Gary Habermas recently updated his book Evidence for the Historical Jesus, and has a free PDF copy of it as well:
HT: Patrick Chan
Naturally, the sola scriptura advocate will deny all this. But the problem is that even the purportedly more modest, non-simplistic version of sola scriptura has no non-question-begging reason for denying it. The position is entirely ad hoc, having no motivation at all other than as a way of trying to maintain rejection of the various Catholic doctrines the sola scriptura advocate doesn’t like, without falling into the self-refutation problem facing the more simplistic version of sola scriptura. It is nothing more than an expression of one’s rejection of those Catholic doctrines, and in no way provides a rational justification for rejecting them.
At any one time a person has impressions of red, smooth, sweet, and dozens of others. To perceive a thing, these “sensations” must be combined. Note that no one ever sees a dog or a tree. A dog is not just black; he is also soft, fuzzy, and perhaps has an odor. But before one perceives a dog, he must choose black, fuzzy, and odor, combine them, and only then has he the perception of his pet.
Yet there is nothing in the single qualities that forces him to select these particular ones and discard the dozens of others he also has at the same time. Why does he not select the fuzzy, the sound B-flat, and the taste of Bacardi rum, all of which he senses at the same moment, and combine them into the perceived object? Is there anything in a person’s fifty or more sensations that compels the selection of these few rather than another few?
Usually people say that they combine the sensations emanating from the same place. Well, aside from the difficulty of locating the particular spot from which an odor, or sound, emanates, this answer presupposes a knowledge of space in general. Where, then, did the knowledge of space come from? Has anyone seen, smelled, or touched it? Kant tried to defend a knowledge of space against Hume; but he could not remain an empiricist to do so. He had to have a priori forms of the mind.
Roman Catholicism, as a religion, is a novelty of the late fourth century, but in order to be taken seriously she must at every opportunity claim Nicæan and ante-Nicæan origins for her novelties. Yet at the same time, there is nothing so foreign to Roman Catholicism as the Nicæan and ante-Nicæan Church. For this reason, while Roman Catholicism constantly attempts to lay claim to apostolicity, she must always at the same time distance herself from the practices and beliefs of the Church of the apostles. It is a love-hate relationship. Rome strives diligently to identify herself with the apostolic era, and then exhausts herself explaining why the Church of that era was so different from Roman Catholicism. What we find as we examine Rome’s vain striving for antiquity and continuity is an uncomfortable truth that lies beneath the surface of all of her posturing, a truth that can never be uttered aloud: She does not know whence she came. ...
To summarize, we simply recall that Rome’s attempts to find Papal Primacy in the 6th Canon of Nicæa is founded upon a gross anachronism. Pope Leo’s attempts to find impute Roman judicial primacy to Nicæa was wholly fraudulent. Bryan Cross’s attempts to place the primacy of the Three Petrine sees in Ignatius of Antioch and Canon 6 of Nicæa required that he impute a late-fourth century teaching retroactively upon the Early Church. Rome’s attempts to find Pontifex Maximus used in the Early Church is based upon Tertullian’s use of the title as an insult. The attempt to place the exhumation and veneration of martyr’s relics before Nicæa required that a late-fourth century practice be incorrectly placed in 312 A.D.. Pius IX’s attempts to impute the Immaculate Conception to the Early Church was found to be a terrible historical inaccuracy. Roman Catholic attempts to prove an ante-Nicæan belief in Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant required a misrepresentation of Hippolytus, and relied upon other documents known to be fraudulent and spurious. Roman Catholic criticism of the allegedly “anti-incarnational” worship of Protestants required evidence from the late fourth century and beyond, because the Early Church was apparently “anti-incarnational” in its worship, too, by Roman Catholic standards. The Sacrifice of the Mass cannot be found at Nicæa, and does not finally find an advocate until Gregory of Nyssa in 382 A.D.. Early proof of the perpetual virginity of Mary required a later modification to the Nicæan creed, and relied upon the words of Athanasius, 35 years removed from the Council. The allegation of the “continuity” of kneeling on the Lord’s Day since the first century required that a thousand years of explicit prohibitions of the practice be ignored, including Nicæa’s outright prohibition of the practice.
In other words, there is at least a 300-year gap between the apostolic era and Rome’s novelties. And importantly, that does not leave a lot of time for doctrines to develop. Rather, they seemed instead to emerge spontaneously. We noted above, in reference to Cardinal Newman’s “Development of Doctrine,” that he attributed the later emergence of Roman Catholic teachings to an unbroken, continuous process of doctrinal development since the apostolic era. But what we find when we examine the historical origins of Roman Catholicism is not a gradual, continuous emergence of the doctrines since the age of the apostles, but rather a sudden, step-wise emergence of error at the end of the fourth century.
And to cover up her later origins, Rome consistently, perpetually, instinctively and relentlessly lavishes her affections upon the Council of Nicæa.
But Nicæa stubbornly refuses to requite them.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:1-3).
At any one time a person has impressions of red, smooth, sweet, and dozens of others. To perceive a thing, these “sensations” must be combined. Note that no one ever sees a dog or a tree. A dog is not just black; he is also soft, fuzzy, and perhaps has an odor. But before one perceives a dog, he must choose black, fuzzy, and odor, combine them, and only then has he the perception of his pet. Yet there is nothing in the single qualities that forces him to select these particular ones and discard the dozens of others he also has at the same time. Why does he not select the fuzzy, the sound B-flat, and the taste of Bacardi rum, all of which he senses at the same moment, and combine them into the perceived object? Is there anything in a person’s fifty or more sensations that compels the selection of these few rather than another few?
But induction never arrives at universals. And induction is all that empiricism has. By induction a young ornithologist may observe a thousand black crows – not to repeat all the difficulties of seeing even one black crow – and on the basis of these thousand observations he is likely to assert “All crows are black.” Then the thousand and first crow is an albino. Induction never arrives at a universal. If so used, it is always a logical fallacy.
As for hearing, one should note that no one can ever hear a piece of music or a line of poetry. Our opponents, who insist on sensation as the origin of knowledge, cannot well object to an instance taken from experience. Augustine pointed out that to “hear” music or poetry, one must at least “perceive” the rhythm. But there is no rhythm in a single sensation. Even beyond perception it is necessary to have memory before a line of poetry can be recognized as poetry. A single sound has no rhythm or meter. The first sounds of a line must be remembered until the last sound occurs; note also that the first sound no longer exists when the last sound sounds. Therefore no one ever senses music or poetry. This Augustinian remark should satisfy any empiricist; but it is not exegesis.
Clearly the verb to see does not always, perhaps not even usually, refer to sensation.
In Greek the first word of 1 John designates the Word of Life, who in verse 4 is identified as Jesus Christ. Since the Epistle and the Gospel have the same author, it is permissible to connect this Word of Life with the Word of John 1:1. And no one should object if we equate this Word with him whom Paul calls “the Power of God” and “the Wisdom of God.” This second person of the Trinity is the subject of John’s declaration. Can this eternal Wisdom be heard with the ears, seen with the eyes, and handled with the hands? Is the second person of the Trinity an object of sense? The word hearing comes first; seeing comes second.
But now 1 John. As in the Gospel of John 12:40, here, too, there is no reference to empirical sensations. The object, namely, the Word of Life, the Reason and Wisdom of God, is not a physical object and cannot be literally seen and handled. He does not have a color, nor any degree of hardness, wetness, or any quality of touch. Explicitly in 1 John the object is the truth or proposition, “God is light.” This proposition cannot be seen in any literal sense. Therefore, since words are arbitrary signs, whose meaning is fixed by ordinary language, the hundreds of Scriptural verbs to which empirical apologists refer do not support the role of sensation which presumably – though they are never clear on what this role is – those apologists desire to give it.
If this task can be so performed, how can one verify the reliability of these propositions? The empiricists usually admit that hallucinations and dreams are unreliable.
When Scripturalists appeal to the Bible, how can they verify that they are reading the Bible rather than hallucinating or dreaming about a "Bible" that's not the real Bible?
Various dispersal routes might have been followed in the biogeographic history of a species.
Two places are joined by a corridor if they are part of the same land mass: Georgia and Texas, for example. Animals can move easily along a corridor and any two place joined by a corridor will have a high degree of faunal similarity.
• Filter bridges
A filter bridge is a more selective connexion between two places, and only some kinds of animals will manage to pass over it. For instance, when the Bering Strait was above water, mammals moved from North America to Asia and vice versa, but no South American mammals moved to Asia and no Asian species moved to South America. The reason is presumably that the land bridges at Alaska and Panama were so far apart, so narrow, and so different in ecology that no species managed to disperse across them.
Finally, sweepstakes routes are hazardous or accidental dispersal mechanisms by which animals move from place to place. The standard examples are island hopping and natural rafts. Many land vertebrates live in the Caribbean Islands, and (if their biogeography is correctly explained by dispersal) they might have moved from one island to other, perhaps being carried on a log or some other sort of raft.
First, why on earth should anyone take seriously the sola scriptura criterion in the first place? Why should we affirm “scripture alone” as opposed to “Paul’s epistles alone” or “John 3:16 alone” or “the Gospels alone” or “scripture plus the Church Fathers alone” or “scripture plus the first seven ecumenical councils alone” or “scripture plus the councils plus the teachings of the first ten popes alone” or “scripture plus the letters of Ignatius alone” -- or any of a number of other possible ways of gerrymandering the various sources of authority that the Church had traditionally recognized prior to Luther? And even if we did affirm “scripture alone,” why confine ourselves to the list of scriptural texts as Protestants would draw it up, rather than the canonical list as Catholics would draw it up? Just as Humean empiricists have no non-question-begging way of explaining why we should confine ourselves to “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact,” sola scriptura advocates have no non-question begging way of explaining why we should confine ourselves to exactly the texts they say are “scriptural,” rather than to more texts or fewer texts or other texts entirely.
Second, just as the Humean empiricist makes use of knowledge for which his principle cannot account (namely the truths of logic and metaphysics), so too does the sola scriptura advocate make use of knowledge for which his principle cannot account. For example, scripture alone does not give you a list of exactly which books count as scripture.
Grim's essay, in particular, reads like a veritable tour de force. He marshals a battery of arguments, appealing to the divine liar paradox, the paradox of the knower, Cantor's power set theorem, and essential indexicals to argue that it is impossible for there to be a known collection of literally all truths.
There are a number of different versions of set theory, each with its own rules and axioms. In order of increasingconsistency strength, several versions of set theory include Peano arithmetic (ordinary algebra), second-order arithmetic (analysis), Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, Mahlo, weakly compact, hyper-Mahlo, ineffable, measurable, Ramsey, supercompact, huge, and -huge set theory.
 On the iterative conception, the set-theoretic universe is stratified into a (well-ordered) sequence of "levels." Sets at lower levels are logically prior to sets at higher levels, and sets at higher levels depend on those sets from lower levels which serve as their members. Although the historical origins of this conception are somewhat obscure—Potter provides a nice discussion of the relevant issues in sections 3.2 and 3.9—the iterative conception has now become the standard picture for working set-theorists. Among other things, it provides a well-motivated way of avoiding the classical set-theoretic paradoxes. Since collections like "the class of all sets" or "the class of all ordinals" include sets from all levels of the hierarchy, they don't themselves form sets at any level of the hierarchy; on the iterative conception, therefore, they don't form sets at all.
On the philosophical side, this section is where Potter pays the most sustained attention to the notion of dependence which underlies the iterative conception of sets. The problems with this notion are really quite severe. Although mathematicians have a well-used stock of metaphors—temporal metaphors, modal metaphors, etc.—for explaining this notion, it's not at all clear that we can cash these metaphors out into (reasonably) respectable metaphysics.