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Logic & First Principles, 3: The roots of right reason and the power/limits of entailment

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Why is this topic important? (Why a series, now on no 3 (see 1 and 2)?)

Here at UD, the phrase “first principles of right reason” and similar ones (e.g. “reason’s rules”) have often come up. Others talk about “the laws of thought,” which in a post-Kant world hints of “the ugly gulch” between the inner world of mental, conscious phenomena and the outer world of things in themselves. In that context, we have often highlighted that evolutionary materialistic scientism is irretrievably self-referentially incoherent and have pointed out how this means it is necessarily false. We have also pointed to “self-evident” first truths and principles, including the principle of distinct identity and its immediate corollaries, non-contradiction and the excluded middle. There has even been a cross-connection to numbers and the core of Mathematics, understood as the [study of the] logic of structure and quantity.

All of this points to how central issues of [a] rational, responsible thought and [b] how this credibly accesses and gives us significantly true and well-founded knowledge about reality are. Yes, to the vexed, ongoing debates over ID. Yes, too, to the wider issue of defending rationality and responsibility (note, not rational-ISM) in our civilisation.

For, believe it or not, responsible rational freedom and our ability to credibly warrant knowledge about reality are under serious attack in our civilisation.

Exhibit A, let’s highlight and mark up Alex Rosenberg as he begins Ch 9 of his The Atheist’s Guide to Reality:

FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind.

Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. [–> grand delusion is let loose in utter self referential incoherence] Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates [–> bye bye to responsible, rational freedom on these presuppositions].

The physical facts fix all the facts. [–> asserts materialism, leading to . . . ] The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We [–> at this point, what “we,” apart from “we delusions”?] can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives [–> thus rational thought and responsible freedom]. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live.

Exhibit B, Sir Francis Crick — yes, that Crick — in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

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

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

Exhibit C, J B S Haldane’s longstanding warning from 1932:

“It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

How can we reply effectively?

For one, by documenting the fact as we just saw; this cannot responsibly be denied.

Next, we must point out that a material, GIGO-constrained computational substrate is utterly incapable of responsible, rational freedom. For, such a substrate only acts on mechanical necessity multiplied by equally blind chance, forming a dynamic-stochastic entity illustrated by:

That is, it is indeed incapable of the morally governed freedom to reason, infer and conclude beyond whatever bugs lie in its programs and architecture, driven by underlying mechanical necessity and/or chance. Yes, garbage in does not credibly lead to gospel out. Self-referential incoherence and delusion follow.

(But then, if one is wedded to Rosenbergian materialistic irrationality one will not take such seriously. A warning sign. And, if you disagree but are at least a fellow traveller on the evo mat scientism train, you owe us a substantial explanation as to why Crick-Haldane-Rosenberg collapse does not follow: _______ [And yes, that’s another pesky UD fill-in-the-blank please challenge.])

To save a long preliminary side-bar, let’s put up an alternative that gives us room to form a different concept, the Derek Smith Model for two-tier controller cybernetic loop entities, observing how there is a higher order supervisory controller that influences the lower and shares processing and memory resources:

The Derek Smith two-tier controller cybernetic model

 

In more detail, from Smith himself:

Let’s just suggest that at quantum level, plausibly influences may affect actualised outcomes. Perhaps, roughly analogous to how observer action is known to affect outcomes (and without inviting yet another side-debate. Let me just quote Scot Calef:

Keith Campbell writes, “The indeterminacy of quantum laws means that any one of a range of outcomes of atomic events in the brain is equally compatible with known physical laws. And differences on the quantum scale can accumulate into very great differences in overall brain condition. So there is some room for spiritual activity even within the limits set by physical law. There could be, without violation of physical law, a general spiritual constraint upon what occurs inside the head.” (p.54). Mind could act upon physical processes by “affecting their course but not breaking in upon them.” (p.54). If this is true, the dualist could maintain the conservation principle but deny a fluctuation in energy because the mind serves to “guide” or control neural events by choosing one set of quantum outcomes rather than another. Further, it should be remembered that the conservation of energy is designed around material interaction; it is mute on how mind might interact with matter. After all, a Cartesian rationalist might insist, if God exists we surely wouldn’t say that He couldn’t do miracles just because that would violate the first law of thermodynamics, would we? [Article, “Dualism and Mind,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.]

And, let us note from SEP on Consciousness, discussing Hameroff and Penrose:

It is argued that elementary acts of consciousness are non-algorithmic, i.e., non-computable, and they are neurophysiologically realized as gravitation-induced reductions of coherent superposition states in microtubuli . . . . Penrose’s rationale for invoking state reduction is not that the corresponding randomness offers room for mental causation to become efficacious (although this is not excluded). His conceptual starting point, at length developed in two books (Penrose 1989, 1994), is that elementary conscious acts must be non-algorithmic. Phrased differently, the emergence of a conscious act is a process which cannot be described algorithmically, hence cannot be computed. His background in this respect has a lot to do with the nature of creativity, mathematical insight, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, and the idea of a Platonic reality beyond mind and matter . . . . With his background as an anaesthesiologist, Hameroff suggested to consider microtubules as an option for where reductions of quantum states can take place in an effective way, see e.g., Hameroff and Penrose (1996). The respective quantum states are assumed to be coherent superpositions of tubulin states, ultimately extending over many neurons. Their simultaneous gravitation-induced collapse is interpreted as an individual elementary act of consciousness. The proposed mechanism by which such superpositions are established includes a number of involved details that remain to be confirmed or disproven.

All of this is to allow us to take our responsibly and rationally free, self-aware, self-moved conscious inner life sufficiently seriously to engage the questions of logic that are our primary focus. That is how far gone our civilisation is.

We also need to take the Kantian ugly gulch off the table, by way of yet another pointing out of self-referential incoherence.  F H Bradley, in Appearance and Reality:

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. 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.]

So, we are free to look at the key first principles of right reason.  A diagram will help:

Laws of logic in action as glorified common-sense first principles of right reason

Let’s suggest for concreteness, that A might be a bright red ball on a table:

. . . or hanging in the sky:

A cutaway view of Jupiter, showing the expected metallic hydrogen “shell” {in Pink), held to be a key factor in its magnetic field [HT: Wikipedia]
Clearly, such an A is part of the world W, and is distinct from the rest, ~A:

W = {A|~A}  . . . Law of [Distinct] Identity, LOI.

Now, ponder some x in W, i/l/o the partition shown by the pipe character:

No x in W can be A AND ~A, Law of Non-Contradiction [LNC].

Any x in W is A X-OR ~A, Law of the Excluded Middle [LEM].

LOI, being fundamental, needs to be expanded:

A is itself i/l/o its core characteristics (that give it distinction from whatever is ~A).

So, too, if two candidate entities x and y have no critical distinguishing characteristics, they are the same entity. The evening and the morning star are the same entity as the planet Venus. Likewise A distinct from ~A shows how two-ness is framework to any possible world, brings with it the system of numbers thus operations on them and so also the core of Mathematics. Mathematics in key part is at the core of reality. An inherently abstract system.

We must use distinct identity just to string symbols together to communicate, to think and to do Mathematics or Science. For example, as the Apostle Paul long since noted in writing to the Corinthians:

1 Cor 14:If even inanimate musical instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone [listening] know or understand what is played? And if the war bugle gives an uncertain (indistinct) call, who will prepare for battle?
Just so it is with you; if you in the [unknown] tongue speak words that are not intelligible, how will anyone understand what you are saying? For you will be talking into empty space!
10 There are, I suppose, all these many [to us unknown] tongues in the world [somewhere], and none is destitute of [its own power of] expression and meaning. 11 But if I do not know the force and significance of the speech (language), I shall seem to be a foreigner to the one who speaks [to me], and the speaker who addresses [me] will seem a foreigner to me. [AMP]

Language is key to rational intelligence, and is a key sign of it. Which of course points to the significance of the DNA code:

DNA is a string digital data structure which stores coded information in the specific sequence of bases, G/C/A/T, both for protein coding and for regulation/control

So also, we see how coded algorithms are central to protein synthesis, thus to cell based life:

Protein Synthesis (HT: Wiki Media)

No wonder, Crick observed in a letter to his son Michael on March 19th 1953 written to explain the discovery of the DNA double-helix:

Crick’s letter

And later, Bill Gates aptly observed:

Hubert Yockey looked at the wider communication system,

Yockey’s analysis of protein synthesis as a code-based communication process

. . . bringing to bear:

In short, we here recognise cases of alphanumeric code, thus language, functioning in a communication system and expressing step by step finite goal-oriented processes, i.e. algorithms. Such characteristics are manifest signs of intelligence at work.

We have of course already brought out how LNC and LEM are immediate corollaries of LOI, but it is worth mentioning such again.

Moreover, as distinct identity is not just a verbal label, it speaks to the logic of being, i.e. we see another bridge to the empirical and abstract worlds, which allows us to see how things may or may not be:

This already shows us how we can at least inquire about anything that is or is not, or may be, or is impossible of being, as to why such is the case. That sets up the weak form principle of sufficient reason and the linked principles of cause and effect. Again, POI pervades the matter.

Where also, we saw in 1 and 2 how inductive reasoning — argument by support rather than entailment — also pivots on POI.

POI is truly fundamental, logically and ontologically, so also LNC and LEM.

From these, we note how the logic of entailment essentially demonstrates (on whatever reason) why if premises p1, p2, . . . pn obtain, consequences c1, c2 . . . cm must follow by force of logical sufficiency; this is validity. So too, if the premises are true — accurately describing reality — the conclusions will also be true; we have a sound argument.

A consequence is, that p => q can be reversed, ~q => ~p so such arguments pivot on which premises are to be accepted and what consequences and comparative difficulties obtain for q and ~q.

Where, lastly, to assert p AND ~p => [anything], blowing up the system through the principle of explosion. That absurdity leads to the force of the point that to hold a contradiction is to hold a necessary falsity and to the basis of reduction to absurdity as a means of accepting the credibility of truly framework first principles.

In the case where absurdity is instantly evident to the understanding eye, we speak of self-evidence.

So, we see the outlines of logic and its power emerging. END

68 Replies to “Logic & First Principles, 3: The roots of right reason and the power/limits of entailment

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Logic & First Principles, 3: The roots of right reason and the power/limits of entailment

  2. 2
    EricMH says:

    People like to promote Eastern thought as an alternative where LEM is denied. However, they don’t realize LEM was outlawed by the emperor of the time so he could more easily control the masses 😀

    Raises questions as to why it is so trendy to deny LEM nowadays, and the denial’s coincidence with totalitarian leanings on campus…

    Also, if the LEM is false, then it is true 🙂

  3. 3
    Deputy Dog says:

    Wow. The Graphical Gish Gallop. I am impressed.

    Slander of a decent man who is being smeared in memory because he won open debates on the systematic gaps in the fossil record 300+:0 is not tolerated, kindly note: this is an accusation of piled up lies and fallacies. The logic involved in such an accusation as stated is equally flawed. Multiplying false claims simply opens one up to refutation in detail then dismissal of credibility. On the substantial issue above you clearly do not understand either the first principles of reason nor the import of code in DNA, something Crick — as cited (that’s his letter in his handwriting within a very short time of the discovery) — instantly understood. We are looking at code, thus also systems that process same. If you imagine that code systems can assemble themselves out of lucky noise and/or are written into the mechanical necessity of the physics of the cosmos, kindly state observed cases beyond 1000 bits worth _______ KF

  4. 4
    Deputy Dog says:

    In the chart of Possible Modes of Being or Not Being, it is missing a category for Fictional Beings.

    Those would be beings that exist only as concepts in a story or someone’s thoughts.

    Why are those left out?

  5. 5
    ET says:

    Deputy Dog:

    The Graphical Gish Gallop.

    To the simple minded, it would be.

    Why are those left out?

    They do not produce any testable effects.

  6. 6
    EricMH says:

    @DD, or one could interpret this as KF doing his best to communicate a difficult subject through both word and image.

  7. 7
    Deputy Dog says:

    ET:

    No testable effects? Are concepts not information? Does information not have an effect on the mind?

    You didn’t think it through, did you?

    Behold the power of the entailment.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    “What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate.” (the) Captain

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Deputy Dog:

    No testable effects? Are concepts not information?

    Are they?

    Does information not have an effect on the mind?

    Does it not?

    But anyway- Fictional beings would be in the realm of not possible of being. They would be beings that exist only as concepts in a story or someone’s thoughts.

    You the one who didn’t think it through or else you wouldn’t have posted such a thing.

  10. 10
    Deputy Dog says:

    ET:

    I can imagine lots of fictional characters that would be perfectly possible, and yet they do not exist.

    So, no, they do not belong in the category of ‘not possible’ beings.

    So the table is still incomplete. Just sayin’.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Deputy Dog:

    I can imagine lots of fictional characters that would be perfectly possible, and yet they do not exist.

    They are not possible. They only exist in people’s imagination. They will never be any more than that. They will never interact with the physical world. They will remain imaginary and as such not possible of being.

    Only the anti-ID people would think that imagination is real.

    Just sayin’

  12. 12
    Deputy Dog says:

    ET:

    If you actually read the table, it says “cannot exist in any possible world, as core characteristics stand in mutual contradiction”

    I can imagine, or write about, a human being that has normal human characteristics. Human characteristics are in no way mutually contradictory.

    Non-existence does not automatically imply logical impossibility.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Deputy Dog:

    I can imagine, or write about, a human being that has normal human characteristics.

    An imaginary human being is still that, imaginary. And that is regardless of whether or not you can write about it and give it human characteristics.

    Imaginary means they do not exist in any possible world.

  14. 14
    Deputy Dog says:

    ET:

    “Does not” and “Can not” are two different things.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    DD, kindly take note of the warning at 3 above. Slander will not be tolerated. KF

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Ok, then they are contingent beings. They would contingent on your imaginary scenario being carried out on some real world. Or here, in the future, if that is what the scenario calls for.

  17. 17
    Deputy Dog says:

    KF:

    Slander is defamation of character.

    Dead people cannot be defamed. https://www.minclaw.com/legal-resource-center/what-is-defamation/can-dead-people-defamed/

    Duane Gish died in 2013.

  18. 18
    Deputy Dog says:

    ET:

    Ok, now we are getting somewhere. After further consideration, I can agree that an imagined, nonexistent, but possible being would fit into the “contingent” slot on the table.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    DD, it seems you would be advised to take a look at possible world analysis; sufficiently complete descriptions of states of affairs. FYI, a contingent being would exist in certain worlds but — as dependent on external enabling factors — would not exist in others. An example I have used elsewhere is a unicorn which does not currently exist in this world (but likely will within 100 years) but as just noted could exist under certain states of affairs. As at now, unicorns are represented in fiction, but such fiction seldom sets out to describe a world in sufficient detail to see that it is coherently feasible. However, sufficiently advanced gene engineering and people willing to pay for such pets would show an alternative state of affairs that would have such animals. But they would doubtless be rather like fancy goldfish or the proverbial white elephant; unicorns with 4-ft horns would be most unlikely [not consistent with nutrition and the like, I suspect], but smaller rhino-like horns, perhaps actually hairs, might be much more possible. So, a unicorn as a breed of horse is a contingent possible being but not one that currently exists. Going beyond, you may find it advisable to notice the pattern of the table: possible vs impossible matched to contingent vs necessary for possible beings. A Necessary being will be found in any possible world, with the explanation being that it is framework for a world to exist. Serious candidate necessary beings — composite beings made up of independently existing parts need not apply for example — will either be impossible of being in any world or else will be actual. For example a square circle is impossible of being as proposed core characteristics are mutually incompatible. KF

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    DD, you are playing ill-advised rhetorical games. Defamation in the sense of trying to unjustly smear a person’s reputation and so poison the well can be done to the dead; who are not here to defend themselves. KF

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    Deputy Dog has been shown the exit.

  22. 22
    hazel says:

    Gish gallop
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Gish gallop is a technique used during debating that focuses on overwhelming an opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie C. Scott and named after the creationist Duane T. Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents of evolution.[1][2]

    Technique and counter measures

    During a Gish gallop, a debater confronts an opponent with a rapid series of many specious arguments, half-truths, and misrepresentations in a short space of time, which makes it impossible for the opponent to refute all of them within the format of a formal debate.[3][4] In practice, each point raised by the “Gish galloper” takes considerably more time to refute or fact-check than it did to state in the first place.[5] The technique wastes an opponent’s time and may cast doubt on the opponent’s debating ability for an audience unfamiliar with the technique, especially if no independent fact-checking is involved[6] or if the audience has limited knowledge of the topics.

    Generally, it is more difficult to use the Gish gallop in a structured debate than in a free-form one.[7] If a debater is familiar with an opponent who is known to use the Gish gallop, the technique may be countered by preempting and refuting the opponent’s commonly used arguments first, before the opponent has an opportunity to launch into a Gish gallop.[8]

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    Hazel, kindly see the note at 3 above. Where, too — and this is ironically highly relevant — Wikipedia for cause is regarded as an unreliable and biased source usable only as a source testifying against known interest on topics like this. There is a reason why schools and colleges will not accept it as a source and sometimes outright block it as a site. The primary effect of the attack the man technique used by NCSE et al is slander as the claimed rhetorical stratagem is (a) historically inaccurate and (b) would fail just as your citation of Wikipedia does not help your cause. That is, a few examples of real inaccuracy or deceit would suffice to discredit the presenter in a debate. That leads to noting (c) the point that Dr Gish’s 300+:0 debate record did not pivot on his YEC views but on his highlighting evidence of a telling fact, the systematic pattern of gaps in the fossil record. The same fact that at about the same time led to the proposal of punctuated equilibria by Gould et al. I suppose, “Wikipedia gallop” might help get the point through to you. Which, would at least be well-warranted as say a comparison of its article on ID and that on the same topic at New World Encyclopedia could show, likewise many biographical articles on people the ideologues who dominate its moderation system don’t like, etc. KF

    PS: I find it interesting that there has been but little focus on the primary point in the OP, the centrality of the principle of identity to reasoning, both as a matter of thought and of ontology. The attempt to undermine the categorisation of possible vs impossible and contingent vs necessary beings — which I simply tabulated (this is longstanding) — points to the gaps in our education system and to how we have by and large not been equipped to think in terms of core worldviews issues. Which are critical to having a balanced perspective on worldviews and linked cultural agendas. I don’t buy the excuse that ordinary people cannot understand these things at some basic level. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark education and the media (which provide the bulk of informal education).

    PPS: Let me add, the focus above on secondary and tangential objections seems to substantiate my point on Wikipedia gallops. For, the obvious intent we have repeatedly seen is to try to find even trivial objections to bring the overall credibility under question. This may not be your specific conscious intent, but it does raise the point. As it is, the secondary and tangential objections actually carry little weight.

    PPPS: It is also very interesting how the preliminary, ground-clearing points I put up on three exhibits and on F H Bradley’s reply to Kant, have drawn no comment. The issue of the inherent irrationality of evolutionary materialistic scientism is on the table, folks.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH,

    It is worth clipping your comment at 2:

    People like to promote Eastern thought as an alternative where LEM is denied. However, they don’t realize LEM was outlawed by the emperor of the time so he could more easily control the masses ????

    Raises questions as to why it is so trendy to deny LEM nowadays, and the denial’s coincidence with totalitarian leanings on campus…

    Also, if the LEM is false, then it is true ????

    Notice, how those who object to the first principles of right reason so seldom address the core: distinct identity and its import? Where, LNC and LEM are immediate corollaries of distinct identity.

    Notice, too, how objectors fail to notice how, just to communicate their objections, they depend crucially on distinct identity just to express thoughts in language? (As Paul of Tarsus so aptly pointed out long ago, in a book ever so many are wont to despise and dismiss.)

    That is, we are back at the reductio issue of observing that truly fundamental principles draw cogency from how attempted objectors find themselves implicitly relying on what they try to discredit. Such things, then, are not proved but show themselves to be undeniably true and therefore serving as start-points for demonstrations.

    I suspect, that Eastern thinkers, to communicate in language, are reduced to using distinct identity and its corollaries. Including the king you mention (fictional or real?).

    And yes, to try to deny LEM forces one to appeal to it.

    The core problem is not that such principles are not clear but that they swim upstream against a massive tide of culturally dominant irrationality.

    We are right back at the problem of cultural suicide by march of folly.

    KF

  25. 25
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    Very insightful OP. Well done.

    Thanks.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV, knowing you that is appreciated; paying back my intellectual debts. Any particular thoughts? KF

  27. 27
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    The whole article you wrote, supported with clarifying illustrations, is very instructive to me. But I particularly liked this part:

    We must use distinct identity just to string symbols together to communicate, to think and to do Mathematics or Science. For example, as the Apostle Paul long since noted in writing to the Corinthians:

    1 Cor 14:7 If even inanimate musical instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone [listening] know or understand what is played? 8 And if the war bugle gives an uncertain (indistinct) call, who will prepare for battle?

    9 Just so it is with you; if you in the [unknown] tongue speak words that are not intelligible, how will anyone understand what you are saying? For you will be talking into empty space!

    10 There are, I suppose, all these many [to us unknown] tongues in the world [somewhere], and none is destitute of [its own power of] expression and meaning. 11 But if I do not know the force and significance of the speech (language), I shall seem to be a foreigner to the one who speaks [to me], and the speaker who addresses [me] will seem a foreigner to me. [AMP]

    Language is key to rational intelligence, and is a key sign of it. Which of course points to the significance of the DNA code.

    I’m convinced that what you wrote should be part of a required course for all undergraduate studies at universities, regardless of the major specializations students are pursuing. We’re wasting our God-given potential capacity to reason logically. That’s a sad reality that is seen in all kinds of communications between people these days.
    Actually perhaps basic math logic should be taught in all levels of education starting at 7th grade. Young people should be trained in abstract logical thinking, but should also learn the importance of factual evidences for supporting scientific paradigms.
    Also the contextual meaning of words should be an important part of education.
    Perhaps if we lack the will to immerse ourselves into a deep analysis of a written text, we may end up refraining from understanding it well. Understanding a text doesn’t mean agreeing with it. But it’s important to understand the meaning of what is said, to determine if it makes sense.

  28. 28
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    I liked this part too:

    Laws of logic in action as glorified common-sense first principles of right reason

    Clearly, such an A is part of the world W, and is distinct from the rest, ~A:

    W = {A|~A}  . . . Law of [Distinct] Identity, LOI.

    Now, ponder some x in W, i/l/o the partition shown by the pipe character:

    No x in W can be A AND ~A, Law of Non-Contradiction [LNC].

    Any x in W is A X-OR ~A, Law of the Excluded Middle [LEM].

    LOI, being fundamental, needs to be expanded:

    A is itself i/l/o its core characteristics (that give it distinction from whatever is ~A).

    So, too, if two candidate entities x and y have no critical distinguishing characteristics, they are the same entity. The evening and the morning star are the same entity as the planet Venus. Likewise A distinct from ~A shows how two-ness is framework to any possible world, brings with it the system of numbers thus operations on them and so also the core of Mathematics. Mathematics in key part is at the core of reality. An inherently abstract system.

    These are basic concepts that should be part of a required course for all undergraduate majors.

    We’re having increasing problems communicating ideas clearly, in part because the tremendous deficit in basic logical thinking and in understanding of contextual meaning of terms.

    As you have stated more than once, ignoring these growing problems will lead us to a cliff.

  29. 29
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    here’s a history research challenge:
    can recent history miss important facts about world famous people?
    Let’s see… for example, in april 1977, in Moscow, a world-famous person met with many people and revealed to them historically relevant information… was that event recorded in history? Can we read about it today?
    I know someone who witnessed that event, but he still hasn’t seen any published information about what happened in that location that day. If this is possible with an event that took place 40 years ago, what about almost 2000 years back? If the availability of the information about the 1977 event was at least apparently controlled by humans, how could it be with information availability totally controlled by God?
    On several occasions Jesus didn’t let everybody know what He was doing, the information about His ministry in that area of the Middle East was selective. The same could have been with the resurrection, His appearance to some people. When He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus, the people who were next to Paul were unaware of what exactly had happened. The full revelation of that moment was kept hidden from them, though they were right there next to Paul. Why? God’s thoughts and ways are definitely not comparable to human thoughts and ways.
    Someone I know had a recent conversation with Christian friends and one of them said they couldn’t understand why many people don’t get the Gospel message which is so simple. Could it be that those who do understand it have been allowed by God’s grace?
    Not understanding something doesn’t make it invalid or untrue. Biological (functional informational) complexity is poorly understood at best, but it’s really true. There are important outstanding questions. When some of them get answered, new ones are raised. The reality is undeniable.
    Even when things don’t happen as we would expect them to occur, they are still real.
    Someone said that after believing Gen 1:1 and the first few verses of the Gospel according to John, he had no problem believing that a large marine animal swallowed Jonah and would not have any problem believing that Jonah swallowed a large fish either, if God so ordained.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV,

    Thanks for thoughts. Yes, I think Paul nailed it and we should appreciate it. Distinct identity is really the pivot.

    The musical instrument example even anticipates digital technology as notes are by and large discrete state in frequency (and beats in effect supply discretisation of time).

    I note, sometimes, clarity is irrelevant. The blind cannot see even what is clear. We have to identify and find out how to remove blinkers. Many of which are psycho-social. I think here, the Overton Window is helpful: we can be induced artificially to lock out things as beyond the pale.

    This means, the issue is shifting that window, opening up head-space.

    BTW, what happened in ’77?

    (I note, history pivots on credible testimony, documentation, record and chain of custody. As a result, we know C1 events far more substantially and credibly than say the period following collapse of the Roman Empire in the W.)

    I actually think we should learn the framework in High School, after first learning concepts like that passage in Paul much earlier.

    A six year old can learn basic music and understand Paul’s point: what makes a tune a tune, recognisable as fitting a given song? How could that relate to spoken words then writing? (I think it is ideology that blocks this, hence my clearing the ground remarks.)

    Where of course the tie-in with Math is powerful, too.

    W = {A|~A} brings in twoness, distinction which invites addressing number. Thence, von Neumann:

    {} –> 0

    {0} –> 1

    {0,1} –> 2

    . . .

    [thus, infinity]

    All sorts of vistas open up.

    My thought is, the above is helping to shift the window of tolerable possibilities by retooling us to think logically. That is how far gone we are today.

    As for configuration-based functionality that is sensitive to moderate perturbation (though there may be some tolerance) such is all about us. Text to gibberish is a matter of some noise. Same for audio and video. Machinery, is blatant — remember how objectors react to the 6500 reel, or to a refinery or to an architecture diagram of a PC etc. The von Neumann kinematic self replicator (and before, Paley’s Ch 2 self-replicating watch) show that we cannot just toss in reproduction, that too depends on FSCO/I.

    Frankly, I am not impressed with many objections, they smack of ideologically based selective hyperskepticism and Overton Window lockout games.

    The answer is to expose the fallacious nature of the objection on one hand and to lay out evidence on the other.

    Above, I pointed to DNA as exemplifying code, language [antecedent to cell based life!] and linked comms systems. The reaction was a bit of fallacious rhetoric pivoting on slander and guilt by invidious association. Those are Overton Window lockout tactics.

    I also notice the continued studious silence on the ground-clearing exposure of utter irrationality at the heart of evolutionary materialistic scientism. The facts are on display, acting as though they are not there will not make them go away.

    So, we see signs that the window may be beginning to shift.

    KF

  31. 31
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    You asked: “BTW, what happened in ’77?”

    I know a person who attended a crowded meeting, with the head of the government of the largest Caribbean island, at the theater of this university in April ’77. In that event the world-famous individual spoke about his recent trip to a few countries in Africa and the presence of his troops in the south west of that continent and he mocked the US intelligence agencies for mentioning -on their VoA radio programs around the world- grossly erroneous numbers of his troops, claiming that the largest number the VoA had mentioned wasn’t even half of the real number of his troops sent to the SW African country, because the US logistics couldn’t compare to his own logistics. The mocking provoked a standing ovation of the excited anti-american crowd present in that auditorium.
    Apparently the details of that event are not easily available to historians today. That’s why I called it a challenging history exercise. However, maybe they are but I haven’t been able to access them.
    If that event happened less than half a century ago, how can we demand that all the details about events that took place almost 20 centuries ago associated with a famous person be available to us today from multiple sources? Specially that the famous person we are talking about was selective about who could know about him and his actions at that time.
    I know a personal witness of the above described event in ’77 Moscow and know his personal testimony, which I trust because he has repeated that story for years without changing its core narrative. I haven’t been able to confirm that story online, but perhaps I did not search it well or it’s in printed documents that have not been indexed by the search engines yet.
    At this point you’re reading a story based on an eyewitness’ personal story. I believe it’s true, but you don’t have to. Do you see what I mean?
    BTW, if you ever find any additional information associated with this story, please let me know. You may use my email address recorded in my UD account. Thanks.
    Did I answer your question? I hope I did.

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV, what you describe is consistent with a lot of bits and pieces I ran across over the years in this region, including eyewitnesses to associated phenomena. The timeline is consistent with known conflicts and with the geostrategic picture of the time. I am also aware that said world-famous personality could and did make secret overseas trips. (BTW, neat way to avoid getting search engines to pick up.) Tying back in, we have a known duty to be reasonable and responsible in warrant rather than selectively hyperskeptical. The NT narrative of the correction of Thomas — who had known Jesus, knew those who were witnesses and knew the mystery of the week (the “rifled” tomb) — speaks to that. When I see people in effect demanding to ride a time machine and become witnesses themselves while they are simultaneously scanting evidence in front of them on many topics, that is a warning sign. For example, notice how for about 60+ years we have known DNA has coded information in string data structures, which is a huge sign. Observe the reaction above early in the thread. Diagnostic. KF

    PS: Note April 1977 list, second item (the 19th) here. This gives contemporary support regarding both Africa and the geographic location of the Uni you refer to. The first item for said month indicates a 40 day tour of ten countries completed just before the 10th. Routing through the geographic location you imply would make sense for a return trip, and summary of observations on the ground in Africa would also make sense. Broad corroboration that makes the report more credible. I also note that given global superstar celebrity status, I have known people for whom meeting with him or presence at an event with a speech by him was or is a life high-point recalled in vivid detail. Parallels to Passover AD30 practically beg to be drawn.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    I’m impressed by the quick deep research you’ve done on the information I told you. I’m looking at the links you have provided.
    BTW, back at your post 30 you asked a simple question that clearly indicates a very careful and attentive reading of the text, something that I’ve noticed seems missing these days in the communication between people.
    You inquired about the details associated with a ’77 story I had just mentioned in one of my comments (specifically in 29). At 30 you asked: “what happened in ’77?”
    Note that here in this website we see many discussion threads where a number of critics argue stubbornly though apparently without noticing important clarifying information given in the text they are criticizing so passionately. Why is that? Human nature?
    PS. while I look at the linked information you provided, did you see any specific reference to the meeting at the MSU?
    I’ll let you know if I find something about that. Would you mind writing to my email so that we continue our off-topic chat offline? Thanks. -Paolo V.
    PSS. We may continue discussing this here, as long as I don’t reveal the identity of the person I know, who witnessed the mentioned meeting at the MSU.

  35. 35
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    The links you provided point to very interesting historical information. I rarely read anything on that topic or history in general, though.
    Still couldn’t find any reference to the meeting at the MSU L. Is it recorded somewhere? Why isn’t it available online?
    Anyway, this could be an example to illustrate how some historical events associated with famous people can be hidden from historians or at least inaccessible to most of us, but some eye witnesses could testify personally about such events and have sufficient credibility.
    This is in reference to the post-resurrection encounters of Jesus with some people in the Middle East. Some folks claim that the lack of additional records make the case weak. But the April ’77 MSU meeting case tells the opposite.
    Is this a valid comparison?

  36. 36
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    KF:

    DD, you are playing ill-advised rhetorical games. Defamation in the sense of trying to unjustly smear a person’s reputation and so poison the well can be done to the dead; who are not here to defend themselves. KF

    You and Barry should remember that policy when someone says something derogatory about Charles Darwin.

    You wouldn’t want to be branded as hypocrites, would you?

  37. 37
    PaoloV says:

    Pater Kimbridge,

    Can you point at the specific text where something derogatory has been said about somebody?
    I’m against such a practice. It’s unacceptable. If I did it, I deeply regret it and apologize for such a mistake.
    However, I don’t see anything wrong about criticizing ideas in respectful terms, giving reasonable arguments.
    Criticizing ideas without judging the promoters of the ideas.
    Only God can judge each of us. Actually, He will at the end of our lives. But I’m God’s creature, hence don’t have any authority to judge anyone.
    Please, indicate where you saw such a derogatory comment about a person, so I can comment on it.
    Thanks.

  38. 38
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    PaoloV

    I am not accusing anyone of anything. I am merely expressing a hope that the administrators of this forum will be even-handed in applying moderator policy.

    I have no reason to defend Darwin, but I often see on forums like this, statements about how he encouraged racisim, eugenics, communism, moral relativism, etc.

    I don’t see why Darwin’s theories or communications are fair game while Gish’s are not.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    PK, generally, there has been no denigration of Darwin the man to discredit his argument; which would be pointless. Just the opposite, it has been taken seriously as a scientific case and answered through the 150+ years of onward science — e.g. cf. OP. What came up in this thread was just the opposite, attempted smearing of a man’s reputation in order to dismiss his track record of 300+:0 in debates over 20+ years on the systematic gaps in the fossil record (which, recall led Gould et al to create punctuated equilibria at about the same time) and then to use the smear to dismiss others with the same taint, equally without addressing substance. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV, sometimes, we need to recognise that sources teach us something that is in no other source. So, the issue is to corroborate and evaluate credibility, then learn from the witness or even the reporter. In the case above, we knew that there were several conflicts in Africa that Moscow’s Gurkhas were deployed to about that time. It would not be astonishing for there to be a trip that went to Africa and Moscow, and as this was six months after an airliner was blown up off Barbados, high security thus secrecy would have been involved. (I put two and two together and infer it is plausible the commercial flights were being used to transport troops part of the way, preparatory to crossing the Atlantic; suddenly, a strange terrorism incident of my youth makes a lot more sense.) The monitored Caribbean sources show a tour of 40 days and 10 countries at just the right time and indicate completed by April 10, 1977. The defector’s diary indicates that the principal specifically visited Moscow and was involved with conflicts in Africa, including a diplomatic flareup as an ally had tried to subvert another African country, which terminated relationships with the Caribbean country. That may well have crimped the logistical pipeline; the diary has been made public. Going further, the substantial claim made indicates a piece of military information that could be shared with a friendly audience but would be preserved from the US, which would have multiplied by 2 and adjusted their estimation process. All of this fits in with how the Caribbean and Central America were fast becoming a theatre of operations in the Cold War. This involved inter alia, a civil war in my native land. So, we see how true testimony fits with and illuminates surrounding circumstances — an application of the LNC in an inherently inductive context of argument by support rather than logical demonstration. KF

    PS: The claimed want of corroboration of the NT accounts not only fails to address the known rise of the Christian movement along the eastern littoral of the Mediterranean and spreading from there (Morison has some food for thought!), but there are close enough records. I have often used Paul Barnett’s summary:

    On the basis of . . . non-Christian sources [i.e. Tacitus (Annals, on the fire in Rome, AD 64; written ~ AD 115), Rabbi Eliezer (~ 90’s AD; cited J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1929), p. 34), Pliny (Letters to Trajan from Bithynia, ~ AD 112), Josephus (Antiquities, ~ 90’s)] it is possible to draw the following conclusions:

    1] Jesus Christ was executed (by crucifixion?) in Judaea during the period where Tiberius was Emperor (AD 14 – 37) and Pontius Pilate was Governor (AD 26 – 36). [Tacitus]
    2] The movement spread from Judaea to Rome. [Tacitus (–> cf. Ac)]
    3] Jesus claimed to be God and that he would depart and return. [Eliezer (–> Cf. Mk 2:1 -11, Ac 1:1 – 8, 2:31 – 38 etc)]
    4] His followers worshipped him as (a) god. [Pliny (–> A huge issue, cf. Jn 1:1 – 14, Col 1, Heb 1, Phil 2:5 – 11 i/l/o Isa 45:17 – 23)]
    5] He was called “the Christ.” [Josephus (–> thus, Messiah of the Hebraic prophetic tradition, hence cf 1 Cor 15:1 – 11, 2 Pet 1: 12 – 21 etc)]
    6] His followers were called “Christians.” [Tacitus, Pliny (–> Cf. Ac.)]
    7] They were numerous in Bithynia and Rome [Tacitus, Pliny]
    8] It was a world-wide movement. [Eliezer]
    9] His brother was James. [Josephus (–> this points to the issue of the incarnation)]

    [Is the New Testament History? (London, Hodder, 1987), pp. 30 – 31. Cf. McDowell & Wilson, He Walked Among Us (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993) for more details . . . ]

    See here for more, responding to Imran Khan, PM of Pakistan and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

    Besides, the NT docs are long since authenticated as sources in their own right so we have every epistemic right to learn from them.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    Pav,

    Further digging, here at a rarity, a cuban web site:

    http://www.fidelcastro.cu/en/v.....urope-1977

    [ . . . ]

    Soviet Union
    Moscow

    April 4
    • Arrival at the airport of Vnukovo.

    April 5
    • Speech delivered at a dinner hosted in his honor, at the Faceted Chamber of the Grand Kremlin Palace.
    • Official talks held with Leonid Ilich Brezhnev, president of the USSR.

    April 6
    • Continuation of the official talks.
    • Meeting with Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

    April 7
    • Visit to the Central Museum of the Soviet Army.
    Speech delivered at the University of Lomonosov.
    • Meeting with Luis Corvalan, secretary-general of the Communist Party of Chile.

    KF

  42. 42
    PaoloV says:

    KF @39: Agree.

    KF @40 & 41:

    I’m really impressed by your deep knowledge and skills to research historical events and bring them to light from a valid perspective in such a short time.

    I have no choice but to fully remove my hat and nod down. I’m indebted to you for the interesting information you have written. I still have to process some details you mentioned.

    Also this shows that I was not searching well enough to find more information about that case. However, I never doubted the story because it came from a source I trust. But what you found adds veracity to the story.

    I have to read carefully (study) your citations in reference to the NT.

    Thanks.

  43. 43
    PaoloV says:

    KF,

    Some critics claim that as a Jew, Jesus would not have established a “blood drinking and flesh eating” ritual at the Last Supper, because such a practice would be against Jewish tradition and rules. Isn’t that a gross misinterpretation of the NT and even the OT? They were drinking wine and eating bread, not blood and flesh.
    Would you comment on this, considering the significance of the elements of Exodus (deliverance) in light of the new covenant of salvation?
    BTW, as a Jew, Jesus told the self-righteous folks that the Sabbath was made for men, not the other way around. The self-righteous got the scriptures wrong in many cases. Some modern critics seem to attack a straw-man produced by their imagination. Perhaps the new critics are doing the same. Attacking their own imaginary version of the scriptures.

    Thanks.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV,

    They err for not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.

    As a certain C1 Jew famously said (in another context, of controversies of the day on resurrection of the dead etc but the problem applies).

    The central feature of the Passover meal was a sacrificed lamb, and there was unleavened bread also. In Jn 6, we see that he used the metaphor and that it offended many who walked away from him. So, his willingness to cut across culture and tradition, is clear. In Jn 1, he was introduced as God’s lamb, taking away the sins of the world; a clear reference to the Passover lamb esp. i/l/o the sprinkle the blood over the door and deliverance from the final plague then from slavery in the OT account of the birth of Israel as an independent nation by way of God-instigated slave uprising [1 Cor 10].

    In that context, as Messiah, speaking to fulfillment of the prophetic element, we see how bread and wine are used as a symbol of the whole. Onward, baptism in water is both identified with death, burial and resurrection of Jesus [Rom 6] and is connected to passage through the Red Sea as deliverance (by contrast with Pharoah’s pursuing chariot-corps).

    So, we see the continuity and the fulfillment of prophetic elements, with reference to the new covenant that is often pointed to in the OT.

    The new, will bring in new elements, acts and insights. For example, there is an element of light from Israel enlightening the gentiles. Where, notoriously, our civilisation rests on the synthesis of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome. Which synthesis was clearly led by Paul of Tarsus, your namesake.

    Of course, for 2,000 years, there have been misunderstandings, arguably willful twistings in order to make over the top accusations against Christians seem plausible, and worse. For example, in the Pliny Correspondence which gives the first external attestation of Christian meetings, they speak of a ritual meal, with INNOCENT food. This highlights by implication the grossly false and malicious accusation of cannibalism, a blood libel.

    Similarly, early apologetical writings expose accusations of incestuous orgies and the like. Nero’s accusation of treasonous arson targetting Christians as a generally despised group fits right in and highlights his character as sinner in chief implied in Rom 1.

    Setting up and knocking over a maliciously loaded, irresponsible strawman caricature had life and death consequences 1700 – 2000 years ago. Those who indulge in strawman and scapegoating tactics today that target the Christian Faith would do well to ponder the matches they are playing with.

    KF

  45. 45
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    I appreciate your insightful commentaries. Also the link to your own website, which is very informative. I’m still processing the information you have cited or linked to. Thanks.

  46. 46
    ET says:

    Pater K:

    You and Barry should remember that policy when someone says something derogatory about Charles Darwin.

    Apples and oranges. Dr Gish got his reputation wrongly, just by showing how pathetic the case for evolutionism really is. By doing so he gained the venomous ravages of evos world wide.

    Charles Darwin, on the other hand, did not get his reputation wrongly. Everything said about him is based on facts.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, notice — crickets from objectors on the self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialistic scientism (note the clips in the OP!) and on the LOI, LNC and LEM? KF

  48. 48
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in the 4 gospels.
    Could it be that he had access to the Roman governor?
    Couldn’t he had obtained other permits to let some Christ’s followers be near the cross?
    Being a wealthy businessman, couldn’t he have bought an empty tomb not far from the cross?
    Any comments on this?
    Thanks.

    PS. Merry Christmas and a blessed new year to you and your family.

  49. 49
    PaoloV says:

    Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in the 4 gospels.
    Could it be that he had access to the Roman governor?
    Couldn’t he have obtained other permits to let some Christ’s followers be near the cross and to visit the tomb at early hours?
    Being a wealthy businessman, couldn’t he have bought an empty tomb not far from the cross, specially to bury Jesus?
    Is there anything that could have prevented any of that from happening?
    I would like to read your always insightful comments on this.
    Thanks

  50. 50
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    I see you’re busy in other discussion threads. I can wait for your comments here. Thanks

  51. 51
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    Back on the information you posted @41, about the meeting at the MSU on April 7, 1977, the source seems very associated with the people related to the given event. Could that be analogous to the NT as the reference to the resurrected Christ’s appearances to a number of eyewitnesses?
    We haven’t seen any historical reference to the Moscow event that is not somehow associated with the people involved in the organization of that event. Is this correct?
    However, I know a trustful eyewitness of that event, which is not related to the main stakeholders of that meeting.
    The information you cited could be false. Nothing can guarantee that it’s true. However, I knew about it from an eyewitness that I can trust.
    The event could have taken place even if we don’t hear about it from any source unrelated to the event. That means that you could go ahead and tell others about it, but you won’t have guarantee that it’s true, except my story about a trusted eyewitness I know.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV,

    sorry, I did not notice your comments.

    The idea of a wealthy Jew buying a tomb near Jerusalem for his use is very reasonable, it also suggests piety. That a person of wealth sat on the Sanhedrin is reasonable, and likewise that he would be associated with Nicodemus in being at least sympathetic to a country teacher shaking up a blatantly corrupt establishment.

    That such a person could get permits to be near the execution to give moral support is reasonable. However I think John Wenham has a fairly serious argument that we are speaking of a circle of close family. Mary, her older sister and her nephew John, with others. Women, not being a significant military threat. John too seems to have been connected.

    I have heard stories of Joseph as an uncle or the like and of merchant trips to what is now England but don’t take them seriously.

    Turning to April 1977, I think the Russian diarist would not have been connected. I also think the wider connexions of the 40 day trip and the proxy wars in Africa (and Central America, soon Jamaica and Grenada) tend to give that wider coherence that lends plausibility. Of course, Cuban official sources are connected.

    The issue on matters of fact is — I here follow Greenleaf — is not whether things are possibly wrong, but whether it is reasonable on balance of evidence to form moral certainty.

    Your personal witness would be good enough to secure moral certainty.

    On the resurrection, we have 500 witnesses that could not be broken, and millions more since transformed. That speaks.

    Grace at Christmas,

    KF

  53. 53
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Rev. 22:21

  54. 54
    PaoloV says:

    “The issue on matters of fact is — I here follow Greenleaf — is not whether things are possibly wrong, but whether it is reasonable on balance of evidence to form moral certainty.”

    Excellent point. Thanks.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV: I think the following clip from my B/N on selective hyperskepticism may help:

    >>In exercising such reasonable faith relating to matters of fact [e.g. the credibility of the NT accounts], perhaps the list of time-tested, common-sense based principles of wise reasoning worked out in Courts of Law over the centuries and collected by Simon Greenleaf in his assessment of the testimony of the evangelists — cf. also his Evidence, Vols I, II and III [these, at Gutenberg] — may prove useful:

    1] THE ANCIENT DOCUMENTS RULE: Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise. [p.16.]

    2] Conversance: In matters of public and general interest, all persons must be presumed to be conversant, on the principle that individuals are presumed to be conversant with their own affairs. [p. 17.]

    3] On Inquiries and Reports: If [a report] were “the result of inquiries, made under competent public authority, concerning matters in which the public are concerned” it would . . . be legally admissible . . . To entitle such results, however, to our full confidence, it is not necessary that they be obtained under a legal commission; it is sufficient if the inquiry is gravely undertaken and pursued, by a person of competent intelligence, sagacity and integrity. The request of a person in authority, or a desire to serve the public, are, to all moral intents, as sufficient a motive as a legal commission. [p. 25.]

    4] Probability of Truthfulness: In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is a sufficient probability that it is true. [p. 28.]

    5] Criteria of Proof: A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence. By competent evidence is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. [pp. 28 – 9.]

    6] Credibility of Witnesses: In the absence of circumstances which generate suspicion, every witness is to be presumed credible, until the contrary is shown; the burden of impeaching his credibility lying on the objector. [p. 29]

    7] Credit due to testimony: The credit due to the testimony of witnesses depends upon, firstly, their honesty; secondly, their ability; thirdly, their number and the consistency of their testimony; fourthly, the conformity of their testimony with experience; and fifthly, the coincidence of their testimony with collateral circumstances. [p.31.]

    8] Ability of a Witness to speak truth: the ability of a witness to speak the truth depends on the opportunities which he has had for observing the facts, the accuracy of his powers of discerning, and the faithfulness of his memory in retaining the facts, once observed and known . . . It is always to be presumed that men are honest, and of sound mind, and of the average and ordinary degree of intelligence . . . Whenever an objection is raised in opposition to ordinary presumptions of law, or to the ordiary experience of mankind, the burden of proof is devolved on the objector. [pp. 33 – 4.]

    9] Internal coherence and external corroboration: Every event which actually transpires has its appropriate relation and place in the vast complication of circumstances, of which the affairs of men consist; it owes its origin to the events which have preceded it, it is intimately connected with all others which occur at the same time and place, and often with those of remote regions, and in its turn gives birth to numberless others which succeed. In all this almost inconceivable contexture, and seeming discord, there is perfect harmony; and while the fact, which really happened, tallies exactly with every other contemporaneous incident, related to it in the remotest degree, it is not possible for the wit of man to invent a story, which, if closely compared with the actual occurrences of the same time and place, may not be shown to be false. [p. 39.]

    10] Marks of false vs true testimony: a false witness will not willingly detail any circumstances in which his testimony will be open to contradiction, nor multiply them where there is a danger of his being detected by a comparison of them with other accounts, equally circumstantial . . . Therefore, it is, that variety and minuteness of detail are usually regarded as certain test[s] of sincerity, if the story, in the circumstances related, is of a nature capable of easy refutation, if it were false . . . . [False witnesses] are often copious and even profuse in their statements, as far as these may have been previously fabricated, and in relation to the principal matter; but beyond this, all will be reserved and meagre, from fear of detection . . . in the testimony of the true witness there is a visible and striking naturalness of manner, and an unaffected readiness and copiousness in the detail of circumstances, as well in one part of the narrative as another, and evidently without the least regard to the facility or difficulty of verification or detection . . . the increased number of witnesses to circumstances, and the increased number of circumstances themselves, all tend to increase the probability of detection if the witnesses are false . . . Thus the force of circumstantial evidence is found to depend on the number of particulars involved in the narrative; the difficulty of fabricating them all, if false, and the great facility of detection; the nature of the circumstances to be compared, and from which the dates and other facts to are be collected; the intricacy of the comparison; the number of intermediate steps in the process of deduction; and the circuity of the investigation. The more largely the narrative partake[s] of these characteristics, the further it will be found removed from all suspicion of contrivance or design, and the more profoundly the mind will rest in the conviction of its truth. [pp. 39 – 40.]

    11] Procedure: let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with surrounding facts and circumstances.[p. 42.]

    Here, we supplement: J W Montgomery observes of the NT accounts — and following the McCloskey and Schoenberg framework for detecting perjury — that the modern approach to assessing quality of such testimony focusses on identifying internal and external defects in the testimony and the witness:

    (a) Internal defects in the witness himself refer to any personal characteristics or past history tending to show that the “witness is inherently untrustworthy, unreliable, or undependable.”

    (b) But perhaps the apostolic witnesses suffered from external defects, that is, “motives to falsify”?

    (c) Turning now to the testimony itself, we must ask if the New Testament writings are internally inconsistent or self-contradictory.

    (d) Finally, what about external defects in the testimony itself, i.e., inconsistencies between the New Testament accounts and what we know to be the case from archaeology or extra-biblical historical records?

    –> In each case, the answer is in favour of the quality of the NT, as can be observed here.

    12] The degree of coherence expected of true witnesses: substantial truth, under circumstantial variety. There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them, and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred. [p.34. All cites from The Testimony of the Evangelists (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics, 1995). The First Easter’s timeline gives a good case in point. You may find it profitable to also examine Edwin Yamauchi’s review and W L Craig’s remarks on the resurrection vs the current version of the hallucination hypothesis. Craig’s critical assessment of the Jesus Seminar is also well worth the time to read it.]>>

    KF

  56. 56
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    Excellent material to review. Looking into it. Thanks.

  57. 57
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    Let me make this clear again for the anonymous readers of this discussion thread.
    Within the context of the OP central topic “Logic and First Principles”, the NT criticisms based on lack of independent historical records prompted me to present the case of a personal testimony of an eyewitness of an event associated with a world-famous person. In that case, independent historical records of the event don’t seem available. You did find a reference to that event provided by sources associated to the protagonists of the event. You also found external records (Soviet historian’s diary) mentioning some information that at least partially strengthened the possibility that the mysterious event did take place as the eyewitness said.
    All this tells me that certain criticisms seem like knee-jerk reactions to certain apparent problems in a story, without applying “logic and first principles”, either intentionally or unintentionally.
    That was one issue.
    Another issue was the misinterpretation of a story taken out of context, like the case of the alleged “drinking blood and eating flesh” at the last supper.
    Again, another instance of disregarding “logic and first principles”.
    A third issue was the criticisms based on wrong assumptions, like in the case of some details about the tomb location and condition, as well as the alleged conflicts with the proximity of certain persons to the cross or their visit to the tomb. The lack of attention to the potentially revelatory information about the influential wealthy man that appears in the narrative again points to gross disregard for applying “logic and first principles” when it’s required.
    PS. I just wrote this on a handheld device while rushing to leave my home to visit my children and grandchildren. Forgive my errors. Thanks

  58. 58
    PaoloV says:

    BTW, you clarified all three above issues with very insightful commentaries.

  59. 59
    PaoloV says:

    Just noticed a new website format?

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV, yes, and I am missing edit and comment numbering. KF

  61. 61
    gpuccio says:

    KF:

    Yes, I very much miss comment numbering too. And the 30 days popular, maybe.

    However, the general feel seems more elegant. And a very good novelty is the “View all posts by” feature.

  62. 62
    gpuccio says:

    KF:

    Edit seems to be there.

  63. 63
    hazel says:

    I posted the following on the Platonic Thread, but wjm won’t allow me to post there, so he deleted them.

    hazel says: December 26, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    The lack of post numbers is a fatal flaw, I think.

    hazel says: December 26, 2018 at 2:36 pm
    Also, I don’t like quotes in italics. That ought to be easy to change if someone was interested.

    hazel says: December 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm
    No quick link back to the top of the page.

    There is a link back to Home in the lower left corner.

    hazel says: December 26, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    No note about number of comments at the very top of the post.

    hazel says: December 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm
    Also, I’d like to see a clearer distinction between posts, so when one scrolls one can more easily see when the next post appears on the screen

  64. 64
    Latemarch says:

    Agree very much with this.

    hazel says: December 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm
    Also, I’d like to see a clearer distinction between posts, so when one scrolls one can more easily see when the next post appears on the screen

    Also agree that the posts should be numbered.

    Overall I like the form of the main page and this post is just a test of the formatting and editing features.

  65. 65
    hazel says:

    And I am referring to comments also. To summarize my suggestions.

    1. Comments should be numbered
    2. Comments should be delineated more clearly from each other
    3. Quotes should not be in italics

  66. 66
    PeterA says:

    Regarding the format, agree with most previous observations, perhaps adding that the OPs should show (before selected) only the first few lines. That was the old format. Thus the scrolling through pages could go faster?

  67. 67
    PeterA says:

    BTW, on the science topics, professor Yukiko Masashita said at an interview before her presentation, that often scientists don’t dictate what to research, but the data set the direction. It seems like this professor doesn’t care much about the dogmatic establishment?

  68. 68
    ET says:

    Comments do not need a number

    Quotes in italics are fine

    The number of posts in one thread is irrelevant

    The new format is fine the way it is

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