Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cartoon cosmology

A certain apostate blogger, who has only had one idea in his entire life, has been known to allege that Christian theism is committed to a cartoonish worldview.

Be that as it may, it is gratifying to know that secularism is immune to such an accusation:

http://www.simulation-argument.com/

72 comments:

  1. Point well taken.

    Modern philosophers, with large and idled brains, can waste their days idolatrizing and pontificating on the ideas of Larry and Andy Wachowski, just as easily as modern theologians can waste their days idolatrizing and pontificating on the ideas of Saul of Tarsus and John Calvin.

    Lucky for them, there are men who still actually use their brains to feed them, shelter them, and build their computers and internet so they can sit around and stroke their egos with the idea that they know the “truth”.

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  2. The simulation argument is in fact the creation of the evil super-villain Monty Bristow, and neitzsche only a simulation created by Monty Bristow.

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  3. My dear Niet, I think the word is 'addled' not 'idled'. The problem with simulation theories is that one could not possibly know whether one was in a simulation without the intervention of an outside agent, vide The Matrix. To know the nature of reality, we, who are held in reality, would have to be told the truth by someone from outside. No-one has appeared to this chap, done something that can't be done, like sealing his mouth or passing through walls, etc.

    In other words, because the hypotheisis in question cannot be tested, because it is a blind guess, it's a complete waste of time.

    As an historian, I search for truth, not 'the truth.' The latter is beyond the reach of mere mortals, requring the intervention of an outside agent, who would have to tell us what that truth was.

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  4. Steve,

    That sword cuts both ways. Thanks for exposing the fact that you can't KNOW you aren't in a simulation.

    Or that your "God" isn't simply an advanced alien race?

    Or that you're even here.

    Brilliant move.

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  5. Apollyon,

    You're behind the curve. I've already been over this ground with Daniel Morgan.

    One could be a natural theologian in the Matrix. A brain-in-a-vat could be a natural theologian.

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  6. Steve,

    "The Destroyer" is behind the curve?

    Crap!

    :)

    I have not read thru all of your previous blogs...I'd be interested in reading your entry that shows you KNOW you are not following an advanced alien race, instead of "God."

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  7. My dear Niet, I think the word is 'addled' not 'idled'.

    Hiraeth,
    I’m not sure how I became dear to you, but I assure you, the word idled, as in ‘serving no serious purpose, or frivolous and a waste of time’ is what I intended.

    The problem with simulation theories is that one could not possibly know whether one was in a simulation without the intervention of an outside agent, vide The Matrix.

    Yes. Much like the problem with countless theories of theologians, thus the parallel I mentioned in my comment.


    To know the nature of reality, we, who are held in reality, would have to be told the truth by someone from outside. No-one has appeared to this chap, done something that can't be done, like sealing his mouth or passing through walls, etc.

    To even begin to know a tiny bit about the nature of reality, one would actually have to do the hard work of science, something philosophers and theologians are typically loath to do. They much prefer to fantasize and invent a reality that suits them.

    In other words, because the hypotheisis in question cannot be tested, because it is a blind guess, it's a complete waste of time.

    I think you meant ‘hypothesis’, perhaps ‘hypotheisis’ is a Freudian slip that refers to the kind of speculations made by Saul of Tarsus or John Calvin or the bloggers of this site.


    As an historian, I search for truth, not 'the truth.'

    Really? Well Mr. Historian, please tell me about the truth of what was happening on this planet 100 million years ago, and how you came to know it.

    The latter is beyond the reach of mere mortals, requring the intervention of an outside agent, who would have to tell us what that truth was.

    Right. An immortal, outside agent like Saul of Tarsus or John Calvin?

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  8. Apollyon,

    1. see here:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/08/brainy-natural-theologian-in-vat.html

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/08/brainy-natural-theologian-in-vat.html

    2. Also, you have your own burden of proof to discharge.

    nietzsche,

    1. Talking about the "hard work of science" is no answer to the scenario under consideration. You're begging the question.

    2. Not to mention "real" scientists like John D. Barrow who consider this to be a genuine challenge.

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  9. Steve,

    I read thru the post and comments....but didn't see you address you how KNOW that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race.

    How do you KNOW this?

    I'm probably just too simple minded to grasp the info in the link you provided, I apologize.

    Also...what burden do I need to discharge?

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  10. Nietzsche,

    ..one would actually have to do the hard work of science..

    You mean like this... http://www.verumserum.com/?p=546
    :)

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  11. Apollyon said:



    Steve,

    I read thru the post and comments....but didn't see you address you how KNOW that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race.

    How do you KNOW this?

    I'm probably just too simple minded to grasp the info in the link you provided, I apologize.

    ******************************************

    If you can't spell out where my argument broke down, then the ball is still in your court.

    ******************************************

    Also...what burden do I need to discharge?

    *******************************************

    Both the theist and atheist/agnostic have to vindicate their respective positions in relation to the challenge of a Matrix-type, brain-in-vat scenario.

    It's Bethrick who brought this up in the first place. I'm merely answering him on his own level.

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  12. Steve,

    I guess we're talking past each other.

    I'm not talking 'matrix/vat,' I'm simply asking if you know that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race.

    Do you know this?

    How does my position on any matter relate to this question?

    If you don't know this, a simply "I don't know" will suffice.

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  13. Steve Hays: "It's Bethrick who brought this up in the first place. I'm merely answering him on his own level."

    John Frame confirms the cartoon universe analogy when describing the relationship between his god and the universe as he imagines it:

    Perhaps the best illustration... is this: In a well-crafted novel, the author creates a world in which events take place in meaningful causal relationships to one another. Each event has an intelligible cause within the world of the novel. But of course each event also has a higher cause, in the author's mind. Normally, such an author will try to maintain the orderly causal structure of his created universe. He may, of course, also work "without, above, and against" that causal order when he is pleased to do so. Usually, however, when an author disrupts the causal order of his novel, the narrative becomes less satisfying. Critics acuse such an author of bringing things about by a deus ex machina. (Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought, p. 82)

    Then there's Poythress:

    Dorothy Sayers acutely observes that the experience of a human author writing a book contains profound analogies to the Trinitarian character of God.15 An author’s act of creation in writing imitates the action of God in creating the world. (Why Scientists Must Believe in God: Divine Attributes of Scientific Law)

    Regards,
    Dawson

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  14. My dear Niet, you became dear because that's how I address people. As for idled for addled, I assure you, that's a cheap shot. I couldn't resist it.

    You are right on the Hypothesis. This has to do with the fact that I'm working on my thesis, hence the slip.

    On the question of history, I think you might want to check. 100 million years ago is known as 'prehistory' on the gounds that there was then no history. The historical method cannot retrieve facts which were not recorded in some way.

    Finally, on the 'An immortal, outside agent,' I never used the phrase 'immortal'. The example from fiction I had in mind was the girl in the Matrix. It would not take an immortal to reveal things, as I recall (and I only saw the film once), it was possible for the wallahs who entered the Matrix to die.

    However, in the real world, the chap I had in Mind was Jesus Christ. Paul was guided by the Holy Spirit, while Calvin would have admitted that he knew nothing beyond the Bible.

    In other words, what I was noting was that you avoid the point of Christianity, which is that someone HAS crossed the barrier to communicate the truth and illustrated that with signs that no-one who originated within the system could exhibit.

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  15. Oh, and Paul experienced being 'taken into heaven', in his case, therefore, he was at some point taken out of the system, as were Daniel and St. John the Divine. Thus while I'll grant you Calvin as an insider, I won't, on reflection, grany you Paul.

    Apollyon, as to your 'advanced alien race' question, I think it's up to you to provide the burden of proof that God is NOT what He has declared himself to be. After all, is not one presumed to possess good intentions unless it is proved otherwise?

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  16. Hiraeth said:

    "Apollyon, as to your 'advanced alien race' question, I think it's up to you to provide the burden of proof that God is NOT what He has declared himself to be. After all, is not one presumed to possess good intentions unless it is proved otherwise?"

    I don't believe in 'God' in the first place, so it would be difficult for me to prove that something that I don't believe exist is something else I don't believe that exists.

    However, Steve (and you?) believe that God exists, so how would YOU prove that He isn't simply an advanced alien race?

    Is it not a fair question?

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  17. Asserting "God" only moves the Matrix or "brain in a vat" problem back a step. It doesn't resolve it; in fact it merely complicates it. Now you have both brain-in-a-vat and god-in-a-vat to figure out.

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  18. Apollyon said:



    Steve,

    I guess we're talking past each other.

    I'm not talking 'matrix/vat,' I'm simply asking if you know that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race.

    Do you know this?

    ******************

    For one thing, we'd have to account for the alien race the same way need to account for the human race.

    All you've done is to push the question back in step: the theistic proofs are still in play even if you relocate the scenario from terra firma to the ET domain.

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  19. Notice how Bethrick is unable to rise to the challenge of the counter-example I've given.

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  20. Apollyon's proposition about an alien race is a good illustration of what happens when you reject the truth--i.e. you'll believe anything. "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie..." (Rom. 1:25a). I think the secret message is wrapped up in those cornfield mazes, you know, those big symbols you can only fully see from an airplane that no one can explain. If we could only decode those symbols...Oh well, truth is so elusory

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  21. Steve,

    so you can't answer my simple question?

    "How do you know that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race?"

    Do you know this, or not?

    As humans, we are at a certain point in time and development. An advanced alien race could be so far ahead of us that we would not be able to 'account for' them with our current knowledge or science.

    They could make you 'feel' spiritual, perform miracles, leave behind holy books, and all of the rest.

    So, again, can you answer the question or not? Do you know?

    (hint...its OK for you to simply admit you don't know...I'd expect that is where the 'faith card' comes in)

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  22. Apollyon wrote:
    ---
    Steve,

    I read thru the post and comments....but didn't see you address you how KNOW that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race.
    ---

    How do we know this? Because the concept of "God" requires certain attributes. For the sake of argument, let's just stipulate that there's an unknown X out there that explains why we are here now. X must have certain attributes with it due to the fact of the existence of something.

    1) X must exist. This does not mean X must exist physically, but it must exist in some manner otherwise there would be no existence at all. X is the ground of all existence.

    2) To avoid an infinite regress, X must be self-existent (e.g. "Where did the world come from?" "Matter." "Where did matter come from?" etc.).

    3) If X is self-existent, then X must be eternal. X cannot cause itself, for then it must exist before it exists to create itself. Likewise, nothing else can cause X for that would mean something exists before the grounds of existence are formed in the first place. Therefore, X is eternal (i.e. outside the realm of time).

    4) X, as it relates to existence, must be immutable (i.e. "unchangable"). If X, the grounds of existence, ever ceased to be there would be no existence. Therefore, that aspect of X must be unchanging in order for existence to always be.

    5) X must be present wherever existence is. If X is the grounds of existence, then there cannot be existence apart from X. Therefore, X is omnipresent (it exists wherever existence is).

    I'll stop there for now, but as you can see, if there's an "alien race" that is eternal, self-existent, immutable, and omnipresent then why call it "an alien race" instead of "God"?

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  23. Apollyon said:

    Steve,

    so you can't answer my simple question?

    "How do you know that your God isn't simply an advanced alien race?"

    **********************

    I've answered this question on several occasions now.

    I'd add, though, that there is no onus on the Christian to disprove something that his secular opponent doesn't believe in either.

    Since, presumably, you don't believe this hypothetical to be true, then why do you act as if the burden of proof is on the Christian to disprove it when you don't even believe it yourself?

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  24. My dear Niet, you became dear because that's how I address people. As for idled for addled, I assure you, that's a cheap shot. I couldn't resist it.

    Your pretentious posturing and sophisticated sense of humor are indeed impressive.


    You are right on the Hypothesis. This has to do with the fact that I'm working on my thesis, hence the slip.

    ahhh...of course, that must be it.


    On the question of history, I think you might want to check. 100 million years ago is known as 'prehistory' on the gounds that there was then no history.

    I checked. No where can I find a magical line that demarks history from ‘pre-history’, but then I never understood when we changed from being just modern to post-modern.
    Alas, you must forgive me, I’m not familiar with the ivory tower semantics of academia.


    The historical method cannot retrieve facts which were not recorded in some way.

    Interesting. I’m quite certain that in your college library, you will find that the paleontology history of this planet, and specifically that of the Cretaceous Period, has been ‘recorded’ in some way.

    But perhaps since it wasn’t recorded by the scribes of a first century messianic cult it doesn’t interest you?

    Perhaps since it contradicts the creation stories of some ancient Jewish preists, it can't be 'true' history?

    Finally, on the 'An immortal, outside agent,' I never used the phrase 'immortal'.

    You used the phrase; ‘we mere mortals’ to make a point about those of us who can’t discern the truth of reality without some unnamed outsider telling us what it is. That's not a position I agree with.


    The example from fiction I had in mind was the girl in the Matrix. It would not take an immortal to reveal things, as I recall (and I only saw the film once), it was possible for the wallahs who entered the Matrix to die.

    I’ll have to take your word for that, and that it has some relevance.


    However, in the real world, the chap I had in Mind was Jesus Christ.

    And what was it this chap revealed 'in the real world', about the universe or the world that wasn’t known at the time? I must have missed that.

    In fact, what did this 'chap' reveal about anything that he actually wrote himself?

    It seems your knowledge of this chap, and what he revealed, is all the hearsay of authors who didn't even know him personally.


    Paul was guided by the Holy Spirit

    That’s nice. I’m guided by a GPS navigation system. And the difference is, I can actually show it to you, unlike Paul, or perhaps your mysterious invisible 'spirits' that are 'guiding' you some 'where'.

    … while Calvin would have admitted that he knew nothing beyond the Bible.

    Really? I think he knew quite a bit more, but then, I’m not a ‘historian’ like you.

    Perhaps you want to check your 'facts' again, using your historical methods?


    In other words, what I was noting was that you avoid the point of Christianity, which is that someone HAS crossed the barrier to communicate the truth and illustrated that with signs that no-one who originated within the system could exhibit.

    And that truth is what exactly?

    What ‘truth’ of reality did Jesus of Nazareth impart that was not known by others of his time or before his time?

    Did he correct people’s misunderstanding of their universe’s cosmology? De he correct their ignorance of their planet’s geography or history? Did he explain the truth about physics, chemistry, or biology to them? Did he teach people techniques to improve their boat building, fishing, agriculture or health care?

    No…it seems he allegedly told some pithy parables, did some magic tricks, upset certain religious leaders of his day, was executed, and then allegedly appeared to a handful of his followers, and quickly 'flew' off into the sky, never to be seen again.

    How convenient.

    You'll have to excuse my skepticism, I've not examined these 'facts' using the historical 'method' you are well trained in.

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  25. Thanks CD for the response....

    CD said:

    How do we know this? Because the concept of "God" requires certain attributes. For the sake of argument, let's just stipulate that there's an unknown X out there that explains why we are here now. X must have certain attributes with it due to the fact of the existence of something.

    It seems to me that humans have come up with this idea of 'God requires certain attributes.' However, this is a very loaded statement, and should be made provisionally, based on our limited knowledge.


    1) X must exist. This does not mean X must exist physically, but it must exist in some manner otherwise there would be no existence at all. X is the ground of all existence.

    OK, X = Universe

    2) To avoid an infinite regress, X must be self-existent (e.g. "Where did the world come from?" "Matter." "Where did matter come from?" etc.).

    X = Universe. X is eternal.

    3) If X is self-existent, then X must be eternal. X cannot cause itself, for then it must exist before it exists to create itself. Likewise, nothing else can cause X for that would mean something exists before the grounds of existence are formed in the first place. Therefore, X is eternal (i.e. outside the realm of time).

    The Universe is eternal, and did not require a cause.

    4) X, as it relates to existence, must be immutable (i.e. "unchangable"). If X, the grounds of existence, ever ceased to be there would be no existence. Therefore, that aspect of X must be unchanging in order for existence to always be.

    According to human understanding...but even if "God" = X....God is clearly not unchangable, if we accept the Bible as His Word.

    5) X must be present wherever existence is. If X is the grounds of existence, then there cannot be existence apart from X. Therefore, X is omnipresent (it exists wherever existence is).

    The Universe encompasses all, so it meets this requirement.

    I'll stop there for now, but as you can see, if there's an "alien race" that is eternal, self-existent, immutable, and omnipresent then why call it "an alien race" instead of "God"?

    Or why call X "God" and not "The Universe?"

    Steve,

    So you don't know.

    thanks.

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  26. Steve says:

    I've answered this question on several occasions now.

    not directly. Simply say "I know God is not an advanced alien race" or "I don't know this."

    I'd add, though, that there is no onus on the Christian to disprove something that his secular opponent doesn't believe in either.

    Fair enough. 1 Peter begs to differ though.

    Since, presumably, you don't believe this hypothetical to be true, then why do you act as if the burden of proof is on the Christian to disprove it when you don't even believe it yourself?

    Because its a POSSIBLE scenario. And if you are correct, its not possible. So, I simply would like to see you prove you 'know' this. If you can. If you can't, that's fine.

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  27. Apollyon,

    The aliens came to Steve in a dream, and they told Steve they weren't aliens, and were really the Christian gods of John Calvin.

    I'm sorry you missed where he covered that.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Apollyon said:
    ---
    It seems to me that humans have come up with this idea of 'God requires certain attributes.' However, this is a very loaded statement, and should be made provisionally, based on our limited knowledge.
    ---

    As a quick aside: Why SHOULD such an idea be made provisionally? You see, you're asserting an aweful lot on your end without bothering to prove any of it all, while in the meantime you try to hold me to a higher standard than you yourself hold to for your own beliefs....

    This is a two way street though. If I have to support my worldview, you have to support yours. If you get to assume your worldview, then I get to assume mine.

    Deal?

    You said:
    ---
    OK, X = Universe
    ---

    But what is the universe? How are you defining what the universe is? You give me no definition and instead are trying to get me to assume something.

    Your worldview is based on a bunch of presuppositions that you've never considered looking at. You have no reason for them, and in fact you don't even realize you have them.

    Continuing, you said:
    ---
    The Universe is eternal, and did not require a cause.
    ---

    I take it you do not hold to the Big Bang theory then.

    You said:
    ---
    According to human understanding...but even if "God" = X....God is clearly not unchangable, if we accept the Bible as His Word.
    ---

    But this merely shows that you didn't read what I wrote. I wrote: X, as it relates to existence, must be immutable (emphasis added).

    By the way, that brings up another interesting factoid. I wonder how you view quantum mechanics given your idea that the universe is eternal and, as it relates to existence, immutable.

    Do you believe in a quantum leap, where a subatomic particle leaps in and out of existence?

    Or have you even considered that aspect when you're saying the universe = X?

    You said:
    ---
    The Universe encompasses all, so it meets this requirement.
    ---

    This is, indeed, a very naive definition of the universe.

    Does the universe encompass all possibilities, or merely all actualities? Is there more than one universe? Is the immaterial part of the universe or not (i.e. If I imagine a red ball, is the red ball part of the universe? If so, can you demonstrate it for me by opening up my brain and getting out the red ball? If not, then isn't there something that is NOT contained in the universe?)

    I don't think you've thought this through very well yet, Apollyon.

    Finally, you said:
    ---
    Or why call X "God" and not "The Universe?"
    ---

    Because what is commonly defined as "the Universe" does not fit X. However, if you were to redefine the term "the Universe" to mean X, then it would be equivalent.

    However, you haven't even begun to do the necessary homework to establish the theoretical (and necessary) X as the Universe.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Niet, ole chap, thanks, I've never had anyone compliment my pretentious style of posting before, least of all a chap posing as a noted philosopher. But let's deal with things, shall we, old boy?

    'I checked. No where can I find a magical line that demarks history from ‘pre-history’, but then I never understood when we changed from being just modern to post-modern.'

    So, 'prehistory,' my dear man, is before recorded history. The historical method involves trying to understand the past through using the written records of the past. No written record, no history. You're either into archaeology or paleontology. On 'modern' and 'post-modern', these are more philosophical and literary concepts than divisions of time.

    'Interesting. I’m quite certain that in your college library, you will find that the paleontology history of this planet, and specifically that of the Cretaceous Period, has been ‘recorded’ in some way.'

    See my differentiation of history from palentology. They are two differnt disciplines, the latter is a science, the former a humanity.

    'You used the phrase; ‘we mere mortals’ to make a point about those of us who can’t discern the truth of reality without some unnamed outsider telling us what it is. That's not a position I agree with.'

    And I can imagine a special mortal as well. As I said, there is no NECESSITY that the agent be immortal. And I sort of gathered you didn't agree with me. The point with the 'Matrix' example, however, is that the simulation would be so good that it would be impossible to tell that it wasn't real. Thus, engaging with the example I noted that the only way one could work it out was if someone came in and demonstrated the truth.

    'In fact, what did this 'chap' reveal about anything that he actually wrote himself?'

    More than Socrates?

    'It seems your knowledge of this chap, and what he revealed, is all the hearsay of authors who didn't even know him personally.'

    Oddly enough, old boy, John and Matthew DID know him personally, while Luke spoke to those who did. It seems it is you that is retailing heresay in this case. I'm going with the earliest historical accounts.

    'That’s nice. I’m guided by a GPS navigation system.'

    Really, always? I suppose that's one way to compensate for absence of mind.

    'Really? I think he knew quite a bit more, but then, I’m not a ‘historian’ like you.'

    Maybe I should have been more exact, I was referring to Calvin the theologian in regard to his interpretation of scripture. Obvious Calvin knew more than that, like the location of his bedroom. And Latin.


    'Did he correct people’s misunderstanding of their universe’s cosmology? De he correct their ignorance of their planet’s geography or history? Did he explain the truth about physics, chemistry, or biology to them? Did he teach people techniques to improve their boat building, fishing, agriculture or health care?'

    No, because he was addressing things eternal, not things temporal. Your priorites are not the priorities of things eternal. Mind you, he does seem to have shown the disciples a way to improve their catch.

    Continuing with the 'Matrix' analogy, what good would it be to show someone the truth about something that exists only in the system when one day the system will be wound up. Jesus could have demonstrated all of the above, but He did not come to make the world a better place, not primarily, anyhow, but to make a way for man to come to God.

    'then allegedly appeared to a handful of his followers'

    Five hundred makes a pretty big hand!

    'You'll have to excuse my skepticism, I've not examined these 'facts' using the historical 'method' you are well trained in.'

    Oh, I'll excuse your ignorance, I'm sure you can't help it.

    The amazing thing is that if some Christian were to reject Darwinism on the grounds of not having examined the 'facts' using the scientific 'method' he would be denounced as a slop-browed fundy, but you, despite your appropriation of the name of a philosopher feel perfectly able to make snide comments about someone of the grounds that they possess some academic training, apparently feeling that this reflects credit upon the name of atheism.

    The tone of anti-intellectualism is startling.

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  30. Oh, and Nietzche, prove to me you're not a simulation created by the evil Monty Bristow?

    You cannot appeal to your feelings, as they may well have been created by the simulation.

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  31. Does the universe encompass all possibilities, or merely all actualities?

    How would you know the difference between these two?


    Is there more than one universe?

    I don't know. There certainly are countless gods though.

    Is the immaterial part of the universe or not

    What immaterial?
    Oh you mean those things that are nothing, but that you can magically detect with your nothing detector?

    (i.e. If I imagine a red ball, is the red ball part of the universe?

    No, but your brain that can imagine is part of the universe.


    If so, can you demonstrate it for me by opening up my brain and getting out the red ball?

    Is that how you think your imagination works? Perhaps a primer in basic neurology is in order.

    If not, then isn't there something that is NOT contained in the universe?)

    If I open up your skull and cut out certain parts of your brain, but still leave you alive in a vegetative state, do you think you'll be imagining any more red balls?

    Sorry, but you're not smart enough to understand the universe or how your brain works, best stick to the theology of Calvin.

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  32. Niet, ole chap, thanks, I've never had anyone compliment my pretentious style of posting before, least of all a chap posing as a noted philosopher. But let's deal with things, shall we, old boy?

    It appears I’ve progressed from a simple ‘dear’ to an ‘ole chap/old boy’. I can’t wait to see what pompous British term of endearment I’ll be greeted with next.


    So, 'prehistory,' my dear man, is before recorded history. The historical method involves trying to understand the past through using the written records of the past. No written record, no history. You're either into archaeology or paleontology.

    Archeology and paleontology are studying the history of both our species and the planet. Perhaps you don’t realize that our species and planet has been around much longer than our various written languages?

    The ‘historical method’ is just a single set of techniques used to investigate historical documents and their details. It is but a small, and biased sliver of the evidence that supports our species complete history.


    On 'modern' and 'post-modern', these are more philosophical and literary concepts than divisions of time.

    They are arbitrary labels used by pompous people to divide periods of time into neat little categories, just like your use of the silly bifurcation ‘pre-history’ and ‘history’.


    They are two differnt disciplines, the latter is a science, the former a humanity.

    Thanks, I’m aware. I’m guessing you’re uncomfortable outside your humanities section of the library..


    'In fact, what did this 'chap' reveal about anything that he actually wrote himself?'

    More than Socrates?

    Exactly. I take it the answer is no. You have no first hand knowledge of anything that Jesus thought or said.

    Did Plato ever claim Socrates was a god or that he walked on water? I must have missed that in my ‘history’ and philosophy classes.



    Oddly enough, old boy, John and Matthew DID know him personally, while Luke spoke to those who did. It seems it is you that is retailing heresay in this case. I'm going with the earliest historical accounts.

    Oddly enough, ole chap, dear boy, old man, pompous windbag, a historian with a modicum of credibility would be forced to admit that THE historical method does not confirm the identities of any of the NT gospels.

    But of course you prefer a 'history' that matches your religious convictions and aligns perfectly with one collection of ancient writing.


    Really, always? I suppose that's one way to compensate for absence of mind.

    Chortle. Is that more of your Christian humor? I know…you can’t ‘resist’ trying to insult me. I’m sure your Department chair, Jesus and your 'Holy Spirit' are all quite proud of you.

    Maybe I should have been more exact, I was referring to Calvin the theologian in regard to his interpretation of scripture.

    It would seem that the moment that someone ‘interprets’ scripture, he can’t help but add his own additional perspective and baggage to it. It seems Calvin was famous for interpreting Jesus command to ‘love your neighbor’ to mean he was supposed to exile, imprison, torture and execute his neighbors who didn’t subscribe to his beliefs. But I’m sure that’s in the bible some where, since he only knew what 'scripture' told him.

    Ahem.

    'Did he correct people’s misunderstanding of their universe’s cosmology? De he correct their ignorance of their planet’s geography or history? Did he explain the truth about physics, chemistry, or biology to them? Did he teach people techniques to improve their boat building, fishing, agriculture or health care?'

    No, because he was addressing things eternal, not things temporal.


    The simple answer is NO. No need to apologize for your man-god's lack of demonstrated knowledge. I do however find your excuses quite entertaining. We were talking about the 'chap' who was going to inform us about THIS reality we are currently experiencing. Remember?

    Was Jesus talking about things ‘eternal’ in the Good Samaritan parable? When he convinced some men not to stone a woman to death for adultery? When he said it was alright to heal people on the Sabbath?

    Your superficial excuse is exposed.

    And now that precious Jesus is no longer here, I guess ‘eternal’ really means ‘invisible’. Right?

    Thank goodness he's given you full power of attorney to represent what he really meant, or could have done. If only he had more 'time' and didn't have to rush off to things 'eternal'.

    Thanks for clearing that up!


    Your priorites are not the priorities of things eternal.

    I’m sorry, I don’t remember discussing my priorities with you. Perhaps you're using the historical mind reading method on me?

    Oh my...where did I leave my tinfoil hat!

    Mind you, he does seem to have shown the disciples a way to improve their catch.

    Ahem, yes, well Apollo actually turned himself into a dolphin to gain his early disciples. It appears Jesus simply took credit for a good catch to impress his. I wonder which one of these myths is confirmed by the ‘historical method’ of which you have spent your adult life studying?


    Continuing with the 'Matrix' analogy, what good would it be to show someone the truth about something that exists only in the system when one day the system will be wound up.

    I have no idea what you are saying.

    Jesus could have demonstrated all of the above, but He did not come to make the world a better place, not primarily, anyhow, but to make a way for man to come to God.

    Oh my…so many things Jesus ‘could have done’, but didn’t. What a shame. He just ran out of time. Had to get home so he could sit at the right hand of himself.

    I also hear Poseidon could have stopped hurricane Katrina if he wanted to. Such a shame. All these things these gods could have done.

    By the way, ‘man’ knew lots of gods before and since Jesus of Nazareth showed up. Most of the planet’s population knew nothing about him, or the Jewish god for hundreds of years. Many billions still don't. So it appears he failed in this alleged mission as well.

    'then allegedly appeared to a handful of his followers'

    Five hundred makes a pretty big hand!

    What a shame none of them felt compelled to write about it, till some unknown author recounted this tale decades after the alleged events took place.

    Again, the ‘historical method’ discounts anonymous claims made by religious cult members about 500 unnamed people who supposedly witnessed something like a dead man coming back to life and flying up into the clouds.

    I guess they didn't cover that in your undergraduate studies. Or pehaps you also believe that the angel Gabriel dictated the Koran to Mohammed?

    Oh, I'll excuse your ignorance, I'm sure you can't help it.

    Ahhhh...Your famous Christian humility, love and kindness is again on display. The special spirit that is ‘guiding’ you must be very proud. Such a wonderful example of what sets the Christian apart from those skeptical of his claims.


    The amazing thing is that if some Christian were to reject Darwinism on the grounds of not having examined the 'facts' using the scientific 'method' he would be denounced as a slop-browed fundy, but you, despite your appropriation of the name of a philosopher feel perfectly able to make snide comments about someone of the grounds that they possess some academic training, apparently feeling that this reflects credit upon the name of atheism.

    I’m not sure the point of this rant, but I assure you, your ‘academic’ training has not yet impressed me.

    The tone of anti-intellectualism is startling.

    It seems you are confusing your musings with intellect. I assure you, I am not.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous wrote:
    ---
    Does the universe encompass all possibilities, or merely all actualities?

    How would you know the difference between these two?
    ---

    You're kidding, right?

    Oh wait. You could be publik skewled. Nevermind.

    The difference between the actual and the potential... Hmm, that's a toughie....

    You said:
    ---
    Is there more than one universe?

    I don't know.
    ---

    Then how can X = the Universe be a reasonable answer?

    You said:
    ---
    There certainly are countless gods though.
    ---

    Something that neither you nor I think is true.

    You said:
    ---
    What immaterial?
    Oh you mean those things that are nothing, but that you can magically detect with your nothing detector?
    ---

    I'll let you know when we change the subject to speak about your intellect.

    You said:
    ---
    (i.e. If I imagine a red ball, is the red ball part of the universe?

    No, but your brain that can imagine is part of the universe.
    ---

    Ah, but my brain is not my thought now is it? There is, indeed, quite a distinction between my brain and my thoughts.

    You think they're interconnected--but that's irrelevant. The point isn't whether there is a relationship between them, but whether the thought itself is part of the Universe or not.

    Just because my brain is material doesn't mean my thoughts are. Again, you cannot measure my thoughts. You cannot locate my thoughts. You cannot feel them or taste them or smell them. They are completely beyond your empirical means.

    Does this mean they do not exist?

    I find it more interesting that you're not even willing to think about this subject. It shows a great deal about your intellectual (dis)honesty.

    You wrote:
    ---
    If so, can you demonstrate it for me by opening up my brain and getting out the red ball?

    Is that how you think your imagination works? Perhaps a primer in basic neurology is in order.
    ---

    Perhaps a primer in basic logic is in order.

    I originally asked a question. I asked: "If I imagine a red ball, is the red ball part of the universe?"

    To this, you answered: "No." You then said my brain was, but you agreed my imaginary red ball is not.

    My second question was premised on the answer of: "Yes." See? "If so, can you demonstrate it for me by opening up my brain and getting out the red ball?"

    Now I know that you need me to think for you since you apparently lack sufficient skill on your own, so let me make it easy for you. Since you answered "No" to the first question, the second question doesn't apply to you! Amazing concept.

    However, that does mean the next question does apply to you: "If not, then isn't there something that is NOT contained in the universe?"

    To this, you answered:
    ---
    If I open up your skull and cut out certain parts of your brain, but still leave you alive in a vegetative state, do you think you'll be imagining any more red balls?
    ---

    But this isn't an answer to my question, and in point of fact seems to belie your earlier claim that my imaginary ball is not part of the universe.

    Again, at issue is not whether there is a correlation between my material mind and my immaterial thinking. The question is IS MY IMMATERIAL THOUGHT PART OF THE UNIVERSE OR ISN'T IT?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nietzsche said:
    ---
    It appears I’ve progressed from a simple ‘dear’ to an ‘ole chap/old boy’. I can’t wait to see what pompous British term of endearment I’ll be greeted with next.
    ---

    I would suggest "arse."

    But that's just me.

    ReplyDelete

  35. You're kidding, right?

    Oh wait. You could be publik skewled. Nevermind.

    More Christian humor. I have an undergraduate degree from Perdue and did graduate work at Cornell. Should I discount what I learned at the ‘public’ school but not the private?


    The difference between the actual and the potential... Hmm, that's a toughie....

    Apparently, since you have nothing more to offer than ad hom in response.

    I often observe young people like to imitate some piece of theological or philosophical buzzwords they've heard somewhere, but can’t quite write a coherent paragraph explaining what it means.


    Then how can X = the Universe be a reasonable answer?

    I don’t know what ‘X’ is either…so you’ve got me there.

    At what private University did you study cosmology?


    You said:
    ---
    There certainly are countless gods though.
    ---

    Something that neither you nor I think is true.

    I most certainly think its true that my species has invented countless gods.

    I thought you’re religion claimed to believe in 3 primary ones, and countless other assorted demi-gods, both good and evil. I really can’t keep track of all your whacky traditions.

    What immaterial?
    Oh you mean those things that are nothing, but that you can magically detect with your nothing detector?
    ---

    I'll let you know when we change the subject to speak about your intellect.


    Again, it appears you can’t actually offer an example of something ‘immaterial’. My intellect is based on my very physical brain interacting with a very physical world. Until you show me a disembodied thought that exists independent of material and energy, all you have is the meaningless blather of ignorant theologians.


    You said:
    ---
    (i.e. If I imagine a red ball, is the red ball part of the universe?

    No, but your brain that can imagine is part of the universe.
    ---

    Ah, but my brain is not my thought now is it? There is, indeed, quite a distinction between my brain and my thoughts.

    Your thoughts are simply what your brain does. Like your respiration is a function of your lungs. Do you believe your respiration is ‘immaterial’? Are you a breathing ‘dualist’ as well?


    You think they're interconnected--but that's irrelevant.

    Are you claiming that your thoughts are not ‘interconnected’ to your brain function?

    At what private University did you study neurology?

    It would appear you should stick to babbling about Reformed theology ‘CalvinDude’, lest you make a bigger fool of yourself than you already have.


    The point isn't whether there is a relationship between them, but whether the thought itself is part of the Universe or not.

    Well it seems to me, that your thoughts, and the thoughts of my dog, are both part of the universe. Much like you, he too is fascinated with balls, although color doesn’t seem to matter to him.


    Just because my brain is material doesn't mean my thoughts are.

    Well then, please explain what your immaterial thoughts are, and what magical immaterial process generates them.


    Again, you cannot measure my thoughts.

    I believe I’ve read enough of them to know I wouldn’t care to.


    You cannot locate my thoughts.

    Actually, since you received your PhD., neuroscience has come a long way in doing just that.


    You cannot feel them or taste them or smell them. They are completely beyond your empirical means.

    That’s hilarious. I also can’t feel or taste electrons or odorless gas. I guess those are beyond my ‘empirical means’ as well!

    Ever heard of a lie detector CalvinDude? How about a brain scan? Ever seen a person who was really sad, or happy, or frightened? I wonder what ‘empirical means’ you were using to determine that person’s thoughts?

    It appears we can cancel all research in the neurosciences, CalvinDude claims we can’t examine human thought using empirical means like ‘tasting’.

    You are hilarious.




    Perhaps a primer in basic logic is in order.

    I originally asked a question. I asked: "If I imagine a red ball, is the red ball part of the universe?"

    To this, you answered: "No." You then said my brain was, but you agreed my imaginary red ball is not.

    You misunderstood. Your ‘imaginary’ red ball is a function of your brain and is very much a part of the universe. I simply meant there is no REAL red ball inside your head, as you seemed to think is what happens when you imagine a red ball.


    My second question was premised on the answer of: "Yes." See? "If so, can you demonstrate it for me by opening up my brain and getting out the red ball?"

    Again ‘Dude, when you imagine things, that is simply your brain retrieving sensory impressions stored in its neurons. It can be artificially induced by a surgeon touching an electrode to certain spots of a patient’s brain during surgery. I’m sorry if you think there’s a tiny little REAL red ball in your head. Your ignorance is amusing tho…



    Again, at issue is not whether there is a correlation between my material mind and my immaterial thinking. The question is IS MY IMMATERIAL THOUGHT PART OF THE UNIVERSE OR ISN'T IT?

    Nowhere in your rant have you established that your thoughts are ‘immaterial’. And your hilarious suggestion that your thoughts are immaterial because no one can cut open your head and show you a ‘red ball’, when you think about a ‘red ball’, shows how incredibly infantile your thinking is. I’m picturing you as someone around 18 or 19, with a large Christian chip on his shoulder, but very limited understanding of anything to do with neuroscience. You appear to be the perfect target audience of the bloggers on this site.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Nietzsche said:
    ---
    I have an undergraduate degree from Perdue and did graduate work at Cornell.
    ---

    You hide it well.

    You said:
    ---
    The difference between the actual and the potential... Hmm, that's a toughie....

    Apparently, since you have nothing more to offer than ad hom in response.
    ---

    Ah, so you were serious that you don't understand the difference between possibilities and actualities. Seems sad you wasted so much money at Perdue and Cornell.

    Let's give a simple one then. It's possible that I could have written this sentence before the previous sentence, but in actuality I did not.

    Now, is the possible action a part of the universe or isn't it?

    You wrote:
    ---
    Then how can X = the Universe be a reasonable answer?

    I don’t know what ‘X’ is either…so you’ve got me there.
    ---

    Next time I won't assume your answers to my statements have anything to do with the fact that you've read my statements. Apparently, you are just pontificating.

    Since this is now "Next time" then I assume you're refering to my recipe for clam chowder (which is immaterial [in both senses of the word], since I don't have one).

    You wrote:
    ---
    Again, it appears you can’t actually offer an example of something ‘immaterial’.
    ---

    And again you cannot read anything in context. But, hey, if you want to be a jerk about everything....

    You wrote:
    ---
    My intellect is based on my very physical brain interacting with a very physical world.
    ---

    You assume. Where is your proof for this?

    Regardless, as I pointed out, even if your intellect is related to a physical brain that does not make the intellect itself physical.

    You said:
    ---
    Your thoughts are simply what your brain does.
    ---

    Oh, THAT explains it.

    Thoughts are what your brain "does."

    Of course, we cannot see these thoughts. We see chemical reactions and EEG waves. But that doesn't show us the actual thought itself. We cannot locate the thought. We cannot see it floating around anywhere. We cannot measure the size of the thought. We cannot taste it or hear it.

    All this leads to the fact that the thought itself is NOT material. Not only is it not material, it is impossible to experience it with emperical methods.

    By the way, I would note that what is true for an imaginary thought is likewise true for an "emperical" sensation too. The "sight" that is seen is not actually there--it is what the mind "sees." This is why color blind people do not see the same colors as "normal" people, and yet the outside world doesn't change.

    You said:
    ---
    Like your respiration is a function of your lungs. Do you believe your respiration is ‘immaterial’?
    ---

    I find it tragic that you've spent so much time and money (you claim--I highly doubt it, actually, since you seem to have trouble with simple philosophical arguments) and cannot figure out the difference between the mind and a thought.

    Newsflash: It is not the case that a thought is to the mind what breathing is to the lung.

    Instead, brain activity is to the mind what breathing is to the lung.

    But brain activity is not the thought itself. It might be an external way to determine that there IS a thought going on, but it is not the thought. The thought is completely immaterial.

    You said:
    ---
    You think they're interconnected--but that's irrelevant.

    Are you claiming that your thoughts are not ‘interconnected’ to your brain function?
    ---

    Again, your utter lack of reading comprehension is absolutely astounding. I am not claiming they are not interconnected--I am claiming that the interconnection is irrelevant.

    But since this seems too difficult for you to grasp, allow me to rephrase in language you can get.

    See Spot.

    You wrote:
    ---
    Well then, please explain what your immaterial thoughts are, and what magical immaterial process generates them.
    ---

    You assume that one needs a "magical immaterial process" to generate immaterial thoughts, but this is not a logical inference. Nowhere have I stated that something material cannot make something immaterial. In fact, if you actually shut up and listened to my argument for a change you might actually understand that my argument depends on the material/immaterial linkage.

    You said:
    ---
    That’s hilarious. I also can’t feel or taste electrons or odorless gas. I guess those are beyond my ‘empirical means’ as well!
    ---

    You reveal more than you realize.

    I doubt you've ever seen an electron, yet you take someone's word for it that it's there. You use an argument from authority when it pleases you.

    You said:
    ---
    Ever heard of a lie detector CalvinDude? How about a brain scan? Ever seen a person who was really sad, or happy, or frightened? I wonder what ‘empirical means’ you were using to determine that person’s thoughts?
    ---

    And yet no amount of measuring the brain activity can demonstrate what the person actually is thinking.

    You can look at a brain scan all day long and you'll never find out if the person was thinking of a tuba or a tuna. To find that you, you'd have to ask them. And then you're still left with having to believe them.

    You said:
    ---
    You misunderstood. Your ‘imaginary’ red ball is a function of your brain and is very much a part of the universe. I simply meant there is no REAL red ball inside your head, as you seemed to think is what happens when you imagine a red ball.
    ---

    And this shows your pure lunacy at work. I never said there is a real red ball. I said the red ball is immaterial. If it's immaterial, then it's obviously not physically there.

    This isn't that complicated. But since you have such a problem understanding words, it doesn't surprise me you can't get this.

    You said:
    ---
    Again ‘Dude, when you imagine things, that is simply your brain retrieving sensory impressions stored in its neurons. It can be artificially induced by a surgeon touching an electrode to certain spots of a patient’s brain during surgery.
    ---

    A) You assume (but have not proven) that this is all that thinking is.

    B) This still does not make the thought material. That it can be induced by stimulating a portion of the brain does not mean the thought itself is physically real, which you tacitly admit when you say, "I’m sorry if you think there’s a tiny little REAL red ball in your head."

    I never said there was a real red ball in my head. In point of fact, my argument depends on there NOT BEING A REAL RED BALL IN THE HEAD.

    More and more, I doubt you've ever been to college.

    You said:
    ---
    Nowhere in your rant have you established that your thoughts are ‘immaterial’.
    ---

    Well, you quite nicely proved thoughts are immaterial when you said, "I’m sorry if you think there’s a tiny little REAL red ball in your head."

    But your misunderstanding of language is so bad you can't even understand what you say.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I never understood how Bethrick's assertion was supposed to be an argument in the first place.

    So the allegation is that in some ways the Christian worldview's world is similar to a cartoon. First, does anyone deny this? Second, so what? And third, as Steve pointed out, the same goes for his worldview too.

    So why are we supposed to care, Mr. Bethrick?

    ReplyDelete
  38. So Steve, nothing?

    Steve says:

    I've answered this question on several occasions now.

    not directly. Simply say "I know God is not an advanced alien race" or "I don't know this."

    I'd add, though, that there is no onus on the Christian to disprove something that his secular opponent doesn't believe in either.

    Fair enough. 1 Peter begs to differ though.

    Since, presumably, you don't believe this hypothetical to be true, then why do you act as if the burden of proof is on the Christian to disprove it when you don't even believe it yourself?

    Because its a POSSIBLE scenario. And if you are correct, its not possible. So, I simply would like to see you prove you 'know' this. If you can. If you can't, that's fine.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Appolyon, in my humble opinion, and remaining within the simulation analogy. Absolute certainty is not possible, but probable certainty is. It would be possible for an advanced alien race to seed planets and condition the inhabitants of that planet to view them as gods, vide Babylon 5's Vorlons.

    However, in all probability such an alien race would create a pantheon, rather than a single deity, supporting visits to the world by multiple members of the alien race, not a single deity who came only once. A religion such as Islam, which has a remote single god who sends angels to equip prophets would also do. The Christian model would not support a possible need for multiple important visitations of the alien beings.

    If Jesus was an advanced space alien (and I am not conceding this for a moment), then why would one alien be sent then, and to there, rather than earlier/later, and why the declaration that He would only return at the end, when he could not have known whether there would be a serious crisis requiring another direct intervention. For example, what if there had been a nuclear war? The aliens would have had to swat the missiles, a la that 1970s Battlestar Galactica episode, or, if they didn't, rebuild society afterwards. It might have helped to keep an ace up the sleeve.

    In other words, if I were the leader of an advanced race of alien beings in this temporal universe, Christianity is not the sort of religion I'd design for the beings we were shepherding.

    Just for the record, I do NOT believe that the Greek Gods were aliens, nor that Mohammed had an alien beam down and reveal the Koran to him, ditto Joseph Smith. I was simply using existing non-Christian religions.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hiraeth said:

    "Absolute certainty is not possible, but probable certainty is."

    Thank you for your honest answer. Its always a pleasant surprise to see a Christian commenter on TBLOG being willing to admit something like this.

    I don't know why its so hard for Steve to.

    I agree, absolute certainty regarding God's identity/makeup/message is not possible. I could be 100% incorrect in my unbelief.

    The believer also could be incorrect.

    Admitting this shows humility that is often lacking.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Suffering Servant8/29/2006 9:41 AM

    "The believer also could be incorrect."

    The believer cannot be incorrect in his belief in Jesus. How do we know this? Because Jesus is God Incarnate, and God is infallible. We know that God is true because He told us about Himself, and since He can neither lie nor be wrong on anything (again, He's infallible, remember?) then what he says MUST be true. In fact, since He is our Father and He watches over us as a Father should, this is all we need to know. We don't need to worry about the unbelievers, because God has a plan for them, too. (Only, they might not like it.) And as for the "cartoonish cosmology" worldview and all, Travis is right: does anyone deny this? God is the real master over the universe. If unbelievers don't like that or want to poke fun at it, they will have their place in the lake of fire which burneth forever. They will be sorry, but then it will be too late.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Suffering Servant...

    sigh.

    You just don't get it.

    The whole point is, you don't KNOW that "God" isn't simply an advanced alien race, that seems "godlike" to us mere humans.

    Just saying "He told us and He can't lie" doesn't do squat.

    I know that is what you BELIEVE, but it isn't what you KNOW.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Apollyon said:
    ---
    I know that is what you BELIEVE, but it isn't what you KNOW.
    ---

    I know that is what you BELIEVE, but it isn't what you KNOW...

    ReplyDelete
  44. It comes to me that poor Apollyon probably won't understand the previous post I sent, so I'll rephrase for him:

    Apollyon: how do you know that we don't know what we say we know?

    How do you know that it is impossible to know God isn't an alien?

    How do you know anything?

    See, your argument depends on establishing some standard of knowing and not knowing. You're saying that you know for a fact that the Christian cannot know for a fact that God is not an alien. The onus is on you, therefore, to demonstrate how you know this. If you cannot demonstrate how you know this, the Christian need not respond to your bogus argument in the first place.

    So the ball is in your court. Get to it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Calvindude,

    Do you know that the Christian God is not an advanced alien?

    Yes, or No?

    If so, how do you know this with 100% certainty?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Suffering Servant8/29/2006 11:14 AM

    "I know that is what you BELIEVE, but it isn't what you KNOW."

    Okay, I see your point here. I don't think I would be able to explain how I know, for I don't know myself how I know these things in the technical sense. But I don't think I need to know this, because, as you point out, I believe it. That's really all that matters to God, is that I believe Him. Do I "KNOW" (capitals all the way through)? Well, this suggests that I would also have to understand, and as a Christian I do not claim to lean on my own understanding. God wants me to lean on Him, not on myself. So I believe. In Christianity, believing is far more important than knowing or understanding, for God's in control. Whatever happens will be according to His plan anyway, so my "knowing" and "understanding" are really irrelevant in the big picture of things. But my BELIEVING is important to God, because that is His plan for me, that I believe. Do I "get it"? I don't claim to. Otherwise I would be "wise in my own eyes," and God frowns on this and any other form of haughtiness. This is something I think many Christians have lost sight of.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Calvindude,

    You are so astute.

    You are correct, I don't "KNOW" that the Christian doesn't "KNOW." I've already admitted as much earlier in these posts,

    "I agree, absolute certainty regarding God's identity/makeup/message is not possible. I could be 100% incorrect in my unbelief."

    and simply worded my response to the poor suffering servant in haste.

    So, young Calvindude, do you KNOW that God isn't an advanced alien?

    Is there any possibility that you are incorrect?

    Your lack of OMNISCIENCE and 'fallen' brain don't cause you to doubt what you know?

    I don't think you do, but I could be incorrect. (is that better?)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Suffering Servant8/29/2006 11:23 AM

    "Do you know that the Christian God is not an advanced alien?"

    I don't know what "an advanced alien" is, but I do know that God can be whatever He wants to be. If God could incarnate Himself in the form of a human being as He did when He came to us 2,000 years ago, He can incarnate Himself in the form of an alien or whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Luther Limp:
    ---
    Do you know that the Christian God is not an advanced alien?

    Yes, or No?

    If so, how do you know this with 100% certainty?
    ---

    If I answer this question, do you know with 100% certainty that I've actually answered this question? How do you know I am really CalvinDude and not some other poster pretending to be CalvinDude? How do you know you really read the words correctly?

    The bottom line is that your "dilemma" is completely absurd.

    Are you a radical skeptic? Do you doubt the veracity of everything, including whether you doubt the veracity of everything?

    Your question is stupid. It's based on a worldview you don't even hold to.

    Frankly, why should I waste my time answering with either a yes or no? You cannot know for 100% certainty that I even understood the question, much less that you understood the answer.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Apollyon:
    ---
    I agree, absolute certainty regarding God's identity/makeup/message is not possible.
    ---

    And yet this is something you claim to KNOW.

    Your radical skepticism is, as I mentioned to Luther, stupid. You don't really hold to it, as your inconsistent statements continue to demonstrate. Why, then, ought anyone answer your question when it's based on a worldview neither you nor anyone else even holds to?

    To you, philosophy is merely a game. You want any argument at all--even if it disproves your own position--that looks like it might be tricky for the theist.

    But I don't play that game.

    ReplyDelete
  51. By the way, in case you want to see how deep your hypocrisy goes, Apollyon and Luther:

    Suppose you are correct that no one can know for certainty anything.

    You are assuming that based on this admission you can make certain claims about the invalidity of Christianity.

    If you can make these claims, even while acknowledging that you are not omniscient, then why can't Christians make claims about your position while remaining non-omniscient?

    But you wouldn't want to consider THAT because you have to keep up your appearance that you have a clue, no matter what damage it does to your credibility.

    ReplyDelete
  52. One hundred percent certainty in this fallen world is impossible. We know but in part this side of the grave.

    For example, I am just completing a Masters' Thesis, which is on late Nineteenth century Welsh Liberalism & nationalism. In writing this, I have used numerous books and biographies. How can I know that these biographers and historians were not lying?

    I go to the sources and check the documents they looked at, as well as the documents they used. However, can I be sure that these are not forgeries? After all, in 1928 it was discovered that half the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym, kept in the same library, were in fact forgeries.

    In the final analysis I cannot know 100% that they are not all forged, but can be fairly sure that this is not the case. Firstly, if I'd forged them, I'd 've done a better job. Nasty gaps wouldn't exist, for example the Dafydd ap Gwilym material was forged because the leading Dafydd ap Gwilym scholar in the eighteenth century believed that a large amount of Dafydd ap Gwilym's poetry had been lost and forged the material to plug the gaps.

    As I said, while absolute certainty is not to be found this side of heaven, relative certainty is possible. And that is what we deal with here on earth.

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  53. Calvindude,

    Settle down bud.

    I asked a simple question of you:

    Do you know that the Christian God is not an advanced alien?

    Yes, or No?

    If so, how do you know this with 100% certainty?


    I didn't make any claims one way or the other, just asked you a question. Don't lump me in with your buddy Apollyon.

    Can't you answer this without spazzing?

    Why is this so hard?

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  54. And, Appolyon, humility is hard, and total humility impossible. We all have our pride, and it is the hardest thing in the world to admit fault or concede the possiblity of error.

    We all fail in this, but there is a species of doubting that is sin, while there is another species that is merely a part of the human condition.

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  55. Luther Limp,

    What is the color of three?

    When you answer that, then I'll answer your stupid question.

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  56. Calvindude said:

    "What is the color of three?

    When you answer that, then I'll answer your stupid question."

    Answer:

    I don't know.

    OK, I answered you, I await your answer. Thanks.

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  57. Luther Limp,

    Well, that got an *LOL* out of me at least.

    So my answer: "No, but so what?"

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  58. Calvindude...you seem to share the same anger issues that your namesake displayed... :)

    Glad to help create a "LOL" for you.

    Of course the answer is "no," I just wanted to see you admit it.

    I'm not sure why its so hard for Christians to admit that.

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  59. Luther, if I may intrude.

    I must act the part of the Irishman who, when asked the way to Cork replied:'I wouldn't start from here.'

    You have the wrong starting point. Before we ask a question of the 'Do you' variety, we must first establish whether the answer can be known, and how far.

    Let's say someone accused me of being illegitimate, seriously. Before I answered the question 'Do you know you're legitimate?' I should have to answer the question: 'Can you know you're legitimate?' Well, with genetic testing, I could probably prove that I am the child of both my parents to within a 5% possiblity of error. I could go to the record office and establish that my parents were married when I was born and had been so for some time. I should then be 90% certain that I was legitimate, on paper, of something I know to be a fact.

    Now, not so long ago the genetic test option would not have been available. A lower level of certainty would have been required, with the record of the mother, presence of the father during the gestation period (if daddy was away when conception had to have occured), relations between husband and wife (were they having intercourse?) and so on being used to establish said certainty. Now, we cannot submit God to the equivalent of a genetic test, so we must use the means at our disposal. This will obviously result in an answer that is not absolutely certain, but only probably certain.

    To multiply analogies, while I could prove with 90% certainty that I am legitimate, I should be hard pressed to prove that I ate my lunch at home today. This does not mean that I didn't, however. In other words, there are some things that cannot be proved or disproved with any degree of certainty that are nonetheless true. In other cases, we do not have all the evidence at our disposal.

    In this fallen world we can only know 'in part'. Thus, before we ask the first of your questions, we discover that the second is illegitimate, demanding a standard that is too high for any criminal court. Remember, a man can be put to death on 'beyond reasonable doubt' and sent to prison on the balance of probability.

    As our case is not a capital case, we may rely on the balance of probability. For this I refer you to my reply to Appolyon. this, summarised, attempts to show that the probability of an advanced alien race being behind the Christian God is low.

    So:

    "Do you know that the Christian God is not an advanced alien?"

    Yes, to a satisfactory degree of probability. (I know this as much as I know that I am my father's son.)

    "If so, how do you know this with 100% certainty?"

    I don't know this with 100% certainty. But I believe it to be the most probable answer.

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  60. I think the really important question to ask is how does Luther Limp or Apollyon know that CalvinDude or I are not little green men who are programming unbelievers like Luther Limp and Apollyon to make self-refuting statements?

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  61. Steve said:

    "think the really important question to ask is how does Luther Limp or Apollyon know that CalvinDude or I are not little green men who are programming unbelievers like Luther Limp and Apollyon to make self-refuting statements?"

    I don't know Steve, I can freely admit.

    Sometimes the stuff that comes out of your mouths makes me wonder.

    So, I can admit I don't know your status as a human. Can you admit that you don't know God isn't an alien?

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  62. Luther Limp said:
    ---
    I'm not sure why its so hard for Christians to admit that.
    ---

    The fact of the matter is it remains a stupid question. It's not hard to answer stupid questions, it's just pointless to do so. Why waste time accepting a worldview that neither you nor I agree with in order to answer a hypothetical question thath as no bearing on either your worldview nor mine? What purpose does that serve?

    The only one I can think of is the propoganda value it gives when the atheist shifts the ground work and pretends that the prerequisite worldview actually is the Christian world view.

    This is why I spent so much time showing that the very question is absurd rather than answering it directly from the beginning. Whereas before doing that, you would have been able to pretend that answering "No" was a strike against Christianity (which would make my defense of the Christian worldview after that look like I was trying to paint over the holes in a sinking ship), I've already pre-empted that. Now you can't pretend that my answering "No" is devastating to my worldview--and if you do try that, I've already demonstrated beforehand why it doesn't do so so rather than looking defensive I just look like the only one of us who's sane.

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  63. Calvindude...

    you said:

    "Why waste time accepting a worldview that neither you nor I agree with in order to answer a hypothetical question thath as no bearing on either your worldview nor mine? What purpose does that serve?"

    I didn't say anything about weird worldviews in my question to you. I simply asked you a question. You're projecting your agnst at Apollyon towards me.

    You admit you don't know if God is "GOD" or something else. That's all I was asking.

    I didn't claim to know anything either way, did I?

    Your answering 'no' isn't some huge strike against Christianity. It just shows you are being honest, something Steve hasn't been able to do yet, apparently.

    So, you don't know if your God is "GOD," but you believe he is.

    The unbeliever doesn't know if their state of unbelief is valid or not.

    And, assuming you are a Calviist (as your name would suggest) the unbeliever can't believe (saving belief) in God anyway, so whoop dee do.

    You seem so angry...

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  64. hostus twinkius8/29/2006 1:54 PM

    If by alien you mean extra-terrestrial, then I agree, God is an alien. If you meant something else, I know He's not an alien. Boy, this line of argumentation is really important. I think a lot is going to be accomplished, please carry on. I'm going to get some popcorn.....thanks

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  65. Luther Limp said:
    ---
    You're projecting your agnst at Apollyon towards me.
    ---

    You're saying the same thing he is in the same context without offering any clarification to indicate you mean anything differently than he does.

    And as your entire last comment illustrates, to you this is nothing more than a big "whoop dee do."

    All of which only serves to prove my point that your question was STUPID. You admit you had no point to it beyond teh "whoop dee do" aspect. You're acknowledging you asked a stupid question with no purpose in mind.

    You said:
    ---
    You seem so angry...
    ---

    Better than seeming stupid like you.

    In point of fact, I am not "angry" (this is something you're reading into the writing). I am merely being emphatic. But at least I have a purpose for why I've posted everything that I've posted so far. Your entire purpose is a big whoop dee do.

    Tell me why anyone should bother interacting with you? Why do you insist Steve answer this question when, as you've acknowledge, it proves nothing? All you're doing is wasting people's time.

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  66. AngryCalvinDude said:

    "Why do you insist Steve answer this question when, as you've acknowledge, it proves nothing? All you're doing is wasting people's time."

    I never insisted, just asked. Read more carefully, young Calvin.

    I thought Christians liked to be consistent, honest, and thorough.

    By the way, the question does prove something...that's why you didn't want to answer it.

    Peace. Love. Joy.

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  67. Luther, whither this assault on certainty?

    We know a thing to the extent that we can know a thing, no more. As I've noted, your question is flawed. It does not start at the beginning.

    May I ask what your question is supposed to esatblish?

    Specualting towards an answer, I'd suggest that you would reply 'it shows that you can't know with absolute certainty'. But what does this prove beyond itself?

    Is there anything I can know with 100% certainty? Can I, for example, know that I am sane?

    Luther, I've had a crack at your questions. Here 're mine:

    Can you know that you are sane?

    Do you know that you are not a lunatic?

    And, if you feel you can, how can you be 100% certain of this?

    Go on, try it...

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  68. Hiraeth said:

    "Can you know that you are sane?"

    Nope. I can observe those around me, and myself, but my 'lens' is flawed, so I can't know with 100% certainty that I am sane.

    "Do you know that you are not a lunatic?"

    Pretty much the same answer...except I have noticed some strange urges and feelings around each full mooon.

    "And, if you feel you can, how can you be 100% certain of this?"

    Well, as I answered above, I can't, so the question is moot.

    And I have no problem admitting this.

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  69. Luther, thsnk you for your reply. Now, let's do our little evaluation.

    to #1.'Can you know you are sane?' You answered:

    'Nope. I can observe those around me, and myself, but my 'lens' is flawed, so I can't know with 100% certainty that I am sane.'

    But could you know enough to prove it in a court of law, should someone attempt to get you committed?

    To #2 'Do you know that you are not a lunatic?' You answered:

    'Pretty much the same answer...except I have noticed some strange urges and feelings around each full mooon.'

    And thus #3 was rendered moot, as I knew that it would be. Thus we find ourselves in the real world, the world where things are judged true because it is probable they are so. Question #4 thus comes into play.

    Can you demonstrate that it is most probable you are sane?

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  70. Hiraeth:

    This is my last post for tonight...duty calls.

    You asked:

    "But could you know enough to prove it in a court of law, should someone attempt to get you committed?"

    I sure hope so. But as we know, the court system is hardly perfect. I'd hope that if I was betting my eternal soul, I'd be able to KNOW I was in the right.

    "Can you demonstrate that it is most probable you are sane?"

    To my satisfaction, and my family and friends. To an internet grump like Calvindude or Steve-Tblog, I'm not so sure. Especially since God has not (so far!) chosen to enlighten my heart/mind with His special revelation.

    thanks for the nice chat hiraeth...your approach and candor are appreciated.

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  71. Luther, before I hit the proverbial hay:

    In answer to by question:

    "But could you know enough to prove it in a court of law, should someone attempt to get you committed?"

    You replied:

    'sure hope so. But as we know, the court system is hardly perfect. I'd hope that if I was betting my eternal soul, I'd be able to KNOW I was in the right.'

    You'd 'hope' to 'know.' But to hope is to not to know for certain. We bet our futures every day on probables. Why would the final thing be an absolute certainty? As I have observed throughout, the point is not that we cannot know at all, but that we cannot have knowledge unmixed with doubt this side of heaven. As the Apostle has it, 'we know in part.'

    In answer to question #3: "Can you demonstrate that it is most probable you are sane?" you replied:

    'To my satisfaction, and my family and friends. To an internet grump like Calvindude or Steve-Tblog, I'm not so sure.'

    The important point here is 'to my satisfaction.' We may be able to prove a fact to our satisfaction and yet be unable to prove it suffiently for others. Does this mean that we are wrong?

    Not necessarily. But a madman may delude himself. Of course, we discard this thought in the light of evidence provided by our friends. But suppose one is a madman and one's friends are also madmen? Well, then we have recourse to the professionals. But suppose that they are also mad?

    At some point one has to stop, to take something on trust/probablity, to dare to stand on an opinion. Clearly the level of trust I have in a person is important here. And whether what that person says is what I want to hear. Of course, I am not a blank slate, I am not a wholly rational being, but I am a being capable of reason. So I may be wrong, but I believe that my being in error is not probable.

    In conclusion, my premise is that in the real world 100% certainty is impossible. We can;t be competely certain about things seen. that has been the point of this thread, but we can be reasonably certain. The same is true in your example re. things unseen.

    While we linger in this world, we see as through a glass darkly. Doubt must co-exist with belief while we remain outside the veil of eternity.

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