference to some “positive” NDE accounts that includes a message or an experience that directly makes a statement in support of Christian exclusivity.”

    Jesus rescued former atheist professor Howard Storm from hell during his NDE

    The Near Death Experience of Howard Storm: Parts I & II- The Chains We Forge in Life/Rescue – 23:00 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/VsyWGPoMiMI?t=1383

    Brain surgeon Eben Alexander, (Harvard), states, “More than ever since my near death experience, I consider myself a Christian -,,, it is an idea that I now believe. Not in a lip-service way. Not in a dress-up-it’s-Easter kind of way. I believe it with all my heart, and all my soul.,,”

    The Easter Question – Eben Alexander, M.D. – Harvard – March 2013
    Excerpt: More than ever since my near death experience, I consider myself a Christian -,,,
    Now, I can tell you that if someone had asked me, in the days before my NDE, what I thought of this (Easter) story, I would have said that it was lovely. But it remained just that — a story. To say that the physical body of a man who had been brutally tortured and killed could simply get up and return to the world a few days later is to contradict every fact we know about the universe. It wasn’t simply an unscientific idea. It was a downright anti-scientific one.
    But it is an idea that I now believe. Not in a lip-service way. Not in a dress-up-it’s-Easter kind of way. I believe it with all my heart, and all my soul.,,
    We are, really and truly, made in God’s image. But most of the time we are sadly unaware of this fact. We are unconscious both of our intimate kinship with God, and of His constant presence with us. On the level of our everyday consciousness, this is a world of separation — one where people and objects move about, occasionally interacting with each other, but where essentially we are always alone.?But this cold dead world of separate objects is an illusion. It’s not the world we actually live in.,,,
    ,,He (God) is right here with each of us right now, seeing what we see, suffering what we suffer… and hoping desperately that we will keep our hope and faith in Him. Because that hope and faith will be triumphant.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....79741.html

    Here is Dr. Mary Neal’s encounter with Jesus:

    A Doctor’s Extraordinary Encounter with Jesus
    https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/inspirationreport/2017/09/doctors-extraordinary-encounter-jesus.html

    The following book looked at hundreds of similar reports of encountering Jesus during Near Death Experiences.

    Jesus and the Near-Death Experience: Testimonies of the ascended Christ Paperback – April 17, 2017
    The ministry of Jesus has been celebrated by billions of people over the last two millennia. Perhaps no single person has transformed the world more. Many believe that the ministry of Jesus ended two thousand years ago. But if Jesus represents the divine eternal, might He be speaking to us today? Amazingly, the answer is “yes!”
    In his groundbreaking work, Roy L. Hill provides a unique perspective of Jesus by people who interacted with Him during near death experiences. Their stories are noteworthy due to the high consistency between hundreds of reports. Indeed, research suggests that Jesus is seen more than any other single being in heaven. Such numbers beg the question, “What is Jesus saying to people living in today’s troubled world?” Throughout the book, Dr. Hill explores many revelations that Jesus provides for a new age. Compelling topics include the interconnection between people, spiritual transformation, unconditional love, religion, and salvation. Dr. Hill invites the reader to expand the usual notions of Jesus. In this manner, it is hoped that Jesus’ message becomes more deep and relevant to daily life.
    https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Near-Death-Experience-Testimonies-ascended/dp/1786770067

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, part of why this site exists is to provide substantial information, evidence, reference information and analysis. Not everything can or should be reduced to sound bites. In 132, I drew out the fitness landscape issue, set it in the wider context of islands of function, pointed out how the fitness landscape model fails. I then took the analogy to fine tuning and showed why it fails while using two noted experts in classic statements (Walker is an associate). A substantial case has been answered. Necessary and appropriate. KF

    PS: Observe this Arxiv paper by Lewis and Barnes https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2104/2104.03381.pdf

  154. 154
    paige says:

    BA77

    Sorry Paige, I just admire when someone can summarize quickly what usually takes me many more words to do.

    My apologies. I misinterpreted your comment.

  155. 155
    paige says:

    KF

    Paige, part of why this site exists is to provide substantial information, evidence, reference information and analysis.

    That does not answer why some find it necessary to address in great detail why they disagree with Adam’s puddle scenario from his book. People who raise it as an argument against fine tuning are simply trolling for a response, and laughing when they get a response.

    When I first read the book I laughed at the puddle aside. Not because I thought that it was a serious argument against fine tuning, but at the stupidity of the puddle. Just as I suspect people are laughing at the people here who are providing a detailed argument against the trolls who raise Adam’s puddle as an argument against fine tuning.

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, the comment above responds to HN42, who brings out the underlying issue of fitness landscapes and hill climbing, which is a major argument posed by those who would write the genome out of incrementally filtered noise. This somehow shapes a paradigm which is then wedded to a form of anthropic principle. The issue of deeply isolated islands of complex, configuration based function and blind search challenge is then a relevant response. But then, that was what was already argued and a summary like this– per, show your working — is necessarily significantly weaker than the actual argument. KF

  157. 157
    bornagain77 says:

    From WJM’s responses, this also caught my eye,

    Let’s assume arguendo that Christianity uniquely predicted all of the scientific knowledge you claim it does. So what? That doesn’t move the case for Christian exclusivity forward an inch; all it means is that Christianity either predicts these things, states them in some format, or provides the mental tools necessary for making these discoveries. How does any of that make the case for Christian existential exclusivity?

    Well first off, besides Christianity providing the correct overarching worldview in order to allow modern science to take root and flourish in Medieval Christian Europe, and besides the fact that the Bible uniquely predicted such small scientific details as, say, the entire universe being created, besides all that, my claim for Christianity goes beyond that. I am claiming that Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides the correct solution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’.

    Now WJM, while I certainly disagree with you that Christianity providing the correct intellectual presuppositions for modern science to take root and flourish, and that the Bible making many unique predictions that have now been confirmed to be true, does not at least “move the case for Christian exclusivity forward an inch”, even you, with your seemingly severe hostility towards Christianity, must honestly admit that Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead providing the correct solution for the quote unquote ‘theory of everything’ would move the case for ‘Christian exclusivity’ forward at least an inch? Shoot, perhaps even an inch and a half? 🙂

    And this also happens to be where I see a major failing in your theory (IRT).

    You see, in order for a theory to provide a coherent solution for the ‘theory of everything, your theory must be able to deal with the subjective world of quantum mechanics, and with the objective world of relativity.

    Yet, if I read your theory correctly, you basically write off the objective world that General Relativity reveals to us as being, basically, inconsequential.

    Which is to say that you never really meaningfully deal with trying to unify the objective world of General Relativity with the subjective world of Quantum Mechanics.

    This is not a minor failing for any theory that hopes to be the quote unquote ‘theory of everything’, and/or the correct explanation for why reality is the way it is, as I am assuming that you envision your theory as being the correct explanation for why reality is the way it is.

    The number one quest in Physics today, for at least the last thirty years, has been to find a way mathematically unify quantum mechanics and general relativity into a ‘theory of everything’.

    Thousands of the most brilliant minds in the world today have tried and failed to find a single overarching mathematical framework to unify gravity and quantum mechanics.

    And, as I pointed out in the following video, there are very good mathematical reasons for why there will never be a purely mathematical theory of everything.

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://youtu.be/Vpn2Vu8–eE

    And there are also very good theoretical reasons for why the two theories will never be unified into a single overarching mathematical framework.

    For instance, the entropy associated with general relativity is very destructive, whereas the entropy associated with special relativity is very orderly.

    Specifically, in Special Relativity (which can be unified with quantum mechanics via ‘renormalization), we are dealing with the extremely orderly 1 in 10^10^123 entropy that is associated with the creation of the universe, i.e. which is associated with the initial creation of light.

    “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”
    – Roger Penrose – The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them?

    Whereas, in General Relativity we are dealing with the ‘infinitely destructive’ entropy associated with Black Holes.

    “Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.”
    – Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476

    And another very good theoretical reason why gravity and quantum mechanics will never be unified into a single mathematical theory, (as special relativity and quantum mechanics have been mathematically unified to produce quantum electrodynamics), is because general relativity and special relativity reveal two very different space-time curvatures to us.

    The space-time curvature for special relativity happens for an observer who is approaching the speed of light. And the space-time curvature for general relativity happens for an observer falling into a strong gravitational field.

    What is interesting about these two very different space-time curvatures in that they reveal two very different timeless ‘eternities’ to us.

    The eternity for special relativity is found when a hypothetical observer approaches the speed of light. In this scenario, time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop for that hypothetical observer as he reached the speed of light.

    To grasp the whole concept of time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the very same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into special relativity. Here is a short clip from a video that gives us a look into Einstein’s breakthrough insight.

    “In the spring of 1905, Einstein was riding on a bus and he looked back at the famous clock tower that dominates Bern Switzerland. And then he imagined, “What happens if that bus were racing near the speed of light.”, (narrator: “In his imagination, Einstein looks back at the clock tower and what he sees is astonishing. As he reaches the speed of light, the hands of the clock appear frozen in time”), “Einstein would later write, “A storm broke in my mind. All of the sudden everything, everything, kept gushing forward.”, (narrator: “Einstein knows that, back at the clock tower, time is passing normally, but on Einstein’s light speed bus, as he reaches the speed of light, the light from the clock can no longer catch up to him. The faster he races through space, the slower he moves through time. This insight sparks the birth of Einstein’s Special Theory of relativity, which says that space and time are deeply connected. In fact, they are one and the same. A flexible fabric called spacetime.”)
    – Michio Kaku
    Einstein: Einstein’s Miracle Year (‘Insight into Eternity’ – Thought Experiment – 6:29 minute mark) – video
    https://youtu.be/QQ35opgrhNA?t=389

    That time, as we understand it comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, and yet light moves from point A to point B in our universe, and thus light is obviously not ‘frozen within time, has some fairly profound implications.

    The only way it is possible for time not to pass for light, and yet for light to move from point A to point B in our universe, is if light is of a higher dimensional value of time than the temporal time we are currently living in. Otherwise light would simply be ‘frozen within time’ to our temporal frame of reference.

    And that is exactly what Hermann Minkowski, Einstein’s math professor, found:

    Spacetime
    Excerpt: In 1908, Hermann Minkowski—once one of the math professors of a young Einstein in Zurich—presented a geometric interpretation of special relativity that fused time and the three spatial dimensions of space into a single four-dimensional continuum now known as Minkowski space. A key feature of this interpretation is the definition of a spacetime interval that combines distance and time. Although measurements of distance and time between events differ for measurements made in different reference frames, the spacetime interval is independent of the inertial frame of reference in which they are recorded.
    Minkowski’s geometric interpretation of relativity was to prove vital to Einstein’s development of his 1915 general theory of relativity, wherein he showed that spacetime becomes curved in the presence of mass or energy.,,,
    Einstein, for his part, was initially dismissive of Minkowski’s geometric interpretation of special relativity, regarding it as überflüssige Gelehrsamkeit (superfluous learnedness). However, in order to complete his search for general relativity that started in 1907, the geometric interpretation of relativity proved to be vital, and in 1916, Einstein fully acknowledged his indebtedness to Minkowski, whose interpretation greatly facilitated the transition to general relativity.[10]:151–152 Since there are other types of spacetime, such as the curved spacetime of general relativity, the spacetime of special relativity is today known as Minkowski spacetime.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacetime

    One way for us to more easily understand this higher dimensional framework for time that light exists in is to visualize what would happen if a hypothetical observer approached the speed of light.
    In the first part of the following video clip, which was made by two Australian University Physics Professors, we find that the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape as a ‘hypothetical’ observer approaches the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light.

    Optical Effects of Special Relativity – video (full relativistic effects shown at 2:40 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/JQnHTKZBTI4?t=160

    Likewise, as the preceding article also made reference to, Einstein’s General Relativity is also based on a higher dimensional framework.

    The following video is very good for illustrating the tunnel curvature that is found for the space-time of gravity in general relativity. Specifically, it is good for visualizing the tunnel curvature that is found at black holes

    Space-Time of a Black hole – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    And also likewise, we also see that General Relativity also has its own timeless eternity associated with it when an observer reaches the event horizon of a black hole. (Of note, the event horizon of a black hole is defined as being the place where the gravitational acceleration of a black hole is equal to the speed of light.)

    In short, special relativity and general relativity reveal two VERY different eternities to us, and I hold that to be a very good theoretical reason why the two theories of relativity will never be successfully unified into a single overarching mathematical theory with quantum mechanics.

    And now that we have outlined the basics of relativity, this is where it gets really interesting.

    We have been taking about Near Death Experiences in this thread. And Near Death Experience happen to corroborate key features that we now know to be true from Special and General Relativity.

    In the following video clip, Mickey Robinson gives his Near Death testimony of what it felt like for him to experience a ‘timeless eternity’.

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video (testimony starts at 27:45 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voak1RM-pXo

    And here are a few more quotes from people who have experienced Near Death, that speak of how their perception of time was radically altered as they were outside of their material body.

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’
    – Kimberly Clark Sharp – Near Death Experiencer

    ‘There is no way to tell whether minutes, hours or years go by. Existence is the only reality and it is inseparable from the eternal now.’
    – John Star – NDE Experiencer

    As well, Near Death Experiencers also frequently mention going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension:

    Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)? – article with video
    Excerpt: “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like a light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    – Jeffrey Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively
    – abcnews nightline

    The Tunnel and the Near-Death Experience
    Excerpt: One of the nine elements that generally occur during NDEs is the tunnel experience. This involves being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light.
    – near death research

    In the following video, Barbara Springer gives her testimony as to what it felt like for her to go through the tunnel:

    “I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.”
    Barbara Springer – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv2jLeoAcMI

    And in the following audio clip, Vicki Noratuk, who has been blind from birth, besides being able to see for the first time during in her life during her Near Death Experience, also gives testimony of going through a tunnel:

    “I was in a body, and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head, it had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And it was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.”,,, “And then this vehicle formed itself around me. Vehicle is the only thing, or tube, or something, but it was a mode of transportation that’s for sure! And it formed around me. And there was no one in it with me. I was in it alone. But I knew there were other people ahead of me and behind me. What they were doing I don’t know, but there were people ahead of me and people behind me, but I was alone in my particular conveyance. And I could see out of it. And it went at a tremendously, horrifically, rapid rate of speed. But it wasn’t unpleasant. It was beautiful in fact.,, I was reclining in this thing, I wasn’t sitting straight up, but I wasn’t lying down either. I was sitting back. And it was just so fast. I can’t even begin to tell you where it went or whatever it was just fast!” –
    Vicki’s NDE – Blind since birth –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    And the following people who had a NDE both testify that they firmly believed that they were in a higher dimension that is above this three-dimensional world and that the primary reason that they have a very difficult time explaining what their Near Death Experiences felt like is because we simply don’t currently have the words to properly describe that higher dimension:

    “Regardless, it is impossible for me to adequately describe what I saw and felt. When I try to recount my experiences now, the description feels very pale. I feel as though I’m trying to describe a three-dimensional experience while living in a two-dimensional world. The appropriate words, descriptions and concepts don’t even exist in our current language. I have subsequently read the accounts of other people’s near-death experiences and their portrayals of heaven and I able to see the same limitations in their descriptions and vocabulary that I see in my own.”
    Mary C. Neal, MD – To Heaven And Back pg. 71

    “Well, when I was taking geometry, they always told me there were only three dimensions, and I always just accepted that. But they were wrong. There are more… And that is why so hard for me to tell you this. I have to describe with words that are three-dimensional. That’s as close as I can get to it, but it’s really not adequate.”
    John Burke – Imagine Heaven pg. 51 – quoting a Near Death Experiencer

    That what we now know to be true from special relativity, (namely that it outlines a ‘timeless’, i.e. eternal, dimension that exists above this temporal dimension), would fit hand and glove with the personal testimonies of people who have had a deep heavenly NDEs is, needless to say, powerful evidence that their testimonies are, in fact, true and that they are accurately describing the ‘reality’ of a higher heavenly dimension, that they experienced first hand, and that they say exists above this temporal dimension.

    I would even go so far as to say that such corroboration from ‘non-physicists’, who, in all likelihood, know nothing about the intricacies of special relativity, is a complete scientific verification of the overall validity of their personal NDE testimonies.

    Matthew 6:33
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

  158. 158
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, besides heavenly experiences, (and I would be remiss if I did not mention them), there are also hellish experiences that also corroborate what we would expect to see from what we now know to be true about General Relativity.

    To Hell and Back: The Dark Side of Near Death Experiences – Brent Swancer – May 25, 2016
    Excerpt: Nancy Evans Bush has estimated that one out of every five NDEs involve terrifying traumatic experiences such as black, cold voids, total sensory deprivation, yawning chasms of loneliness, prowling monsters, or indeed visions of an actual Hell, the description of which can vary wildly from person to person. In her book Dancing Past the Dark, Bush explains about these different permutations of Hell
    http://mysteriousuniverse.org/.....periences/

    In the following video clip, former atheist Howard Storm speaks of what eternity felt like for him in the hellish dimension:

    Howard Storm’s Near Death Experience – video – (9:00 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi3e16JY6UM

    And at the 7:00 minute mark of this video, Ron Reagan gives testimony of falling down a ‘tunnel’ towards hell:

    Hell – A Warning! – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HSgH2AHkfkw&list=PLCB5F225ABC1F7330#t=420

    And in this following video, Bill Wiese also speaks of ‘tumbling down’ a tunnel in his transition stage to hell:

    Bill Wiese on Sid Roth – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHTU9oe9s7k

    And in this following video, Paul Ojeda also speaks of ‘falling’ towards hell at a very fast speed:

    Imagine Heaven – What About Hell? – John Burke – video (33:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/j7N473pY1hs?t=1986

    Again, that these NDEs would corroborate key features that we know to be true from General Relativity is powerful evidence that their experiences were indeed real.

    Needless to say, these hellish NDEs OUGHT to be very sobering for anyone who is of a spiritually minded persuasion.

    Luke 16:22-26
    [22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; [23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. [25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. …

  159. 159
    hnorman42 says:

    Asauber – I appreciate your contributions as well. I recall that we had an interesting discussion regarding natural selection. You made me rethink some things. I hope to talk about some ideas in a comment soon.
    Best.

  160. 160
    hnorman42 says:

    Paige –
    Wikipedia seems to think very highly of the puddle argument. Richard Dawkins seems to extol it in “Lament for Douglas Adams.”
    Maybe people shouldn’t take it seriously but they do.

  161. 161
    Viola Lee says:

    Hi HNorman 42. I looked up Anthropic Principle on Wikipedia, and it made no mention of Adams. There is one sentence about it on the Douglas Adams page. What Wikipedia page did you find that seemed to think highly of it?

    Also Dawkins and Adams were good friends. I am a Douglas Adams fan, but not particularly a Dawkins fan. I saw him speak one time and thought his thoughts on religion were simplistic and uninformed.

    As to his essay upon Adam’s death. he wrote,

    To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us, because we are so well suited to live in it, he mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle.

    As Sev said in post #2 of this thread, “Adams’s “puddle” analogy was simply making that point that we might be wrong thinking this was all created just for us.” It’s not trying to make some fancy philosophical argument about the fine-tuning of our universe, but rather that it is rather parochial to think that that fine-tuning was just so we, human beings on planet Earth for the last some number of thousands of years could exist: that the whole big universe was made for us.

    And, much more importantly, Dawkins wrote this,

    Douglas and I met because I sent him an unsolicited fan letter – I think it is the only time I have ever written one. I had adored The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Then I read Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

    As soon as I finished it I turned back to page one and read it straight through again – the only I time I have ever done that, and I wrote to tell him so.

    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a great book, and much more sophisticated than the Hitchhiker books. I too immediately re-read it after finishing it. I recommend it highly to all Adams fans.

  162. 162
    paige says:

    Viola Lee, HN42 might be referring to this page.

    https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

    I have also read Dirk Gently and thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be unfair to compare it to Hitchhiker’s Guide as Hitchhiker’s was first developed as a radio show.

  163. 163
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    As Sev said in post #2 of this thread, “Adams’s “puddle” analogy was simply making that point that we might be wrong thinking this was all created just for us.” It’s not trying to make some fancy philosophical argument about the fine-tuning of our universe, but rather that it is rather parochial to think that that fine-tuning was just so we, human beings on planet Earth for the last some number of thousands of years could exist: that the whole big universe was made for us.

    And yet our best scientific evidence now says that its was. Go Figure!

    The Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    April 2021 – https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asked-of-steve-meyer-if-humans-are-so-important-to-god-why-did-they-take-so-long-to-develop/#comment-727599

  164. 164
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM @146,

    I’ll boil it down: whoever believes in an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator who consigns some of Its creations to eternal, I said, ETERNAL, anguish and torment, is mentally ill. (Why not just annihilate their consciousness?) These people can try to justify their god’s actions all their want, but their imaginary god is worse than Hitler. And they worship it. This really goes to the psychology of the people who actually believe in such a monster.

    Let’s just call a spade a spade.

  165. 165
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks, Paige. I’ve never heard of Simple Wikipedia, but it certainly lives up to its name! 🙂

    Glad to hear of someone else who is a Dirk Gently fan: so many iconic ideas in that book. The description of what it would be like to be a ghost is fascinating. And the chapter on the Electric Monk is so good that I’ll just post it all here

    The Electric Monk

    From Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

    High on a rocky promontory sat an Electric Monk on a bored horse. From under its rough woven cowl the Monk gazed unblinkingly down into another valley, with which it was having a problem.

    The day was hot, the sun stood in an empty hazy sky and beat down upon the gray rocks and the scrubby, parched grass. Nothing moved, not even the Monk. The horse’s tail moved a little, swishing slightly to try and move a little air, but that was all. Otherwise, nothing moved.

    The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

    Unfortunately this Electric Monk had developed a fault, and had started to believe all kinds of things, more or less at random. It was even beginning to believe things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City. It had never heard of Salt Lake City, of course. Nor had it ever heard of a quingigillion, which was roughly the number of miles between this valley and the Great Salt Lake of Utah.

    The problem with the valley was this. The Monk currently believed that the valley and everything in the valley and around it, including the Monk itself and the Monk’s horse, was a uniform shade of pale pink. This made for a certain difficulty in distinguishing any one thing from any other thing, and therefore made doing anything or going anywhere impossible, or at least difficult and dangerous. Hence the immobility of the Monk and the boredom of the horse, which had had to put up with a lot of silly things in its time but was secretly of the opinion that this was one of the silliest.

    How long did the Monk believe these things?

    Well, as far as the Monk was concerned, forever. The faith which moves mountains, or at least believes them against all the available evidence to be pink, was a solid and abiding faith, a great rock against which the world could hurl whatever it would, yet it would not be shaken. In practice, the horse knew, twenty-four hours was usually about its lot.

    So what of this horse, then, that actually held opinions, and was sceptical about things? Unusual behaviour for a horse, wasn’t it? An unusual horse perhaps?

    No. Although it was certainly a handsome and well-built example of its species, it was none the less a perfectly ordinary horse, such as convergent evolution has produced in many of the places that life is to be found. They have always understood a great deal more than they let on. It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion on them.

    On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.

    When the early models of these Monks were built, it was felt to be important that they be instantly recognisable as artificial objects. There must be no danger of their looking at all like real people. You wouldn’t want your video recorder lounging around on the sofa all day while it was watching TV. You wouldn’t want it picking its nose, drinking beer and sending out for pizzas.

    So the Monks were built with an eye for originality of design and also for practical horse-riding ability. This was important. People, and indeed things, looked more sincere on a horse. So two legs were held to be both more suitable and cheaper than the more normal primes of seventeen, nineteen or twenty-three; the skin the Monks were given was pinkish-looking instead of purple, soft and smooth instead of crenellated. They were also restricted to just one mouth and nose, but were given instead an additional eye, making for a grand total of two. A strange looking creature indeed. But truly excellent at believing the most preposterous things.

    This Monk had first gone wrong when it was simply given too much to believe in one day. It was, by mistake, cross-connected to a video recorder that was watching eleven TV channels simultaneously, and this caused it to blow a bank of illogic circuits. The video recorder only had to watch them, of course. It didn’t have to believe them as well. This is why instruction manuals are so important.

    So after a hectic week of believing that war was peace, that good was bad, that the moon was made of blue cheese, and that God needed a lot of money sent to a certain box number, the Monk started to believe that thirty-five percent of all tables were hermaphrodites, and then broke down. The man from the Monk shop said that it needed a whole new motherboard, but then pointed out that the new improved Monk Plus models were twice as powerful, had an entirely new multi-tasking Negative Capability feature that allowed them to hold up to sixteen entirely different and contradictory ideas in memory simultaneously without generating any irritating system errors, were twice as fast and at least three times as glib, and you could have a whole new one for less than the cost of replacing the motherboard of the old model.

    That was it. Done.

    The faulty Monk was turned out into the desert where it could believe what it liked, including the idea that it had been hard done by. It was allowed to keep its horse, since horses were so cheap to make.

  166. 166
    Karen McMannus says:

    By the way, the Hebrew “religion” (starting with First Temple Abraham/Melchizedek framework), even on down to the post-Josiah reform/purge Second Temple Moses/Torah “religion”, knew nothing of this “eternal torment, burning in hell forever” nonsense. That concept was a very late insertion brought back from Babylon/Persia from the captivity Jews and made it’s way into some of the “intertestiment” non-Torah/Prophet writings such as 1 Enoch. 1 Enoch was obviously influential to certain writers in the Christian canon. It’s even quoted by Jude! This “eternal torment” idea is late in the Hebrew/Christian framework, is corrupt (as the Qumran sect asserted with many proofs), and anyone who believes it neither knows the Hebrew “religion”, is duped, or is simply mentally ill and wants to believe in a monster god.

  167. 167
    Karen McMannus says:

    KF: WJM, I started with 500 witnesses not shaken by dungeon, fire, sword and worse. I also pointed to death transition experiences including my own witness. KF

    Come on. Could be total fiction. You weren’t there with those “500”. Even modern VIDEO evidence can be completely misleading. And you’re leaning on 2000 year old writings that cannot be objectively verified. Are you insane?

    I’m an ex-Mormon. In my life I’ve known 100s of Mormons who believe with 100% unshakeable surety that God has told them that the LDS religion is true. Some of the best people I’ve ever known. And I’ll bet you would think so too. Do you accept their testimony? Yes or no?

    I’ve known Oneness Pentecostals who testify to the most awesome miracles you could imagine, healings, raising from the dead, etc. Wonderful sincere people that I know personally. And they claim to know by direct Holy Ghost revelation that the Trinity doctrine is a total lie. Do you accept their testimony? Yes or no?

    One of my best friends and mentors in my life, now deceased, was a Jew who became a die hard Hindu and claimed direct absolute knowledge from God that Sathya Sai Baba in India (look him up) was God incarnate. He was one of the best people I ever knew, completely sincere, devout, brilliant intellectually too. Nobody’s fool. Do you accept his testimony? Yes or no?

  168. 168
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmmm. Karen’s comments are somewhat relevant to my Electric Monk post, and vice versa. And as Dylan said in “High Water”, “You can’t open up your mind, boys, to every conceivable point of view.”

    What do we do with all these different beliefs, and the obvious propensity of people to believe all sorts of things, with, as Douglas Adams says of the Electric Monk, “a solid and abiding faith, a great rock against which the world could hurl whatever it would, yet it would not be shaken.”?

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, that some hyperskeptical theologians ~ 200 years ago got into very bad habits of speculative dismissiveness is no excuse for you to indulge the same today. A little searching will suffice to show that we are talking of record about 25 years after the events of c 30 AD, with an underlying summary within 5 – 8 or fewer years of the event.Where, by c 35 years after the event — the equivalent of what happened in 1986 [which happens to be a momentous year] to now — Nero’s demonic insanity descended. Visions or hallucinations come about through what is in one’s specific mind and 500 do not have a common hallucination. Particularly, in the core group of eating supper with a familiar figure twice in four nights. The miracle is in the interim course of events between the suppers. Going beyond, by now you know UD is not a theology forum, and there are readily accessible sites that address your further concerns. KF

  170. 170
    bornagain77 says:

    Karen McMannus, at 164, calls people who believe in the reality of hell ‘mentally ill’:

    whoever believes in an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator who consigns some of Its creations to eternal, I said, ETERNAL, anguish and torment, is mentally ill. (Why not just annihilate their consciousness?) These people can try to justify their god’s actions all their want, but their imaginary god is worse than Hitler. And they worship it. This really goes to the psychology of the people who actually believe in such a monster.
    Let’s just call a spade a spade.

    But by what standard is she calling them mentally ill?

    Well, she is morally certain that God, if he existed, would never allow people to go to hell.

    But she, in calling God ‘imaginary’, has forsaken any objective moral basis from which to make moral judgements. Which is to say, if God is imaginary and does not exist for Karen, then morality itself does not exist either for Karen.

    Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    The Moral Argument – drcraigvideos – video
    https://youtu.be/OxiAikEk2vU?t=276

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: Peter Kreeft – Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    As C.S. Lewis succinctly summed up the moral dilemma for people who deny the reality of God, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C.S. Lewis

    Without God, Karen simply has no ‘straight moral line’ in which to be able to make moral judgements, and thus her moral argument against God collapses in on itself.

    In short, it is a self-refuting argument.

    If Karen is going to make a coherent argument against the reality of hell, she needs to use some other type of evidence rather than her own personal moral druthers as to what she personally believes is a morally proper and fitting thing for God to do or to not do.

    But, as I have already mentioned at post 157, the evidence from physics, specifically the evidence from General Relativity, supports the physical reality of an infinitely destructive, i.e. hellish, dimension.

    “Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.”
    – Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476

    As to Karen’s specific claim that Christians are ‘mentally ill’, well, as far as mental health is actually concerned, the scientific evidence itself begs to differ with Karen’s supposedly ‘expert’ mental evaluation of Christians here on UD.

    In fact, as far as the scientific evidence itself is concerned, it is atheists who are found to have significantly more mental, and physical, health issues than Christians do.

    ‘Believers are happier than atheists’ – Jonathan Petre – 18 Mar 2008
    People who believe in God are happier than agnostics or atheists,
    A report found that religious people were better able to cope with disappointments such as unemployment or divorce than non-believers.
    Moreover, they become even happier the more they pray and go to church, claims the study by Prof Andrew Clark and Dr Orsolya Lelkes.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1581994/Believers-are-happier-than-atheists.html

    Of snakebites and suicide – February 18, 2014
    RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-suicide/

    Associations of Religious Upbringing With Subsequent Health and Well-Being From Adolescence to Young Adulthood: An Outcome-Wide Analysis
    Ying Chen, Tyler J VanderWeele – Sept. 10, 2018
    Excerpt: Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, a number of character strengths, lower probabilities of marijuana use and early sexual initiation, and fewer lifetime sexual partners. Analyses of prayer or meditation yielded similar results. Although decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, encouraging service attendance and private practices in adolescents who already hold religious beliefs may be meaningful avenues of development and support, possibly leading to better health and well-being.
    https://academic.oup.com/aje/advance-article/doi/10.1093/aje/kwy142/5094534

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface

    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100

    Study: Religiously affiliated people live “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/study-religiously-affiliated-people-lived-religiously-affiliated-lived-9-45-and-5-64-years-longer/

  171. 171
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I note on focal issues relevant to the OP and to the matters raised by HN42.

    I first clip from Lewis and Barnes at Arxiv:

    The Trouble with “Puddle Thinking”:
    A User’s Guide to the Anthropic Principle

    Geraint F. Lewis 1* and Luke A. Barnes 2

    [ . . . . ]

    we cannot be living at any
    random time in the universe. Firstly, in its
    youth, the cosmos was a featureless sea of the
    simplest atoms, hydrogen and helium. The
    elements needed for life — from the carbon
    that provides the backbone for organic
    molecules, to the calcium that provides the
    backbone for our backbones — are formed in
    nuclear reactions at the hearts of stars and are
    recycled by stellar winds and supernova
    explosions into planets, and ultimately life.
    Secondly, in the dim and distant future, most
    of the stars have died, and the energy to sustain
    life becomes rare. The building blocks for
    planets and people are entombed in the ever-
    cooling cores of stars or inside black holes.
    Life, in this distant future universe, would be
    precarious, and probably much rarer than
    today.

    Putting these two facts together, given that life
    exists at all, we should not be surprised to find
    that when we measure the age of the universe,
    we get an answer that is greater than (but not
    too much greater than) the lifetime of a star . . .

    Here, we see the issue that when we exist is dependent on the cosmos being in a position to have suitable materials, energy and environment, i.e. Galactic habitable zone, long lifespan second or third generation high metallicity stars with terrestrial planets. That is, for observations to be made, the cosmos must be observer-permitting. This is termed a weak anthropic principle.

    That already begs the onward question, what sort of possible cosmos permits such formation?

    physicists delved into
    the deepest properties of nature, including the
    masses of the fundamental particles and the
    strengths of the fundamental forces. By
    considering other hypothetical universes, it
    was found that slight deviations in these
    fundamental properties often result in dead
    and sterile universes that lack the complexity
    necessary for life (for a recent review, see
    Adams 2019). This is known as the
    cosmological fine-tuning problem: the ability
    of the fundamental laws of our universe to
    provide the right conditions for life of any
    conceivable kind is a seemingly very rare talent
    indeed. As summarised in our recent book A
    Fortunate Universe: Life in a finely tuned cosmos
    (2016), many small changes have disastrous
    effects. If the strong force were slightly weaker
    or the fundamental masses slightly heavier, the
    periodic table would not exist. If gravity were
    weaker or the universe expanded too fast,
    matter would not form into stars to forge
    elements, or indeed make any structure at all.
    Such a universe would be too simple, too
    short-lived, or too empty to ever host life.

    Note well: we have arrived here without any
    assumptions about human specialness or
    religious jiggery-pokery. Saying that the
    universe is “fine-tuned for life” is not to say
    that it has a fine-tuner! It is only to say that
    there is something rare about the physical
    parameters that life requires. We’re just doing
    science. Fine-tuning for life has been studied
    by physicists for decades, using the best
    theoretical tools available, and published in
    peer-reviewed journals . . .

    In short, the question is not being begged, simply examining the cosmology and its evident contingency, we find that we are at a deeply isolated island of relevant function in the configuration space of framed cosmology. Where, Leslie’s lone fly smacked by a bullet here raises onward questions, regardless of whether other zones on the wall elsewhere might be positively carpeted. (BTW, this leads to the Boltzmann brain fluctuation problem, as it is argued that a rare but possible quantum fluctuation like that, leading to a delusional perception then extinction would be far more common on a quasi-infinite multiverse. The relative statistical weights make it maximally implausible that we would find this sort of world that way.)

    We further find:

    the fine-
    tuning for life is really the fine-tuning for the
    complexity required by life. We don’t assume
    that another possible way the universe could
    have been is life-prohibiting because we
    couldn’t live there. The kind of life-prohibiting
    disasters that await in other universes are the
    non-existence of chemistry, or indeed, any way
    at all to stick two particles together. Or a
    universe that ends before anything could stick
    together. Or a universe that expands so fast
    that no two things have any chance of sticking
    together. This is a long way from the debate
    over whether a virus is alive.

    But how do we know that these other
    universes are possible? As the ANU’s Charley
    Lineweaver has pointed out to us, “There is no
    fine-tuning if there are no knobs.” But think
    about that claim for a moment. These other,
    life-prohibiting universes are perfectly
    mathematically consistent. So who took the
    knobs away? A deeper physical law? Great!
    What is it? And why is it a physical law that
    allows life forms, rather than one that doesn’t?
    In the words of Carr and Rees (1979), “even if
    all apparently anthropic coincidences could be
    explained [by some presently unformulated
    physical theory], it would still be remarkable
    that the relationships dictated by physical
    theories happened also to be those propitious
    for life.”

    Perhaps something deeper than the laws of
    nature took the knobs away, like a
    metaphysical principle? Great! What is it? And
    why is it a metaphysical principle that allows
    life forms, rather than one that doesn’t? And
    what a stunning comeback for armchair
    philosophy! Scientists have been toiling for
    centuries, learning about the universe by
    actually measuring it. But all this time, we could
    have been deriving the mass of the electron
    from some a priori philosophical principle with
    a deep affinity for the number 4.185463 × 10 ^ – 23
    (the electron mass in Planck units).

    This does not go on to the functionally specific, complex organisation and/or information necessary to build a living, C-chem, aqueous medium, proteins etc based cell, or onward body plans. It is about what we need to have the materials and environments to have an environment in which 4.6 bn years after sol system formation we can be here with the relevant observations in hand to be having this blog exchange. For, it turns out that our being here as embodied, significantly rational, observing creatures and having in hand a body of relevant astronomy and cosmology is itself a scientifically relevant observation that speaks to cosmological issues.

    It turns out to be some very special requisites indeed, once we look at the cosmology we have worked out and explore the significant neighbourhood of possible worlds with similar cosmology.

    Fine tuning is real, we need to address it as a significant challenge in itself.

    KF

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Having put on the table some relevant considerations, it is possibly helpful to say a few words about minded being and linked logic of being etc. I feel prompted to raise a few points for reflection.

    First, while a brain is a composite computational substrate a mind is inherently a unity, it is not capable of being cut up into prior bits that make it into something functional by being configured in a given way. It is simple not composite substance. Which leads to the question, how can such be destroyed? We cannot break it apart, we cannot starve it of energy or materials, we cannot stifle it, bleed it out etc. So, how can a mind, once existing, be destroyed?

    We erase memories in computational substrates by over-writing them, a process depending on there being a composite nature. The demand to annihilate seems to imply an ontology that is not consistent with what our own awareness of ourselves as inherently unitary selves is telling us on the difference between brain and mind.

    We may be making an error of projecting from one order of being to another, through a sort of implicit materialism. I draw a contrast, by clip:

    a spirit

    [ –> a being of another order of existence, where soul can be viewed i/l/o the interface of embodiment, implying that death is severing of this integration and resurrection is restoration and spiritualising transformation of the body],

    by definition, has no parts. There is nothing to be “reduced to its component parts.” Thus, that which is purely spiritual cannot die . . . . The two principle powers of the soul are its power to know and to will. Why do we say these powers lie in the soul? In simple terms, it is because it is the entire man that comes to “know” or to “love” (love being the highest purpose of the will) not just “part” of him. This would seem to indicate that the same “unifying and vivifying principle” that explains man’s life, would also explain his power to know and to will.

    But man is more than just a soul. He also directly experiences the “I” that unifies all that he is and all that he has done down through the decades of his life. This “I” represents the individual “person” that constitutes each human being.

    That should give us pause, there is a gap of conception and vision at work. Once formed, a mind-soul, spiritual being is inherently unified in the core and immortal, though that does not make embodiment an imprisonment of the soul. The disintegration, death or annihilation of an ensouled being, once formed, is a challenge. How, specifically could it be done, without smuggling in assumptions on composite nature built up from assembly that is contingent? (Now, do we see one of the underlying driving factors in materialism? Hence, the contrast, that we have eternity in our hearts.)

    In this context, the origin of ensouled, embodied creatures can be seen in this, that such opens up a world of good, the world of mind, love, virtue, creativity, artistry, beauty in that context and more. So, we see the context of the Plantinga free will defense. Soul opens up a qualitative leap in goodness, but freedom is just that, free. Abuse and perversion of capability is an inherent feature of freedom.

    And hence the contrast of three republics.

    Here, we inhabit the republic of procreation, growth, life, fulfillment of potential. Souls are multiplied, opportunity for good is multiplied. Those who make good use of such have access to the republic of joy. Those who refuse, have their own republic, where they can make what they will of a lifetime of wrenching potential out of its true end. Ironically, the gates of hell are locked from the inside and its fires of mutual frustration and chaos are set by its own denizens. Yes, in hell and in its foretaste, its embryonic form, its caterpillar stage . . . civilisation built on vice and lawless domineering, we have met the enemy, the demonic torturer of souls: it is our very own selves. As we can see a foretaste of in our own civilisation at this time. Irony.

    (Did you notice, Australia’s grim warning on the geostrategic challenge of China’s blue ocean breakout and the first target, Taiwan? High kinetic phases of the ongoing WW4, loom even as c 1938 the shadows of full outbreak of war loomed. We have failed to learn from history bought with blood and tears, yet again, through the march of willfully blind stubborn folly.)

    Perhaps, some rethinking is in order.

    KF

  173. 173
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 @147 said:

    And yet when we look at his sites we find that the billing does not live up to WJM’s hype

    What “hype?” Those links offer exactly what I said they do; provide more examples of non-Christians in non-Christian countries having positive NDEs to counter your characterization that they are “rare.” Perhaps “rare” is in the eye of the beholder; I’m happy to let the reader decide for themselves. In any event, we agree on the only important aspect of this part of the argument; non-Christians in both Western and non-Western cultures can have paradisaic NDEs and meet figures from their religions as the “being of light” they encounter, and can interpret that “being of light” in other ways. How “rare” one considers this is irrelevant. It only takes one black swan as a counterfactual to prove false the premise “all swans are white.” Christian exclusivity is an “all swans are white” claim.

    In your examples from Eben Alexander and Mary Neal, I apparently wasn’t clear in what I asked for. I know that many people experience what you said; either a strengthening of their original religious perspective or adopting one. I’m not asking for cases where their belief is renewed or deepened, or accounts where they adopt Christianity afterward. What I’m looking for is one where the NDEr is told by some figure of authority, such as the “being of light,” during the NDE a message that explicitly verifies Christian exclusivity, such as “only by accepting Christ will you return here to stay for eternity.” Or something along those lines.

    I’ve never read such an account; I’d be interested in a cited reference if that has ever occurred, even once. I find it odd even under my own worldview that I’ve never read an NDE account where this message was given the NDEr from the being of light or some other otherworldly “authority figure.”

  174. 174
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 said:

    Now WJM, while I certainly disagree with you that Christianity providing the correct intellectual presuppositions for modern science to take root and flourish, and that the Bible making many unique predictions that have now been confirmed to be true, does not at least “move the case for Christian exclusivity forward an inch”, even you, with your seemingly severe hostility towards Christianity, must honestly admit that Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead providing the correct solution for the quote unquote ‘theory of everything’ would move the case for ‘Christian exclusivity’ forward at least an inch? Shoot, perhaps even an inch and a half?

    I don’t have any hostile attitude towards Christians whatsoever. I love Christians. I respect and admire what Christianity has provided in this world, especially the framework for the country I live in and the freedoms I enjoy. Many people in my family are Christians; I never try to talk them out of it. Why would I? They are happy and enjoy their beliefs and what those views offer them.

    If I were to point out that a person seemed to be involved in an abusive relationship with their spouse, does that mean I am “hostile” to that relationship, or that I am hostile to either party involved in the relationship? Most spiritualities and religions (and actually, most societal structures) appear to me to be abusive, taking advantage of authoritative reward and penalty structures most people require psychologically to gain a sense of personal validation in their lives. I’m not hostile to this at all because, from my perspective, people ultimately make all these choices out of their own free will.

    That said, your statement above makes it clear that you don’t understand the nature of the case you are attempting to prove: Christian exclusivity. In order to do that, you must, in effect, prove that all swans are white, meaning the only available existential experience anyone can ever have is that which is defined by the Christian perspective. A major part of this is: the only after-death experience anyone can ever have is that which is defined by Christianity.

    Even if every NDE, astral projection, or ADC communication fit the Christian narrative, this still would not be sufficient to demonstrate, conclusively, that “all swans are white.” If *all* such evidence did in fact fit the Christian narrative, I’d happily say that the evidence supports the Christian exclusivity narrative.

    But, even if 99% of the evidence supported the Christian narrative, “exclusivity” would be disproved, just as the existence of a single black swan disproves the “all swans are white” narrative. Christian exclusivity has been evidentially disproved.

    The only recourse the Christian exclusivist has in the face of disconfirming evidence, is to show how such evidence is necessarily in error. This can only be achieved (since disconfirming evidence exists) by showing that the Christian narrative is the only one we can possibly experience, existentially speaking. As far as I can see, the only way to do that is by assuming the conclusion of your inductive, evidence-based argument: God chose to prohibit all other possible existential possibilities, or that God was unable to choose to allow any other existential possibilities.

    If you want to take up that effort, feel free.

    Look, I’m not saying you do not have good reason to believe what you do; I’m not saying it’s a “bad” belief by any means or that you’re not going to experience what you believe you will experience. I’m not saying there is not an enormous amount of evidence that supports the Christian perspective; there is. However, none of that makes an inch of headway in terms of making the case for Christian experiential, existential exclusivity because we have black swans on table. A billion white swans does not make even a single black swan disappear, and we have more than one black swan on the table. Those black swans change the nature of how you must argue for “exclusivity.”

  175. 175
    bornagain77 says:

    Uh WJM, your own references, contrary to what you believe, are not conclusive proof for your claim.

    Again, your own reference, and you sent reference, itself stated that tunnels to a higher dimension were absent in foreign NDEs,

    Not a minor failing for someone claiming that foreign NDEs reflect the heavenly paradise of Christian NDEs

  176. 176
    jerry says:

    the obvious propensity of people to believe all sorts of things

    Obviously true and some will treat each belief of which many are nothing more than opinions based on emotions as equivalent. But equally obvious each belief is not equivalent in truth value.

    Some beliefs are more justified than others.

    The sun will rise tomorrow morning vs there are alien civilizations in every galaxy.

    One is definitely true while the other may be true. They don’t have the same justification for belief. (I believe one commenter here officially doubts there is a sun so may claim the sun will not rise. Of course that commenter doesn’t really believe what he claims.)

    Aside: people eventually reveal themselves by their comments. Some are open and easy to discern while others are very protective of their actual beliefs. The latter usually have little of consequence to offer.

  177. 177
    William J Murray says:

    BA77 said:

    Uh WJM, your own references, contrary to what you believe, are not conclusive proof for your claim.

    Since my claim was that those links provided more NDEs to support my claim that foreign NDEs were not as rare as you were implying, I’m happy leaving that up to the reader to decide. Relative “rarity” is largely a subjective perspective. However, as I said, whether or not such experiences are “rare” is irrelevant to the case you are burdened with making.

    Again, your own reference, and you sent reference, itself stated that tunnels to a higher dimension were absent in foreign NDEs,

    No, it just said that the tunnel sensation (whether observed or not) as described as a “tunnel” was absent in foreign descriptions of their NDE process. It’s also absent in many non-foreign NDE accounts, but this from the summary of the report:

    However, clearer patterns emerge when the life reviews and tunnel experiences are examined in the different non-Western cases. NDErs from hunter-gatherer societies did not seem to report life reviews or tunnel experiences. There is no doubt that many experiencers reported an experience of darkness, which may be described as a “night” experience or as emerging from the darkness inside a vegetable, such as a gourd. This was similar to experiences described in Asian accounts where NDErs may describe emerging from a darkness inside the throat of a flower. Clearly in these cases, descriptions of experience cannot be separated from the language employed in the service of that description.

    Movement through darkness seemed to be described by the most culturally appropriate way for an individual and choice of words simply reflected this. Tunnels were common descriptors in the West because tunnels are widespread symbols and images in Western cultures and frequently occur in their landscapes, sciences, children’s literature, and traditional legends and fantasy. But these are culture-bound images and experiences. There is no actual “tunnel” in near-death experiences: the darkness frequently associated with NDEs may be described differently by different cultures.

    Life reviews seemed also to be an absent element in NDEs from hunter-gatherer societies. Robert Bellah (1976) argued that the psychology of conscience is associated with religions that place moral emphasis on personal responsibility for moral conduct. Religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, or Hinduism emphasize personal ethics as opposed to group or tribal responsibility. Small-scale societies such as hunter-gatherer ones tend to emphasize the group’s relationship to totemic beliefs, symbols and storylines that link an individual’s moral journey in life to that of his family and tribe (Roheim, 1932).

    In that kind of society, autobiographical reflection and individual life review are less valuable and practical than an understanding of the group’s place in the cosmological order of time. If this view has any anthropological currency, we should be unsurprised by the absence of personal life reviews in old hunter-gatherer accounts of NDEs. Overall, then, the present review has revealed that the major cross-cultural features of the NDE continue to appear to include encountering other beings and other realms on the brink of death

    Not a minor failing for someone claiming that foreign NDEs reflect the heavenly paradise of Christian NDEs I said some do. I have presented such examples.

    I’m not sure what you think you’re accomplishing here; NDEs have a wide variety of experiences; I think someone identified 12 major qualities of NDEs; no single experiencer report has had all 12.

    I’m not sure why you think foreigners not reporting a “tunnel” experience in those terms helps your exclusivity case. You and I seem to be arguing about two different things. I’m arguing about exclusivity; you seem to be amassing evidence that the average Christian NDE experience is “superior to,” or better that the average foreign NDE, and/or that certain aspects of common NDE experiences are better predicted and explained by Christianity.

    These are two entirely different arguments.

  178. 178
    William J Murray says:

    What the evidence indicates is that how one experiences an NDE, and what one experiences in an NDE, is largely at least interpreted and described in terms reflecting the culture of the person having the NDE. The base commonality is that the meet other beings and visit another world, as in the case of the three people (previously posted here) that had a group NDE, but interpreted the “being of light” as three different things. Interestingly, they all apparently saw the same architecture of the building they found themselves in, but identified the being differently, even though the being said the same thing to all three.

    What appears to be happening is that when one dies, they find themselves in an observer-state dependent environmental situation. Usually, this afterlife environment reflects certain cultural norms or references.

    BTW, for those that think this is better explained via some sort of psychology-induced hallucination brought on by stress, fear, trauma. drugs, etc., there has been research conducted to examine these possible explanations and they have been effectively ruled out as what is going on. These experiences do not fit those physical, medical or psychological/experiential profiles; they fit the “reality experience” profile.

    All this NDE evidence is 100% predicted by IRT. Of course, by and large, when people die they will find themselves continuing to exist in a familiar environment that reflects their observational state, so to speak.

  179. 179
    William J Murray says:

    BA77,
    It occurs to me that you might think I’m trying to make the case that all NDEs or afterlife experiences include or are of some form of “paradise.” That’s clearly not the case. As you have pointed out, there afterlife environments that range from being described as “paradise,” to “mediocre,” to “hellish.” Yes, they all apparently exist and can be experienced via NDE, astral projection, astral travel, and death; al those varieties and more have been described by various accounts and by ADC communication.

  180. 180
    Viola Lee says:

    The few remarks that have been made about the puddle story have not been about all the stuff KF posted this morning. They have been about the idea that all that fine-tuning was specifically created for us.

    Sev, at 2: “Adams’s “puddle” analogy was simply making that point that we might be wrong thinking this was all created just for us.”

    The Dawkins quote: The puddle story illustrates “the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us, because we are so well suited to live in it.”

    Even here on Earth, it might turn out that in a million years, or a 100 million, there are rational creatures who have developed the ability to live on this planet without the hatred and divisiveness and destruction that we now experience, and those are the creatures which were intended. In that case, we might be looked back upon as no more than a primitive precursor to those intended beings.

    Or, perhaps the universe was created for some life form someplace in the Andromeda galaxy, and all the rest of the life forms in the universe, even if rare (such as us) are just incidental developments with no special significance.

    To think this universe was created specifically for us is the point Adams is making fun of

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the puddle argument has been used to object to fine tuning in general, and HN42 pointed out a chain of seeming plausibilities that was well worth following up. Dawkins’ strawman caricature is part of the same pattern. First, the design inference on fine tuning is an inference to design [a causal process shaped by intelligence], not to Creator. Second, as for our involvement, we are here, we are asking the questions, we seek explanation of our existence embodied in this cosmos with this cosmology that exhibits the relevant fine tuning. Third, fine tuning points to design as relevant cause of a cosmos like this that enables biospheres like ours with creatures like us. Fourth, the design inference is not creationism, it is empirical reasoning on sign. KF

  182. 182
    Viola Lee says:

    But KF, how do you respond to my points (and Adams’ and Dawkins’) that, given fine-tuning, there is no reason to believe that we–human beings on earth at this time–are the intended target of such fine tuning? Why not creatures millions of years from now, or creatures in another galaxy?

    Again, the puddle story is not about the larger fine-tuning argument: it is about the parochial idea that all that fine-tuning was done specifically for us.

  183. 183
    ET says:

    Without the fine tuning there wouldn’t be an “us”. But the fine tuning is not sufficientn to account for us.

  184. 184
    William J Murray says:

    VL @182,
    Prepare for the textual avalanche.

  185. 185
    davidl1 says:

    This just my limited experience, but I’ve been in at least a couple of discussions where the “puddle argument” was used against intelligent design. The essence of the argument was that we’re like the puddle; we see things from our limited perspective, and we interpret them in the way we want to interpret them. Fine tuning, Cambrian explosion, irreducible complexity, etc was dismissed as an interpretation of evidence that could be interpreted in many other ways. Based on those experiences, I think this post is worthwhile. People have and will likely continue to use the puddle argument to dispute intelligent design.

    I don’t think intelligent design precludes the design being for somebody else. I would be surprised if we’re more than a minor player in an intelligently designed system. Our purpose in the intelligently designed system may be something we can determine, but I don’t think we’re at that point yet.

  186. 186
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, it has occurred to me that you, as of late, spend far more time on UD arguing with Christians than you do arguing with Darwinists and trying to defend ID. In fact, I personally haven’t seen you defend ID against Darwinists in a very long time. You seem far more interested in developing some kind of new ‘one world’ religion with your new IRT. (or whatever abbreviation of the week you are now calling your new theory)

    Like Jerry said, perhaps it is time for you to move on to bigger venues, perhaps 50 people, instead of just 25 here at UD, so as to spread your new worldview/religion? It seems much, much, too important for you to keep bottled up here on UD.

    (But then again, is your new religion just the same ole New Age religion with your own personal spin put on it?)

    But anyways, if you have not noticed, a major part of Christian belief is that Jesus Christ made a way for us to enter heaven. Which is to say that Jesus Christ, through his atoning sacrifice, made a way for finite and sinful man to dwell in a higher, eternal, dimension, in the presence of God almighty who is infinitely holy and just.

    That is why the tunnel experience to a higher heavenly dimension is very important to me personally as a Christian.

    Again, from YOUR primary study that you cited to me on foreign NDEs, tunnels to a higher heavenly dimension are absent in foreign NDEs,

    To quote YOUR study that you cited to me

    In each of these accounts, no tunnel experience was reported, although one person proceeded “through a void” (Becker, 1984, p. 163). Neither the out-of-body experience (OBE) nor the life review was mentioned in these accounts. ,,,

    Once again, though, there was no report of a tunnel sensation. However, emerging from a “darktubular ‘calyx’” was reported

    we are unsure whether the tunnel sensation was a volunteered descriptor for this part of their experience.

    In a total of 45 cases, then, Pasricha (1992, 1993) and Pasricha and Stevenson (1986) found no evidence of a tunnel sensation.

    However, on closer inspection, all three of those who supposedly reported tunnel sensations actually reported a sensation of darkness. One respondent agreed that her experience of darkness was “tunnel like” only after accepting this suggestion from Blackmore.

    Murphy argued that the appearance of Yamatoots, guides sent on behalf of the Lord of the Underworld (Yama), more often acted as evidence to the NDEr that he or she had died. There were no reports of tunnels or tunnel-like sensations, although a tunnel was reported as part of an otherworld journey. In that context, Murphy observed that “Tunnels are rare, if not absent, in Thai NDEs” (2001, p. 170).

    The tunnel experience was not described in most non-Western accounts, though an experience of darkness of sorts was often reported.
    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799184/m2/1/high_res_d/vol26-no4-249.pdf

    And as I mentioned in post 157, Near Death Experiencers in Judeo Christian cultures frequently mention going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension, i.e. to a realm of light and unimaginable beauty.

    Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)? – article with video
    Excerpt: “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like a light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    – Jeffrey Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively
    – abcnews nightline

    The Tunnel and the Near-Death Experience
    Excerpt: One of the nine elements that generally occur during NDEs is the tunnel experience. This involves being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light.
    – near death research

    In the following video, Barbara Springer gives her testimony as to what it felt like for her to go through the tunnel to the higher heavenly dimension

    “I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.”
    Barbara Springer – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv2jLeoAcMI

    And as I further noted in post 157, that what we now know to be true from special relativity, (namely that it outlines a ‘timeless’, i.e. eternal, dimension that exists above this temporal dimension), would fit hand and glove with the personal testimonies of people who have had a deep heavenly NDEs is, needless to say, powerful evidence that their testimonies are, in fact, true and that they are accurately describing the ‘reality’ of a higher heavenly dimension, that they experienced first hand.

    Moreover WJM, that YOUR main study that you cited to me, for foreign NDEs being, basically, equivalent to Judeo-Christian NDEs, denied the existence of tunnels in foreign NDEs is therefore, again, not a minor failing for someone trying to convince a Christian that foreign NDEs are just as ‘heavenly’ as Judeo-Christian NDEs are.

    Look at this from my perspective WJM, in your claim that I should accept foreign NDEs as being on par with heavenly Christian NDEs, you are basically asking me to trade my beautiful brand new Ferrari for your pitiful used Yugo.

    It just ain’t gonna happen. You can go try and pawn your pitiful Yugo off on someone else. I just ain’t buying it. Not even for a minute.

    Luke 16:22-26
    [22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; [23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. [25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. …

    John 3:12-13
    If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven— the Son of Man.

  187. 187
    Viola Lee says:

    Already happened at 171 and 172, and I’m sure there will be more. (We ought to have a contest: what is the largest “words in response” to “words in a post” ratio that can be stimulated.) What won’t happen is a short response directly engaging the questions I asked.

    ET wins the “what would a succinct answer look like” contest, though.

  188. 188
    paige says:

    KF

    A little searching will suffice to show that we are talking of record about 25 years after the events of c 30 AD, with an underlying summary within 5 – 8 or fewer years of the event

    With respect, most crimes have a statute of limitations of 5 to 7 years, largely due to the known fallibility of eyewitness testimony over time.

    And, unless there is something I am not aware of, which is quite possible, the claims of 500 witnesses were not separate attestations by 500 individuals, but an attestation by a very small number of people that there were 500 witnesses.

  189. 189
    jerry says:

    how do you respond to my points (and Adams’ and Dawkins’) that, given fine-tuning, there is no reason to believe that we–human beings on earth at this time–are the intended target of such fine tuning? Why not creatures millions of years from now, or creatures in another galaxy?

    Again, the puddle story is not about the larger fine-tuning argument: it is about the parochial idea that all that fine-tuning was done specifically for us.

    Nothing in ID said it was done specifically for us. There are several things that indicate life as we know it was a target. But there could be other multiple targets.

    The Earth is extremely fine tuned. It does not mean that other systems were not also fine tuned.

    Some may interpret it in a narrow way but ID doesn’t.

    So why the remark?

  190. 190
    Viola Lee says:

    Because, Jerry, I was trying to clarify the intent of Adam’s puddle story. It was not aimed at the over-all fine-tuning argument and it was not aimed at ID. It was aimed at the narrow religious idea that the universe was created especially for us.

  191. 191
    jerry says:

    the narrow religious idea that the universe was created especially for us.

    It’s so narrow I never heard of it. What religion? Anyone can express an opinion and say God did it. But that’s not a religion. Technically it may be called a religious idea but only an irrelevant few. So are the opinions of some to be singled out for the rationale of such nonsense as the puddle argument.

    Now the earth I might understand as designed for our type of life.

  192. 192
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry asks, “It’s so narrow I never heard of it. What religion?”

    Christianity, for one.

  193. 193
    paige says:

    Jerry, do you mind if I ask you if you have read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

  194. 194
    jerry says:

    Christianity, for one.

    I’m not aware of it.

    Christianity says God created the world/universe, plants and animals. And specifically humans. It does not rule out other creations elsewhere.

    Now to be fair knowledge/science till relatively very recently did not understand the world/universe we were created in so did not understand other possibilities.

  195. 195
    jerry says:

    do you mind if I ask you if you have read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

    No. Is it of any value to have read it other than as entertaining.

    I believe there was a television show several years ago that my wife snd I watched a few episodes. Or it may have been re-runs.

  196. 196
    William J Murray says:

    BA77,

    That is why the tunnel experience to a higher heavenly dimension is very important to me personally as a Christian.

    Unfortunately, none of that moves your argument for Christian exclusivity forward, as I previously explained.

  197. 197
    ET says:

    Hitchhiker’s Guide was the best 5 book trilogy ever! 😉

  198. 198
    paige says:

    Jerry

    No. Is it of any value to have read it other than as entertaining.

    Only to put the puddle bit in the context of the fact that the entire book was essentially a compilation of absurd scenarios arranged in a very loose plot narrative.

    ET

    Hitchhiker’s Guide was the best 5 book trilogy ever!

    And it probably would have ended up as a 9 part trilogy. Or, as per Adam’s humor, the Hitchhiker’s trilogy trilogy.

  199. 199
    William J Murray says:

    As far as I can make out, BA77 (correct me if I’m wrong in some significant way,) you’re arguing that the evidence from the Shroud of Turin reveals that Jesus’ death created a kind of “wormhole” into heaven. Thus, the argument would be that only people who experience the “tunnel” in an NDE are experiencing “heaven,” or the “real” afterlife.

    If that’s basically your argument, this is why it doesn’t advance your exclusivity case: it depends on (1)simply asserting that the tunnel experience is the only avenue into the afterlife, and (2) that the Christian afterlife is the only afterlife available to anyone. Even if we accept the SoT evidence and the theory of where it goes and how one can pass through it arguendo, that doesn’t make the case that there are not other avenues into other afterlife realms.

  200. 200
    bornagain77 says:

    Whatever WJM.

    You can keep your pitiful used Yugo. I ain’t buying your ‘old’ new age religion. C’est des ordures!

    New Age devotees, who today are unlikely to call themselves by this name, may not share a cohesive focus or an organizational center, but there are certainly consistent and underlying tenets of thought among them. The movement is syncretistic, in that it incorporates any number of spiritual and religious ideologies at one time, but it is consistently monistic and pantheistic. New Age seekers are informed by the belief that all of reality is essentially one. Thus, everything is divine, often including themselves; for if all is one, and there are no distinctions, then all is God. Or, in the words of Shirley Maclaine in Dancing in the Light, “I am God, because all energy is plugged in to the same source…. We are individualized reflections of the God source. God is us and we are God.”
    Within its historical context, mysticism, like many other Christian movements, was an expression of faith in response to faithless times. In this regard, New Age seekers are not entirely different. Some New Age seeking is, I think, a legitimate reaction to the comfortable and shallow religious life we find within our society. But as New Age seekers long for the depth and freedom to believe in everything, the result is often contrary to what they seek. Their theology and spirituality are entirely segregated. The quest for illumination is a quest that can begin and end anywhere; thus, they find neither depth nor freedom. On the contrary, Julian of Norwich and other early Christian mystics sought an authentic experience of faith as a result of an already dynamic understanding of that faith. Their theology in and of itself is what led them to spirituality.
    For the Christian today, illumination still begins with Light itself, God unobscured, though incomprehensible, revealed through the glory of the Son. Starting with light and standing beside Christ, the Christian begins his or her journey as a seeker knowing there is one unique being who hears our prayers and cries and longings. There is a source for all illumination, and that God is light of the world.
    Those for whom New Age thought seems attractive would perhaps be helped to know there is a great tradition of seeking within Christianity, a tradition that began with the recognition that we could not fix what is wrong, and a tradition that continues because there is one who can, one who also longs to find and to be found. The human heart is ever-seeking, showing the longing of a soul to be known. In the words of Julian of Norwich, “We shall never cease wanting and longing until we possess [Christ] in fullness and joy… The more clearly the soul sees the Blessed Face by grace and love, the more it longs to see it in its fullness.”(4) For the Christian seeker, communion with God is far more than self-discovery or personal freedom; it is theology that has become doxology, which in turn becomes life.
    —Jill Carattini (RZIM)

  201. 201
    William J Murray says:

    BA77,

    I’ll take that to mean you cannot support the claim of Christian existential exclusivity.

  202. 202
    bornagain77 says:

    Tell you what WJM, I’ll make a deal with you. If you can convince Seversky that ID is true and have him renounce Darwinian evolution, I will do my damndest to work through your obvious ‘bias against Christianity, in which you have labeled God a “tyrant”, and get you to admit that Christianity is true.

    I figure it ought to be a lot easier for you to convince Seversky of the truthfulness of ID than me, or any of the ID regulars here on UD, since Seversky, unlike any of the ID regulars, has been, surprisingly, very receptive to your IRT.

    You do that, and have Seversky renounce Darwinian evolution, and I will put the time and effort in that is necessary to try to at least put a dent in your ‘tyranical’ bias against Christianity,,, an extreme bias where you have compared the God of Christianity to Hitler.

    Deal?

  203. 203
    Viola Lee says:

    Hmmm. A part of this triangle is missing:

    1. WJM convinces Sev to give up his beliefs
    2. Then BA will convince WJM to give up his beliefs.

    I seem to be missing the part where BA is open to someone convincing him give up his beliefs?

  204. 204
    Karen McMannus says:

    BA77: But by what standard is she calling them mentally ill?

    When people worship the idea of an invisible Creator who does worse things than Hitler, I would say they are mentally ill.

    Well, she is morally certain that God, if he existed, would never allow people to go to hell.

    Your idea of the Creator has it sending people to eternal anguish when it could just snuff them out. Yeah, people who believe such things are mentally ill.

    But she, in calling God ‘imaginary’,

    I didn’t call the Creator imaginary. I called your demented imaginary version of a Creator imported from Persia and Babylon.

  205. 205
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, We are talking history and eyewitness lifetime record is about as good as you will get, especially for classic times. Were your “standard” applied most classical history of consequence would go poof. It isn’t, for good reason, and we have a good knowledge of much of classical times from good records, in many cases reduced to record several generations later. In short, you indulged in fallacious selective hyperskepticism. For that matter, just in my family, oral history has been well preserved for several generations; just the other day I was looking at parish records on my Great Great Great Grandfather buried in a family burial plot that now has come to this generation’s charge. I also ran across record on the Panama Canal that checks with my Grandfather’s stories told to us in our childhood. I recall visiting an industrial site and having a watchman ask about an uncle who had gone up to the US with him to do war work, who drowned while rescuing people in a lake. In actuality, c 55 AD Paul is writing to people dealing with critics and by saying most eyewitnesses are alive this was invitation to speak with same. KF

    PS: Sounder approach to evidence, from Simon Greenleaf:

    Evidence, in legal acceptation, includes all the means by which any alleged matter of fact, the truth of which is submitted to investigation, is established or disproved . . . None but mathematical truth is susceptible of that high degree of evidence, called demonstration, which excludes all possibility of error [–> Greenleaf wrote almost 100 years before Godel], and which, therefore, may reasonably be required in support of every mathematical deduction. [–> that is, his focus is on the logic of good support for in principle uncertain conclusions, i.e. in the modern sense, inductive logic and reasoning in real world, momentous contexts with potentially serious consequences.]

    Matters of fact are proved by moral evidence alone; by which is meant, not only that kind of evidence which is employed on subjects connected with moral conduct, but all the evidence which is not obtained either from intuition, or from demonstration. In the ordinary affairs of life, we do not require demonstrative evidence, because it is not consistent with the nature of the subject, and to insist upon it would be unreasonable and absurd. [–> the issue of warrant to moral certainty, beyond reasonable doubt; and the contrasted absurdity of selective hyperskepticism.]

    The most that can be affirmed of such things, is, that there is no reasonable doubt concerning them. [–> moral certainty standard, and this is for the proverbial man in the Clapham bus stop, not some clever determined advocate or skeptic motivated not to see or assent to what is warranted.]

    The true question, therefore, in trials of fact, is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but, whether there is sufficient probability of its truth; that is, whether the facts are shown by competent and satisfactory evidence. Things established by competent and satisfactory evidence are said to be proved. [–> pistis enters; we might as well learn the underlying classical Greek word that addresses the three levers of persuasion, pathos- ethos- logos and its extension to address worldview level warranted faith-commitment and confident trust on good grounding, through the impact of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in C1 as was energised by the 500 key witnesses.]

    By competent evidence, is meant that which the very-nature of the thing to be proved requires, as the fit and appropriate proof in the particular case, such as the production of a writing, where its contents are the subject of inquiry. By satisfactory evidence, which is sometimes called sufficient evidence, is intended that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind [–> in British usage, the man in the Clapham bus stop], beyond reasonable doubt.

    The circumstances which will amount to this degree of proof can never be previously defined; the only legal [–> and responsible] test of which they are susceptible, is their sufficiency to satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man; and so to convince him, that he would venture to act upon that conviction, in matters of the highest concern and importance to his own interest.

    [= definition of moral certainty as a balanced unprejudiced judgement beyond reasonable, responsible doubt. Obviously, i/l/o wider concerns, while scientific facts as actually observed may meet this standard, scientific explanatory frameworks such as hypotheses, models, laws and theories cannot as they are necessarily provisional and in many cases have had to be materially modified, substantially re-interpreted to the point of implied modification, or outright replaced; so a modicum of prudent caution is warranted in such contexts — explanatory frameworks are empirically reliable so far on various tests, not utterly certain. Morally certain facts of observation and experience in our common world are not necessary truths.]

    [A Treatise on Evidence, Vol I, 11th edn. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1888) ch 1., sections 1 and 2. Shorter paragraphs added. (NB: Greenleaf was a founder of the modern Harvard Law School and is regarded as a founding father of the modern Anglophone school of thought on evidence, in large part on the strength of this classic work.)]

  206. 206
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the matter is simple, the fine tuning issue is evidence of design, and without the setting up of a cosmological operating point that is locally deeply isolated we would not be here. In that context, whatever Adams may have imagined, the puddle argument has been advanced and HN42 drew out a significant facet. I responded to that, and I have particularly excerpted Lewis and Barnes who wrote a book on the subject and thought that responding to puddle objections was worth doing on a well known professional physics preprint site used to foster discussion. KF

  207. 207
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, but was it all designed for us, KF? Why not some creature millions of years from now. Or why not for some creature in some other galaxy in some other “locally deeply isolated” position? Any thoughts on that?

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, designed for us is not a feature of cosmological design inference. That has been pointed out already. Beyond a certain point insistence on a point as though it were material when it is not gives the sort of misleading rhetorical impression long since rightly identified as a strawman fallacy. The issue to be addressed is the attempt by whoever to use puddle type arguments to blunt the force of fine tuning evidence. That has clearly been conceded as a weak argument. The balance on merits is clear. Beyond, HN42 helped us see part of what gave rhetorical traction, so it is appropriate to point out the islands of function issue. That has been done. KF

  209. 209
    paige says:

    KF@205, this doesn’t change the fact that we are not dealing with 500 witness accounts, we are dealing with a single account of a claim that there were 500 witnesses.

    This isn’t to say that the resurrection didn’t occur, just that saying that there were 500 witness accounts is false.

  210. 210
    bornagain77 says:

    Karen McMannus, funny that you repeatedly call Christians mentally ill for believing in an infinitely holy and just God, but the scientific evidence itself says that Christians, especially when compared to atheists are doing quite well both mentally and physically.

    It’s weird that the scientific facts just don’t line up with your personal subjective opinion?

    Why is that?

    Moreover, despite what you have falsely envisioned in your imagination. God is the source of all love and does not take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked who refuse to repent.

    God is NOT an evil tyrant who takes pleasure in tormenting his victims as you have falsely envisioned Him to be doing in your imagination

    No one is sadder than Jesus when people freely choose to reject Him and to be separated from God and all that os good.

    God doesn’t send anyone to hell. People send themselves to hell by freely choosing to reject Him.

    Bill Weise gives testimony to this fact from his Near Death/Out of Body/ Experience of Hell (40 minute mark)

    Bill Wiese – Why Do People Go To Hell (short video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8IsI-vhMIM

    “Some people think “How could God send people to hell?” “How could He do that?” God doesn’t send anybody to hell. People send themselves to hell.”
    Bill Wiese – 23 Minutes in Hell (Detroit)
    https://youtu.be/JI9MpwTEyDU?t=2660

    Again, God does NOT send people to hell. People, by their own volition, choose to separate themselves from God and to therefore separate themselves from all that is good.

    As CS Lewis put it.

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    Karen you asked something to this effect “why does God not just annihilate their souls instead of tormenting them forever?” Well, Annihilationism has been a minority position in the Christian church for a very long time:

    Annihilationism
    The belief in Annihilationism has appeared throughout Christian history and was defended by several church fathers, but it has often been in the minority.[8][9] It experienced a resurgence in the 1980s when several prominent theologians including John Stott[10] were prepared to argue that it could be held sincerely as a legitimate interpretation of biblical texts (alternative to the more traditional interpretation of them) by those who give supreme authority to scripture. Earlier in the 20th century, some theologians at the University of Cambridge including Basil Atkinson supported the belief. Twentieth-century English theologians who favor annihilation include Bishop Charles Gore (1916),[11] William Temple, 98th Archbishop of Canterbury (1924);[12] Oliver Chase Quick, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury (1933),[13] Ulrich Ernst Simon (1964),[14] and G. B. Caird (1966).[15]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annihilationism

    And here is a exegesical defense against the doctrine of Annihilationism

    EXEGESIS INTERRUPTED: A CRITIQUE OF STAND TO REASON’S ARTICLE “HELL INTERRUPTED, PART 2”
    https://rethinkinghell.com/2018/11/13/exegesis-interrupted-a-critique-of-stand-to-reasons-article-hell-interrupted-part-2/

    Choose for yourself who is making the stronger case

    All I can say for sure, not being an expert in Biblical exegesis, is that as far as physics can tell me from general relativity, there is definitely a infinitely destructive “hellish” element to reality. They are called Black Holes:

    “Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.”
    – Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476

    That there actually is a infinitely destructive element to reality OUGHT to be very sobering for anyone who is of a spiritually minded persuasion!

    Myself, I have no desire to have my soul ‘annihilated’ , or to have my soul eternally tormented, and thus I freely, and humbly, accept Jesus’s free offer for forgiveness and eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.

    The choice is not even close.

    Matthew 10:28
    Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

  211. 211
    bornagain77 says:

    Viola Lee, here’s you chance to change my beliefs.

    Prove to me, via scientific evidence, that unguided material processes are capable of producing coded information.

    If you can do that with undeniably strong scientific evidence then, not only will you change my beliefs, (or, at the very least, force me into a head long retreat), but you will also win 10 million dollars in the process

    Artificial Intelligence + Origin of Life Prize, $10 Million USD
    What You Must Do to Win The Prize
    You must arrange for a digital communication system to emerge or self-evolve without “cheating.” The diagram below describes the system. Without explicitly designing the system, your experiment must generate an encoder that sends digital code to a decoder. Your system needs to transmit at least five bits of information. (In other words it has to be able to represent 32 states. The genetic code supports 64.)
    https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0?_ga=2.211606677.1096720654.1619917010-158974618.1619917010&_gac=1.23402824.1619917010.Cj0KCQjw-LOEBhDCARIsABrC0TnxRuDQBMvYyejOeHw4lTH5hzMEppo4_6BigBFi3ALXXRUkS5obpl4aAiFNEALw_wcB

    Something, (actually many things), tells me that the 10 million dollar prize will never be collected!

    One obvious reason is that it simply is impossible for material processes to ever generate something that is immaterial.

    It just ain’t never going to happen no matter how much Darwinian materialists may wish it to be so.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, We are dealing with the reality of success of a church founded on a pivotal factual claim tracing to 500 unshakeable witnesses and validated as being summarised within 5 – 8 years (and some would say within 2 – 3) of the events. Paul was citing the official voice of the 500, not creating out of whole cloth on his own capacity, he is very clear on that, as he is on the further force of specific, fulfilled scriptures that had been on record for centuries. Peter, speaking in his own voice a decade later affirms much the same, he is the Cephas identified. Where, that claim was deeply offensive to Jews [cursed is one hung on a tree] and incredulous to the Greeks, who were predisposed to denigrate the body. There has to be an unshakable underlying fact attested by witnesses who could not be broken — by dungeon, fire, sword and worse — to break such a dominant negative attitude, as Morison pointed out so long ago now. That is the context in which Paul could confidently invite his critics to speak with the witnesses. Further to this, four years later, on trial for his life — the plots to kill him were very real — he challenged his judges by calling them to witness to what was “not done in a corner.” Yet further to this, the hyperskeptical attempts of recent centuries to explain away and dismiss the cluster of what are now termed minimal facts [up to a dozen], have foundered decisively. The attempt you echoed, to undermine possibility of historical knowledge and even objective knowledge in general, also reflect the same selective hyperskepticism. I trust that the just linked will at least provide food for thought. KF

  213. 213
    hnorman42 says:

    Viola and Paige @161 and @162 –

    The quote sent by Paige was one I hadn’t seen but it was a good one. This quote (from Simple Wikipedia) actually says that the puddle analogy illustrates the anthropic principle.

    The Wikipedia quote that I was talking about – a sentence from the section in the Douglas Adams entry on Adams’ atheism – says that the puddle analogy demonstrates that the fine-tuned universe argument for God is a fallacy.

    Dawkins’ description of the analogy kind of matches yours. The distinction is that he doesn’t say the fallacy it refutes involves the universe being prepared “for just us” but rather “for us.”

    In comment 131 I made some points about how it is possible for an argument to be bad but still have persuasive power. The puddle analogy is definitely an argument worth engaging.

  214. 214
    hnorman42 says:

    I’m going to give exact quotes for the foregoing. I’ll just put ellipses where the analogy is either quoted or described.
    From Anthropic Principle in “Simple Wikipedia” – “Douglas Adams explains this concept quite well using a puddle as an analogy.” …

    From Douglas Adams in Wikipedia – “. . . to demonstrate his view that the fine-tuned argument for God was a fallacy.”

    From Dawkins’ “Lament for Douglas Adams” – “To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us. . .”

  215. 215
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us. . .”

    and again, the scientific evidence itself says that that ‘vain conceit’ is true. Go figure!

    the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    April 2021 –
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asked-of-steve-meyer-if-humans-are-so-important-to-god-why-did-they-take-so-long-to-develop/#comment-727599

  216. 216
    paige says:

    KF

    Paul was citing the official voice of the 500, not creating out of whole cloth on his own capacity, he is very clear on that, as he is on the further force of specific, fulfilled scriptures that had been on record for centuries.

    The official voice of the 500? What does that mean?

  217. 217
    Viola Lee says:

    Hnorman42: good research. I think people have taken the puddle story to mean a number of different things, and I’m surprised it’s been taken so seriously. I tend to agree with ET: I think those of us who are Hitchhiker fans see it all as great amusing fancy, but not all meant to be serious.

    For instance, do you know the answer to the Ultimate Question of life, the universe, and everything? It’s 42! Just like in your name! 🙂

    The problem is, no one knows what the actual question is.

  218. 218
    Karen McMannus says:

    BA77: Karen McMannus, funny that you repeatedly call Christians mentally ill…

    Um no, not all Christians, just your kind.

  219. 219
    Sandy says:

    Karen McMannus

    BA77: Karen McMannus, funny that you repeatedly call Christians mentally ill…

    Um no, not all Christians, just your kind.

    Um no, if evolution is random and unguided there is no such thing like mentally ill.

  220. 220
    Karen McMannus says:

    Sandy: Um no, if evolution is random and unguided there is no such thing like mentally ill.

    Who’s talking about unguided evolution?

  221. 221
    AndyClue says:

    @bornagain77:

    All I can say for sure, not being an expert in Biblical exegesis, is that as far as physics can tell me from general relativity, there is definitely a infinitely destructive “hellish” element to reality. They are called Black Holes:

    How are black holes relevant for souls?

    Why not mention the already existing hell on earth?

    – Being mentally and physically abused as a child
    – Being burnt alive by ISIS
    – Being a slave in an North Korean concentration camp
    – …

    Who would choose freely such a torture? No-one. That’s why no-one is in hell.

  222. 222
    Sandy says:

    Karen McMannus
    Sandy: Um no, if evolution is random and unguided there is no such thing like mentally ill.

    Who’s talking about unguided evolution?

    You.

    AndyClueMay 2, 2021 at 1:44 am
    @bornagain77:

    All I can say for sure, not being an expert in Biblical exegesis, is that as far as physics can tell me from general relativity, there is definitely a infinitely destructive “hellish” element to reality. They are called Black Holes:

    How are black holes relevant for souls?

    Why not mention the already existing hell on earth?

    – Being mentally and physically abused as a child
    – Being burnt alive by ISIS
    – Being a slave in an North Korean concentration camp
    – …

    Who would choose freely such a torture? No-one. That’s why no-one is in hell.

    What really means the temporary suffering in this world if there is no death of soul ?

  223. 223
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, NT scholarship has identified a cluster of creedal statements and/or hymns that are quoted in the NT documents, which reflect not the voice of an individual but that of the community. 1 Cor 15 has one of them, and Paul introduces his citation with a formula that indicates solemn citation. Notice, for example the use of the Aramaic form of the name Jesus gave to Peter [Greek form, anglicised], Cephas, rock. We can draw a rough parallel to the US DoI, 1776. This is not Jefferson or even the drafting committee, it is the founding circle. We have in the 55 AD letter, citation of the official testimony of the 500, with particular emphasis on the leading public witnesses, about 20, who can be identified specifically; the circumstances indicate that Paul acquired the materials by c 35 – 38 AD, and suggest even earlier composition of the solemn summary, perhaps by 32 – 33 AD, on the likely understanding that the crucifixion was Spring 30 AD. We must recognise as well a context of appeal to the prophetic element of the OT, a key point that implies that the concept of Messiah and the substance of the gospel are to be understood theologically as eschatological, cf. esp Isa 52:13 – 53:12, c 700+ BC, which is a key to C1 NT theology and to the Christian view on the Hebraic Scriptures. Of course, it is God who can accurately predict the far future. Notice, too, that while the gospels show that the first witnesses on the timeline were women seeking to further honour the body of yet another murdered prophet of Israel, the summary implicitly recognises the attitude of C1 to the testimony of women and probably also seeks to shield them. The common attempt by objectors to dismiss the record as univocal and dubious is deeply ill informed. KF

  224. 224
    hnorman42 says:

    Viola @217
    I’m a big fan of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I’m still trying to master the technique of flight that Adams describes. You have to throw yourself at the ground and miss. But you can’t miss on purpose because that’s not really missing. You have to miss by accident.

    One thing that made it hard to answer your question is that although there are satirical elements in Adams’ work it’s basically a very high form of comedy. If it’s all satire then it’s very abstruse indeed.

  225. 225
    kairosfocus says:

    HN42, you continue to turn up gems of thought:

    [HN, 214:] From Anthropic Principle in “Simple Wikipedia” – “Douglas Adams explains this concept quite well using a puddle as an analogy.” …

    From Douglas Adams in Wikipedia – “. . . to demonstrate his view that the fine-tuned argument for God was a fallacy.”

    From Dawkins’ “Lament for Douglas Adams” – “To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us. . .”

    These sources reflect a community voice of radical secularists who have dominated the online encyclopedia that by the reports on how often it is used, is a yardstick of common secularist thought. Where, of course, Dawkins has been dean of the so called new atheists.

    So, the puddle argument is a common misconception, a strawman fallacy used to discredit infrence on evident fine tuning.

    The fact that the thread above does not have anyone willing to argue its cogency speaks volumes on its want of substance. The attempts to distance from it speak for themselves.

    As for, oh, the fine tuning argument is about a claimed scientific inference to a cosmos prepared just for us or for us, that is readily seen to be a strawman caricature. To start, the issue is an exploration of cosmology [as in astrophysical studies turning on General Relativity, with associated use of Tensor Mathematics and discussion pivoting on the observer equivalence of gravity and accelerated motion] and the first key fine tuning inference was about nucleosynthesis in stars and the abundance of C and O. There is a 4% resonance that promotes that.

    The key party, Sir Fred Hoyle, was a lifelong agnostic, not a likely candidate to be doing theology as such.

    The wider point is that dozens of parameters and the frame of laws are such that we find our observed cosmos at a locally deeply isolated island of function in the parameter space, setting the atomic and astrophysical basis for c-chem, aqueous medium cell based life on terrestrial planets in galactic habitable zones. Further, the sol system seems to be a rare case given 20+ years of exoplanet research and there is a further pattern that the life permitting island of function is also conducive to astrophysical observations.

    These are empirically based explorations, manifestly. Just, they have a surprising result that would be equally interesting for keepers of things large and small among Kzinti, Grey or Green men, Treecats and the like.

    KF

    PS: Sir Fred in his own voice, for reference. Notice, how he phrases his conclusion, as sharply distinct from puddle analogy strawman caricatures:

    A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.

    In context, at Caltech, c 40 years ago, in a well known remark:

    >>[Sir Fred Hoyle, In a talk at Caltech c 1981 (nb. this longstanding UD post):] From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]>>

    . . . also, in the same talk at Caltech:

    >>The big problem in biology, as I see it, is to understand the origin of the information carried by the explicit structures of biomolecules. The issue isn’t so much the rather crude fact that a protein consists of a chain of amino acids linked together in a certain way, but that the explicit ordering of the amino acids endows the chain with remarkable properties, which other orderings wouldn’t give. The case of the enzymes is well known . . . If amino acids were linked at random, there would be a vast number of arrange-ments that would be useless in serving the pur-poses of a living cell. When you consider that a typical enzyme has a chain of perhaps 200 links and that there are 20 possibilities for each link,it’s easy to see that the number of useless arrangements is enormous, more than the number of atoms in all the galaxies visible in the largest telescopes. [ –> 20^200 = 1.6 * 10^260] This is for one enzyme, and there are upwards of 2000 of them, mainly serving very different purposes. So how did the situation get to where we find it to be? This is, as I see it, the biological problem – the information problem . . . .

    I was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe. So try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes – by what are called the blind forces of nature . . . . By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, not by random processes . . . .

    Now imagine yourself as a superintellect working through possibilities in polymer chemistry. Would you not be astonished that polymers based on the carbon atom turned out in your calculations to have the remarkable properties of the enzymes and other biomolecules? Would you not be bowled over in surprise to find that a living cell was a feasible construct? Would you not say to yourself, in whatever language supercalculating intellects use: Some supercalculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. Of course you would, and if you were a sensible superintellect you would conclude that the carbon atom is a fix. >>

    . . . and again:

    >> I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the [–> nuclear synthesis] consequences they produce within stars. [“The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12]>>

  226. 226
    William J Murray says:

    Again, God does NOT send people to hell. People, by their own volition, choose to separate themselves from God and to therefore separate themselves from all that is good.

    So, out of infinite existential system possibilities, God selects one and excludes all others; God forces me into existence, forces free will on me, forces me into that system by causing me to be born into the family, culture and time period of His choosing; God allows me an insignificantly tiny (relative to the eternal consequences) but unknown length of time, then in some way “informs” me (let’s assume arguendo) at some point in that tiny time-frame that I have two options in that system: one leads to wonderful consequences, the other leads to horrible consequences, both eternal.

    Yet, BA77 characterizes the people who wind up in hell (or extinguished from existence) as having, effectively, “made their own choice.”

    This is a classic abusive relationship where the victim has convinced themselves that they are at fault for that which is forced on them by their abuser. “It was my own fault, he was very clear what would happen if I didn’t do what pleased him, what he requires for me to show him that I love him. He does these things because he loves me.”

    Christianity has formalized a system of justifying this abusive system and call it, fittingly enough, “Apologetics.”

    Repurposing a line by Bill Burr: I could wake up from a drunken stupor and come up with a less abusive existential arrangement than that.

  227. 227
    bornagain77 says:

    Karen McMannus states,

    BA77: “funny that you repeatedly call Christians mentally il”

    KM: “Um no, not all Christians, just your kind.”

    It is interesting to note that KM did not respond to the scientific fact that the scientific evidence itself contradicts Karen’s personal subjective opinion, and indicates Christians are doing quite well mentally and physically, especially when compared to atheists, but that KM instead responded with a blatantly Ad Hominem attack against ‘my kind’ of Christians. Whatever that is suppose to mean.

    Ad Hominem is one of the most common logical fallacies around. In fact it is number 1 on the following list of 10 common logical fallacies, (And is also the number 1 reason why people get banned from UD).

    1. Ad Hominem Fallacy
    https://kreativcopywriting.com/10-logical-fallacies-know-spot/

    I also note that KM did not respond to the rest of my post where I noted that people, via their own volition, are choosing, indeed demanding, to be separated from God.

    As many Darwinian atheists on this very site give abundant witness to, some people simply do not want God in their lives ever. Period!

    As CS Lewis noted, God will give them their wish. You cannot force someone to love you. That simply is not how love works.

    The problem for atheists is that God is the ultimate source of all that is good and beautiful in this world. Thus, to be separated from God is to, in reality, be separated from all that is good and beautiful.

    The logic is straight forward and obvious.

    Of related note, “The argument from Beauty” for God’s existence is one of my favorite arguments for God’s existence.

    Beauty and the Imagination – Aaron Ames – July 16th, 2017
    Excerpt: Beauty… can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this ‘idea’ of beauty were not found in the Mind in a more perfect form…. This consideration has readily persuaded men of ability and learning… that the original “idea” is not to be found in this sphere
    (Augustine, City of God).
    https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2017/07/beauty-imagination-aaron-ames.html

    The Reason Why God Is the Beauty We All Seek – Sept. 4, 2019
    Excerpt: God loves beauty. As Thomas Aquinas asserts, God “is beauty itself”[1] St. Anselm argues that “God must be the supreme beauty for the same reasons that He must be justice and other such qualities.”[2] As the contemporary theologian Michael Horton so aptly states in his book The Christian Faith, “God would not be God if he did not possess all his attributes in the simplicity and perfection of his essence.”[3] The reason why we gravitate toward beauty is because God created us in his image.,,,
    In a chapel sermon titled, “Can Beauty Save the World,” Albert Mohler explains,
    “The Christian worldview posits that anything pure and good finds its ultimate source in the self-existent, omnipotent God who is infinite in all his perfections. Thus the Christian worldview reminds us that the “transcendentals”—the good, the true, and the beautiful—are inseparable. Thus when Psalm 27 speaks of the beauty of the Lord, the Psalmist is also making a claim about the goodness of the Lord and the truthfulness of the Lord. While we distinguish God’s attributes from one another in order to understand them better, we must also recognize that these attributes are inseparable from one another.[19]”
    Mohler goes on to state, “Our job as Christians is to remember the difference between the beautiful and the pretty,” because pure beauty is found in goodness and truth.[20] When we gaze upon ascetically pleasing objects or witness kind deeds in this world, we are at best seeing imperfect versions of the pure beauty that can only be found in God.
    https://www.beautifulchristianlife.com/blog/reason-why-god-is-the-beauty-we-all-seek

  228. 228
    bornagain77 says:

    Andy Clue states:

    BA77: All I can say for sure, not being an expert in Biblical exegesis, is that as far as physics can tell me from general relativity, there is definitely a infinitely destructive “hellish” element to reality. They are called Black Holes:

    AC: How are black holes relevant for souls?

    Hmm, I seem to recall something in Revelation about a there being a ‘bottomless pit’.

    AC: Why not mention the already existing hell on earth?
    – Being mentally and physically abused as a child
    – Being burnt alive by ISIS
    – Being a slave in an North Korean concentration camp
    – …

    And God is the source of all that hell on earth how exactly? All those ‘hells’ on earth that you mention were brought about be men and are noted by the marked absence of God in those situations.

    “What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.”
    – David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

    The fact is that, the more people choose to be separated from God, the more ‘hell on earth’ happens:

    ‘Men Have Forgotten God’: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1983 Templeton Address
    By ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN – December 11, 2018
    More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
    Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/aleksandr-solzhenitsyn-men-have-forgotten-god-speech/

    Atheism’s Body Count *
    It is obvious that Atheism cannot be true; for if it were, it would produce a more humane world, since it values only this life and is not swayed by the foolish beliefs of primitive superstitions and religions. However, the opposite proves to be true. Rather than providing the utopia of idealism, it has produced a body count second to none. With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark. The Stalinist Purges produced 61 million dead and Mao’s Cultural Revolution produced 70 million casualties. These murders are all upon their own people! This number does not include the countless dead in their wars of outward aggression waged in the name of the purity of atheism’s world view. China invades its peaceful, but religious neighbor, Tibet; supports N. Korea in its war against its southern neighbor and in its merciless oppression of its own people; and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge kill up to 6 million with Chinese support. All of these actions done “in the name of the people” to create a better world.
    – Atheism’s Tendency Towards Totalitarianism Rather Than Freedom
    What is so strange and odd that in spite of their outward rejection of religion and all its superstitions, they feel compelled to set up cults of personality and worship of the State and its leaders that is so totalitarian that the leaders are not satisfied with mere outward obedience; rather they insist on total mind control and control of thoughts, ideas and beliefs. They institute Gulags and “re-education” centers to indoctrinate anyone who even would dare question any action or declaration of the “Dear Leader.” Even the Spanish Inquisition cannot compare to the ruthlessness and methodical efficiency of these programs conducted on so massive a scale. While proclaiming freedom to the masses, they institute the most methodical efforts to completely eliminate freedom from the people, and they do so all “on behalf” of the proletariat. A completely ordered and totally unfree totalitarian State is routinely set up in place of religion, because it is obviously so profoundly better society. It is also strange that Stalin was a seminarian who rejected Christianity and went on to set up himself as an object of worship. It seems that impulse to religious devotion is present in all, whether that be in traditional forms or secular inventions.
    https://www.scholarscorner.com/atheisms-body-count-ideology-and-human-suffering/

    Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – quotes – Foundational Darwinian influence in their ideology
    July 2020
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-on-the-relationship-between-darwinism-and-totalitarianism/#comment-707831

    AC then states: “Who would choose freely such a torture? No-one. That’s why no-one is in hell.”

    And yet, again, as atheists here on UD give abundant evidence to, people freely choose to be separated from God all the time. And thus choose to be separated from all that is good.

    That does not leave many options for God. He can either send them to a place that is totally devoid of all His perfect and good attributes, i.e. Hell, or he can completely annihilate their souls. (And there is apparently a healthy debate within Christianity as to if ‘annihilationism’ or eternal torment is true.) ( And myself, as I have already noted, don’t like either of those options and choose Jesus instead. The choice is not even close).

    John 6:37
    All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

  229. 229
    William J Murray says:

    That does not leave many options for God. He can either send them to a place that is totally devoid of all His perfect and good attributes, i.e. Hell, or he can completely annihilate their souls.

    Why are those God’s only options?

  230. 230
    AndyClue says:

    @bornagain77:

    Hmm, I seem to recall something in Revelation about a there being a ‘bottomless pit’.

    The atoms of my body will be torn apart, when I fall into a black hole. So again the question: How is that relevant to the soul?? What does a block hole have to do with hell??

    And God is the source of all that hell on earth how exactly?

    Who said he was? I didn’t.

    And yet, again, as atheists here on UD give abundant evidence to, people freely choose to be separated from God all the time. And thus choose to be separated from all that is good.

    No atheist here has been given this choice yet. Evidenced by the fact, that they are still atheists.

  231. 231
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, while this thread is from OP on the puddle argument, it seems there have been a lot of exchanges on theology and philosophy, which requires a lot of background to be properly balanced. I just note a remark above “God forces me into existence, forces free will on me, forces me into that system by causing me to be born into the family, culture and time period of His choosing.” On fair comment, this seems to be more about rhetorical traction pivoting on loaded language than substance. That God as creator creates implies that creation does not pre-exist itself to act before it exists. The gift of freedom enables reasoning, knowledge, love, virtue. That one is influenced by one’s background and that one is procreated by parents work as an enabling not a violation. Some re-thinking through a less acid perspective seems to be in order. KF

  232. 232
    bornagain77 says:

    Andy Clue states:

    No atheist here has been given this choice yet. Evidenced by the fact, that they are still atheists.

    the Bible begs to differ,

    Romans 1:20
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    In fact, I hold that Atheists here on UD in particular, much moreso than any other atheists, have been given ample opportunity to ‘choose’ God. They have literally been spoon fed evidence for God’s amazing handiwork throughout all of creation and yet they still stubbornly refuse the ‘choose’ to believe in God. Indeed, so bad is their bias apparent against God, that they hold to the totally insane counterargument that completely unguided naturalistic processes generated everything around us.

    For example, who in their right mind could deny that God is, by far, the best explanation for the human brain rather than unguided material processes? Yet atheists here on UD still ‘choose’ not to honestly admit that God is, by far, the best explanation for our ‘beyond belief’ human brain.

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

    So atheists here on UD have been given ample opportunities to believe in God, but for whatever severely misguided reason, and/or whatever deceptions about God they may harbor in their imaginations, they continually, and stubbornly, refuse, via their own volition, to accept that God is real, much less accept God into their personal lives.

    It truly is sad, even tragic.

    We can’t even imagine what gloriously wonderful things await us if we accept God into our lives:

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

  233. 233
    paige says:

    KF

    Paige, NT scholarship has identified a cluster of creedal statements and/or hymns that are quoted in the NT documents, which reflect not the voice of an individual but that of the community.

    What qualifies someone to be a biblical scholar? There are hundreds of people who have studied the Bible and found it to be inconsistent with historical facts, in internally contradictory. Somehow I suspect that you would not consider them to be credible biblical scholars.

    The Bible is an amazing document with many valuable teachings, as are documents of other religions. But that doesn’t mean that everything written in it is gospel. 🙂

  234. 234
    AndyClue says:

    @bornagain77:

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    Your description doesn’t include atheists. Atheists are exactly those people who do not clearly see your god’s “invisible” (??) qualities. That’s exactly where the unbelief comes from.

    In fact, I hold that Atheists here on UD in particular, much moreso than any other atheists, have been given ample opportunity to ‘choose’ God.

    Whether you or some participant on UD gives someone this choice is completely irrelevant. You’re neither god nor his spokesperson. The choice does not depend on a human’s fallible persuasion techniques. The choice comes from god.

    We can’t even imagine what gloriously wonderful things await us if we accept God into our lives

    It makes me happy that everyone here will experience those gloriously wonderful things. Why would anyone choose not to??

  235. 235
    bornagain77 says:

    Paige claims the Bible is not historically accurate

    Yet, the Bible has, time and time again, been proven to be historically accurate.

    For example, one archeologist, not too many years back, discovered King David’s palace solely by following subtle clues that she found in the Bible.

    Humorously, a Bible skeptic thought it unfair for her to use the Bible as a guide in her archeological discovery of King David’s palace since, according to him, “she would certainly find that building”,,,::

    Ronny Reich of Haifa University treats archaeologist Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University “dismissively” and accuses her of acting “unethically.” What did she do? She used the Bible as a guide to where to excavate.
    Let me unpack this: As Eilat read the Bible, it seemed to indicate just where King David’s palace might be buried in the City of David—at least, it did to her. On this basis, she decided to dig there.
    This was highly improper and unscientific, according to Ronny. When he heard that Eilat was using reasoning like this to find King David’s palace, he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way, “she would certainly find that building”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/materialism-vs-science-in-archaeology-and-the-difference-it-makes/

    Supplemental notes:

    Has the Exodus Really Been Disproven?
    Excerpt: Many archaeologists, Bible scholars and historians continue to conclude from the evidence that the Exodus did indeed occur, among them the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, Hershel Shanks (Ha’aretz Magazine, Nov. 5, 1999).
    http://www.dovidgottlieb.com/comments/Exodus.htm

    Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition
    James K. Hoffmeier
    ABSTRACT
    Scholars of the Hebrew Bible have in the last decade begun to question the historical accuracy of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus. The reason for the rejection of the exodus tradition is said to be the lack of historical and archaeological evidence in Egypt. Those advancing these claims, however, are not specialists in the study of Egyptian history, culture, and archaeology. This book examines the most current Egyptological evidence and argues that it supports the biblical record concerning Israel in Egypt.
    https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130881.001.0001/acprof-9780195130881

    Steve Schrader – Historical Reliability of the Bible – video (extra-biblical proof of exodus plagues at 22:30 minute mark)
    http://vimeo.com/15742096

    Q&A: The Bible and Archaeology (Conversation with Joel Kramer) – Sodom and Gomorrah – 11:22 min. mark
    https://youtu.be/ZqTjpCrsGFE?t=682

    A Closer Look: The Historical Reliability of the Old Testament – 2012
    The historicity of the OT should be taken seriously. As for the OT text itself, the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca 150 b.c.- a.d. 70) provide good evidence of a carefully transmitted core-text tradition through almost a thousand years down to the Masoretic scribes (ca eighth-tenth centuries a.d.) Thus, the basic text of OT Scripture can be established as essentially soundly transmitted, and the evidence shows that the form and content of the OT fit with known literary and cultural realities of the Ancient Near East.
    per Christianity Today

    The Gospels as History: External Evidence – Dr. Timothy McGrew – video
    https://vimeo.com/58486762

    The Gospels as History: Internal Evidence – Dr. Timothy McGrew – video
    https://vimeo.com/59012954

    video – Unexpected Evidence that the Bible is Historically Accurate (Dr. Lydia McGrew) – Feb. 2020
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO7x9p70rrw

  236. 236
    bornagain77 says:

    AC asks “It makes me happy that everyone here will experience those gloriously wonderful things. Why would anyone choose not to (accept God)??”

    You have to ask the atheists here on UD whom refuse to accept God despite abundant evidence for His existence. I have no clue. I can’t fathom what would motivate such irrationally hostility towards God.

    And I have lost people who were very dear to me throughout my life. But, even though I have been angry at God at such times, and had to work through that, I never thought once of just outright denying his existence altogether. Its unfathomable to me.

  237. 237
    William J Murray says:

    KF@231,
    If I was not consulted on whether or not I wanted to be involved in any of this, then regardless of what wording or temperament is employed, I was forced into this situation by God. Calling something forced on me without my consent “a gift” is exactly what people suffering under abuse would say. Every choice I make here under that paradigm is under duress, and I should not be held accountable for anything I decide to do here.

  238. 238
    William J Murray says:

    Refusing to accept that you have only two choices is not the same thing as choosing one or the other. Nobody is going to choose eternal torment; they may choose not to believe in it, or to not believe in a God that set it up; but that is not the same thing as choosing eternal torment. Especially not under duress.

  239. 239
    bornagain77 says:

    AC asks:

    The atoms of my body will be torn apart, when I fall into a black hole. So again the question: How is that relevant to the soul?? What does a block hole have to do with hell??

    Black holes are literally bottomless holes that are punched into the space time fabric of this universe.

    Such was inconceivable in physics up until a few decades ago. And still today, there is some debate about them.

    But the Bible ‘predicted’ a ‘bottomless pit’, that is closely associated with hell, long before such things were discovered by modern science.

    King James Version – Bible Verse List: – The Bottomless Pit
    https://www.billkochman.com/VerseLists/verse280.html

    That should, at least, raise an eyebrow.

  240. 240
    William J Murray says:

    What kind of choice is “Love me or suffer eternal torment” anyway? I mean, talk about being under duress! What kind of love can even be offered in that situation? Who would even WANT someone’s love if you have to threaten “eternal torment” to acquire it?

    The Christian God, that’s who.

  241. 241
    paige says:

    BA77

    Paige claims the Bible is not historically accurate

    Yet, the Bible has, time and time again, been proven to be historically accurate.

    Ten seconds on Google turned up an article on the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Bible.

    https://www.news24.com/news24/MyNews24/The-Problem-of-the-Bible-Inaccuracies-contradictions-fallacies-scientific-issues-and-more-20120517

    But the inaccuracies and inconsistencies do not bother me. The Bible is a compilation of writings and accounts from many different people. Given the nature of eyewitness testimony, it would be almost a certainty that there would be some errors.

  242. 242
    bornagain77 says:

    Paige, and I am just as certain that, if you spent just a little more time googling, you will also find a scholarly response to everyone of those supposed inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Bible.

    For instance, Inspiring Philosophy has devoted much time to refuting, in detail, many such claims of supposed Biblical errors and contradictions:

    Bible Errors refuted: – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVR0jXxJDn0&list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TVnj0QVWnMTMzmpvuFqCpIv

    Bible Contradictions refuted: – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWq3fVQuSuA&list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TXRZs52bpnVfiPM9TD_Ukfo

    Moreover, the fact that the Bible was written by numerous authors and yet remains unified as a whole in its message is actually an argument that strongly argues for the Bible’s authenticity.

    Among all the books ever written, the Bible is absolutely unique. Actually, it is not just a book—it’s 66 books. And one of its most remarkable qualities is the complete unity of the overall message despite having so many different authors writing over many centuries on hundreds of controversial subjects. Natural explanations fail to account for the supernatural character and origin of Scripture.
    The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation.
    Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a cupbearer, and a priest all penned portions of Scripture. They had different immediate purposes for writing, whether recording history, giving spiritual and moral instruction, or pronouncing judgment. They composed their works from palaces, prisons, the wilderness, and places of exile while writing history, laws, poetry, prophecy, and proverbs. In the process they laid bare their personal emotions, expressing anger, frustration, joy, and love.
    Yet despite this marvelous array of topics and goals, the Bible displays a flawless internal consistency. It never contradicts itself or its common theme.
    https://answersingenesis.org/the-word-of-god/3-unity-of-the-bible/

  243. 243
    paige says:

    BA77

    Paige, and I am just as certain that, if you spent just a little more time googling, you will also find a scholarly response to everyone of those supposed inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Bible.

    Yes, I am sure I would. But the question to ask is, are the inaccuracies and inconsistencies that are there for all to see more or less compelling than the twisting and gyrations used by the “scholars” to rationalize their explanations? And, why are these explanations necessary?

    I am comfortable with the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Bible. They don’t make it any less valuable as a guide in how to lead one’s life. What I am curious about, however, is why some people have the need for it to be a completely accurate depiction of what happened. Only 24% of Christians believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and that doesn’t make them any less Christian, or the Bible any less powerful.

  244. 244
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Paige, contrary to what you believe, supposed inaccuracies in the New Testament, when examined in detail, often confirm the authenticity of New Testament accounts.

    In short, some of these supposed inaccuracies turns the claim that the Bible is inaccurate on its head and shows how some of these supposed inaccuracies are actually proof of its authenticity.

    In fact there is an entire, (long neglected), field of apologetics devoted to this area of study. It’s called ‘Undesigned Coincidences”

    Tim McGrew – Undesigned coincidences – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLe1tMOs8ARn08J6XcziBKENY6GDdIP7LI

    Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts – Paperback – Lydia McGrew March 1, 2017
    Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts revives an argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament that has been largely neglected for more than a hundred years. An undesigned coincidence is an apparently casual, yet puzzle-like “fit” between two or more texts, and its best explanation is that the authors knew the truth about the events they describe or allude to. Connections of this kind among passages in the Gospels, as well as between Acts and the Pauline epistles, give us reason to believe that these documents came from honest eyewitness sources, people “in the know” about the events they relate. Supported by careful research yet accessibly written, Hidden in Plain View provides solid evidence that all Christians can use to defend the Scriptures and the truth of Christianity.
    https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Plain-View-Undesigned-Coincidences/dp/1936341905/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488246896&sr=8-1&keywords=hidden+in+plain+view+undesigned+coincidences+in+the+gospels+and+acts

    Undesigned Coincidences
    http://calumsblog.com/undesigned-coincidences/

    Feeding of the 5000 – “Undesigned Coincidences” – Peter Williams – 40 minute mark
    – Bible: Fact or Fiction? Peter Williams at UNC
    https://youtu.be/zTtdBpMMAFM?t=2415

  245. 245
    jerry says:

    I don’t care who your Dad is this is an illegal gathering.

    https://sadanduseless.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/illegal-gathering.jpg

  246. 246
    AndyClue says:

    @bornagain77:

    You have to ask the atheists here on UD whom refuse to accept God despite abundant evidence for His existence. I have no clue. I can’t fathom what would motivate such irrationally hostility towards God.

    There are two choices: Accept god, or torment.
    – No atheist here has chosen god. Surely one of the reasons is that they do not know god.
    – Also no atheist here has chosen torment.
    No choice has been made. Which is a rational decision. Why would someone make an uninformed choice? (Even though I think even with enough information they will not chose torment 😀 )
    They WILL make a decision, when they get to know god and the question is being asked.

    I never thought once of just outright denying his existence altogether. Its unfathomable to me.

    It’s unfathomable, to atheists and theists alike. How would that even work!? I’ve been angry at my brother many times. It never occurred to me to deny his existence as a result.

    I second WJM comment, which basically sums up my thoughts as well:

    WJM: Refusing to accept that you have only two choices is not the same thing as choosing one or the other. Nobody is going to choose eternal torment; they may choose not to believe in it, or to not believe in a God that set it up; but that is not the same thing as choosing eternal torment. Especially not under duress.

    Regarding the black hole:

    That should, at least, raise an eyebrow.

    It doesn’t. I die falling from a cliff. I die falling into a black hole. I die when my head gets blown to peaces. How is it relevant to a soul?

  247. 247
    bornagain77 says:

    AC, again, the Bible disagrees with you. So who am I going to trust, some anonymous, and IMHO unreasonable, blogger on the internet, or the word of God?

    Cue Jeopardy music.,,, Ding, ding, ding, I choose to trust the word of God.

    Romans 1
    18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    Of related interest, I also trust the science to tell me what atheist really believe in their hearts and to show me that they really are suppressing their innate belief in God

    Studies establish that the design inference is ‘knee jerk’ inference that is built into everyone, especially including atheists, and that atheists have to mentally work suppressing their “knee jerk” design inference!

    Is Atheism a Delusion?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ii-bsrHB0o

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    Richard Dawkins take heed: Even atheists instinctively believe in a creator says study – Mary Papenfuss – June 12, 2015
    Excerpt: Three studies at Boston University found that even among atheists, the “knee jerk” reaction to natural phenomenon is the belief that they’re purposefully designed by some intelligence, according to a report on the research in Cognition entitled the “Divided Mind of a disbeliever.”
    The findings “suggest that there is a deeply rooted natural tendency to view nature as designed,” writes a research team led by Elisa Järnefelt of Newman University. They also provide evidence that, in the researchers’ words, “religious non-belief is cognitively effortful.”
    Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or “default” human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether “any being purposefully made the thing in the picture,” notes Pacific-Standard.
    “Religious participants’ baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher” than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants “increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made” when “they did not have time to censor their thinking,” wrote the researchers.
    The results suggest that “the tendency to construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made derives from automatic cognitive processes, not just practised explicit beliefs,” the report concluded.
    The results were similar even among subjects from Finland, where atheism is not a controversial issue as it can be in the US.
    “Design-based intuitions run deep,” the researchers conclude, “persisting even in those with no explicit religious commitment and, indeed, even among those with an active aversion to them.”
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/richa.....dy-1505712

  248. 248
    AndyClue says:

    @bornagain77:

    AC, again, the Bible disagrees with you.

    Already answered in 234:

    Your description doesn’t include atheists. Atheists are exactly those people who do not clearly see your god’s “invisible” (??) qualities. That’s exactly where the unbelief comes from.

  249. 249
    paige says:

    Jerry@245, thanks for the laugh. This thread was getting far too serious. 🙂 that was Douglas Adam’s worthy.

  250. 250
    paige says:

    BA77

    In short, some of these supposed inaccuracies turns the claim that the Bible is inaccurate on its head and shows how some of these supposed inaccuracies are actually proof of its authenticity.

    In fact there is an entire, (long neglected), field of apologetics devoted to this area of study. It’s called ‘Undesigned Coincidences”

    If the Bible is the inerrant word of God, why would you need apologetics?

  251. 251
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, this is not a theology forum despite the current exchanges, I suggest you go to such to explore those issues, there is enough on our plate here, e.g. with the directly focal matters from the OP. Beyond, I make brief commemts. First, the relevant published research base is there and can be evaluated on technical quality (that starts with original languages competence and associated familiarity with technical studies) and associated worldviews issues. On NT, Lk-Ac provides the historical backbone and it is good. As for self contradictions etc, some years ago I took a look at case study no 1, which at that time was being publicly derided as a hopeless mess where I was living. I was fully prepared to see some irresolvable variations and difficulties as is common with many historical narratives. To my shock, it fit a coherent, instructive timeline instead, leading me to look at the decisive logic. For, where X = x1 + x2 + . . . + xn is claimed to be inconsistent but a reasonable explanation E1 is such that E1 + X is coherent [i.e. forms a possible world], then X is strictly coherent. It is of course possible to create a radical disharmony D1 so D1 + X is incoherent, but that is irrelevant once an E1 does or may exist. I took a lesson from that and from the onward behaviour of the party promoting a Dn in public discussion. You have already been given a link to a 101 on the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, which you tried to dismiss by applying faulty rules of evidence. More can be said, but it is already clear that the problem lies in the hyperskeptical narratives that have been widely promoted, not the actual reasonable balance. KF

  252. 252
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, there was already a response above to your talking point. Your onward response tells us enough, sadly. KF

  253. 253
    bornagain77 says:

    Paige this will be my last response on this subject since KF’s patience is wearing very thin. But anyways you ask: “If the Bible is the inerrant word of God, why would you need apologetics?,”

    Well I don’t hold the Bible to be completely inherent. There are, due to human error, errors in punctuation, errors in plural vs. singular spellings., and such minor errors as that can be found.
    But I hold that, by and large, the Bible is amazingly accurate in overall historical reliability. Again, amazingly accurate!

    The Dead Sea Scrolls, by themselves, proved that point:

    To repeat:

    A Closer Look: The Historical Reliability of the Old Testament – 2012
    The historicity of the OT should be taken seriously. As for the OT text itself, the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca 150 b.c.- a.d. 70) provide good evidence of a carefully transmitted core-text tradition through almost a thousand years down to the Masoretic scribes (ca eighth-tenth centuries a.d.) Thus, the basic text of OT Scripture can be established as essentially soundly transmitted, and the evidence shows that the form and content of the OT fit with known literary and cultural realities of the Ancient Near East.
    per Christianity Today

    It is easy to forget just how devastating the Dead Sea scrolls were to the supposedly scholarly skeptics of the Bible who, like you, were claiming the Old Testament was full of major errors that rendered it historically untrustworthy.

    As well, the New Testament itself suffers from a quote-unquote ’embarrassment of riches’ that it has been, by and large, faithfully transcribed down through the ages:

    How Reliable Is the New Testament? – Dr. Daniel Wallace (16:30 minute mark of video “The New Testament has an ‘embarrassment of riches’ compared to other ancient texts”) – video
    (of note: Dr. Wallace has publicly debated leading Bible skeptic Bart Ehrman numerous times)
    http://www.watermark.org/media.....ment/2305/??

    The reliability of the New Testament compared to other ancient texts – graph (“an embarrassment of riches”)
    http://visualunit.files.wordpr.....ility1.jpg?

    But anyways back to your question about the necessity of apologetics,,, Biblical apologetics, and/or the defense of the Christian Faith, is necessary because, mainly, people need to know the Bible is reliable and trustworthy in the accounts it records. And also mainly because people need to know that Jesus really did die on a cross and really did rise from the dead, and to therefore know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there really is hope for their own life beyond the grave. i.e. People NEED to know that there is real meaning and purpose for their own lives and that their lives do not end at the grave.

    Nihilistic despair is not a minor problem and is found to be the root cause of many mental health issues, i.e. depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.. etc..

    As the old hymn says, “because he lives I can face tomorrow.”

    Nicole C. Mullen – My Redeemer Lives – Official Music Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QvX4CwSmwY

  254. 254
    Karen McMannus says:

    Sandy: You.

    You’re hallucinating.

  255. 255
    Karen McMannus says:

    BA77: It is interesting to note that KM did not respond to the scientific fact that the scientific evidence itself contradicts Karen’s personal subjective opinion, and indicates Christians are doing quite well mentally and physically, especially when compared to atheists, but that KM instead responded with a blatantly Ad Hominem attack against ‘my kind’ of Christians. Whatever that is suppose to mean.

    The kind that believe in a Creator who tortures its creatures forever. A lot of Christians don’t believe that. In fact, a majority in the USA do not. At any rate, I know a lot of mentally ill people who seem to “do just fine” in their lives. A lot of humans “do just fine” with varying degrees of delusion. That’s not a measure of Truth.

  256. 256
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM: What kind of choice is “Love me or suffer eternal torment” anyway? I mean, talk about being under duress! What kind of love can even be offered in that situation? Who would even WANT someone’s love if you have to threaten “eternal torment” to acquire it? The Christian God, that’s who.

    I must correct your understanding a bit. Not all Christians accept this lunacy. The Bible itself only has a few verses in it that may seem to support the notion, in Matthew, one in Mark, and Revelation. The “Old Testament” has no support for it. (Which is why Jews don’t believe in it.) There are good reasons to reject the references in the Gospels as spurious, and Revelation as a whole as spurious. Apostle Paul and the other Apostolic Letters provide no support for it whatsoever. Most Christians in the USA do not accept the eternal torture doctrine. Just FYI.

  257. 257
    bornagain77 says:

    KM, as I told Paige, KF has expressed his desire that apologetic discussions be taken elsewhere to a Theological/Philosophical site that is more appropriate to the topic So I am cutting off my responses on this topic.

  258. 258
    jerry says:

    So I am cutting off my responses on this topic.

    Thank God!

  259. 259
    Sandy says:

    Karen McClownus
    The kind that believe in a Creator who tortures its creatures forever.

    I didn’t know there are a special kind of clowns: clown theologians.

  260. 260
    William J Murray says:

    KM said:

    I must correct your understanding a bit. Not all Christians accept this lunacy.

    You’re right. I know this.

  261. 261
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, this thread’s side tracks have been inadvertently further revealing. I can’t say, “illuminating,” as that is a positive term. I think it is no surprise that I have a fairly negative view of where we are heading as a civilisation, i/l/o geostrategic and historical issues feeding long since drummed in scenario-based planning/analysis patterns of thought. Five years ago, I publicly laid out the in brief world trends chart that is currently being far too close to events for me to be happy. What I am seeing here is a lurking nihilism that haunts us and undermines even confidence in knowledge, multiplied by a depth of polarisation that points to ramping up of the ongoing 4th generation civil war in the US and of the wider 4th gen global struggle. Just as Australia takes Anzac Day . . . think, Gallipoli . . . to say gird your loins for the China blue ocean breakout push. At the other end of Asia, the nuke clock just went a lot closer to midnight. The problem is, once one is in a vortex, breakout is harder and harder. There really are slippery slope ratchets. I can only plead to think again, and again. I am not even sure that I can reasonably add, before it is too late. I have a 1914 feeling and a 1940 feeling. KF

  262. 262
    William J Murray says:

    KF is perfectly willing make post after post after post and basically turn UD into his personal, ongoing Ted Talk in his attempt to (1) teach people about geo-political threats, (2) his logical and metaphysical arguments about comparative world-views, and (3) moral “First Duties.” But, when the criticism against the Christian concept of God gets a little sharp, then he advises us to find another venue because this isn’t an appropriate venue for such discussions.

    In this attempt, he often quotes from the Bible to make his case. All of his arguments, one way or another, lead back to his faith in his version of the Christian God. He admonishes others from that source. Yet, when we get to criticizing one of the major premises behind all of KF’s arguments, suddenly that is off-limits and we are told to take those criticisms elsewhere.

  263. 263
    William J Murray says:

    So, I will repeat this: if God created the metaphysical system we live in under the Christian perspective, excluded all other possible experiential lines from access, forced me into existence, forced free will on me, forced me into the system here on Earth without consulting me about any of it, forced me into whatever family, culture, time period and circumstances I was born into, and then finds some way to inform me that my choice is to love Him or face eternal torment (or annihilation) after I die; and that I have an unknown but very tiny amount of time in which to make that decision, then that is without question an abusive, evil, sick entity.

    It doesn’t matter if that choice is made crystal clear to me; it is still an inherently abusive system where all decisions are made under extreme duress.

    And yes, KM, I know not all Christians believe in that version of God, but it’s not those people we are having this conversation with. When I say “Christian,” I’m referring to the version of the Christian God on the table here.

  264. 264
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    UD is there to serve a community and its interests. That’s right there in the announced theme.

    The needs and interests of the community are obviously broader than just the design inference, explanatory filter, specified complexity, irreducible complexity, ool, origin of body plans, origin of mind, fine tuning (so, cosmology) and active information etc.

    For, while the focal issue of origins science is obviously central, that is already — just look at the literature — deeply embedded with philosophical, ideological and linked worldviews issues.

    The integral philosophy of science issues immediately highlight several core aspects of philosophy, including epistemology, logic and logic of being.

    Mathematics and its foundations are also highly relevant, I have noted on the view that this is [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity, which has come up on the implications of claiming a beginning-less quasi-physical, causal-temporal, thermodynamically connected past.

    Linked, worldviews have core ideas and notoriously, ideas have consequences; this being through ideological, geostrategic etc impacts, often manifested in current events. We all have an interest in the good health of our civilisation.

    Science and general developments are also of relevant interests, to help us understand how to communicate in the evolving world of C21. For example, things connected to the pandemic are exposing issues in epistemology and on science vs policy as well as sound public education vs playing the Big-S Science has settled the matter game (or worse, outright agit prop and manipulation).

    Such a broad spectrum also points to the significance of axiological matters on both the aesthetic and ethical sides. This includes ethical foundations of civilisation, governance, law and government.

    Where, also, we have seen how the Ciceronian first duties of reason not only frame civil law and government, but also govern our process of reasoning as enconscienced, responsible creatures. A simple illustration is a more or less classic definition of the lie: to lie is to speak with disregard to truth, in hope of profiting from what is said or suggested being taken as true.

    It is not a great leap from such to see that even those who would taint and dismiss, brush aside or otherwise object, cannot but appeal to said first duties. Liars, for focal example, are manipulating duty to truth and duty to neighbour, abusing reason and prudence in the process, not to mention suppressing the voice of sound conscience. So, we can readily see that duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, so too to fairness and justice etc are inescapable. So, inescapably true, thus self-evident.

    Where, for civil law and government, we note that justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. Which, of course, lies violate.

    Such may be unpalatable, objectionable or even repulsive to many, but that does not trace to the substantial force of the point or to the tone of the argument.

    It is fair comment, that such themes and matters are interconnected and highly relevant to the design community and the wider civilisation.

    Further, it is also fair comment that this is already a wide span of issues that are typically not discussed together elsewhere. This is therefore a necessary forum at this time.

    Where, on matters of Bible, theology and exegesis etc, there is much discussion elsewhere hosted by those holding advanced technical degrees on the subjects. For example, Dr Craig hosts a whole site, Reasonable Faith.

    Likewise, part of the basic ideological context the design community faces is a willful, misleading conflation of design theory and Creationism; which (on the part of modern creationism) is in material part about Bible exposition and exegesis. The Creationist view is, that God was there where we were not, at origin. On certain grounds they accept the Bible as substantially his word to us, including on origins. So, on some responsible exegesis, there is a frame of relevant facts that should inform our scientific thinking on origins.

    Within that movement there are variations on young vs old earth and cosmos. Sites like Answers in Genesis, Creation dot com, ICR and Reason to Believe etc explore that approach. Sometimes, with highly interesting and informative information.

    Design theory does not work on that basis, it is about the empirical investigation of the thematic question, are there reliable observational signs that mark certain entities, structures, processes etc as cases of design as material cause?

    This question leads in many directions [such as theory of inventive problem solving and cryptanalysis, with side helpings of statistics and information theory (with linked thermodynamics and issues on dynamic-stochastic systems), also computing] but comes to focus on examining origins of cell based life, the earth/sol system and the observed cosmos.

    It also has a different history, tracing particularly to Plato and the like, rather than Moses, Job, David and Paul of Tarsus. Though, in his most consciously philosophical work, Romans, the latter points to there being a valid investigation of the world and its features. Paul, being pioneer of the Christian synthesis of the heritage of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome that is foundational to Western Civilisation as we know it.

    The two, in short, are very different though a Christian would argue, in the end compatible.

    I do not venture to speak for a Muslim. Some Jews will go along with much of the thinking on evidence of Creator in the world in Rom, though such may differ sharply on the specific exposition of Hebraic Messianism that is argued in Rom and across the NT. As for Hindus who are theistic, again, I defer to someone with the relevant background. Deism is by definition a design oriented view. Theistic evolutionism, near as I can make out, objects that empirical evidence of design is being exaggerated by design thinkers. Further to that, I think their theism insofar as it is a philosophical rather than theological stance, traces to views on logic of being, i.e. ontology.

    Given that pattern, I suggest, there is no useful purpose in having discussions here become in major part exchanges on debates on creationism or new atheism’s evil Bible rhetoric or the like.

    I believe that is the sort of line that was taken by UD’s leadership a decade or so back, when such issues became a hot focus. I accepted their decision at the time and have seen that there is prudence in it.

    Though, some of these issues will naturally come up and it is appropriate to comment in brief and direct attention elsewhere for those interested in technical details.

    Where, lastly, I believe you will be able to find above a sufficient note for record on the particular points you have argued.

    For simple example, a complaint that one was not consulted [before one existed!] to be given the freedom required for intellectual endeavours, while undertaking just such an endeavour is patently self-referentially incoherent.

    Similarly, the problem of evils has been ably addressed at technical level some 1/2 century past by Plantinga et al. Theodicy requires plausibility of premises to the radical objector, often a rhetorically futile task. A coherence based possible worlds free will defence does not. All it requires is to show what I noted to Paige a few comments up:

    [KF, 251:] . . . where X = x1 + x2 + . . . + xn is claimed to be inconsistent but a reasonable explanation E1 is such that E1 + X is coherent [i.e. forms a possible world], then X is strictly coherent. It is of course possible to create a radical disharmony D1 so D1 + X is incoherent, but that is irrelevant once an E1 does or may exist.

    Plantinga did that.

    The logic of coherence just summarised is a general result. Once we do or may possibly have some Ek that

    C(Ek + X) –> 1,

    i.e. a reasonable coherence check is actually or potentially positive then that there are many cases where

    C(Dk + X) –> 0

    becomes irrelevant.

    What proponents of Dk must show is that Dk is sufficiently established (including, it is a possible world and so is internally coherent as well as being credibly actual) that Dk being in contradiction to X has force. Were Dk internally incoherent it cannot be a possible world. It must be sufficiently complete as a world description, including having plausible dynamics. Further, it needs to pass factual adequacy and explanatory superiority tests. For, to displace Ek candidates, it needs to be credibly actual, not merely possible. In problem of evil context, it must be an anti-theodicy, using premises plausible to all.

    Those are pretty strong requisites, and as a rule are not drawn out in detail. Suffice to say, there is no evolutionary materialistic scheme that meets the criteria, and idealistic theories are disputable. Pantheism and panentheism, insofar as they would have an ethically relevant centre of being, are more like ethical theism than they are like antitheistic views.

    On the problem of evil, Plantinga et al provided a very good theistic answer that changed the context of discussion.

    On the Bible is factually, logically or ethically incoherent (including in its vision of God [and I note for record, here above on your remarks on eternal state]), we can leave it at, there are sufficiently credible experts who have put Ek candidates on the table that no successful Dk is present or in prospect. Which is very different from the rhetorical impact and tone-challenges of this sort of assertion:

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” [In, The God Delusion]

    Fair comment, that sort of rhetoric says more about those who make, endorse or enable it than it does on substance. Unfortunately, there are many angry, nihilistic people out there who seem to imagine that Bible-believing Christians are — and, again, Dawkins — ignorant, stupid, insane or . . . wicked. Perhaps, we can turn down the intensity of polarisation, but given the ideological conflict and linked low kinetic so far 4th generation civil war in the USA (with heavy agit prop, street theatre, media narrative and lawfare components), I have my doubts.

    KF

  265. 265
    Sandy says:

    William J Murray
    So, I will repeat this: if God created the metaphysical system we live in under the Christian perspective, excluded all other possible experiential lines from access, forced me into existence, forced free will on me, forced me into the system here on Earth without consulting me about any of it, forced me into whatever family, culture, time period and circumstances I was born into, and then finds some way to inform me that my choice is to love Him or face eternal torment (or annihilation) after I die;

    Jesus answer to WJM

  266. 266
    jerry says:

    Kf,

    I was hoping/praying you would not answer. But you just gave the no free will people grounds for proof of their thesis.

    But, my prayers were not answered.

  267. 267
  268. 268
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, I think we have a different perspective. From time to time some objections need to be answered and answered substantially. While silence is not consent, there is a place where silence allows claims to seize the default. KF

  269. 269
    jerry says:

    I think we have a different perspective.

    You are writing to/for yourself and no one else. Nothing wrong with that per se but don’t be under the illusion you are persuading one person.

    From time to time some objections need to be answered and answered substantially

    For you it seems time to time is all the time.

    Persuasive writing from Scott Adams

    https://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/06/the_day_you_bec.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDwm-UPILuw&t=161s

    Aside: I don’t agree with a lot of what Scott Adams writes about but I understand nearly everything he is trying to say.

  270. 270
    William J Murray says:

    The problem is, KF, that your entire worldview structure relies entirely on conveniently selecting and interpreting evidence in the face of counterfactuals; and also relies on a convenient uses of different forms of logic to support it when any particular line of logic fails. IMO, you and BA77 do this because you are attempting to stay faithful to an a priori ideological commitment – a particular version of Christianity.

    The evidential impact on the theological ID perspective is clear: God has not “chosen” a particular metaphysical (religious/spiritual) existential construct we are all objectively locked into. This is a form of the “all swans are white” logical formula. I need not argue against the “Christian exclusivity” that you have woven together on so many fronts in your arguments on various topics; I only have to point to the black swans that disprove this root of your worldview.

    In a prior argument on a different subject, I did this by pointing at a “black swan” counterfactual to your claim that “conscience” is an inherent, necessary feature for all sentient beings: sociopaths. You immediately switched from the logical deduction from premise to a “common human experience” argument. “Common human experience” is not a valid rebuttal to a black swan counterfactual.

    The NDE or “afterlife” evidence provides the black swan counterfactuals to the premise that a single existential framework for life after death exists.

    The evidential results of quantum experimentation has clearly demonstrated that we do not live in a single existential framework “chosen by God.” Our existential framework is not “set in stone.” Even our past is not “set in stone.” No single, universal consciousness has removed experiential potentials from our grasp. or determined what we can and cannot experience going forward. If that were the case, quantum experimentation would have discovered that local reality states determine our experience. This has been conclusively demonstrated to not be the case. What appears to be designing what we call the physical universe … is us.

    I agree with the perspective that unless the ground of being determines it by its nature, one cannot say what is objectively good or evil. Setting aside the counterfactual examples of sociopaths and adopting your own “common human experience” argument, we can easily discover that your religious perspective on God fails.

    We’ve used the example of “torturing children for pleasure” as a qualitative indicator that an “objective good” exists. To deny that statement is to deny evil even exists. Here’s an equally indicative example: “love me or suffer eternal torment (or annihilation) after you die. You have an unknown but small amount of time to decide.”

    If that is the existential arrangement God chose to exclusively implement, it is (1) not supported by the evidence (existence of black swan counterfactuals) and (2) a situation, even if factual, that is immediately recognizable as evil.

    I suggest that if it takes volumes of apologetics, professional theologians, convenient dismissals of evidence and rationalizations involving convenient switches from one form of reasoning to another, that then the problem is your a priori commitment to a particular religious ideology, no matter how much personal empirical evidence and experience you have that supports it.

  271. 271
    Viola Lee says:

    re 263 and 270. Very clear, concise statements by WJM about what is wrong with the two major posters on this site. KF tried to argue above (as WJM said, when convenient) that apologetics doesn’t belong on this site. And yet the vast majority of the posts (other than News’ regular news dump) are about either ideas that tie to a Christian/theistic world view or about KF’s sky-is-falling obsession with the downfall of civilization. It’s more or less the KF/BA show most of the time, and yet when someone like WJM exposes some of this, he is told to go away.

    I think I’ll also point out that the number one bogeyman here is atheism, so critiquing the constant fallback position of theism ought to be a legitimate topic.

  272. 272
    jerry says:

    It’s more or less the KF/BA show most of the time

    Yet, I bet many never read their comments. TLDR. I know I don’t except for cursory looks. And rare occasions I will plow through something. Yet they are often scapegoats for some. That is the more interesting phenomenon.

    But I often learn from Kf when he refers to something in an off hand way. Such as TRIZ. I wasn’t aware of the importance of Cicero in the debate on right reasoning. Or the debate on Justified True Belief. He’s a font of knowledge.

    So is BA77 on knowledge on science. If I get through one of his laundry lists of points I am usually in agreement and frequently have a new source.

    But neither one has learned the art of simplicity which is necessary for clear communication. They both should look at the Scott Adams links above.

    Aside: I don’t look to either one of them on religion though we probably agree on a lot. My viewpoint or part of my worldview is that ID is not about a particular religion though it obviously has some religious implications since it very strongly indicates a creator of massive intelligence for our universe. An implication that has never been seriously addressed by anyone who professes disagreement with ID. Of which there are many. Ironic.

  273. 273
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes, “My viewpoint or part of my worldview is that ID is not about a particular religion though it obviously has some religious implications since it very strongly indicates a creator of massive intelligence for our universe.”

    Two points. First, a creator of massive intelligence is an assumption of an anthropomorphized entity of some sort, but that is not the only way to conceive of the source of creativity that underlies or precedes our universe. Second, as we frequently discuss (although KF wants theology to be off the table), it is a further religious assumption that that creative source has any interest in (or even the ability to have such an interest) in specific times, places, or people here on Earth.

    There is a very poorly-done meme going around the internet about the philosophy of Spinoza, and about Einstein invoking that philosophy. The famous Einstein quote is,

    I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind…

    That is a perfectly good ID position for which much of what KF and BA post is not relevant. Anything past that point brings up specific religious beliefs, and is open to criticism of those beliefs.

  274. 274
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM & VL, I suggest to you that there is a discipline, Theology, which has done a full discipline’s worth of study. That discipline addresses many technical issues and does so at full bore academic level, closely related to a similar discipline, philosophy. It is deserving of a modicum of respect and recognition. For now, KF

  275. 275
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, I responded to several issues substantially. That stands as record. Later, KF

  276. 276
    jerry says:

    Two points. First, a creator of massive intelligence is an assumption of an anthropomorphized entity of some sort, but that is not the only way to conceive of the source of creativity that underlies or precedes our universe.

    Second, as we frequently discuss (although KF wants theology to be off the table), it is a further religious assumption that that creative source has any interest in (or even the ability to have such an interest) in specific times, places, or people here on Earth.

    Someone can hold the position I guess – of some unknown creative source. How is that different from just saying the source is a creator?

    But there are other considerations besides the appearance of an extremely complex universe so finely tuned for life that have to be addressed. There is the origin of those other extraordinary events. None of these are specifically religious assumptions/conclusions. They are science conclusions.

    However, the more unexplained events one sees, the more it seems there is a purpose. And if there is a purpose, it makes sense to address it and to try to understand it.

    ID is about origins. There are more than one that is unexplained.

  277. 277

    .

    VL at 271,

    The #1 bogeyman on UD is not atheism. Atheism is a conclusion, which all humans are free to make. The bogeyman here is the use of deception and dishonesty in the protection of ideological power. These are acts, not conclusions. It is a worthy distinction, given that the use of deception and dishonesty is available to all.

    It stands as a documented fact that the proximate cause of biological organization is an encoded system of symbols (a universal correlate of intelligence) just as it was predicted to be. Yet the ID critic maintains that there is no evidence of design in nature. Is it an act of deception among those who know.

  278. 278
    paige says:

    Viola Lee

    Two points. First, a creator of massive intelligence is an assumption of an anthropomorphized entity of some sort, but that is not the only way to conceive of the source of creativity that underlies or precedes our universe.

    If I understand you correctly, I think that I agree with this. For example, the Christian view of the intelligent agent responsible for life, the universe and everything, is an all knowing, all good, loving being. While this may actually be true, if you leave out the religious preconceptions, couldn’t this intelligent agent be more akin to an idiot savant? A being with off-the-chart skills and abilities in a narrow field.

  279. 279
    jerry says:

    Is it an act of deception among those who know.

    I remarked above that

    ID is not about a particular religion though it obviously has some religious implications since it very strongly indicates a creator of massive intelligence for our universe. An implication that has never been seriously addressed by anyone who professes disagreement with ID. Of which there are many.

    It might be interesting to see the different ways ID objectors are dishonest in their objections to ID. The most frequent way is to call ID a religion and immediately associate it with Young Earth Creationism. So obvious a non-sequitur.

    I just claimed ID has nothing to do with religion and immediately we get comments on the religious nature of it.

    the Christian view of the intelligent agent responsible for life, the universe and everything, is an all knowing, all good, loving being

    That is not ID so pointing to it is another non-sequitur.

    couldn’t this intelligent agent be more akin to an idiot savant? A being with off-the-chart skills and abilities in a narrow field.

    Sounds like Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice in Fantasia.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VErKCq1IGIU

  280. 280
    paige says:

    Jerry

    I just claimed ID has nothing to do with religion and immediately we get comments on the religious nature of it.

    I was drafting my comment when you posted yours so I didn’t see it until after I posted it.

    That is not ID so pointing to it is another non-sequitur.

    As the gods of the various religions are candidates for the intelligent agent, refusing to acknowledge this just plays into the hands of ID opponents. I am not suggesting that ID proponents should be lobbying for their own particular view of their God as the intelligent agent, as that would just drag everything into the weeds and result in endless bickering. However, it is important to itemize the various assumptions that ID is based on. Surely the abilities and limitations of the intelligent agent responsible for the design is an important aspect in the detection of design.

  281. 281
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes,

    I just claimed ID has nothing to do with religion and immediately we get comments on the religious nature of it.

    the Christian view of the intelligent agent responsible for life, the universe and everything, is an all knowing, all good, loving being

    That is not ID so pointing to it is another non-sequitur.

    Tell that to KF. His number one point, which he has posted many times is that the root of reality is an all-knowing, all good, loving being.

  282. 282
    jerry says:

    Tell that to KF. His number one point, which he has posted many times is that the root of reality is an all-knowing, all good, loving being.

    That may be true (I will let Kf decide it that is his number one point) but it is not ID nor does it flow from ID.

    I happen to believe this but do not depend on ID/science to justify that belief.

  283. 283
    jerry says:

    As the gods of the various religions are candidates for the intelligent agent, refusing to acknowledge this just plays into the hands of ID opponents.

    I don’t see how that is true. It may be the strategy of those against ID to do so then they can claim ID is religion. I personally have no objection to saying that various religions have used what was seen as design in the universe/world as evidence for a creator and various religions. The Greeks had Zeus. Others have had their various reasons but that is not ID.

    The Greek religion, other ancient religions, Christianity and other religions since existed long before the science was available to understand the nature of origins and how unlikely they are. The world seemed magical to them and they were right.

    However, it is important to itemize the various assumptions that ID is based on. Surely the abilities and limitations of the intelligent agent responsible for the design is an important aspect in the detection of design.

    There does not have to be any reason why the same intelligence is responsible for all the designs. There could be one for the universe, another for the origin of life, another for the changes in life forms. At the very minimum the power to create a universe as large as we have and so fine tuned with entities with amazing characteristics requires some creative force with massive abilities.

    Now people make assumptions that they are one in the same but there is no reason from ID for this to be so. I have my own personal opinions but nothing in ID says they are the same intelligence, just that they were designed.

  284. 284
    Sandy says:

    Jerry
    There could be one for the universe, another for the origin of life, another for the changes in life forms.

    I guess you’ve seen too many SF movies and read no books. Also you don’t know the definition of God.

  285. 285
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry writes, “There does not have to be any reason why the same intelligence is responsible for all the designs. There could be one for the universe, another for the origin of life, another for the changes in life forms…. Now people make assumptions that they are one in the same but there is no reason from ID for this to be so. I have my own personal opinions but nothing in ID says they are the same intelligence, just that they were designed.”

    I think if one is serious about sticking to ID and not bringing religion into as, as BA, KF, sandy and others regularly do, then Jerry’s point is well-taken.

    So, both to further that thought, and provide a little historical input, consider this:

    Back in 2002, over at the Discussion forum at Dembski’s ISCID site, the poster rbh (now deceased) wrote a lengthy and substantial essay on Multiple Designers Theory, and another poster, Evan, contributed some additional comments, including the idea that animism (one designer per kind) might actually be closer to the truth than monotheism, and that the designers growing and learning and developing their style over time accounts for the progressive change in organisms over the last two billion years or so.

    An Introduction to Multiple Designers Theory

    Prologue

    The observation that stimulated my thinking on this topic was of a humble grammatical phenomenon. In reading an array of ID works over the last several months, I realized that virtually without exception, the hypothesized entity responsible for the designs is referred to in the singular. Whether called an “intelligent designer,” an “intelligent agent,” or an “intelligent agency,” it is always in the singular. Only in one or two remarks quoted in newspapers has the plural form appeared, for example in comments from leading ID theorists (e.g., P. Johnson and W. Dembski) that “space aliens” might be the designers. Michael Behe, interestingly, maintained the singular even there: “space alien.” However, off-hand public remarks quoted in newspapers can’t be taken as serious theoretical statements. The more technical and formal works in ID habitually refer to “designer,” not “designers,” “agent,” not “agents,” and “agency,” not “agencies.” There are occasional exceptions to my generalization. For example, in “No Free Lunch” Dembski has a section titled “Embodied and Unembodied Designers,” using the plural form. However, in the very first sentence of that section he reverts to the singular: “Even if we grant the possibility of an unembodied designer, …” (p. 347). The singular is a powerful default for IDists.

    I will not speculate on the reason people habitually use the singular in this context, but it seems obvious that it is an unsupported assumption (perhaps made out of awareness) that if design is responsible for the diversity of structures and properties of life on earth, it was an “it” rather than a “them”: there was/is just one designer.

    The central message of Multiple Designers Theory is that the unwarranted assumption of a single designer is not only unnecessary, it is an unjustifiable constraint that puts artificial and arbitrary limits on theory and research in ID. Therefore, with the help of a few colleagues I have prepared an introductory outline of Multiple Designers Theory, MDT, to stimulate thinking and discussion.

    I do not claim that this is a complete statement of Multiple Designers Theory. That is not yet fully worked out. These preliminary remarks are by way of introduction to the outline of a theory that has the real potential to account for a good deal of observed data and organize disparate lines of ID thought, and that has promise of generating potentially fruitful research programs in intelligent design. It is offered not as a belief system or a finished product, but as a hypothesis for discussion and a basis for elaboration.

    I. Brief Multiple Designers Theory Overview

    As its name implies, the central tenet of Multiple Designers Theory is that if intelligent design is implicated in the properties and structure of life of on earth, then multiple designers are implicated, not merely a single designer. As I will sketch below, the evidence that is interpreted to be supportive of the design hypothesis almost universally implicates multiple designers rather than just one designer.

    The universal ID assumption (and assumption it is) of a single designer is probably an artifact of language. If something – a human artifact or a biological structure – appears to have been designed (say on the formal grounds that Dembski invokes in “No Free Lunch”), so the ID argument goes, it must have had a designer. “Designer” is used in the singular, carrying with it the strong connotation that there is just one designer. That linguistic practice leads ID theorists unconsciously astray in assuming just one designer. I do not recall reading anything in the ID literature that carefully examines or even explicitly mentions the assumption of a single designer, but the assumption is pervasive and it cripples ID thinking.

    Multiple Designers Theory rests on the same philosophical, mathematical, and empirical foundations as current Intelligent Design theory. All the support that single-designer ID garners from those disciplines is, a fortiori, support for MDT. In fact, current ID theory is a proper (albeit conceptually impoverished) subset of MDT, a special case that invokes just one designer. Thus MDT automatically inherits the support adduced for current ID.

    II. Some Properties of Multiple Designers

    The multiple designers of MDT have one of the properties commonly attributed to hypothesized entities like the “intelligent agency” Dembski writes of in such works as “No Free Lunch” and “Intelligent Design Coming Clean.” That property is the first described below. Additional properties are implied by the fact that there are multiple designers.

    A. The multiple designers are unembodied. They are not of the material or biological world, but they can affect it in the same way(s) that Dembski’s “intelligent agency” affects the material world. In “Intelligent Design Coming Clean” Dembski suggests that since in the limit as the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation tends to infinity the energy tends to zero, an unembodied intelligent agent could in principle transmit information (designs) to biological entities via an infinite-wavelength zero-energy signal. That sort of conjecture makes physicists uneasy, invoking as it does a purely mathematical abstraction (“in the limit”) to explain the causal efficacy of an unembodied agent acting on physical matter via a zero-energy signal using unfocusable (because of its infinite wavelength) electromagnetic radiation, but that’s something to be worked out later as the technical details of Multiple Designers Theory are fleshed out. As Dembski assures us in “Intelligent Design Coming Clean,” we don’t have to immediately understand how it happens as long as we know it does happen.

    B. The multiple designers are not identical to one another. To posit identity of the designers would collapse MDT to the special case of SDT (Single Designer Theory), and the evidence does not permit that. The multiple designers differ from one another in several potentially detectable respects, and those differences are of enormous importance because they can underpin a potentially rich scientific research program. I will discuss that program below.

    C. The multiple designers are not perfect designers. That follows from the fact that they are different from one another. Perfect designers would by definition be identical to one another, and their designs would be indistinguishable. Therefore MDT posits that the multiple designers are imperfect in the sense that they do not produce the ideally optimized design, the highest peak on the ‘goodness of design’ landscape. Moreover, they differ from one another in their very imperfections, and those differences provide cracks into which one can drive MDT research wedges. A significant part of the research program underpinned by MDT will be teasing out the differences in designs that are diagnostic of different designers. The multiple designers leave “fingerprints” on their work, and like human fingerprints, the metaphorical fingerprints that the multiple designers leave behind differ from designer to designer in ways that one may be able to discern with appropriate methodological ‘lenses.’

    D. There is a finite and limited number of multiple designers. This premise is more difficult to support by empirical evidence than the others, but it is logically necessary to prevent the MDT enterprise from degenerating into a mere list of designed phenomena, a cosmic oddity shop of designs. Scientific theories condense disparate phenomena into similarity classes and explain the behavior of instances of the classes by invoking general principles and laws that refer to those classes rather than to individual instances. If the number of designers is unlimited then in the limit each class would have just one member, and (since in that case no multi-member classes exist) no general laws are possible and therefore there is no science. It is logically possible that there is an infinite number of designers, but in that case no scientific study of design is possible. It is therefore a scientifically sterile speculation.

    III. Some Evidence Consistent with Multiple Designers Theory

    Multiple Designers Theory does not rest on thin air. There are logical and empirical bases for it. Several lines of evidence already well established in the biological literature are consistent with MDT in addition to the evidence that is usually claimed by orthodox ID theory. I will here indicate just a few of the lines of evidence specifically supportive of MDT that have been suggested. Others will no doubt occur to people more knowledgeable than I.

    A. Design-versus-design: The design-vs.-design pattern is a ubiquitous phenomenon in biology. In fact, it is fair to say that some of the most impressive designs in biology appear to have as their primary purpose the defeat or subversion of other designs. Designs engage in various kinds of arms races with one another. Some examples are:

    1. Predator/prey arms races.

    2. Parasite/host arms races.

    3. Male/female arms races.

    4. Disease-causing bacteria/drug companies arms races.

    Each of these is an example of design pitted against design, directly implicating multiple designers. The fourth example is a particularly interesting hybrid case because we know exactly what one of the designers is: human antibiotic drug researchers. Pitted against the human drug designers is the member of the set of unembodied multiple designers that is responsible for designing bacterial strategies for developing antibiotic resistance. The data tell us that the unembodied designer is superior to human designers: bacterial resistance is winning. There are now disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to the full spectrum of human-designed antibiotics. No new family of antibiotics has been invented by human designers for 20 years. MDT strongly suggests an intense research focus on ‘naturally’ occurring candidate antibiotic agents since that may make it possible to find and co-opt the work of some other intelligent designer if the design-vs.-design pattern holds. That, by the way, is a general principle that emerges from MDT: It is often better to take advantage of the work of an MDT designer that has already produced a design that (as a side effect) accomplishes a human goal than for humans to try to invent it themselves. Such general guides for practical action do not naturally emerge from Single Designer Theory. However, the ‘Failures and imperfections’ described below imply a cautionary limit on this recommendation.

    B. Designs acting in concert: The fact that different designs sometimes act in concert rather than at odds is also consistent with MDT and points to lines of research, too. Such phenomena as symbiosis and co-evolution raise interesting research questions. Does a flower/pollinator ‘team’ represent the work of a single designer creating a coordinated multi-component system, or is it the product of two designers working in collaboration? We know from analysis of the organization of human designers on large complicated projects that separate teams of designers often work on different components of the larger project, linked only by a set of common overall specifications and communication protocols. The same may be true in MDT. In any case, the relationships among arms races, symbiosis, coevolution, and cooperation deserve sustained and careful study. However, their very existence is clearly most consistent with the hypothesis of multiple designers. Single Designer Theory cannot comfortably accommodate them.

    C. Failures and imperfections of design: That the multiple designers are not perfect implies that their designs will vary in (at least) efficiency, quality, and longevity, and the evidence favors design imperfections. The history of life on earth is littered with failed designs. While some designs may last a long time, others fail quickly and even catastrophically. The multiple designers vary in their skills and abilities, and the variable success of the designs they produce is evidence of those differences. Just as in a genetic algorithm running on a computer one can (roughly) map the topography of a fitness landscape by observing the dynamics of segments of the population as they traverse that landscape, finding peaks and valleys, first forming several clusters around suboptimal peaks and then finally migrating to cluster on the highest peak, so one can discern the fingerprints of various designers as the several designs segregate themselves on a variety of suboptimal peaks on the ‘goodness of design’ landscape. A difference is that in contrast to a human-designed GA, the multiple (imperfect) designs never converge on a single highest peak. The designs of the multiple designers are dispersed on suboptimal peaks scattered around the ‘goodness of design’ landscape.

    D. Intermittent interventions: By definition, an unembodied intelligent designer must intervene in what would otherwise have been an undesigned biological structure or process in order to impose a design on it. There are indications that those interventions occur intermittently as discrete events in time rather than either continuously or only once at the beginning of things. In “Intelligent Design Coming Clean” Dembski argues strenuously against ‘front-loading,’ writing

       

    :… as a general rule, information tends to appear discretely at particular times and places. To require that the information in natural systems … must in principle be traceable back to some repository of front-loaded information is, in the absence of evidence, an entirely ad hoc restriction. (Section 7)

    MDT fully agrees. The observation of intermittent interventions is much more consistent with multiple designers intervening seriatim – in effect taking turns, perhaps sometimes in response to another designer’s earlier intervention on one side of an arms race – than with a single designer repeatedly altering its designs, first taking one side and then the other in an arms race.

    IV. Programmatic Research Directions

    As I noted in the introduction, Multiple Designers Theory has great potential to drive fruitful research programs. I will here sketch a few lines that the research might follow, pointing also to some potentially useful research methods. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. It includes only those lines of research that strike me personally as interesting. Others will no doubt see more implications of MDT that can be profitably researched. MDT is a rich vein waiting for empirical miners to exploit it.

    A. The Unit of Analysis of Design: This question is at the core of MDT (and of SDT – current ID – for that matter). It asks “Just what is it that is/was designed?” In current ID literature most focus is on the molecular level, where “irreducibly complex” biochemical reactions and/or molecular structures are apparently taken to be what was designed. Michael Behe concentrates on this level, and the biochemical theme has been taken up by others. But sticking to that level seems to be a matter of happenstance – Behe is one of the few scientists in ID who has published real scientific research, and he happens to be a biochemist – rather than a considered choice based on systematic research.

    The biochemical speculations of Behe and others notwithstanding, I am aware of just one genuinely systematic on-going research effort that is clear on the level of analysis being assumed. That is the baraminology research program centered at Bryan College. There they are focusing on whole organisms – expressed adult phenotypes – as the unit of analysis, attempting (apparently mostly via hybridization analysis) to ascertain the boundaries between basic “kinds.” While I think their methodology is problematic (hybridization as a marker of “kinds” has some technical and pair-wise combinatorial problems – think about cross-breeding all possible pairs of 1,000 different potential “kinds” to see if fertile hybrids result!) nevertheless at least they don’t waffle on the unit of analysis question: they are attempting to answer it by doing actual research. And their work might someday shed some light on the number of multiple designers there are/were: the number of “kinds” may provide clues to the number of designers if the appropriate unit of analysis is at or near that level.

    At the moment MDT is agnostic on the unit of analysis question, but it is emphatically not indifferent to it. A prerequisite for defining the appropriate level(s) of analysis is the research to be performed under the “Design Themes” heading below. The presence or absence of design themes at various levels will provide information about the unit(s) of analysis that are likely to be most fruitfully incorporated into theory. MDT provides a research program to ascertain the appropriate level of analysis; it does not merely assume one.

    B. Design Themes: As I have mentioned elsewhere, in the study of human-designed phenomena like works of art or literature, there are more-or-less well-developed research methods for assigning works to designers. Analysis of physical properties (e.g., characteristic brush stroke micro-patterns visible on a painting), statistical properties (e.g., distributions of vocabulary items or syntactic structures), and other properties of human-designed objects are routinely used to attribute an object to one or another creator. The same is true of the unembodied designers of MDT. It should in principle be possible to identify characteristic design properties and even different general design themes that differentiate one from another of the multiple designers. It is likely that the same methods that are used in attributing human-designed objects to one or another human creator could be adapted to attribute biological designs to one or another of the unembodied creators. That suggests the utility of multi-disciplinary research teams involving not only scientists but also those trained and experienced in discerning such things as individual esthetic themes and differing creative motifs among human artists. Their insights could form the basis for hypotheses that can then be tested scientifically.

    C. Borrowing among designers: While substantial differences among various candidate design themes are obvious to even the casual observer (e.g., 0-limbed organisms vs. 4-limbed organisms vs. 6-limbed organisms vs. 8-limbed organisms, not to mention organisms bearing odd numbers of limbs, e.g., starfish), it is also obvious even to the casual observer that some design themes are shared among what are otherwise very different designs. For example, flying is a functional design theme that currently occurs in mammals, birds, and insects, and at one time also occurred in reptiles (I am not aware of an extant true flyer among reptiles). Do the repeated occurrences of functional design themes across instances that are almost certainly the work of different designers represent collaboration, borrowing, or possibly outright plagiarism? Are there ‘schools’ of design theory among the multiple designers that can be traced in shared functional features across different individual structural design themes?

    D. Temporal succession of designers: A cursory review of the fossil record suggests that some prominent designs that occurred in early times are no longer present. There are fossils of creatures in the Burgess Shale that appear to have no current analogs. Is it possible to trace the careers of individual unembodied designers in the fossil record? Have individual designers come and gone over the millennia, leaving a record of their work in design themes that appear, flourish for a while, and then disappear?

    E. Characteristics of Designers: Perhaps the most exciting potential research program provided by Multiple Designers Theory is directed at ascertaining characteristics of the designers themselves. Since the several designers differ from one another, and since those differences are reflected in the designs they produce, it should be possible to actually do comparative research on the designs in order to gain insights into the designers themselves, to learn something of their preferences, temperaments, abilities, and other such characteristics. Archaeology has long used systematic methods to infer cultural characteristics and processes from physical artifacts, and one should be able to do something similar with the artifacts – designs – created by the unembodied designers of MDT. There is a subdiscipline of psychology devoted to the study of individual differences, too. It may even be possible to make empirically-based inferences about the intentions of the several designers: the teleos of the designers may be empirically accessible to us.

    V. Conclusions

    A. Multiple Designers Theory is a logical and empirical superset of Intelligent Design. Anyone who is an adherent of current mainstream ID is perforce an adherent of MDT, subject only to the former’s arbitrary and ad hoc restriction to a single designer.

    B. MDT provides a coherent theoretical structure for understanding a wide range of phenomena that are not easily or plausibly accounted for by a single-designer ID model.

    C. MDT insulates ID from the claim of anti-ID critics to the effect that ID pays no attention to the nature of the designers. Empirical research on the nature and features of the designers is a central focus of MDT.

    D. MDT provides rich research opportunities and offers the prospect of allowing one to make empirically supportable inferences about the designers themselves. MDT does not merely offer a list of general questions that ‘might’ be addressed by a research program, it offers specific research proposals and provides concrete methodological guidance for attacking the questions it raises.

    On every criterion one might use to judge a scientific theory of intelligent design, Multiple Designers Theory is superior to current thinking in ID.

    Personal Note

    I am known to be an ID critic, and readers may therefore believe that this description of Multiple Designers Theory is presented as a parody of ID. It is not. It is a logical extension of a dominant stream of thought in current ID. MDT takes the ID thesis at face value and explores an obvious question implied by it. That question is completely legitimate and, as I point out, MDT accounts for patterns of evidence that current ID theory cannot comfortably handle, leads to the kind of research program that current ID has been unable or unwilling to provide, and blunts at least one significant criticism of current ID. It is the kind of theoretical structure and research that ID must build if it is to make good on its claims to scientific utility. Rather than a parody, read it as a challenge to IDists to make good on their promises.

    RBH

    Evan’s Contribution?

    Before I respond specifically to the details of MDT offered below, I would like to make a few general comments to support my belief that this is a valuable contribution to the ID discussion.

    My Prologue:

    When I first joined ISCID back in March, I offered a ID hypothesis, in a thread entitled “Evolution and Design: a synthesis.” At the time, I pointed out that one of the things it seemed the ID movement lacked was active attempts to offer hypotheses about the details of ID: when did it happen, and particularly how did it happen. The emphasis has been on the theory of design detection as opposed to a more full-fledged attempt to describe the details of ID.

    One argument has been that this is the proper order of things, for until we can determine if in fact design has happened, hypothesizing about further details is a moot point. Obviously, ID critics who believe that arguments for the detection of design are invalid might not believe that further discussion is relevant.

    Others have argued that while a design inference is scientifically valid, further inferences about the designer are invalid.

    I believe that both of these arguments are wrong. I definitely believe that if we accept inferences about the existence of design, we can equally accept inferences about the nature of the designer. This is standard science – we offer hypotheses about the nature of an entity (think quarks, or black holes) based on the consequences that we observe. We work backwards from observed consequences to testable hypothesis about the nature of the source of the phenomena which produces the consequences. If design is detectable, then inferences about the nature of the designer are valid.

    Secondly, the first argument, while logically correct, is in fact not correct in practice. It is common in science to explore a concept by hypothesizing what its effects would be, and then looking for those effects. This is certainly what was done with the Big Bang theory (Michael Behe and Mano Singham had an interesting exchange about this at a conference I attended) – at first the Big Bang was entirely conjectural, but thinking about what its effects would be if it were true led to testable hypotheses that eventually led us to accept the Big Bang as a strong theory.

    So, I support the development of possible ID theories – let us assume that the details of detecting design can be worked out empirically, if not now then in the future, and let us think about where that might lead.

    My response to RBH’s MDT theory:

    1) First, it seems to me RBH has done a good job of outlining the evidence for MDT, and has correctly pointed out that the existence of a single designer is in fact a subset of MDT. I think the evidence for MDT is strong enough that it seems to me valid to say that if someone wants to posit a single designer, the burden perhaps is on them to show why a single designer is more likely.

    2) Secondly, I think the imperfections we see in design are because the designers are in fact limited in the way they interact with the world. RBH mentions Dembski’s idea that design information might enter the world through an undetectable “infinite-wavelength zero-energy signal.” I believe the mechanism I described in my thread on evolution and design is more likely: the designers manipulate quantum probabilities at the molecular level in genetic events. These manipulations have a limited ability to affect the world – once a design event is attempted, the designer has little impact on how the design plays out. Part of the reason for this is that for macro-phenomena the statistical effects of large numbers of events overwhelm the effect of any small number of discrete quantum interventions.

    My second point is that I hypothesize that the designers only interface with the world at the level of genetic molecular activity. For the most part the world (all of physics and chemistry, natural selection, comets hitting earth, etc.) are fully explainable by naturalistic causes and are not subject to design. However, the universe, according to design theory in general, does require, and shows evidence for, intervention at the level of genetic change. Therefore it is reasonable to hypothesize that it is precisely at molecular genetic change, and nowhere else, where intelligence intervenes.

    Third point on this topic of imperfection: The evidence clearly shows that the progression of changes in life forms on earth the past 3 billion years or so has been sequential and slow – we see an orderly development as opposed to extremely abrupt new creations. There are no creatures of mammalian complexity in the Cambrian, dinosaurs aren’t recreated suddenly after the great extinction 65 millions years ago, and so on. I think this evidence shows that the designers are fairly limited in their powers. They cannot create whole genomes independently, but can only make small adjustments to existing genomes, and once they introduce a change, the rest of that organism’s life plays out according to naturalistic forces.

    3) RBH points out that to some extent our grammar causes a unconscious bias towards the singular (much as it causes a bias towards the masculine when we use “he” to refer to people in general.) I think there are cultural reasons why this is so, the most obvious one being the monotheistic tradition in the Western world.

    But I offer as food for thought the idea that the animistic notions of primitive people (who were in much closer experiential contact with living things than we are) are closer to the truth: the world is inhabited by a vast pantheon of life forces, each expressing itself through the interface of it’s particular kind of creature. The wolf, the bear, the eagle, the flower, and so on each have their own “spirit”, so to speak, in an animistic tradition. This seems to be a primitive expression of MDT.

    I don’t want this idea to sidetrack the discussion into possible religious connections with design theory. I do mention it, thought, because I think it is important for us to perhaps consider the cultural biases we might bring to design theory that might perhaps keep us from looking objectively at the evidence.

    4) A related issue is this: How are the multiple designers related to each other? RBH pointed out that if we use human design as a benchmark (and design theory commonly does so), then it is reasonable to look for evidence of multiple designers from different cultures (some antagonistic to each other), evidence of teams of designers working together, and so on. In fact, using human design as our model, obviously we are talking about designers in the plural. Humans beings design.

    Thus we might ask if the designers are organized in a hierarchical pantheon, with some designers having a larger scope of influence than others, being able to give guidance to designers of lesser power, and so on. This might account for the divisions that we see into phyla, orders, families, etc. Or perhaps the designers are more decentralized, having equal powers and in fact “battling” (either with serious antagonistic intent or more in the spirit of art and sport) to more effectively influence the diversity of life.

    Summary: There is lots of food for thought in RBH’s thought, and I think this type of hypothesizing should be encouraged. If we assume, even provisionally, the existence of design of the type outlined by Dembski and Behe (intelligently guided change that causes otherwise improbable biological molecular events to happen), then we ought to be taking the step of speculating on further hypotheses which follow, including hypothesis about the nature of the designers. Clearly a fundamental issue, them is whether there are one or many designers.

    The goal of such speculation, as in all of science, is to help work backwards – to use the speculations to develop empirical tests by which one hypothesis or another can be strengthened at the expense of others.

    As Feynman once said, part of the value of a good model is that it generates good questions – questions which can then be tested empirically. Speculating about how many designers there are, the extent to which their influence reaches into the world, and the mechanism by which that happens should help design theory build some substance that is currently lacking.

    Last point: obviously, all of the above does hinge on the acceptance of the inference of the existence of design itself, and that seems to hinge on probabilistic studies of what types of events, and in fact what events, can truly and empirically be said to be so improbable that natural causation is not a reasonable explanation.

    The results of such investigations will obviously influence the future development of an established design theory. If research could show that genera, for instance, are truly “kinds” that natural evolutionary processes can not cross, then that would be evidence for at least investigating the existence of a very large number of designers – the animistic view might be quite plausible.

    However, if research shows that just features that came into existence at the origin of life, or perhaps last at the Cambrian, are all that are designed, then the existence of one or a few designers might be more likely.

    Also, a really last point.

    It seems to me a safe and obvious assumption that if intelligent designers exist and are responsible for introducing and guiding the development of life in a world otherwise subject to and explicable by naturalistic forces, then this should be a universal phenomena that has been played out on countless other worlds. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that these forces have limited themselves, or are limited, to activity on this planet. Of course, having a suitable environment in which they can work is important, but I don’t think we really know how ingenious they might be in creating the mechanisms for life in environments quite different than ours. It seems to me that the more we admit the possibility of such intelligent agents who are somewhat unconstrained (at least a bit) by naturalistic causation, the more likely it is that life is widespread and perhaps more diverse in scope than we can possibly imagine.

    Very interesting post, RBHEvan

    Another thought has occurred to me: that the designers themselves have grown in their abilities, and that that accounts for some features of the history of life on earth.

    I think an analogy could be drawn between the history of humans and the history of the designers. Modern humans spent at least tens of thousands of years with approximately the same hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Then the agricultural revolution suddenly brought about the advent of civilization, which led to the first historically documented intellectual achievements (the Greeks, the Chinese, etc.) Similarly, perhaps the long period of exclusively one-celled life up until 3/4 of a billion years ago or so reflects a period of minimal skill on the part of the designers, and a satisfaction with the results, and perhaps the Cambrian explosion represents an analog to the agricultural revolution in which a period of great learning and experimentation took place among the designers.

    I don’t mean, of course, to claim much of an exact analogy between human history / designer history. I offer the analogy, rather, just to stimulate the idea that the designers themselves have grown in their abilities, and the progressive complexity of life on earth is a reflection of that growth. In a lot of ways, this makes more sense than postulating designers who have always had the skills to develop creatures as sophisticated as human beings but for unknown reasons choose to develop nothing but one-celled creatures for almost 3 billion years.

  286. 286

    Even if we have direct observable evidence of the Wright brothers intelligently designing a plane, then still on a strictly logical basis there is no evidence of the intelligent designer.

    That is because for science the choices of the Wright brothers would just be noted as randomness, and what made their decisions turn out the way they did, is categorically a subjective issue.

    Logic dictates that the agency of a choice, can only be identified with a chosen opinion. That is the logical basis of subjectivity, of expressions of what is beautiful, loving and good.

    The human souls of the Wright brothers, which did the actual intelligent designing, is just as well without any objective evidence whatsoever, as God is.

  287. 287
    jerry says:

    An Introduction to Multiple Designers Theory

    We are getting into serious competition for a longest comment. I assume there is no active link.

    RBH is Richard B. Hoppe.

  288. 288
    Viola Lee says:

    I was trying to break the record.

  289. 289
    paige says:

    Viola Lee@285. I wore a groove in my iPhone scrolling past this comment. It is reminiscent of scrolling past a BA77 comment. 🙂

  290. 290
    Sandy says:

    🙂 Oh no, I didn’t know that multiple designers of cars,bikes and planes are gods. Good to know.
    Atheists lost the plot.

  291. 291
    Viola Lee says:

    to Paige re 278:

    When I wrote, “A creator of massive intelligence is an assumption of an anthropomorphized entity of some sort, but that is not the only way to conceive of the source of creativity that underlies or precedes our universe.”, you replied,

    “While this [the Christian God] may actually be true, if you leave out the religious preconceptions, couldn’t this intelligent agent be more akin to an idiot savant? A being with off-the-chart skills and abilities in a narrow field.”

    That is not at all what I am suggesting. Rather, several major religions of philosophical perspectives posit a Oneness that is ineffably beyond being thought of in personal terms. The Christian God is an anthropomorphism of our Western conception of personhood: a conscious, thinking mind which then implements its thoughts via action: based on the idea of intelligent agent. However, the One, according to these views, is beyond personhood: the fact that creativity exists does not mean there is a creator. That is, the Western view, while it may be right, is not necessarily so.

    Quantum theory, if I dare bring it up and apply it to that which I have no business applying, hints at causal connections that can exists “horizontally”, so to speak, spread out over time and space at a moment, rather than “vertically”, from moment-to-moment, as pre-QM physics supposed. Carl Jung, who was quite interested in Eastern thought, coined the word syncronicity:

    Jung defined synchronicity as an “acausal connecting (togetherness) principle,” “meaningful coincidence”, “acausal parallelism” or “meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.”

    That is, the creative power of the world may reside “below the quantum level”, so to speak, where the nature of the One “bubbles up”, so to speak, into the world of our experience through quantum syncronicity.

    Just food for thought, as an alternative to think about other than the prevalent theistic views of our culture.

  292. 292
    Viola Lee says:

    Ooops. I forgot that many people read this on a phone, as I use my computer. I apologize for my long post. I could have condensed it. It’s too late for me to delete it, but an admin can delete it if they like.

  293. 293
    StephenB says:

    To William J. Murray @263:

    I understand that you do not accept Christian apologetics as something that is unique and exclusive, but you seem to discount its comprehensive function, which goes much deeper than simply providing evidence for near death experiences. Among other things, Christian apologetics cites historical facts and, metaphysical truths in defense of Christianity, all of which can be easily grasped and confidently asserted.

    One good example of the former would be this: Among all those who claim to speak for God, only Jesus Christ can be considered to be credible in that role: First, his existence was foretold in the Old Testament, which provided specific details about the location of his future birth, the nature of his mission, and the circumstances under which he would die. If God wanted us to accept His Son, the least he could do is tell us in advance, which is exactly what he did. Second, he performed other kinds of miracles (physical) and even raised people from the dead. Even his enemies acknowledged these events as facts. Third, his moral doctrine was complete, authoritative, and coherent, explaining the purpose of man’s existence and the means by which it can be realized. Clearly, Jesus Christ has no peers in this sense.. Even if you dismiss the physical miracles, you cannot dismiss the prophetic miracles.

    Christ alone claimed to be God and would not have been a moral person if his assertion was not true. So he could not have been simply a “good moral teacher.” What could Muhammed, Confucius, Ramakrishna, or any other religious leader say in the same context other than, “No, I am not God, and no, I was not pre-announced, but I am here anyway — just trust me.” There is no apologetic in that sense outside of Christianity.

    The metaphysical arguments for a Christian apologetic are even stronger. The Christian religion begins with a Trinitarian God, which is the logical foundation for everything else that follows. Unity and diversity are both explained as God, in himself, existing as a community of Divine persons. Human relationships reflect these same qualities because, as creatures, they were fashioned in the divine image.

    Further, the rational nature of the universe, as observed in the order of creation, reflects the rational nature of Logos, which is Christ; it is God acting in creation, revelation, and redemption. There is no Logos or rational principle found in Pantheism, Islam, Hinduism, or Atheism. At the same time, there is no other way to explain the correspondence between our rational minds and the rational universe except in terms of that same rational principle, that is, through the Christian world view exclusively.

    It appears, though, that your real objection to the Christian religion is less about science or metaphysics and more about your perception of ethics and the justice of God. To be more specific, you refer to the Christian God as a tyrant God who demands that we love him “or else,” meaning that if we refuse to respond to Divine love, we will suffer the consequences of eternal torment. As I understand it, you are saying that God is unlovable because he has forced his creatures to make such a choice “under duress,” which I also understand to mean that human free will has been compromised under those circumstances.

    The point you seem to miss is that God doesn’t need to “demand” love because his nature, properly understood and described, is already lovable enough to “command” it. Using an analogy, an excellent student shouldn’t need to demand an “A” on his report card if his performance commands it. If, objectively speaking, God’s majesty, power, wisdom, and goodness exist at a level that cannot be appreciated by his creatures, save those who have experienced the “beatific vision,” then that reality must be taken into account. That you cannot imagine or conceive of a lovability that rises to that level doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.. Accordingly, It is unjust and unreasonable to reject a God who loves his creatures enough to create them (out of nothing), visit with them (through his incarnation), suffer for them (through his passion) and die for them (as the ultimate sacrifice). These kinds of loving actions command a loving response.

    —WJM: “Nobody is going to choose eternal torment; they may choose not to believe in it, or to not believe in a God that set it up; but that is not the same thing as choosing eternal torment. Especially not under duress.”

    Very few, if any, would choose eternal torment directly, but there are many, I think, who choose it indirectly through progressive stages. Even in this life, when cultural barbarians remove faith in God and hope for the future from the minds of children, many of their victims lose the capacity to establish meaningful goals or live a meaningful life. Why would they try to achieve something that doesn’t exist or is out of range for them? Over time, they may feel that the only way to assert their individuality is to stage riots or burn down buildings. They don’t stop to ask the question: Where am I going? They didn’t choose to be lost, but they are, nevertheless, lost. In a similar fashion, I think that many lost souls end up in hell by falling into the pit one step at a time.

    Due to their nature, disembodied souls live forever and, if Christianity is true, they will one day be reunited with their risen bodies to face a final judgment. If they must live somewhere or in some state of existence forever, it follows that the quality of their life will be determined by where and with whom they must live. This is a logical consequence of immortality.

  294. 294
    StephenB says:

    WJM: …”if God created the metaphysical system we live in under the Christian perspective, excluded all other possible experiential lines from access, forced me into existence, forced free will on me, forced me into the system here on Earth without consulting me about any of it,…”

    Don’t you have to first be brought into existence before you can be consulted?

    Don’t you have to first possess free will in order to love?

  295. 295
    paige says:

    StephenB

    Don’t you have to first be brought into existence before you can be consulted?

    Don’t you have to first possess free will in order to love?

    Just a question. Are our souls truly eternal or were they created by God? And if they coexist with God, didn’t we always exist, and didn’t we always have free will?

  296. 296
    paige says:

    Viola Lee

    the fact that creativity exists does not mean there is a creator.

    I am not sure I understand your point. Doesn’t creativity imply intent? And if there is intent, is there not a creator? Or multiple creators?

    Or are you suggesting creativity in the purely physical sense? Such as carbon and high pressure can “create” a diamond?

  297. 297
    StephenB says:

    Paige:

    —“Are our souls truly eternal or were they created by God?”

    Good question. They were created by God. They are not eternal because they did not always exist. They are immortal because they will exist from now on. They cannot die or disintegrate because, unlike our bodies, they are not made of parts.

    —“And if they coexist with God, didn’t we always exist, and didn’t we always have free will?”:

    Humans didn’t always exist because they are creatures that the Creator brought into existence. God always had existence but he had to give it to his creatures, just as he had to give them their distinct faculties of intellect and will, which allow them to make free (though with limitations) moral choices.

  298. 298
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, good to see you. Perhaps, some interlocutors will be more willing to attend to you than they have to me. However, the evidence is, that engagement of substance will be problematic. The gaps in modern education speak, including the logic of being issues you just raised. We are contingent beings, not necessary ones, however the rational soul is an inherent unit and cannot be broken apart, once it exists. However, as it has freedom, it can grow towards its potential or become ever more warped, twisted away from its true ends and so destructively evil; especially if it rejects redemptive light. Hence, our lives as a soul-building opportunity and test and hence also the consequences of our choices. KF

  299. 299
    paige says:

    StephenB

    Good question. They were created by God. They are not eternal because they did not always exist.

    How do you know? Both souls and God are immaterial. God does not require a cause. Why do souls need a cause?

  300. 300
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry & VL (attn Paige and WJM):

    I again write for record/reference. Pardon a few details.

    Again, UD is at focus, about the design . . . intelligently directed configuration . . . issue, on the world of life and the physical cosmos, with linked general and cultural issues. All are important as inherently tightly interconnected.

    On the design inference, it is clear that the presence of coded algorithms in the living cell is directly a sign of language turned to creation of goal directed procedure. That is decisive though widely unacknowledged or unrecognised. A cosmos fitted to such life, showing fine tuning, on fair comment, suggests a common root.

    Next, I have highlighted above, a key argument on worldviews engagement through comparative difficulties, and have thereby addressed the projection of the accusation, chaotic discrediting incoherence, directed at the question of evils/goodness of God and the commonly promoted perception that the Scriptures of the Bible are similarly incoherent:

    [KF, 251:] . . . where X = x1 + x2 + . . . + xn is claimed to be inconsistent but a reasonable explanation E1 is such that E1 + X is coherent [i.e. forms a possible world], then X is strictly coherent. It is of course possible to create a radical disharmony D1 so D1 + X is incoherent, but that is irrelevant once an E1 does or may exist.

    . . . The logic of coherence just summarised is a general result. Once we do or may possibly have some Ek that

    C(Ek + X) –> 1,

    i.e. a reasonable coherence check is actually or potentially positive then that there are many cases where

    C(Dk + X) –> 0

    becomes irrelevant.

    The question of God comes in here, as a root of reality issue.

    God is a serious candidate necessary being, so, to be part of the framework for any possible world. Where, necessary being is eternal, as present in any world, ultimately, an aspect of the root something that is why a world exists. [As in, utter non-being cannot be a source of any world, the debate is to characterise the root.] Serious candidacy is secured by major worldviews turning on God as pivot.

    With such a candidate, either there is impossibility of being or actuality. (Try to think of a world without two-ness in it, or where such began or ceases and you will see how NB’s are framework to any world.)

    Thus, the point is that a possible world Ek + X involves God, unless God is impossible of being. God, being understood i/l/o the presence of morally governed creatures and the centuries of debates on is and ought that can only be bridged in the root of reality. Thus, we can see a bill of requisites for God as filled by his being the inherently good, utterly wise creator and world root/source/sustainer, a necessary and maximally great being.

    There is no incoherence in this concept, indeed maximal greatness is about having what is good and wise in perfect fullness and balance across its dimensions.

    Such is a first point for general understanding of reality, but it is not where design theory starts, as an empirical investigation.

    As regards scripture, as long as there is or may be a relevant Ek + X, the projection of radical disharmonies Dk + X is of little substantial effect.

    KF

  301. 301
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: For emphasis, I again note for those suggesting chaotic incoherence:

    . . . where X = x1 + x2 + . . . + xn is claimed to be inconsistent but a reasonable explanation E1 is such that E1 + X is coherent [i.e. forms a possible world], then X is strictly coherent. It is of course possible to create a radical disharmony D1 so D1 + X is incoherent, but that is irrelevant once an E1 does or may exist.

    . . . The logic of coherence just summarised is a general result. Once we do or may possibly have some Ek that

    C(Ek + X) –> 1,

    i.e. a reasonable coherence check is actually or potentially positive then that there are many cases where

    C(Dk + X) –> 0

    becomes irrelevant.

    KF

  302. 302
    William J Murray says:

    StephenB:

    It appears, though, that your real objection to the Christian religion is less about science or metaphysics and more about your perception of ethics and the justice of God.

    I have several “real” objections: (1) it has been disproved by science (quantum experimentation results,) (2) it has been experientially, empirically disproved by the existence of counterfactual afterlife experiences; (3) it doesn’t hold up to logical examination, and (4) by its own premise of our capacity to locate what is good, we know it cannot be a good system. It is an immediately recognizable evil system (if one believes in objectively recognizable evil.)

    Don’t you have to first be brought into existence before you can be consulted?

    As Paige pointed out: no. We do not have to be “brought into existence” if we have always existed. Being forced into existence within the confines, structure and ruleset of some other being’s particular creation obviously (1) represents a first-order, origin-level violation of my free will and (2) puts me in conditions of duress that functionally render me, my thinking and decisions a product of that coercive system, not expressions of my personal “free will.” Any reasonable person would agree, I cannot be held responsible for things I must choose between when under the threat of eternal torment or existential annihilation.

    In regards to God’s supposed inherent lovability only being understood by a certain special kind of “experience,” the counterfactual experiences of countless NDErs, as well as other such “beautific” experiences, undermine the “exclusivity” claim by Christianity. Do you assume I’ve never had such an experience? I and countless others have; we have had our lives utterly transformed by these experiences and they had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity or Jesus. To my knowledge, after reading hundreds of NDE reports and research reports, there has never been a message delivered to anyone by the “being of light,” even when recognized by the experiencer as Jesus or the Christian God, representing Christian exclusivity. In fact, the bulk of the experiencers bring back a message of complete non-judgmental love that has nothing whatsoever to do with any religion, creed, or particular spiritual belief. Their lives are transformed by this experience.

    As far as the evidence you’ve outlined that you believe supports the claim of Christian exclusivity; even if we accept all your evidence arguendo, the uniqueness of such evidence doesn’t logically imply existential exclusivity. That’s a fundamental error of logic. So what if Jesus made that claim, so what if all the prophecies of the Bible came true, so what if miracles occurred, so what if it is 100% historically accurate, etc? None of that even begins to make the case for existential exclusivity, especially in the face of counterfactual experiences and evidence.

    The evidence indicates that there is a multi-dimensional experiential construct (for some people here and involving at least one afterlife realm) that is structurally consistent with Christian beliefs (generally speaking.) The evidence indicates that there are many such multidimensional constructs that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian construct. I and many people I know, and perhaps millions of people around the world have visited these places. We have a mountain of credible evidence from people living in these “afterlife” worlds. We’ve accomplished many forms of live, two-way communication, including technological means that transmit voice, images and physical objects from their world to ours.

    IMO, Christian existential exclusivity has been conclusively disproved empirically, logically and by a rational examination of the available evidence.

  303. 303
    William J Murray says:

    SB @297:
    You’re making claims of faith; there is no logically necessary reason or evidence that God “created” souls or that God actively “created” anything. Being a necessary “ground of existence” doesn’t mean that “ground” actively or deliberately created anything. You might use the analogy of God being that which provides for the existence of the canvas, paint, painter and the infinite possible paintings that can be produced; but God itself is not creating any particular painting, in any particular location, at any particular time because ground of being God exists as all possible such arrangements.

    It is irrational to say God, as ground of being, created something in particular; that requires a particular personality, a particular identity, a particular perspective. Such an entity is not God as ground of being; it is a particular possible being whose existence is allowed for by the ground-of-being God (or whatever you want to call it.) These cannot rationally be said to be qualitatively “the same being.” One is infinite potential; the other is one particular actualized entity with individual, particular qualities (say, “goodness” or being “just”) that makes particular choices based on its particular nature.

  304. 304
    jerry says:

    I again write for record/reference. Pardon a few details.

    I have no problem with doing so as long as long as it isn’t constantly repeating the same thing. In this case it’s not only a repeat but an indecipherable one. At least it’s not overly long.

    I love the line

    There is no incoherence in this concept

    For something that I had no idea what you were saying.

    It’s an example of my math professor saying something was intuitively obvious while proving a theorem as 15 PhD students in mathematics were in unison completely bewildered. Maybe it flowed but it was anything but obvious and definitely not intuitive.

  305. 305
    bornagain77 says:

    I read StephenB’s response at 293. It was beautiful piece of Theological apologetics. Way out of my depth, but still very beautiful for me to read.

    In regards to the science at hand though, WJM claimed that “there is no logically necessary reason or evidence that God “created” souls or that God actively “created” anything.”

    Scientific evidence from embryogenesis and Big Bang cosmology not withstanding of course:

    “The magic of the mechanisms inside each genetic structure saying exactly where that nerve cell should go, the complexity of these, the mathematical models on how these things are indeed done, are beyond human comprehension. Even though I am a mathematician, I look at this with the marvel of how do these instruction sets not make these mistakes as they build what is us. It’s a mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity.”
    – Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth — visualized – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70?

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

    “My argument,” Dr. Penzias concluded, “is that the best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
    – Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    – Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    – Fred Heeren, Show Me God (Wheeling, Ill.: Daystar, 2000),

    “The question of ‘the beginning’ is as inescapable for cosmologists as it is for theologians…there is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing”
    – George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time, 1993, p.189. – George Smoot is a Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    Verses:

    Psalm 139:13-16
    For You created my innermost parts;
    You wove me in my mother’s womb.
    I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
    Wonderful are Your works,
    And my soul knows it very well.
    My frame was not hidden from You
    When I was made in secret,
    And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth;
    Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
    And in Your book were written
    All the days that were ordained for me,
    When as yet there was not one of them.

    Genesis 1:1-3
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

  306. 306
    William J Murray says:

    You got me there, BA77. Caught me using the “there is no evidence” line that really should never be used. My bad, my mistake.

    Let me make a better statement: we know now that we are not experiencing an actual external world with an actual past comprised of actual states and characteristics that exist independent of personal, conscious observation. The evidence clearly indicates that no “God” actualized a particular “universe,” but rather that all potential “universe” experiences are local to the individual observer. The evidence disproves the narrative that some “God” created any particular universe at any particular point of time in the past with certain qualities. Rather, it indicates that each conscious being is “manifesting” their particular, individual experience of what we call “the universe” out of the potential of all possible experiences.

  307. 307
    kairosfocus says:

    Re WJM, he still does not recognise that anything that undermines a major faculty of mind, here, perception of the common world we inhabit, is self referential and discrediting. KF

  308. 308
    jerry says:

    KF,

    I was going to write this but stopped

    Anyone who answers this is feeding the troll.

    But your reply is short and to the point. Hopefully the troll goes under the bridge never to return. But somehow I doubt it. The troll needs nourishment, replies from others to its inanity.

  309. 309
    StephenB says:

    Paige

    —“Why do souls need a cause?”

    Because they are creatures. They depend on a self-existent being for their coming into being and for their continued existence. Only a self-existent being can exist without a prior cause and there can only be one self-existent being.

  310. 310
    William J Murray says:

    Re WJM, he still does not recognise that anything that undermines a major faculty of mind, here, perception of the common world we inhabit, is self referential and discrediting

    It is false that IRT undermines that major faculty of mind; it only undermines your particular belief about one particular aspect of that faculty of mind: where the information is coming from and how it is being processed into what we call the ‘common world” experience. IRT does not deny that we have common, transpersonal, mutually verifiable sets of experiences that we usually refer to and characterize as “an external world.”

    BTW, “external of mind” (universal mind) and “external of self” are two different concepts under IRT. You seem impervious to this distinction. Lots of things exist outside of my self; mutually verifiable things. But, you have been completely uninterested in learning the distinctions between self, experience, the distinction between “internal of self” experiences and “external of self” experiences under IRT.

    Unfortunately for you, ERT (external of mind, not “external of self”) has been scientifically disproved. If that fact only leaves you personally with nothing available but self-referential absurdity, that’s your personal problem. It’s not mine.

  311. 311

    Souls are not created.

    1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / subjective / opinion
    2. Creation / chosen / material / objective / fact

    Both God and the soul, belong in category number 1. You cannot actually create love as some kind of artefact. Although phonies like Cher and Jill Biden do make a good show of trying to create love as some kind of material thing.

  312. 312
    paige says:

    StephenB

    Because they are creatures. They depend on a self-existent being for their coming into being and for their continued existence. Only a self-existent being can exist without a prior cause and there can only be one self-existent being.

    I understand that this is what you believe, but what evidence do you have for this.

    Why can there only be one “self-existing” or uncaused being? Does the existence of one preclude others? Is it not possible that souls are also “self-existing” beings, different than God but still uncaused?

  313. 313
    StephenB says:

    —“WJM: As Paige pointed out: no. We do not have to be “brought into existence” if we have always existed.:

    Only a self-existent being can exist without being brought into existence. That is a logical truth, not a statement of faith. I don’t think you can have it both ways here. On the one hand, you suggest that we were unjustly brought into existence without being consulted about it. On the other hand, you suggest that we may have always existed in some state without having been forced into it. The fact remains that you cannot be consulted about anything without first being created without your permission. This is basic logic.

    —“I cannot be held responsible for things I must choose between when under the threat of eternal torment or existential annihilation.”

    Once again, I find no consistency here. On the one hand, you say that the threat of hell places you under duress because it instills in you an unreasonable fear of the Christian God. In truth, though, you are so removed from fear of the Christian God that you dare to call Him an evil tyrant and worse. Excessive fear of the Christian God is followed by a fearless and unqualified indictment against the justice of the Christian God. It just doesn’t add up.

    —“In fact, the bulk of the experiencers bring back a message of complete non-judgmental love that has nothing whatsoever to do with any religion, creed, or particular spiritual belief. Their lives are transformed by this experience.”

    In most of these cases, I think it is difficult to separate subjective experience from objective reality.

    —“As far as the evidence you’ve outlined that you believe supports the claim of Christian exclusivity; even if we accept all your evidence arguendo, the uniqueness of such evidence doesn’t logically imply existential exclusivity.”

    “Existential exclusivity” is your gig, not mine. I simply said that Christian apologetics shows that, among all religious leaders, Jesus Christ is, by far, the most credible as a spokesman for God.and that the logic of the universe is best explained by the Christian concept of Logos. This is easy to demonstrate, .

    — what if miracles occurred, so what if it is 100% historically accurate, etc? None of that even begins to make the case for existential exclusivity, especially in the face of counterfactual experiences and evidence.

    “So what” is not a reasonable response to a verifiable miracle.

    —“The evidence indicates that there is a multi-dimensional experiential construct (for some people here and involving at least one afterlife realm) that is structurally consistent with Christian beliefs (generally speaking.)”

    This is a premise worth challenging. The term “multi-dimentional experiential construct” is, in my judgement, a badly formed paradigm because it conflates subjective experience with objective reality. As you have made clear, you are searching for a world view that makes you feel comfortable. For my part, I am searching for the truth about objective reality so that I can direct my life accordingly.

  314. 314
    StephenB says:

    Because they are creatures. They depend on a self-existent being for their coming into being and for their continued existence. Only a self-existent being can exist without a prior cause and there can only be one self-existent being.

    —Paige: “I understand that this is what you believe, but what evidence do you have for this.”

    It isn’t a statement about what I believe. It is a statement about what must logically be true. Another good example of something that must be logically true is that something or someone had to exist eternally. No evidence for this statement is needed. It simply must be the case.

    —“Why can there only be one “self-existing” or uncaused being? Does the existence of one preclude others?”

    Yes.

    —” Is it not possible that souls are also “self-existing” beings, different than God but still uncaused?”

    No.

  315. 315
    StephenB says:

    —WJM: “You’re making claims of faith; there is no logically necessary reason or evidence that God “created” souls or that God actively “created” anything.”

    No claims about faith. It is a matter of logic. Evidence also plays a role. The physical universe and its inhabitants once didn’t exist. They are contingent; a necessary being had to bring them into existence.”.

    —“It is irrational to say God, as ground of being, created something in particular; that requires a particular personality, a particular identity, a particular perspective. Such an entity is not God as ground of being; it is a particular possible being whose existence is allowed for by the ground-of-being God (or whatever you want to call it.) These cannot rationally be said to be qualitatively “the same being.” One is infinite potential; the other is one particular actualized entity with individual, particular qualities (say, “goodness” or being “just”) that makes particular choices based on its particular nature.”

    I don’t accept the premise that “ground of being” means what you say it means or that God is the ground of being in that sense.

  316. 316
    Viola Lee says:

    This is one thing WJM and I agree about. The Oneness I mentioned in 291 is beyond personhood, and is the source of all there is without being any-thing itself.

  317. 317
    Sandy says:

    An atheist can’t find the truth even if thinks about it thousands of years. it’s for example like a driver software for a printer/camera/etc. if you don’t install then PC will never “see ” the printer/camera even it’s connected. Only God have the “driver” and give to whomever He wants.
    The height of stupidity is to think you are smarter than God who made your mind. That’s why Bible say about atheists that they are crazy.

  318. 318
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    Only a self-existent being can exist without being brought into existence. That is a logical truth, not a statement of faith. I don’t think you can have it both ways here. On the one hand, you suggest that we were unjustly brought into existence without being consulted about it. On the other hand, you suggest that we may have always existed in some state without having been forced into it. The fact remains that you cannot be consulted about anything without first being created without your permission. This is basic logic.

    Yes, on the one hand, if Christianity is true, , then I was forced into existence, etc. On the other hand, if Christianity is not true, and I have always existed, I have not been forced into existence. I hold that all beings are eternally existent.

    I don’t accept the premise that “ground of being” means what you say it means or that God is the ground of being in that sense.

    That’s fine. I don’t accept your premise of “God.” In my view, the Christian “God” is just one of many beings that have established religions/spiritualties (cults) here on Earth and in related astral domains) that serve their own purposes and ends.

  319. 319

    It is very clear from the creationist conceptual scheme, that God can only be identified with a CHOSEN personal opinion.

    He cannot be identified as fact, forced by the evidence of Him, nor identified forced by the logical conclusion of some philosophical trick about the neccessity of being.

    But you can have all kinds of feelings of certitude in regards to the existence of God. Because feelings are welcome for the subjective category, which is the category God is in.

    You can reasonably feel as least as sure of God’s existence, as you are sure of prime emotions, like love, fear, joy. And personal character, like courage, kindness, charity.

    And God is ofcourse a person, as God is in the creator category, and creators are persons.

  320. 320
    jerry says:

    is the source of all there is without being any-thing itself

    Somehow this oneness which is not anything caused the fine tuning of the universe.

                                                                Amazing!

  321. 321
    William J Murray says:

    314:
    SB,
    1. I’d like to see you make the logical argument that there cannot be two self-existent beings.
    2. What did God create the universe out of?
    3. Where did God create the universe?
    4. How long did God exist before God created the universe?
    5. What are new souls created out of?

  322. 322
    paige says:

    StephenB

    Because they are creatures.

    By what criteria is a soul a creature?

    They depend on a self-existent being for their coming into being and for their continued existence.

    How exactly have you drawn this conclusion? I am not aware of any evidence that suggests that the soul cannot be an uncaused entity.

    Only a self-existent being can exist without a prior cause and there can only be one self-existent being.

    Again, you are making assertions with no evidence to support it. Maybe if you can explain why there can only be one self-existing being I might better understand your rationale.

  323. 323
    jerry says:

    StevenB,

    You should know that William J Murray is a troll. He espouses that there is no physical world, no eating, drinking or breathing. No keyboard or screen to communicate with others in this world. No electric bills, no people with bodies. Just mental images.

    He doesn’t believe any of this but puts on a show to irk others for his enjoyment. The worse thing you can do is respond to his comments as if they are real.

    So take all comments by him in this vein. There are others here who help him carry out this charade.

  324. 324
    Sandy says:

    Jerry
    StevenB,

    You should know that William J Murray is a troll.

    Is not a troll. It’s more critical. He talked openly about his “transcedental experiences” …not with God . We can imagine who was.

  325. 325
    Viola Lee says:

    First, at 320, Jerry misquoted me when he said, “Somehow this oneness which is not anything caused the fine tuning of the universe.” I had written any-thing, not anything, to emphasize that the Oneness of which I speak (a speculative alternative to a personal God) is beyond categorization and beyond having attributes such as we ascribe to a person. Some branches of Hinduism, Taoism, and the philosophy of Spinoza discuss this difference.

    Also, to StephenB: I disagree with Jerry about WJM. I don’t think of WJM as a troll. He is an advocate for a type of idealism somewhat like that of George Berkeley, at least as a start, and seems to find some value in trying to discuss his ideas here.

  326. 326
    jerry says:

    He is an advocate for a type of idealism somewhat like that of George Berkeley, at least as a start, and seems to find some value in trying to discuss his ideas here.

    This is nonsense. He has been around for 14 years or more. He constantly refers to the outside world and claims to live in Texas. He is also on record as not telling the truth. Direct quotes

    does the fact that I do not directly experience a moral duty to truthfulness or right reason disprove KF’s premise of a directly experienced, objective moral reality?

    My choices never proceed from a perspective of moral obligation or pursuit of truth; my choices entirely serve my personal enjoyment – not pleasure per se, but a broad and deep version of “enjoyment” that includes all sorts of varied experiences.

    Anything or any-thing. The comment still stands. Call it what you want. It produced the fine tuning.

    By the way the personalization of God is not necessarily a Christian thing since God is supposed to have no parts so personality would not be appropriate for Him. But we have to discuss Him and talk about Him so we invariably use a masculine expression.

  327. 327
    Karen McMannus says:

    Jerry: You should know that William J Murray is a troll. He espouses that there is no physical world, no eating, drinking or breathing.

    I must jump in here. Um no, he’s never said anything of the sort. Why don’t you ask some questions, because you obviously don’t understand what he’s saying (which is very close to my own view.) (P.S. I’m not “attacking” you. I generally like your posts and your tone. But, come on, you’ve got a blank spot here. Get some humility.)

  328. 328
    Karen McMannus says:

    Jerry: God is supposed to have no parts

    Who says? Aquinas? Your whole ontology might just be FOS. Get some humility.

    Oh, wait. We’re not suppose to discuss apologetics on this thread. Somebody start a new one.

  329. 329
    Karen McMannus says:

    Sandy: An atheist can’t find the truth even if thinks about it thousands of years.

    Then how can they be “morally” guilty of incorrect beliefs and actions?
    Would you whip a dog because he could never think and act like a human?

  330. 330
    jerry says:

    Why don’t you ask some questions,

    I did. Never answered. He admits to an external world and has discussed it several times.

    All he has demonstrated is that humans have minds with which they perceive the external world. Amazing.

    So why the charade? He’s just wasting a lot of time and pixels.

  331. 331
    StephenB says:

    WJM: 1. —“I’d like to see you make the logical argument that there cannot be two self-existent beings.”

    To say that a being is self-existent is to say that it contains the principle of existence within itself and that every other form of existence draws from and depends on it. One is the active source of existence and the other is the passive recipient. Obviously, there cannot be two self-evident beings or two ultimate sources of existence.

  332. 332
    Sandy says:

    Then how can they be “morally” guilty of incorrect beliefs and actions?

    They are in this state of mind because they previously made immoral decissions that locked them in this pattern.

  333. 333
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, the oneness and not any thing itself are in mutual contradiction, and of course breach of identity. Identity is the literal root of logic. KF

  334. 334
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, again, logic of being. God, is a serious candidate necessary being. No being composed of an assembly of independently existing parts [which would be causally antecedent] can be necessary. Composite entities, from cars to our own bodies and much more, are inherently contingent, caused and dependent. I could elaborate on possible worlds, what is impossible of being [e.g. a square circle], possible beings and of these contingent beings and necessary beings but I would doubtless be pounced on rhetorically, in yet another needless tangent . . . as it is clear that there is not a recognition of a need to deal with root issues to properly address. As at now, for cause on evidence above I am not confident that there is a willingness to do that. KF

    PS: Logic of Being. . . ontology . . . is philosophy, not theology, and of theology, apologetics on Christian evidences, Bible exegesis and systematics are only a few components. No, you do not get to play rhetorical games by twisting meanings of words to suggest that we are inconsistent. There is an adequate explanation laid out above, which you chose to studiously ignore and now rhetorically twist.

  335. 335
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Above, I pointed out that the ethical theistic understanding is that God is the inherently good, utterly wise, creator, a necessary and maximally great being. Each of these facets draws on and contributes to the others, i.e. each major attribute of God, rightly understood, is a microcosm of his being. God’s goodness and wisdom for example interact with his power, knowledge and skill as creator, and his necessary being implies that he is source of reality, creator of all worlds, holding all worlds together through his power and wisdom. Think here of how and why a properly cut diamond flashes with fire. In particular, maximal greatness can be seen as being all good to the limit where all of his attributes are perfectly balanced. That is profoundly . . . not merely accidentally . . . coherent and the microcosm principle says much the same. And much more . . . KF

  336. 336
    kairosfocus says:

    Sandy, the idea that there are intellectual virtues and duties seems to be at steep discount, a measure of where we are. Note what has happened repeatedly over past weeks when I pointed out that even objectors to first duties of reason are forced to appeal to same to try to get rhetorical traction for their claims. That is of course inconsistent on their part, but also shows that the first duties are inescapable, so true and self evident. Duties, to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, to fairness and justice etc. Willful disregard to such duties leads to guilty ignorance that puts false for true, darkness for light [and calls such darkness enlightenment!], evil for good, folly for wisdom and more, leading to marches of suicidal folly. Yes, some kinds of ignorance — based on willful negligence towards or outright refusal to do duty etc — are anything but innocent. KF

  337. 337
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    KM, again, logic of being. God, is a serious candidate necessary being. No being composed of an assembly of independently existing parts [which would be causally antecedent] can be necessary.

    Rooted in linear-time ERT, this does not apply to certain idealism and non-linear time worldviews. IOW, there are possible worlds this argument does not apply to.

    So, under the “eternal,” or “timeless” idealism reality theory, “universal mind” is the “oneness” that is everything. The principle of identity is that which distinguishes between things found in and are comprised of mind. The “oneness” does not violate or prohibit individual identification any more than the house, a river, a tree and a dog in the same painting cannot be successfully identified as different things, even though they are all made of paint and exist on the same canvas.

    Now we get to the claim that a being comprised of parts is necessarily contingent and cannot be necessary or self-existent. The idea of something being “contingent” is rooted in an external (of mind) world, linear-time causality perspective. IOW, my keyboard’s existence is contingent; it did not exist in the past, and was caused to “come into existence” at a certain point in time by those causes.

    Unfortunately for your worldview, time-linear causality has been disproved via results of the quantum eraser and delayed-choice experiments, among others. What we experience as “reality” is information being selected and processed into experience by state-of-observer consciousness. The only thing that is in a sense “contingent” in this scenario is personal experience; it is contingent on which information is selected, and how it is processed, by the observer. However, that personal experience eternally exists as potential, the existence of the experience is not contingent; the having of the experience by an observer is what is contingent.

    The observer is not the information, the processing, or the experience; it is not any particular “state;” it is that which has the experience. The observer is not a body made of parts; it is an ineffable loci of willful consciousness.

    Under this model, all of what can possibly exist, exists eternally as information in the form of potential. It necessarily exists. That means the experience of my typing out this response, my location here doing this in my present state, is a potentiality that is eternal. It is not “created” or “contingent” on anything. Everything eternally exists, in fact must exist, because nothing that is possible can escape its existence in potential, which is the root “reality” of how all things fundamentally exist. “Actualized” potential doesn’t remove the potential or change it; it is merely being translated into observational experience by consciousness.

    Under this non-time-linear, eternal IRT, every possible thing is necessary and cannot be “erased” or “created.” There are no contingent beings or things. The only place where the idea of “contingency” applies is free will; what one experiences is contingent on their free will choices, and free will = observational direction, or willful observation. IOW, my experience as the observing consciousness is contingent on my free will.

    IOW, I am the ongoing director of my experience as I move my attention through potential eternally-available experiences, “actualizing” them by my observation.

    The problem with your analysis of “all possible worlds,” KF, is that you’re not actually thinking about “all possible worlds.” You’re only thinking about all possible ERT worlds. Your logical objections to other ERT worlds do not apply to IRT “worlds.”

  338. 338
    jerry says:

    Don’t feed the troll!

  339. 339
    paige says:

    StephenB

    To say that a being is self-existent is to say that it contains the principle of existence within itself and that every other form of existence draws from and depends on it. One is the active source of existence and the other is the passive recipient. Obviously, there cannot be two self-evident beings or two ultimate sources of existence.

    I had not heard the term “self-existent” until you mentioned so I looked it up. This is what I found.

    Mirriam-Webster: existing of or by oneself or itself independently of any other being or cause : not caused to exist by someone or something else

    Collins: existing independently of any other being or cause

    The Free Dictionary: Inherent existence; existence possessed by virtue of a being’s own nature, and independent of any other being or cause; – an attribute peculiar to God.

    All of these definitions seem to have something in common, a reference to other beings and causes. A self-existent being’s existence is independent of external causes. It says nothing about its existence precluding the existence of other self-existent beings.

    Again, I don’t see any reason why the soul can not be a self-existent being.

  340. 340
    jerry says:

    The greatest mystery of all is existence!!

  341. 341
    William J Murray says:

    Now, I’ll address one of KF’s consistent objections to IRT; his claim that it is self-referential, and because of that, it is non-credible. IOW, if the only thing you have to check the accuracy of your ruler by is that same ruler, you have no way to determine the accuracy of your ruler.

    KF, of course, raises this objection from an ERT perspective: that there must be an objective, independent-of-experience ruler (world) by which we can calibrate our experiential rulers, or else we cannot acquire true knowledge. Setting aside the science which has disproved this notion of an external (of universal mind) objective world, and the self-evident truth that all we actually have to measure our experiences by are our experiences (regardless of where the information for the experience comes from,) we can see how this objection does not apply to IRT.

    Under IRT, the fundamental “rulers” used to acquire “true knowledge” about our existence, like logic and math, still exist and are still necessary in the acquisition of true or well-warranted knowledge. Under IRT, however, we recognize that these “objective” rulers are not being used on an “external world,” but are rather are being used to measure and evaluate our experiences – not just because they are “useful,” but because they are necessary for any conscious entity to have any comprehensible experience by which they can direct observational will – in simple terms, unless you have comprehensible experiences that can be turned into knowledge about your experiences, and predict them to some degree, you have no discernable or understandable means of choosing where to direct your observation into “the next sequences” of experience. You can’t make an informed, rational choice.

    As we can see, things like logic and math are necessary, fundamental aspects of any sentient, willful observer. Logic and math underlie the process of the selection of information and the processing of that information into experience. This is why the apparent “external world” will always be understandable in terms of logic and math, etc; logic and math (and other such necessary “rulers”) is that which forms and guides what we call “the external world,” which is really, in actuality, not an external world: it is the world of our experiences.

    So, “self-referential incoherence” is only a problem if one assumes they have anything other than their own experiences to refer to, compare, identify and discern between, or IOW to have knowledge about. Although logic and math, etc., are universal with respect to all individual experiential perspectives, they are still experiences; we experience them, their efficacy, their necessity as the root rulers of all possible consciously coherent perspectives, as that which provides true knowledge about our experiences.

    Thus, under this version of IRT (and, logically speaking, necessarily true regardless of one’s ERT or IRT,) knowledge is always about one’s experiences and obtained by using experiential rulers (logic, math, etc.) in understanding our experiences and making choices going forward to acquire experiences we desire. We cannot, even in theory, obtain knowledge about an “external of mind” world because even under ERT we have no direct access to it to check it against our experience of it.

    This explains how “self-reference,” in terms of all things being in mind and being about experiences, is a valid means of gaining true and well-warranted knowledge.

    This brings up an interesting question: how can we acquire knowledge that “all possible experiences” or an other experiential reality exists other than our own? That we can acquire them? Isn’t this “the same as” making a claim about an ERT?” IOW, doesn’t the claim that “something else” exists in universal mind other than my personal experience fall under the same hardship as making claims about an external-of-mind world? Isn’t “external of self” the same as “external of mind?”

    Maybe I’ll get around to addressing that soon.

  342. 342
    paige says:

    Jerry

    The greatest mystery of all is existence!!

    I don’t think anyone will argue with you on this.

  343. 343
    StephenB says:

    Paige: “Again, I don’t see any reason why the soul can not be a self-existent being.”

    It is, nevertheless, the case. While you are doing your research, explore two more terms – “necessary being” and “contingent being.” A self-existent being is also a necessary being and its relationship to all other (contingent) beings is inescapable. A necessary being is one that cannot not exist. It would be present in any universe under any set of conditions. All derivative being is contingent on (depends on) necessary being, meaning that the necessary being confers being on all other contingent beings.

    Again, as you study these things, remember that there are established rules of right reason (deductive logic, inductive logic, abductive logic, law of causation, law of non-contradiction, law of identity etc) that define the reasoning process.
    Just because WJM crowds hundreds of words into a series of carefully crafted paragraphs doesn’t mean that his ideas are rational or that the way he describes the world is comprehensible — they aren’t and it isn’t.

    He is on record as saying that he doesn’t care about what is true or false. In keeping with that point, I would not presume to judge his motives, but I know enough about theology, philosophy, science, and logic to say, without reservation or qualification, that his world view is totally, manifestly, and irredeemably irrational.

  344. 344
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, absent a root of reality independent of antecedent causes, we do not have a basis for any possible world, whether conceptual or mental or physically instantiated, concrete or abstract . . . and this includes mathematical logic model worlds. From utter non-being, nothing can come — were there ever such, it would forever obtain; as, what is not . . . in thought or fact or any mode we can imagine . . . can have no causal capability. Utter non being includes, no propositions so no descriptions of how a world is or may be. That a world is, requires independent being at root of reality, the debate is of what nature. Your objection fails from the root. Noted, for record and reference. KF

  345. 345
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, though a prolonged further exchange is not likely to be fruitful at this point, in all fairness WJM has earned regard beyond trollishness. KF

  346. 346
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, the dictionaries describe aspects of necessary being, without delving on logic of being or possible worlds etc. Square circles are impossible of being in any world as core characteristics stand in mutual contradiction. Fires are contingent entities requiring fuel, oxidiser [look up Fluorine fires], heat, combustion chain reaction to begin or be sustained. Twoness must exist in any distinct possible world, it neither begins nor can it be turned off, it is part of the fabric for any particular world to exist, i.e. it is necessary and causally independent. (This happens to be part of why a core of Mathematics is absolutely universal, giving that discipline enormous power.) Again, gaps in our education system, here is an introduction. KF

  347. 347
    Sandy says:

    Kairosfocus
    Sandy, the idea that there are intellectual virtues and duties seems to be at steep discount, a measure of where we are. Note what has happened repeatedly over past weeks when I pointed out that even objectors to first duties of reason are forced to appeal to same to try to get rhetorical traction for their claims. That is of course inconsistent on their part, but also shows that the first duties are inescapable, so true and self evident. Duties, to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, to fairness and justice etc. Willful disregard to such duties leads to guilty ignorance that puts false for true, darkness for light [and calls such darkness enlightenment!], evil for good, folly for wisdom and more, leading to marches of suicidal folly. Yes, some kinds of ignorance — based on willful negligence towards or outright refusal to do duty etc — are anything but innocent. KF

    There are not ” intelectual” virtues. When you take the responsibility to teach the truth blood with be shed .Yours. Psysically or as inner suffering in your life. This is the spiritual law which is more precise than any psysical law of the universe.

  348. 348
    paige says:

    KF

    Paige, the dictionaries describe aspects of necessary being, without delving on logic of being or possible worlds etc.

    The other thing I have learned about definitions is that many words and terms define things that do not exist.

  349. 349
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, impossible beings do not exist. Possible ones do or might. Necessary beings are the framework of worlds existing. Your dismissive comment, trying to suggest dubiousness fails. It points to gaps in our education. KF

  350. 350
    paige says:

    KF

    Your dismissive comment, trying to suggest dubiousness fails. It points to gaps in our education.

    My initial discussion was with StephenB. If you are capable of contributing without being condescending as StephenB has, I welcome your participation. But life is far too short to tolerate people who are not willing to be respectful.

  351. 351
    Sandy says:

    Paige
    But life is far too short to tolerate people who are not willing to be respectful.

    Respectful? We are just molecules in motion.What means to be respectful?

  352. 352
    paige says:

    Sandy

    Respectful? We are just molecules in motion.What means to be respectful?

    Why do you think that we are just molecules in motion?

  353. 353
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige, kindly look again at your non-substantial original response and what it rhetorically invites or suggests. KF

  354. 354
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: To see what our time misses educationally, here is John of Damascus, rated as last of the Fathers, c 700’s AD:

    All things are either created or uncreated.[–> logic, exhaustion of categories] Now, if they are created, then they are also definitely changeable, for things whose being originated with a change are definitely subject to change [–> contingency], whether it be by corruption or by voluntary alteration. If, on the other hand, they are uncreated, then it logically follows that they are definitely unchangeable. [–> the potential was filled up all along, independence of being] For, of those things whose being is contrary, the manner of being, which is to say, properties, is also contrary. Who, then, will not agree that all beings that fall within our experience, including even the angels, are subject to change and alteration and to being moved in various ways? The intellectual beings—by which I mean angels and souls and demons—change by free choice, progressing in good or receding, exerting themselves or slackening; whereas the rest change by generation or corruption, increase or decrease, change in quality or change in position. Consequently, things which are changeable must definitely be created. Created beings have certainly been created by something. But the creator must be uncreated, for, if he has been created, then he has certainly been created by some one else—and so on until we arrive at something which has not been created.Therefore, the creator is an uncreated and entirely unchange-able being. And what else would that be but God?

    We would adjust language and concepts a bit and would draw on what we have learned or have had to address over the past 1400 years but the underlying reasoning should be familiar. Now.

    KF

  355. 355
    paige says:

    KF

    Paige, kindly look again at your non-substantial original response and what it rhetorically invites or suggests.

    Obviously you do not know what “condescending” means. If you can ask a question without this attitude, I will respond. But given that you have not been able to do so I will just bow out of this conversation.

  356. 356
    kairosfocus says:

    Paige,

    I will roll the tape on the exchange, which led to my fair comment corrective — not “condescending” — response on substance. The following is after your citation of dictionaries and dismissive remarks regarding logic of being:

    [KF, 346:] Paige, the dictionaries describe aspects of necessary being, without delving on logic of being or possible worlds etc. Square circles are impossible of being in any world as core characteristics stand in mutual contradiction. Fires are contingent entities requiring fuel, oxidiser [look up Fluorine fires], heat, combustion chain reaction to begin or be sustained. Twoness must exist in any distinct possible world, it neither begins nor can it be turned off, it is part of the fabric for any particular world to exist, i.e. it is necessary and causally independent. (This happens to be part of why a core of Mathematics is absolutely universal, giving that discipline enormous power.) Again, gaps in our education system, here is an introduction. [Links given above, the first being to a paper, the second to a discussion of logic of being here at UD.]

    [P, 348:] {KF,} Paige, the dictionaries describe aspects of necessary being, without delving on logic of being or possible worlds etc.

    {P}The other thing I have learned about definitions is that many words and terms define things that do not exist. [–> observe the insubstantial response directed to me, and what it suggests/invites]

    [KF, 349:] Paige, impossible beings do not exist. Possible ones do or might. Necessary beings are the framework of worlds existing. Your dismissive comment, trying to suggest dubiousness fails. It points to gaps in our education. [This alludes to the links, and it is fair comment that our education nowadays has gaps, compared even to say John of Damascus c 700 AD, who used logic to explore key concepts of being, drawing out facets of the matter]

    The logic of being – possible worlds issue is pivotal, and is not a matter of empty words about things that do not exist that happen to be discussed in dictionaries. These logic of being/ontology issues, instead, provide key tools to help us analyse what is or may be, or what is not and cannot be.

    Such, for instance, helps us understand what an eternal being is, or an immortal soul, and why a soul would be immortal. It helps us understand why once a world is, we need something that is independent of cause, as root of worlds. (Our education nowadays focuses on a world of beings that are contingent and caused, even when it deals with things such as twoness, which are necessary and framework to any possible world.)

    KF

    PS: As we are contingent beings, manifestly, with a definite beginning, and as we are changing beings, we cannot be causally independent beings. The root of reality can be described as a soul, as Plato does in The Laws Bk X, having identified the soul as the life principle manifesting volition. That soul is of a different order from ours. Hence the description/ bill of requisites of what a world source/root being capable of grounding ought [we are morally governed creatures and we can only resolve the IS/OUGHT gap at root level] would be like.

  357. 357
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    He is on record as saying that he doesn’t care about what is true or false.

    I don’t believe I ever said that in the sense that you are portraying it. In fact, I’ve specifically said several times that I care about telling the truth about my views and experiences here in this forum because I enjoy having my true views and experiences held up to scrutiny and criticism.

    I think probably what you mean is that I have said that I’m not interested in finding out what is true in terms of some kind of search for final or universal truth. I’m interested in developing a model that works for my purposes; undertaking that enterprise means I care about the truth at least in terms of whether or not the model works. An analogy would be: I’m not interested in whether or not the sun revolves around the Earth or vice-versa, or if Apollo pulls the sun through the sky with his chariot; that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is if the sundial works so my wife and I can get to the theater on time. That requires some degree of local discernment between what is true and what is false, and in such instances I care about it.

    This is not the same as me saying that I don’t care about what is true or false; I may have used those words, but I’d have to see the context within which I made that statement.

  358. 358
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, absent a root of reality independent of antecedent causes, we do not have a basis for any possible world, whether conceptual or mental or physically instantiated, concrete or abstract . . . and this includes mathematical logic model worlds. From utter non-being, nothing can come — were there ever such, it would forever obtain; as, what is not . . . in thought or fact or any mode we can imagine . . . can have no causal capability. Utter non being includes, no propositions so no descriptions of how a world is or may be. That a world is, requires independent being at root of reality, the debate is of what nature. Your objection fails from the root. Noted, for record and reference. KF

    That line I put in bold would make sense if I had ever objected to “a root of reality independent of antecedent causes’ or argued for “utter non-being” as the root of reality. I don’t see where I wrote anything that could even remotely be interpreted that way.

  359. 359
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    It seems I will need to address a substantial issue in greater detail than I would prefer. So, there it is, despite what I would prefer.

    In 341, you argued,

    KF, of course, raises this objection from an ERT perspective: that there must be an objective, independent-of-experience ruler (world) by which we can calibrate our experiential rulers, or else we cannot acquire true knowledge. Setting aside the science which has disproved this notion of an external (of universal mind) objective world, and the self-evident truth that all we actually have to measure our experiences by are our experiences (regardless of where the information for the experience comes from,) we can see how this objection does not apply to IRT.

    That should suffice to show why it is relevant to highlight that reality, from its root, is independent of us and our perceptions or notions and arguments. We are contingent creatures who participate in reality antecedent to our existence. You use ruler as a substitute for yardstick, thereby alluding to my concern on warping effects of crooked yardsticks taken as reference standards that systematically warp and frustrate our thought. The issue of warped, error-reinforcing thinking is a sufficiently established challenge that I only need to mention the matter.

    You spoke of there MUST be, which clearly points to necessary, world-root being; prime reality that is source of worlds such as we experience. Your clear intent is to undermine confidence in the veridicality of our perceptions and experiences of a common world in which we interact. You use two key assertions to do this, first claiming that science has “disproved” this notion of an external (of universal mind) objective world.

    Strawman.

    You have brought in a conflation of objectivity as implying utter independence of a “universal mind” and/or an “external . . . objective world.” I have nowhere argued that the world has independence of mind, instead it is credible that it is a design of a mind capable of building a cosmos. Science has provided no disproof of such, but rather fine tuning is a sign of such design. Further to this, what the common world we inhabit is, is clearly independent of our perceptions and ideas, which can be in error. That is, part of your reasoning seeks to undermine that truth is accurate description of states of affairs, whether regarding our in common world or other possible or actual worlds, or for that matter regarding our thoughts or abstracta and principles of logic, mathematics, being etc. Such, in key part are antecedent to science, which builds on them and cannot refute them. Such is before the point that science is about provisional empirical support and reliable generalisation or theorising, not proof.

    Next, you proceed to assert: the self-evident truth that all we actually have to measure our experiences by are our experiences.

    This is not a self-evident truth, certainly insofar as it seems to be loaded with implicit Kantian ugly gulch thinking regarding a claimed gap between the phenomenal world and that of things in themselves. We are subjects, who have experiences including thoughts and perceptions, memories etc. Some of those thoughts are about reasoning, logical, mathematical etc. In that reasoning we are aware of certain first principles that apply to any distinct possible world, starting with the law of identity, root of logic. As a direct close corollary, we know that no distinct entity x can under the same circumstances also be NOT-x. This allows us to understand truths about all possible worlds, such as that no square circle can exist as required characteristics are mutually contradictory.

    So, we experience and perceive, reason, remember, infer, conclude and while these are experiential, they point beyond experiences we have or can have. We cannot ever experience encountering a square circle, but we can know to utter certainty regarding such a candidate being that it cannot be conceived nor can it exist in this or any possible world, worlds that may or may not exist. That clearly goes beyond our experiences.

    Beyond, experience is being used loosely and ambiguously.

    What is indeed certain is that we are self-evidently, undeniably self-aware or conscious and that it is through that awareness that we perceive, remember so we can focus attention on, express thoughts in words and symbols, consciously argue [there is also sub conscious reasoning] etc. However, as noted, there is much of the subconscious that is in that too. If all that was being said or suggested was that we are conscious and rely on the subconscious, that would be one thing, but clearly that is not the case.

    For, you are thinking of universal mind with ourselves as seeming sparks flying off from it as whirling vortices of localised consciousness. (You have denied solipsism.)

    Your rejection of “external reality theory” in practical terms is rejection of our objective awareness and knowledge of an in common world independent of our particular consciousness as individuals or as expressing inter-subjective agreement in some circle of reference or other — school of thought, science, ideology, institution, board of editors, technical board of a dictionary, community, worldview adherents etc. In this context, “theory” is a loaded term implying grounds for doubt regarding our perception of that in common world.

    Which is exactly the fatal issue.

    For, there is no reasonable doubt that we observe, inhabit and interact with that world, e.g. just to type and transmit comments in this thread. The point therefore remains, that you are seeking to break Reidian common sense realism. That is, that though our senses, thoughts and faculties can and do err in detail, on the whole they cannot be in grand doubt or delusion or the basis for our rationality self-referentially discredits and undermines itself.

    On the contrary, there is every good reason to reject as hopelessly incoherent any scheme of thought that casts such grand doubt or delusion over any significant faculty of our minds. Which is precisely what your dismissal or grand doubt regarding the objectively warranted, in common world we inhabit and perceive as we interact with it, does.

    Self-referential incoherence that undermines credibility of the mind you use to devise M/IRT.

    Which is what I have pointed out from the outset when you began to publicly promote your mental reality, idealistic theory of reality. F H Bradley has a point on any scheme that draws anything of significance from the Kantian ugly gulch:

    We may agree, perhaps, to understand by metaphysics an attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply piecemeal or by fragments, but somehow as a whole [–> i.e. the focus of Metaphysics is critical studies of worldviews] . . . .

    The man who is ready to prove that metaphysical knowledge is wholly impossible . . . himself has, perhaps unknowingly, entered the arena . . . To say the reality is such that our knowledge cannot reach it, is a claim to know reality ; to urge that our knowledge is of a kind which must fail to transcend appearance, itself implies that transcendence. [–> this is the “ugly gulch” of the Kantians] For, if we had no idea of a beyond, we should assuredly not know how to talk about failure or success. And the test, by which we distinguish them, must obviously be some acquaintance with the nature of the goal. Nay, the would-be sceptic, who presses on us the contradictions of our thoughts, himself asserts dogmatically. For these contradictions might be ultimate and absolute truth, if the nature of the reality were not known to be otherwise . . . [such] objections . . . are themselves, however unwillingly, metaphysical views, and . . . a little acquaintance with the subject commonly serves to dispel [them]. [Appearance and Reality, 2nd Edn, 1897 (1916 printing), pp. 1 – 2; INTRODUCTION. At Web Archive.]

    KF

  360. 360
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    That should suffice to show why it is relevant to highlight that reality, from its root, is independent of us and our perceptions or notions and arguments.

    This is where understanding what I mean when I say something from the IRT perspective would come in handy. Or, just paying attention and remembering.

    I’ve explicitly stated that under IRT the “root reality” exists and is independently existent of any individual experience. I’ve also explicitly stated that what most people refer to as “reality” – the common 4D(including time) physical world is not “root reality.” I don’t think you even believe that the common, 4D physical world is the “root reality” because that would make you something of a physicalist or materialist.

    Your clear intent is to undermine confidence in the veridicality of our perceptions and experiences of a common world in which we interact. That is not my intent. I’ll explain you are making a logical error in this interpretation of what I am saying. First:
    Veridical: the degree to which an experience, perception, or interpretation accurately represents reality.
    The key word in that definition is “reality.” What is “reality?” Reality under ERT and IRT are two different conceptual models. Thus, what we are perceiving and gaining veridical knowledge about via our perceptual experiences are two entirely different things. You are claiming that because, under IRT, one cannot gain veridical knowledge about the reality proposed to exist under ERT, it cannot be veridical knowledge of any reality. Your argument assumes your conclusion that ERT represents actual reality we can gain veridical knowledge about. This is what has been disproved by quantum science experiments; these experiments have demonstrated that the ERT model of reality is false because we have gained veridical knoewledge from our perceptual experiences that clearly demonstrate the IRT nature of reality.

    Further to this, what the common world we inhabit is, is clearly independent of our perceptions and ideas, which can be in error.

    Nope. The common world we inhabit is not independent of our observational perceptions; it is in fact entirely dependent on them. This has been conclusively demonstrated over and over the past 100 years or so, the “common world” not being the same as “root reality.” “Root reality” is, under IRT, independent of any individual’s perception.

    That is, part of your reasoning seeks to undermine that truth is accurate description of states of affairs,

    Nope. Truth is the accurate description of states of affairs. Unfortunately, your description of the “state of affairs” has been scientifically disproved. That does not mean that there are no truthful, accurate descriptions of states of affairs; it just means your model is in error. Does that sound like me saying there are no truthful statements under IRT about “states of affairs?”

    I could go on through the post pointing out your errors, but they’re all basically the same error. To be more clear, let me start by more clearly identifying your model: it’s a dualism reality theory (“external” has proven to be a problematic identifier.) Your error of logic is that you are making objections to IRT from the DRT perspective. It’s not that veridical knowledge about reality cannot be ascertained via perceptual experiences; it’s that that veridical knowledge is about a non-dualistic reality. It’s not that IRT undermines rationality itself; it’s that it undermines the rational structures, inferences, justifications and conclusions under the premise of DRT. IRT doesn’t undermine truth; it doesn’t contradict any self-evident or necessary truths; it doesn’t end science; it doesn’t undermine our ability to sort and categorize our experiences; it is not inconsistent with common world experience; it does not undermine our capacity to interact with each other, verify and predict features and characteristics of the common world. It makes specific, testable truth claims both about the nature of root reality and the nature of “the common world,” which have been experimentally verified.

    From what I can ascertain, your real objection is that IRT undermines your world-view belief system, which you are apparently so psychologically embedded within that you think undermining your world-view belief system is an attack on truth itself, knowledge itself, and logic itself. IOW, you are so fully committed to your world-view as actual reality, that any other view must be irrational, come from an “intent” of undermining truth, knowledge and logic; so much so that you don’t even bother asking a single question about it to check to see if your perspective of what IRT says is correct.

    When we’re discussing your worldview, I ask you a ton of questions to better understand your view. You ask me literally zero questions.

    You are not arguing or debating in good faith. You’re proselytizing and lecturing your worldview, over and over, because you are fully committed to it psychologically; you cannot help but defend it and promote it all times. You can’t even take on someone else’s position arguendo because, as you’ve made clear, there is far too much at stake in your worldview.

    You are not debating in good faith, KF; you are only taking the appearance of debate as an opportunity to continually lecture others and chastise them repeatedly … “for the record,” … for not bending the knee to your worldview perspective.

    “For the record,” you opened the door to my armchair psyche eval by characterizing my “intent.” ; )

  361. 361
    StephenB says:

    WJM: — “This is not the same as me saying that I don’t care about what is true or false; I may have used those words, but I’d have to see the context within which I made that statement.”

    I didn’t suggest that you do not tell the truth. I said that you don’t care about what is true or false. Do I really need to add the words (about reality). The point is that you are willing to build your world view around the way you want things to be even if it is at variance with the way things really are. That is not what intellectual inquiry is supposed to be about.

  362. 362
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    I clip:

    What is “reality?” Reality under ERT and IRT are two different conceptual models. Thus, what we are perceiving and gaining veridical knowledge about via our perceptual experiences are two entirely different things. You are claiming that because, under IRT, one cannot gain veridical knowledge about the reality proposed to exist under ERT, it cannot be veridical knowledge of any reality. Your argument assumes your conclusion that ERT represents actual reality we can gain veridical knowledge about.

    Neatly left out, eg just to comment, you interacted with a computer of some kind and took for granted the Internet infrastructure to present it for others to see etc. In short, you are gliding over the massive fact of our experience of and interacting with an in common world. In effect you suggest it is question begging to take it seriously. This is exactly the grand doubt or delusion appeal that leads to self referential undermining of the objectivity of the world.

    You appeal to quantum theory, which was created by taking that world and observations seriously. Yes, there is a substructure with dynamics that makes up much of our experience with matter and energy in space and time. It does not make that experience false, dubious or delusional. Understanding why a gas flame is blue does not make the observation that it is there, blazing away, running a bit high under the pot and needs to be adjusted down by reducing fuel flow dubious or false.

    As I already noted:

    . . . there is no reasonable doubt that we observe, inhabit and interact with that world, e.g. just to type and transmit comments in this thread. The point therefore remains, that you are seeking to break Reidian common sense realism. That is, that though our senses, thoughts and faculties can and do err in detail, on the whole they cannot be in grand doubt or delusion or the basis for our rationality self-referentially discredits and undermines itself.

    On the contrary, there is every good reason to reject as hopelessly incoherent any scheme of thought that casts such grand doubt or delusion over any significant faculty of our minds. Which is precisely what your dismissal or grand doubt regarding the objectively warranted, in common world we inhabit and perceive as we interact with it, does.

    Self-referential incoherence that undermines credibility of the mind you use to devise M/IRT.

    KF

  363. 363
    William J Murray says:

    SB @361 said:

    The point is that you are willing to build your world view around the way you want things to be even if it is at variance with the way things really are. That is not what intellectual inquiry is supposed to be about.

    No. I build my worldview entirely around something I directly know is the way that thing is: I know what I enjoy and what I do not. I absolutely, directly know I exist; I know that I experience; I know what experiences I enjoy and what experiences I do not. I don’t know for certain how any of that occurs, but I know with certainty those things are occurring. I know logic and math are fundamental to all of this, and fundamental to pursuing enjoyable experiences and avoiding unenjoyable experiences.

    It is my view that outside of these (and perhaps a few other things,) I don’t know anything as certainties; everything else is belief (from well-warranted and well-evidenced to pure faith) and opinion. I realized that every single decision I make is rooted in the pursuit of either direct or abstract enjoyment (I made that case elsewhere on this site.) So, I decided to conduct an experiment; what would happen if I just invented an entire worldview, the only goal of which was for it to be as enjoyable as possible, as long as it didn’t violate logic or my actual experience (the only things I had to work with in constructing my worldview model.) IOW, as long as it was valid logically wrt my experiences, I could interpret my experiences any way I wanted.

    This resulted in my IRT, which has provided the model for a life that is enjoyable beyond my original capacity to even imagine. Now this appears to me to be tautologically obvious; arrange your thoughts and beliefs in a manner that is enjoyable, seek out that which is enjoyable, and you’ll have more enjoyable ongoing experiences. Well, DUH! Seems completely obvious to me now.

    So, how is my worldview not built on “the way things are?” I counter, it is my model that is actually built on “the way things are,” that I am absolutely certain about; what it is not built on are theories and ideas that represent “the way things might be.” It might be that dualism is correct; it might be that objective good and evil exist; it might be that the Christian God is THE God. The evidence presented in science publications might be true and accurate. But, I don’t know those things to be “the way things are.”

    So, my model is indeed based entirely on those things I am absolutely certain to be “the way things are:” I exist, I experience, I seek enjoyment in those experiences.

  364. 364
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    In short, you are gliding over the massive fact of our experience of and interacting with an in common world.

    I’m not gliding over any of those facts. I’m just not accepting how you believe all that is occurring.

    However, I’ve now pointed this out at least a dozen times. You appear to be immune to understanding the difference between accepting a fact and accepting a world-view interpretation of what the facts mean.

  365. 365
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, for cause the record stands. KF.

  366. 366
    StephenB says:

    WJM to KF:

    “However, I’ve now pointed this out at least a dozen times. You appear to be immune to understanding the difference between accepting a fact and accepting a world-view interpretation of what the facts mean.”

    And yet you seem to have placed all your bets on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which in itself, does not qualify as a fact.

  367. 367
    Karen McMannus says:

    StephenB: his world view is totally, manifestly, and irredeemably irrational.

    Ultimately all world views are irrational.

  368. 368
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM @303: the ground-of-being God (or whatever you want to call it.)

    I call it The Root. Some Hindus call it Brahman. Some Buddhists call it The Void. Hassidic Kabbalist Jews call it Ein Sof. My friend Herman from Brooklyn calls it, “Dat Place.” 🙂

  369. 369
    Viola Lee says:

    The I Ching calls it the Tao.

  370. 370
    StephenB says:

    Karen McMannus: —“Ultimately all world views are irrational.”

    Is your world view irrational? If so, then why would you try to enter into a rational discussion with me? Do you have a rational standard for discerning whether or not a world view is irrational? If not, then how would you know? Are you not aware that such a standard exists?

  371. 371
    Barry Arrington says:

    Karen McMannus,
    “Ultimately all world views are irrational.”
    You equivocated on the word irrational there.
    Irrational can mean “contrary to reason.” It can also mean the leap of faith necessary to arrive at unprovable first things. WJM used it in the first sense. You used it in the second.

  372. 372
    Karen McMannus says:

    Barry Arrington: You equivocated on the word irrational there.

    Fair enough. Perhaps “non-rational” is a better word choice.

  373. 373
    Karen McMannus says:

    StephenB: Is your world view irrational?

    Non-rational is a better term.

    If so, then why would you try to enter into a rational discussion with me?

    We can have rational dialog on a variety of topics as long as we stick to agreed upon premises.

    Do you have a rational standard for discerning whether or not a world view is irrational?

    Yeah. Because my worldview also incorporates direct experience, which is not necessarily rational.

    For example, your conscious experience of red and blue is non-rational. If it were, you would be able to describe the difference of your conscious experience of red and blue with words. You can’t. Nobody can. It’s a non-rational direct experience.

    If not, then how would you know?

    Ultimately, I am my own standard.

    Are you not aware that such a standard exists?

    Where?

  374. 374
    Karen McMannus says:

    StephenB to WJM: the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which in itself, does not qualify as a fact.

    True. However, the C.I. is the only interpretation consistent with consciousness/free-will, which is the primary fact of anyone’s existence (assuming everyone is conscious.) Denying the C.I. and its implications would be denying the primary fact of one’s existence. Doesn’t seem like a good choice of worldview to me.

  375. 375
    Karen McMannus says:

    STephenB: Do you have a standard for discerning whether or not a world view is irrational?

    Me: Yeah. Because my worldview also incorporates direct experience, which is not necessarily rational.

    I misread your question when I answered the first time. Delete previous answer.

    My worldview is the product of non-rational/trans-rational, and rational elements as experienced and processed by me. How could it be any different? Ultimately, all worldviews are non-rational because they either rely on non-rational/trans-rational experience and/or assume non-rational ontologies. Consciousness is trans-rational. For example, the conscious experience of color has nothing to do with Reason.

  376. 376
    kairosfocus says:

    KM, pardon but neither irrational nor non rational are apt for speaking of worldviews on the whole, as both invite or suggest inferences that are self referentially incoherent or even seemingly justifying of arbitrary subjectivism or relativism: none are sound so pick and choose according to taste or fashion. No, that door to the irrational should be shut. No, too, we must not assume that core first plausibles shaping our faith points and presuppositions are inherently the opposite of the rational, instead they are part of the fabric of rationality as neither infinite regress nor question-begging circularity are acceptable. Yes, worldviews do generally bristle with difficulties and some are indeed clearly incoherent [such as evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers]. That said, it is our mindedness that drives having worldviews in the first place that rise above, say, instinctive programming of animals. Such is why the approach of comparative difficulties is valuable and relevant. Indeed, the comparative aspect is key to answering the issue of question-begging. KF

  377. 377
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I find that QM is often turned into a platform for much speculation, similar to how relativity was in former days when it was held to justify relativism. By contrast, the Copenhagen position, for example, pivots on the issue that as one approaches a classical limit, the QM result must move towards the well tested classical results. That shows that those results are in fact a reliable baseline and yardstick, empirically established macro scale facts. That sort of context is part of why I have noted that there is no good reason to use quantum, microscale substructure to try to discredit the reality of the familiar, in common world we interact with. WJM still relies on a computer and keyboard or a similar technology to make comments here. Any system of beliefs about the world that seeks to make good sense relies on the credibility of mind, so it is fatally self-referential to cast grand doubts on any major aspect of the mind, freedom to reason, memory, perception of the world, sense of self awareness etc. Yes, there is room for error and correction, but that in itself relies on the underlying credibility. Where also, incoherence is well known to undermine ability to infer soundly as p => q chains from truth to truth reliably but once p is plausibly false, the false leads to both true and false implications. So p=x AND ~x becomes a serious problem as it is necessarily false. Ironically, on dealing with hypotheticals, we often use that property of implication to guide us as to which alternative to choose. For, we can see consequences for p’s that are or may be false depending on our choice, then we select what seems best. Turning back, once we incorporate self referential principles in our views, their coherence becomes a particularly vital question.

  378. 378
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, again, for record: my focus is that it is fatal to posit a self-referential, incoherent account of rationality. In that context, we are subjects and are self-aware, exerting reasoning as we ponder, perceive and interact with the in common world. So, discussions about facets of our self-aware rationality are inescapably self referential. As just noted to KM that makes such particularly sensitive to incoherence. That means that views on reality etc that imply or suggest or invite grand doubt or delusion regarding any major faculty, perception, awareness, memory etc — as opposed to particular, “local” errors — undermines the credibility of mind and therefore itself. Grand doubt or suggested delusion regarding the reality and independence from our thoughts of the in common world fall under that concern and stricture. If our self-aware perceptions of the outer in common world are at steep discount on a given scheme, our equally self aware memories, reasonings, arguments etc are also — fatally — at steep discount. At this point, I doubt this will be persuasive to you but it needs to be noted for record. KF

  379. 379
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    And yet you seem to have placed all your bets on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which in itself, does not qualify as a fact.

    I haven’t placed any bets at all on the CI because, if you had bothered to read and understand what I have written, I came to my worldview before I knew anything about the quantum physics experiments.

    Furthermore, when I use quantum physics experimental results to support IRT, I’m not using any interpretation of the experimental results; I’m referring to the experimental results themselves because they support IRT. I didn’t say those results can’t be used in support of other models, but that is not the only evidence I use to support my argument.

  380. 380
    William J Murray says:

    KM said:

    I call it The Root.

    VL said:

    The I Ching calls it the Tao.

    When in Rome, and all that.

  381. 381
    William J Murray says:

    KF said …

    [lecture, lecture, chastisement, lecture, ..]

    When one becomes so convinced of their interpretation of facts that they mistake their interpretation of the facts for the facts themselves.

  382. 382
    William J Murray says:

    Perhaps the comments were turned off in the “The Debate In a Nutshell” post – I can’t find any comments or a place to make them, or I’d put this comment there.

    BA77 mentioned the other day that I don’t make arguments supporting ID anymore. This is because I don’t find that argument interesting or enjoyable. The evidence is so overwhelming for ID of life and what we commonly refer to as “the universe” that, at this point, arguing for it is almost like arguing that free will exists. I have better, more enjoyable things to do with my time.

    As far as I’m concerned, the existence of ID (specifically, of life and the universe) has been conclusively established. Because of that, the interesting argument, as I see it, is the concept of theistic intelligent design, which is outside of the official purview of ID itself.

    Of course, to debate theistic intelligent design, or to even rationally explore what that might mean or entail, some premise about the nature of conditions of “being God” would have to be agreed on or at least accepted arguendo to examine whether or not those qualities would even entail the capacity to “intelligently design” anything, much less implement said design. Is “intelligent design” even the right concept to apply to how this universe and life exist, from the theistic perspective?

    What are the essential qualities necessary, not to “recognize” ID (we know those qualities,) but rather to say some entity can engage at all in “intelligent design and implementation?” Are those qualities congruent with the idea of “God” engaging in “intelligent design?”

    First, what are the basic qualities necessary for a being to be capable of intelligent design? Let me try to quantify this with the following:

    1. The capacity of deliberate will.
    2. Conditions that provide for directing that will towards a specific purpose.
    3. Conditions that allow for the implementation of that purpose ..
    4. ID is always about deliberately changing a current state or condition to a different, preferred state or condition.

    By “condition,” I mean both of the designer and the context of the designer, that allow for the capacity to even think about changing some state or aspect of those conditions.

    A fundamental aspect of will is that will is always fundamentally about preference. To make an ID choice, one must prefer one thing over another, even if those options are conceptual. This requires the ID to have, at the bare minimum, two or more competing potentials from which one can be chosen to design and implement, even if it is a choice whether or not to take a walk. Ultimately, any choice to change one’s current state or conditions into a different state or condition requires some form of dissatisfaction with the current state or condition, or there would be no impetus to even consider changing them.

    This in itself may bring up some problematic issues when it comes to various conceptions of “God.” Was God dissatisfied with it’s state or conditions before it created the universe? Does the idea that God had conditions or states that could be changed via a deliberate creation of the universe conflict with the idea of an immutable God, or a God “not made up of “parts” that can “change?”

    Another problem with the theistic ID perspective may be the logistics of the idea of creation itself. If God is the creator of time and space, how was there a time before God created then universe, and after? If God is “eternal” in the time-linear sense, we have the infinite history problem; if God exist in a timeless state, there cannot be a “before” and “after” the creation of this universe from God’s perspective. Also, unless space already existed, where did God create the universe? If God was all there was, what did God make the universe out of?

  383. 383
    StephenB says:

    WJM —“A fundamental aspect of will is that will is always fundamentally about preference. To make an ID choice, one must prefer one thing over another, even if those options are conceptual. This requires the ID to have, at the bare minimum, two or more competing potentials from which one can be chosen to design and implement, even if it is a choice whether or not to take a walk. Ultimately, any choice to change one’s current state or conditions into a different state or condition requires some form of dissatisfaction with the current state or condition, or there would be no impetus to even consider changing them.”

    Dissatisfaction with the current state or condition is not the only possible motive for creating the universe. It could be a desire to share something – Divine life, for example. According to the Christian world view, God is a community of loving persons, defined as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Christian world view holds that God wanted to share that love by creating others in his image, creatures who were capable of giving and receiving love through the use of their free fill. Love is effusive and tends to pour itself out in a selfless fashion.

    —“Does the idea that God had conditions or states that could be changed via a deliberate creation of the universe conflict with the idea of an immutable God, or a God “not made up of “parts” that can “change?”

    To say that God is immutable is to say that his nature and his character do not change. Unlike the Muslim God, for example, God doesn’t change the moral code on a whim. In keeping with that point, God does not have to change his nature to perform a creative act. To respond to your add on point,, God is a pure spirit, which means that he has no “parts that can be changed.”

    —“Another problem with the theistic ID perspective may be the logistics of the idea of creation itself. If God is the creator of time and space, how was there a time before God created then universe, and after?”

    The Christian answer is that God is “outside” of time. So, you are right, it does become clumsy when people use terms like “before and after” creation without making it clear that they are just paying tribute to the progression of events that took place “after” the creative event when, so to speak, the clock started running, which made such a thing as an “after” possible.

    —“Also, unless space already existed, where did God create the universe?”

    If God created the space-time-continuum, then it would seem that there was no such thing as where until God created space.

    —“If God was all there was, what did God make the universe out of?”

    I am sure that you have heard the term “creation ex-nihilo.” Just because something cannot come from nothing doesn’t mean that God cannot create something out of nothing.

  384. 384
    StephenB says:

    Karen McMannus — “All world views are irrational.”

    SB: Is your world view irrational?

    KM: —“Non-rational is a better term.”

    So you don’t think that all world views are irrational as you originally stated? Or do you mean that all world views except yours are irrational, which is merely non-rational.

    To say that a world view is rational means that it honors the rules of right reason, which include the law of causality, the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction and the principles of deductive logic, inductive logic, and abductive logic, that it follows evidence where it leads (and no where else), that it doesn’t contain contradictory themes, that it doesn’t attempt to remake the world according to personal preferences, that it cares about and seeks to find the truth about all things insofar as that is possible and, most important, that it recognize the fact that some truths are more important than others and that all truths should be placed in the proper hierarchical order.

    So when you said that “all world views are irrational, “you automatically included my world view in that category without even knowing what it is and you excluded your world view on the grounds that “non-rational” is a better term. Further, you did not even bother to define the essence of a rational world view. Do you understand why these things could be a problem?

  385. 385
    William J Murray says:

    SB said:

    Dissatisfaction with the current state or condition is not the only possible motive for creating the universe. It could be a desire to share something – Divine life, for example.

    That would be dissatisfaction due to not having other beings to share it with. IOW, God would have had to imagine that other beings could exist that could share in the “Divine Life,” and preferred that over not having such beings to share it with. Otherwise, why would God make that choice, if not when God compared the current situation to an option, was dissatisfied with the current?

    This would mean God was dissatisfied with a current state by comparing it to an imagined preferred stated and made the choice to design and create the Universe.

    I am sure that you have heard the term “creation ex-nihilo.” Just because something cannot come from nothing doesn’t mean that God cannot create something out of nothing.

    That’s actually what it means. You don’t a free logical absurdity just because “God” is involved. However, if God created the universe, there was not “nothing.” There was God. Unless there was something other than God at the time, there’s only one place the universe can be, and one “material” it can be made of.

    However, the bigger issue is that the creation of the universe and a timeless or eternal God appear to me to be irreconcilable, contradictory ideas. You can have one or the other, but not both. Either the universe was not created by God, or God is not eternal or “outside of time.”

  386. 386
    Karen McMannus says:

    StephenB: So you don’t think that all world views are irrational as you originally stated? Or do you mean that all world views except yours are irrational, which is merely non-rational.

    I clarified my intent after Barry corrected my usage. Please see my reply to you @375.

    when you said that “all world views are [non-rational], “you automatically included my world view in that category without even knowing what it is

    I’m pretty sure I know what it is and understand it. It incorporates non-rational/trans-rational elements, does it not? And necessarily does.

    To say that a world view is rational means that it honors the rules of right reason, which include the law of causality, the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction and the principles of deductive logic, inductive logic, and abductive logic, that it follows evidence where it leads (and no where else), that it doesn’t contain contradictory themes

    All that is fine within spacetime by brains doing Reason. You establish premises and you Reason from them. Non-rational/trans-rational elements are not subject to Reason. The conscious experience of color is non-rational/trans-rational. Timeless Roots are non-rational/trans-rational.

  387. 387
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM: Either the universe was not created by God, or God is not eternal or “outside of time.”

    This is a subject about the trans-rational. Given that, Reason can never grapple with it or “figure it out.” Because of that I don’t see the two as necessarily mutually exclusive. No one gets a free pass by merely invoking “God.” Given my experience, I approach the trans-rational this way: whatever it is, it is absolutely other. (In additional to calling it The Root, I call it the Black Box.) It’s not so much that it is “timeless”, but that the very idea of “time” doesn’t apply at all. It’s neither in time nor timeless. The very idea of time does not apply at all.

    This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but one may be able to intuit it if one considers that the conscious experience of color is “timeless.” It is trans-time. The nature of color has nothing at all to do with time. Our own perception of time can be altered using meditation or hallucinogenics such that one can experience “timelessness” of consciousness in a general way, outside of any succession of events. You can still perceive the succession of events, and yet experience that you are “above it all” in a timeless way that is different than a mere negation of time that one may call “timelessness.” It’s utterly divorced from the very concept of time like sound is utterly different than color.

    It is not merely “timeless”, it is trans-time. All consciousness exists in a trans-time ontology. It is a positive state, not a negation. More, not less. Our normal experience of time is the actual negation. Like everything else we experience in spacetime, via brains, it is an artificial dumbing down. Many people have experienced this. It is impossible to fully express with words, as with any conscious experience. But, as with many things, words can sometimes trigger a “koan” in people.

  388. 388
    jerry says:

    Two quotes appropriate to most of what has been said here. Some very obvious exceptions of clarity by mainly one person.

    If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein

    And

    Build me a tower 90 ft high so I can be safe when the bull starts to fly – street smarts.

  389. 389
    StephenB says:

    KM: —“All that is fine [rules of right reason] within spacetime by brains doing Reason. You establish premises and you Reason from them. Non-rational/trans-rational elements are not subject to Reason. The conscious experience of color is non-rational/trans-rational. Timeless Roots are non-rational/trans-rational.”

    A world view is rational if it conforms to reason’s standards. A world view is irrational if it does not. That doesn’t mean that one’s perceptions or experiences are reasonable or unreasonable -they just are what they are – but it does mean that the framework within which you interpret them should make sense and, as close as possible, reflect the truth about the real world – not simply your world. Is there an objective moral law? Does life have a purpose beyond my own personal goals? Do I have free will? What should be my attitude about suffering? What does it mean to love? To whom am I responsible? All the important questions about our life require a well-reasoned world view in order to understand and deal with them and form a rational plan for our life. Otherwise, we enter into a kind of self-centered subjectivism, which is, in itself, irrational. Much that I have read on this blog fall into that sad category.

  390. 390
    StephenB says:

    SB: Dissatisfaction with the current state or condition is not the only possible motive for creating the universe. It could be a desire to share something – Divine life, for example.

    WJM: —“That would be dissatisfaction due to not having other beings to share it with. IOW, God would have had to imagine that other beings could exist that could share in the “Divine Life,” and preferred that over not having such beings to share it with. Otherwise, why would God make that choice, if not when God compared the current situation to an option, was dissatisfied with the current?”

    Again, the motive would not be dissatisfaction. It would be generosity. As I wrote, love is effusive in the sense that it pours itself out in a selfless way. Operating from a spirit of dissatisfaction would indicate a sense of incompleteness, which would indicate a lack of perfection.

    —“If God created the universe, there was not “nothing.” There was God.”

    Right.

    —“Unless there was something other than God at the time, there’s only one place the universe can be, and one “material” it can be made of.”

    God doesn’t need any ready made raw materials to create something from nothing. There is no such thing as place if space has not yet been created.

    —“You can have one or the other, but not both. Either the universe was not created by God, or God is not eternal or “outside of time.”

    I submit that God must be outside of time in order to create time.

  391. 391
    William J Murray says:

    KM said:

    “… whatever it is, it is absolutely other. (In additional to calling it The Root, I call it the Black Box.) It’s not so much that it is “timeless”, but that the very idea of “time” doesn’t apply at all.

    If it is “absolutely other,” how is it you know where it fits in your worldview, and how to place it in a sentence describing your worldview? To assign it as being that which is doing anything, or providing anything, means you have identified it at least in general terms.

    What I assume you’re referring to when you say “absolutely other” is that you don’t know what it exists as or how it does what it does, but you have at least assigned that it does something significant – even necessary – in your experience, or providing for that experience to occur. In that sense, though, how is it any different from anything else? I don’t know what I am; my own consciousness is ineffable. I don’t know what experience is or how it occurs. I don’t know what other people are or how they exist; i don’t know what anything is or how anything exists.

    Logic isn’t about knowing what things are or how they work; it can’t be. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to know those things. Scientific theories don’t explain anything; they are models that describe behaviors of things in our experience. Logic is about accurately describing and predicting experience. Yes, it identifies phenomena we experience, but those are labels. Labels do not tell us what those things are, if they even “are” anything other than “an experience”, they (1) distinguish various aspects of my experience from each other, and (2) are essential in developing a model of how to direct our experiences.

    I’m a philosophical pragmatist, so what I’m interested in is generating as successful a model as possible for the purpose of directing my experience towards that which I prefer. So, at least in that limited and narrow sense, everything I label in my worldview as anything is a symbolic referral to a practical use, even if it is “I don’t know what X is, or how it works, but if insert action A into X in a certain way, B occurs.”

    It’s like operating a computer. I have no idea how any of it works or what it (ultimately) exists as; all I know is that I do action A and I get result B. Or, my own body; I have no idea how it works; but I do A (intend to raise my arm) and B happens (my arm rises.)

    If something doesn’t offer me a rational, practical means of understanding how to direct my experiences at least in a general “Do A, B happens (or is likely to happen,)” the concept is useless to me. So, whatever God or Root or The Black Box is, if it doesn’t provide me even a basic, logically predictable (even if just statistically significant) use, why even talk about it?

    Regardless of what “it” actually is, or how “it” actually works, if it isn’t part of a useful model of how to input A and get B, it’s an irrelevant commodity to even consider. Might as well just call it a random output generator.

    So, other than just enjoying talking about it, why bring up the conditions of God, or the time, space and material problems inherent in the idea of God “creating” anything? It’s because it leads to and helps me explore what I have found to be a more useful and practical conceptualization of God. This idea not only provides a logically successful framework for inputting A and getting B, it exponentially expands experiential potential by removing conceptual metaphysical constraints such as time, space, and some individual “God” being having arbitrarily generated narrow limits to experience by creating a particular me into a particular “universe.” From these challenging discussions over the years, I’ve “figured out” more useful ways to conceptualize these things.

    In my model, time, space, states and conditions are experiences. God did not “create” me or any universe; God is the resource through which I am exploring sequences of experiences out of infinite potential. That’s not my personal claim of fact; that’s what I’ve found to be a very useful model. If I argue it as a truth statement about the nature of reality here and there, that’s because I’m arguing from and for the IRT model.

  392. 392
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the record is there. KF

  393. 393
    Origenes says:

    / On WJM’s MRT: /

    WJM: “… everything possible exists: every possibility, every choice, every action, every perspective, every variation.”

    In any situation, the vast majority of possible choices, actions, perspectives and variations makes no sense whatsoever. Only a very small subset of these items make up for rational and/or emotional coherent behavior.
    If MRT is true we are most likely to find ourselves in a world where people behave totally unpredictable. The term “dependable” would have no meaning in relationship with persons. There would be no person with even a remotely fixed character. It would be a rare occasion if at a certain moment a person’s behavior would have an emotional or rational connection to his behavior immediately prior to that moment. Almost no one who planned a trip from A to B would reach his destination.

    But this is not what we find.

    Admittedly at times people do make some pretty irrational inconsistent choices. However, there is an obvious discrepancy between the behavior people exhibit in our world and the lunatic asylum on steroids which is to be expected under MRT.

  394. 394
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, pardon a note that simple for Einstein clearly included the tensor mathematics at the core of General Relativity. He is also on record as saying everything should be as simple as possible but not simpler than that. That is, there is what is simplistic, naive, wayward and prone to reject sound counsel — as the preface to Proverbs warns. Some go beyond into willful obtuseness or worse. A sounder approach is that of comparative difficulties, seeking explanations that are factually adequate, coherent and balanced in explanatory power, neither an ad hoc patch-work that grows as leaks are fixed [think, Ptolemaic system c 1500 on] nor so simplistic that it is forced to play the procrustean bed game. Sometimes the result is at five year old level, sometimes, it is at twelve year old level, sometimes 101 College course level, sometimes full-bore technical. Unfortunately, many of the objections to issues at focus need a significantly technical answer. KF

  395. 395
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said at 393:

    If MRT is true we are most likely to find …

    Out of the infinite potential behaviors you might experience from another person, what or who do you think is selecting and processing specific behaviors of that person into your experience? Hint: it’s not them.

    BTW, I’ve changed the labeling of the theory from MRT (mental reality theory) to IRT (idealism reality theory) for clarification purposes. Any time forward I refer to MRT is just a mistake of habit.

  396. 396
    kairosfocus says:

    SB,

    time as we experience is is connected to thermodynamic energy flows and the constraints implied by the Second Law, aka time’s arrow. Our world is spatial-temporal, causally connected and energy dynamics constrained. It is also governed by lawlike regularities, even randomness follows distribution laws. Causal connectivity points to contingency.

    Beyond, given distinct identity of any possible world, we must be able to mark W as different from neighbouring world W’, say W = W’ + A, or, using partitioned sets W = {A|~A} with ~A = W. Thus in W we find a simple unit A, a complex one ~A, so twoness, and the partition is empty, nullity. 0, 1,2. With von Neumann’s construction we can go on to counting numbers N, so the structured quantitative sets, N, Z, Q, R, C, R* etc. Mathematics thus emerges as the substance of the logic of structure and quantity, which we may study through cumulative exploration guided by logic starting with distinct identity; with non contradiction and excluded middle as close corollaries.

    Core logic, already, is showing its universal character and so is core mathematics.

    With possible worlds as sufficiently complete descriptions as to how this or another actual world is or might be, logic of being is involved (so, possible vs impossible and contingent vs necessary beings etc), and more.

    For us, duty to right reason involves acknowledging that, recognising duty to truth, our proneness to error, what can be deductively proved, what can be inductively supported, etc.

    I think, gaps in our education system render such things needlessly unfamiliar and even suspicious. That makes us — including the well certificated — unduly vulnerable to ideological and/or agenda driven manipulation through fallacies and propaganda techniques.

    KF

  397. 397
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: One of the things I recently argued turns on a question, what gives arguments persuasive traction and/or brings us to a sense of duty to pay heed?

    Where, a further observation is that the arguments of even objectors to such core principles ALSO inescapably appeal to same. Where, thirdly, I was particularly exercised by Cicero in De Legibus as he discusses law as the highest reason noting that moral prudence is a law and conscience [presumably, sound] is a law.

    I began to see a pattern.

    Once we are rational, responsible, significantly free enough to reason and to warrant conclusions that may justly be termed knowledge — mechanically acting, GIGO-driven computational substrates need not apply — our reasoning is morally governed. Governed by identifiable law built in and coeval with our human nature, though plausibly extending to other similarly rational creatures. So we come to first oughts, the first duties of reason.

    Duties, to truth, to right reason, to prudence [including, warrant], to sound conscience, to neighbour of like rational nature, so too to fairness, to justice, etc.

    Observe how objectors will inevitably appeal to such duties even as they try to set them aside or evade their force. A familiar pattern emerges, we see inescapability. So, if the duties are inescapable, then they are inescapably first truths, first moral truths at the heart of rationality. So, to, self-evident as the attempt to object instantly frustrates itself. (Of course, that does not mean that . . . being free creatures . . . we cannot defy duty and do what we ought not; just ponder how lying works by exploiting the ability to set up an apparently true but false and damaging narrative.)

    What I found interesting is the intensity of objections that arose, even as in case after case, objections implicitly appealed to exactly these first duties. I suspect, the prevalence of relativism, subjectivism and emotivism is involved, especially the failed moral truth claim that there are no moral truths, just values.

  398. 398
    jerry says:

    pardon a note that simple for Einstein clearly included the tensor mathematics at the core of General Relativity

    His sentence was as simple as you can get. He wrote books and scientific articles for the other audiences but for a typical conversation one has to be simple and get to the essence of an idea quickly..

    Nearly everything on this thread and a lot of other threads is gibberish. The only person not writing gibberish here is StephenB.

    There are two kinds of gibberish, non-sensical gibberish and incomprehensible gibberish. You excel at the latter. Nearly everyone is mocking you because of your incomprehensible gibberish that is convoluted at best. You write long extremely complicated and hard to follow posts. When criticized you add more incomprehensible things to your ideas.

    Your ideas have the great justification in that they tend to reflect the truth no matter how incomprehensible they are. But you should know they are mocking you for your style and lack of clarity.

    Every time you respond sto Murray, he laughs that he has gotten you again. He doesn’t believe the nonsense he writes as he constantly contradicts it in his other posts. So know he is baiting you and you are swallowing eagerly.

    Yes, simplicity is a necessity for communication and persuasion.

  399. 399
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, there are different audiences and contexts. The general comment was not intended to provide a degree of warrant. I am pointing out what was involved in simplicity, KF

  400. 400
    Karen McMannus says:

    WJM: If it is “absolutely other,” how is it you know where it fits in your worldview, and how to place it in a sentence describing your worldview?

    Imprecision in my use of language. I don’t mean “absolutely other” ontologically – after all, I call it, The Root, that is, the Root of everything, including you, me and the lamp post – but rather with regards to spacetime-grounded rational ideas such as time, objectification, relation, even mathematics. “Absolutely other” in the sense that not much can be said about it – perhaps nothing can be said about it – that flows from Reason. So it doesn’t do much good to try to “figure it out” via reason. That is not to say something cannot be known about it, but it comes directly and not via rational thought. For example, conscious experience of color is part of its nature, and color is not known by rational thought.

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