Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Challenge: Throwing Down The Gauntlet

I'm done with my old style of doing apologetics!

They never work.

Atheists didn't like my arguments.

So, I have new ones. I doubt there's an atheist in the world who can deal with them. When they attack Christianity, my "defense" (apologia) will stop them dead in their tracks.

I made arguments from morals and universals and logic and reasoning and history and how evolution + naturalism undermines our cognitive faculties, etc. These all stink!

So now, bow down to my new set of arguments. I dare atheist to answer them. I dare T-pebble to critique them like he has every argument we've given here. I doubt he can.

Without further ado, check out my rational defense of the faith. Check out my evidences for believing. See if Loftus et. al. can answer these bad boys:

1. Read the Bible. All of it. Twice. Perhaps three times if you need to. 'Til it sinks in and you finally "get it."

2. Ask yourself if the Bible doesn't present the most coherent and compelling account of the story of man, and answers to life's questions, viewed against any and all competing accounts.

3. Consider the challenge of the Gospel: You are a sinner, condemned to death for your transgressions. God loves you despite those sins, so much that he sent His own Son to die in your place, a substitutionary atonement for your sins, if only you are willing to repent, believe and follow His Son.

If you repent, believe, and follow, you shall be saved, eternally. Following Christ isn't easy -- it amounts to dying to yourself, day in and day out, for the rest of your life, so that you may serve God fully -- but this sacrifice is key to freedom from the bondage and slavery all men labor in without God's salvation.

4. Look for the evidence of God's power in the lives of His people. Jesus said you will know His followers by their love, and see for yourself how the love of Christ transforms those who serve Him."

How 'bout 'dem apples?

56 comments:

  1. Paul,

    This is the finest thing I've ever read from you. I realize this may be tongue-in-cheek on your part -- it's hard to imagine your first sentence holding out for very long -- but don't care if it is, this is rock solid.

    Honest, Biblical, Powerful. A proclamation that invites the Holy Spirit to work in those who hear.

    I like 'dem apples!

    -Touchstone

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  2. so frustrated6/13/2007 10:29 PM

    Paul, as usual, your amazing intellect has left me confused.

    When you say:

    "...and answers to lif's questions,"

    I just feel like an idiot....because I don't even know what questions lif asked.

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  3. So Frustrated, you feel like an idiot because you are.

    Anyway, ask T-pebble what you asked me, I bet he'll be of more help than I could. ;-)

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  4. My questions are these:

    1. WHOM do you choose?

    2. Whom do YOU choose?

    3. Whom DO you choose?

    Answer these questions, and you will know the answers.

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  5. T-stone,

    Define 'apologetics,' please.

    thanks,

    ~PM

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  6. 1. Read the Bible. All of it. Twice. Perhaps three times if you need to. 'Til it sinks in and you finally "get it."

    I've read it 4 times.

    2. Ask yourself if the Bible doesn't present the most coherent and compelling account of the story of man, and answers to lif's questions, viewed against any and all competing accounts.

    I don't think it does.

    3. Consider the challenge of the Gospel:

    It's a very beautiful story in many ways. What matters to me though is not it's beauty, but it's truth.

    4. Look for the evidence of God's power in the lives of His people. Jesus said you will know His followers by their love, and see for yourself how the love of Christ transforms those who serve Him.

    I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything. I'm being completely honest. On the whole I have to say that the Christians I know are more unpleasant, more uncaring, more unloving, and less generous and empathetic than the unbelievers I know. I know Christians that defend racism biblically, that defend slavery biblically, that defend sexism, and that have what to me is a shocking glee at the prospect of unbelievers like me burning in hell (which is an attitude I did not share when I was a Christian).

    But I reject the biblical logic that says "fruit" is somehow evidence of something relating to the truth of a claim. People can be completely horrible and still correct. So bad behavior from Christians doesn't prove them wrong. But Christians I know fail the "fruit" test. I kid you not. I know Christians of all stripes. Some take the bible more seriously than others. Those that take it less seriously (for instance rejecting inerrancy and picking and choosing what to believe) these are the nicer people and those that take it more seriously are the weirder crazy frightening people. I can name wonderful Christians. But I still see this correlation.

    Not that my anecdotes prove anything, but that's where I stand with regards to the question of fruit. I suppose you think I'm lying.

    Yet now before posting my comments I see that you (Paul) have called someone an idiot. Another data point for my belief vs kindness level correlation chart.

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  7. Ex-Christian6/13/2007 10:47 PM

    Is this a joke?

    These "arguments" suck.

    I'm confused???

    Aparently Touchstone is in on this since he's not doing his usual butt kicking of the T-bloggers.

    I mean, who cares if someone is being "honest?" I guess it's "nice" and all. You could be "honestly mistaken," though. Being "honest" doesn't have much to do with being "right." There are such things as sincere mistakes. That fact that someone is sincere in their belief is not a reason for accepting that belief. I thought Touchstone would no better? Or perhaps he's joking and he thinks these "arguments" are rather pathetic? I guess that could be what's going on.

    And, isn't the "Bible" in question when defending the Christian faith? To use the Bible to prove or argue for or defend the Bible is what the presuppositionalists do. That's what's in question! Touchstone mocks Triabloguers for this, why not here? What's going on?

    And, "powerful," yeah, um, okay, whatever you say, guys.

    Apparently there's some joke going on here and I'm not getting it because I don't read every single comment and post here.

    Lastly, that the holy spirit might "work" on someone doesn't mean that an apologetic has been offered, does it? That is to say, that is not a reason to believe, right? Maybe a cause, but not a reason.

    Regards,

    Ex-Christian

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  8. Jon,

    Do you think Touchstone was joking, then? I was hoping we'd have unity on this one, at least. That's not very nice of him to mock my apologetic arguments, don't you think.

    thanks for your consideration,

    ~PM

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  9. Jon Curry,

    Let me get this straight, before I respond, are you saying that my arguments don't necessarily lead to the *truth* or *rationality* of Christian theism?

    ~Paul

    P.S. You said, "Yet now before posting my comments I see that you (Paul) have called someone an idiot. Another data point for my belief vs kindness level correlation chart."

    Now, my old self would like to ask you upon what secular standard of ethics you can make this claim? And, if this is an internal critique, since the Bible says that we are sinners, isn't pointing out sin in the life of a Christian (granting you're right here) actually a verification of the claims of the Bible?

    But, as I said, I don't argue that way anymore. I'm done with that kind of apologetic approach!

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  10. Ex-Christian,

    Are you saying that these arguments of mine don't lead to the *truth* of Christianity? That they don't in fact *rationally defend* Christianity?

    ~PM

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  11. Jon Curry,

    Let me get this straight, before I respond, are you saying that my arguments don't necessarily lead to the *truth* or *rationality* of Christian theism?

    ~PM

    Touchstone,

    Define 'apologetics,' please.

    ~PM

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  12. Paul, et al,

    Wasn't joking with my response. I admire and commend what Paul wrote. I called it a "proclamation", which I think it is, but maybe I should have added "invitation" beside it or instead of it.

    Paul, I find this post to be a *component* of an apologetic -- a defense of the faith -- but don't suppose this would be all there is in terms of a defense of the faith. Alistair McGrath, IIRC, divides apologetics into a) countering objections, and b) proclaiming the Gospel/invitation. This would be the second part, but a good offering there, considering its brevity.

    -Touchstone

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  13. A proclamation of the faith is an *apologetic?*

    Anyway, I have MORE BAD NEWS FOR YOU! This has been a bad week for you, huh.

    The Context:

    Peter Pike Like challenged you in this post:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/04/open-challenge-to-touchstone.html

    to,

    "T-stone, I challenge you to present a positive argument for the existence of the God you claim to believe in."

    So, you read what he wrote, and you were responding to his claim to present a *positive argument for the existence of the god you claim to believe in."

    Got that? So, we're all on the same page, the challenge was: "present a *positive argument* for the god you claim to believe in."

    And, you then responded to *this challenge,* this way:

    "Happy to respond.


    I believe God exists primarily for two reasons:


    1. My subjective experiences strongly suggest that the God of the Bible is real, present and involved in my life and those around me.

    2. The story of God's relationship with man as revealed in the Bible represents both a plausible history and a compelling love story; it's something I believe to be true not just because it comports with my view of the world, but because it's something I fundamentally *want* to be true -- the 'hope' that I build surety on through faith."


    And then you "summed up" the above this way:

    "So, my apologetic would summed up like this:

    1. Read the Bible. All of it. Twice.

    2. Ask yourself if the Bible doesn't present the most coherent and compelling account of the story of man, and answers to Life's Big Questions(TM), viewed against any and all competing accounts.

    3. Consider the challenge of the Gospel: You are a sinner, condemned to death for your transgressions. God loves you despite those sins, so much that he sent His own Son to die in your place, a substitutionary atonement for your sins, if only you are willing to repent, believe and follow His Son.

    If you repent, believe, and follow, you shall be saved, eternally. Following Christ isn't easy -- it amounts to dying to yourself, day in and day out, for the rest of your life, so that you may serve God fully -- but this sacrifice is key to freedom from the bondage and slavery all men labor in without God's salvation.

    4. Look for the evidence of God's power in the lives of His people. Jesus said you will know His followers by their love, and see for yourself how the love of Christ transforms those who serve Him."


    This was a "summing up" of T-stone's "reasons" to believe and his "answer" to Peter's request for a "positive" argument for the god he claims to exist.

    Just so there's no mistake, T-stone makes sure we understand this is a *CASE* for belief.

    "This is a tricky but important part of my case for Christ"

    But, if he's NOW SAYING that this was *not* a "positive argument for the god he believes in," then he never answered Peter's challenge which he said he'd be "happy to" answer!

    So, T-stone, answer me this:

    a) do the above (1) - (4) constitute *reasons* for believing in the *truth* of Christianity? If not, are there any and if so, what are they?

    b) Since you *believe* that Christianity is true, and since you *also believe* that one "should" have "evidence" for "all" his beliefs, or else he's not acting responsibly (like a man driving to 7-11 with his eyes closed), then what is your "evidence" for your "belief" in Christianity?

    c) This "evidence" should be consistent with how you defined "evidence" in the other discussions. To avoid a regress, ultimately resting on empirical data.

    The noose will get tighter.

    ~PM

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  14. And, T-stone, you were asked to present a *positive case,* not to tell us why you "believe" God exists. Unless you think these "beliefs" (1) and (2) above are supportive of the extramental *truth* of God's existence, did you?

    If so, are "subjective feelings" good "underwriters" for objective truth claims? And, giev how you've railed against our coherence claims, then your (2) does necesarily lead to "truth," right?

    I mean, do you have ANY reasons to believe? or, perhaps belief in God is properly basic for you? But then you deny all the claims in your evidentialist thesis.

    Oh dear, this is all so troubling, what dance will you do to maneuver out of this one, I wonder?

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  15. I see. I guess I didn't "get it". Ok. Well, you can tell the old Paul that since I'm not an atheist and am completely open to the view that God is the ground of morals, and (according to the Bible anyway) I can understand right and wrong and my obligations to the moral law without reading the Bible, I think maybe you're drawing that gun a bit early.

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  16. Paul,

    Touchstone is thinking of the best way to equivocate and squirm out of this one, that's why he's not responding as soon as he usually does.

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  17. Jon,

    Get what? What gun? And, why do you believe Jesus, Paul, the prophets, et al. didn't act like "Christians?" That seems like an odd position to hold.

    Anyway, we're not talking about that. I'm asking for you to affirm that you thought my "apologetic" arguments stunk.

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  18. Maybe I'm still not getting it here. Why do you say that I believe that Jesus, Paul, and the prophets didn't act like Christians?

    Does the argument of the new Paul M stink? I suppose, if by "stink" you mean that it is unsound. Not that it wouldn't be effective, but that's a different question. It looks more like a biblical proclamation. Kind of like Peter in Acts. He tells a beautiful story, full of claims that will appeal to his listeners desires and thousands convert on the spot without ever checking the claims. It's not logical, but it works. You may have more success with this than you will with the "where is the evidence that you should look for evidence" routine.

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  19. "Maybe I'm still not getting it here. Why do you say that I believe that Jesus, Paul, and the prophets didn't act like Christians?"

    'cause they were big meanies too.

    "Does the argument of the new Paul M stink? I suppose, if by "stink" you mean that it is unsound."

    Soundness is a property of *deductive* arguments. Surely there can be abductive, inductive, etc, arguments that do not "stink" but are nevertheless not *deductively* valid.

    I mean by "stink," what would you do if you went to a place where someone was supposed to present a *positive argument* for the existence of the god they claimed to believe in, and they presented (1) - (4) above.

    "It looks more like a biblical proclamation. Kind of like Peter in Acts. He tells a beautiful story, full of claims that will appeal to his listeners desires and thousands convert on the spot without ever checking the claims."

    Uh, your context isn't supportive of your claim - Peter wasn't talking to "Debunking Christianity" members. They weren't skeptics. They were Jews. Peter showed them things from *what they already believed.* He didn't just make a bunch of unsupportedf assertions. Try actually representing the Bible correctly for once.

    "It's not logical, but it works."

    Thanks! More proof that "not logical things" can be "things that work!" T-stone had been railing that for something to "work" we "needed all kinds of evidence."

    Anyway, I don't see how it was "not logical." Which law of logic was violated?

    "You may have more success with this than you will with the "where is the evidence that you should look for evidence" routine. "

    Surely you're not going to just make a bunch of assertions, right? Where did my arguments fail? And, do you belieev that "all beliefs should have evidence?" Well then if so, it's not *my* routine, but, rather, I'm just bringing out something *inherent* in *the claim itself.* See,

    1. All beliefs are things that should have evidence for them.

    2. (1) is a belief.

    3. Therefore, (1) is a thing that should have evidence for it.

    So, this isn't *my* little Christian conspiracy I've cooked up to get under apostates skin, it's holding you accountable to your own claims.

    Now, if you do not belieev (1) then you believe my position in the debate.

    There's two options:

    Either all believes should have evidence for them or all beliefes should not have evidence for them.

    The first part of the disjunct suffers from the regress, the second doesn't. I hold the second. I defended the second from the gate. I made clear that T-pebble defended the first. Where do your sympathies lie?

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  20. Paul,

    I feel that you are being too mean to T-Stone, using his words against him like that. A man--sorry, *person* should not be beaten with his (or her!) own cane. Those were his arguments and you stole them and used them against him.

    It's not fair. You should consider the fact that T-Stone's self-esteem is beyond repair now that you've insulted him that way. And it's all your fault, you evil piece of dog dung. *sniff*

    You should be ashamed of yourself. But since you can't be, I will be ashamed for you. I demand an apology!!!

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  21. Paul,

    OK, you got your regress all ready to go. That's fine, have at it. One of the things your regress gun *is* good for, though, is simply "making work" whomever you aim it at. I have a 7 year old who went through a "regress gun" phase a couple years ago, afteer learning what cool trick it was to simply ask "why?" to any reponse I gave. Anyone who's had that experience will appreciate the asymmetry involved; my daughter just asks why -- a one syllable, no-thinking-necessary automatic response on one side, and the demand for thoughtful consideration and demontration at every point on the other.

    So, I do recognize the powerful busy-work capabilities of your gun. With that in mind, let's just start with on the "first floor" and see how your regress gun fares there. I'm sure there is plenty of busy-work to generate just here with your gun, but I think this will be more manageable than getting suckered in to parallelization of a dozen or more evidential/empirical topics, all simultaneously cascading into so many circuits of the hamster wheel for me. (And I note even as I type this, Peter Pike wants the corpus of evidence for fossils in support of evolution demonstrated in one of *his* comboxes...)

    OK, so the starting point is cosmology - the evidence that points me toward theism (not necessarily the Christian God). Looking at the evidence and observations provided by physicists and cosmologists, we find an array of parameters that are finely calibrated into configuration that supports the possibility of intelligence life evolving.

    Now, according to the Anthropic Principle, the universe *must* support a configuration that will enable intelligent life to exist, because I am here to assert such. But when one looks at these parameters, and what even minuscule changes would do to the possibility of organic life (wipe it out), one is struck by the apparent *arbitrariness* of the configuration. As if the knobs were set just so "on purpose".

    I've recently finished Leonard Susskind's book The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. Susskind, a pioneer and major heavyweight in the field of String Theory, offers his rationale for why this *appearance* of design at the cosmos level is really just an appearance (hence the word "illusion" in the title). But while I understand that Susskind's "cosmic landscape" -- the idea that our universe is one of a great multitude of universes -- is a plausible explanation, it's nothing more than that, a plausible explanation. Even according to Susskind, it's hard to see how that idea will become more than that, due to the inherent difficulties of testing the idea; We cannot, in principle experience or interact physically with anything external to our universe.

    That puts the "Design" answer, and the "megaverse" answer at a kind of parity -- it's a fundamental question that's beyond our empirical horizon, answer-wise. However, we are left with the following bits of evidence to consider:

    1. Gravity is 10^38 times weaker than electromagnetism. If this ratio is changed by a small fraction, organic life becomes impossible.

    2. Mass ratio of protons to electrons. A proton = ~1800 electrons, in terms of mass. This ratio determines orbits if electrons around the nuclei. If this ratio were different, the elements would not have the properties they do.

    3. Nuclear strong force. If the force that holds the nucleus together. If this force were just 1-2% weaker, multi-proton nuclei would be be impossible -- they wouldn't hold together. Hydrogen would be the only element available.

    4. Nuclear weak force. If the nuclear weak force is just slightly stronger, the ease with which neutrons would decay would prevent helium from forming. No helium, no heavier elements like carbon, which is the basis for organic life on earth.

    5. Last but not least, the Cosmological Constant (actually, I'm pretty sure I've forgotten one item in this list, but no time to go look it up now). As Susskind says in Cosmic Landscape (p82):

    But because these density contrasts were so small even a very tiny amount of repulsion could reverse the tendency to cluster [galaxies]. [Steve]Weinberg found that if the cosmological constant were just an order of magnitude bigger than the empirical bound, no galaxies, stars or planets would ever have formed!

    And we a talking about a value that is not zero, but very close -- 1/10^120 U.

    As Susskind, a hardcore atheist if their ever was one, admits in his book, these considerations give even someone with his metaphysical assumptions pause when thinking about how this could come to be this way. Susskind, like many others, has decided that the "cosmic landscape" solution is the one he is endorsing. For my part, the universe's configuration suggests a telic answer, a purposeful setup.

    There are no direct evidences or observations for the cause of the universe. By definition, there cannot be, and this is one point we might consider in identifying beliefs that do not have -- cannot have -- direct evidential support. But we do have evidences (the parameters enumerated above) that support an inference to Design. It's fair to say these same parameters can support an inference to the "cosmic landscape", but that strikes me as equally fantastic to the idea of a Personal Creator, if not more.

    At the same time, I hold this inference to be liable to confirmation or falsification, based on new evidence. Susskind hints at, but doesn't expand, on theoretical tests and observations that would *indirectly* provide support/confirmation of his 'megaverse' model. If so, I'm willing to revise my thinking on this.
    
    As it is, though, this evidence suggests that our universe didn't just develop the way it did because it *had* to, that there was some underlying and unifying constant or principle that gave rise to the constants and parameters we have, thus making life a immanent possibility. For a long while, string theory thinkers looked for the "single solution" that would rationalize the fine-tuning parameters. None was found, and eventually Susskind and his colleagues realized that there was no single solution, a realization that gave rise to the idea that universes are simply "points on an n-way graph", and that there existed a nearly infinite number of possible universe configurations that resolved under the maths of string theory.

    For my part, theism as explanation for the evidences we have for the configuration of the universe is the most credible choice available.

    (And yes, that's an "Intelligent Design" argument. I'm a thoroughgoing critic of the popular ID movement, as it generally doesn't focus on cosmic configuration, but is dedicated to rejecting evolution, a theory that I believe has strong evidence supporting it.)

    OK, Paul, I took more time this morning than I properly should have to get this started. Just reading this back, there's a whole lot of "busy-work" I suppose you can create here with your regress gun. But have at it, let's see what you regress gun can really do.

    -Touchstone

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  22. T-pebble,

    You're right, we could go off in all sorts of directions. But I won't let you do this.

    Why do you believe in the Christian God? Why do you believe that Christianity is true? You claim to be a Christian. To believe it. To believe Jesus resurrected for our justification. That we are sinners. Why do you believe those things?

    As I asked above,

    "So, T-stone, answer me this:

    a) do the above (1) - (4) constitute *reasons* for believing in the *truth* of Christianity? If not, are there any and if so, what are they?

    b) Since you *believe* that Christianity is true, and since you *also believe* that one "should" have "evidence" for "all" his beliefs, or else he's not acting responsibly (like a man driving to 7-11 with his eyes closed), then what is your "evidence" for your "belief" in Christianity?

    c) This "evidence" should be consistent with how you defined "evidence" in the other discussions. To avoid a regress, ultimately resting on empirical data.

    The noose will get tighter."

    So, though it would be worth while some time to look at fine tuning arguments, design arguments, and other reasons to believe generic deities - or groups of them! - we're talking about your *belief* in *Christianity* right now.

    Remember, the above was part of your *case* for *Christ.* So, since we have all admitted here that your "reasons" were not good reasons for the *truth* of Christainity. You said what you gave was something of a gospel call. You admitted that (1) - (4) were not positive reasons for people to believe the truth of the Christain God. You wrote: "This would be the second part, but a good offering there, considering its brevity.

    I noticed that you said apologetics has two parts:

    a) defensive

    b) presenting the gospel

    Do you have offensive arguments. Reasons *for* belief? Do you have evidence *for* your belief in Christianity? Evidence of the kind you say must be had in our other discussions?

    So, I know how you must be so tempted to get this discussion off trach, but we just can't let you do that. Perhaps one day we can have a beer together and you can tell me about fine tuning arguments. But today's not that day.

    ANd, I got all sorts of juicy info from T-stone to use in this debate.

    For example, a Christian wrote about his apologetic approach that,

    "That is, I am bringing to bear upon this non-Christian my biblical perspective without establishing its validity first."

    And Touchstone responded to him this way,

    "OK, the strategy here being advocated is circular reasoning — assuming that which is in question. A patently unreasonable postition, obvious to anyone who has a passing familiarity with reasoning."

    But above, when I appealed to "sin" and "Jesus" and "the Bible" in my (actually Touchstone's) apologetic, I hadn't "established its [Christianities] validity first."

    So, T-stone's "apologetic" was based on "circular reasoning" and he has yet to "establish" (i.e., not *defend*) it as the case!

    So, T-stone, care to "establish" the truth of Christianity for us? Give us the "evidences" for your "belief." After all, I learned this strategy from you. Thanks.

    ~PM

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  23. 'cause they were big meanies too.

    In some places they are, in some they aren’t.

    I mean by "stink," what would you do if you went to a place where someone was supposed to present a *positive argument* for the existence of the god they claimed to believe in, and they presented (1) - (4) above.

    You have my answer.

    Uh, your context isn't supportive of your claim - Peter wasn't talking to "Debunking Christianity" members. They weren't skeptics. They were Jews. Peter showed them things from *what they already believed.* He didn't just make a bunch of unsupportedf assertions. Try actually representing the Bible correctly for once.

    He made claims that needed to be checked before accepted in my view, regardless of whether or not his listeners were Jews, pagans, atheists, whatever. I don’t see that your added contextual information changes my point. Just like Debunkers, Jews should have checked the facts and decided based upon the evidence if Jesus had in fact risen from the dead.

    Anyway, I don't see how it was "not logical." Which law of logic was violated?

    It is a non-sequiter. Just because as story speaks to you internally, this doesn’t make it true.

    The first part of the disjunct suffers from the regress, the second doesn't. I hold the second. I defended the second from the gate. I made clear that T-pebble defended the first. Where do your sympathies lie?

    We all hold the second, Paul. Touchstone has repeated this probably in each of his last 10 posts, yet you are determined to believe that he and Loftus hold to the first, despite their express statements to the contrary. You ought to just say “Great, I’m glad we agree.” Instead you just will not accept their clarification, and in this way you can convince yourself that you have “won” because this seems to be very important to you.

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  24. Paul:There's two options:

    Either all believes should have evidence for them or all believes should not have evidence for them.

    The first part of the disjunct suffers from the regress, the second doesn't. I hold the second.

    Vytautas: I think you are saying that some believes that we have do not need evidence.

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  25. "In some places they are, in some they aren’t."

    In some places I am, in some places I'm not.

    "He made claims that needed to be checked before accepted in my view, regardless of whether or not his listeners were Jews, pagans, atheists, whatever."

    Like what did you have in mind, and how would they have been "checked?" What's the nature of this "checking?" If I told you that I had eggs for breakfast this morning would you not believe me until you had "checked" this out? Or, would your background assumptions make it rational and acceptable for you to believe what I said without "checking" it out?

    "I don’t see that your added contextual information changes my point."

    It does.

    "Just like Debunkers, Jews should have checked the facts and decided based upon the evidence if Jesus had in fact risen from the dead."

    But they didn't have a problem with "miracles," they were "God-fearing Jews" who already believed in the miraculous. You guys ask for the miraclulous to be proven, before one could prove a miracle.

    And, they were in the position to check the tomb. They knew he was risen but refused to belive. Some people saw the risen Lord and didn't believe (Mt. 28:17), ya know? These peopele were cut for denying what they knew to be the case. Didn't need to "check" anything out. You're presupposing that the resurrection is false in your answer, then.

    "It is a non-sequiter. Just because as story speaks to you internally, this doesn’t make it true."

    But you're assuming that they believed it was true *just because* it "spoke to them." Care to prove that one, or were you just practicing your skills at question begging epithets?

    "We all hold the second, Paul. Touchstone has repeated this probably in each of his last 10 posts, yet you are determined to believe that he and Loftus hold to the first, despite their express statements to the contrary."

    i) Who's "we all?"

    ii) You and T-stone can *claim* that you hold anything you want, my issue was with his express statements in written form to the contrary. Without dealing with my arguments to the contrary you're simply pointing out that T-stone made two contradictory claims. I proved that they held to the first. If you want to interact with my detailed argumentation for this, be my guest. It's suspect, though, that they've failed to interact with the arguments for my position. T-stopne is clear as day, "all" beliefs "should" have evidence for them. If you can't deal with my arguments then isn't this a case of "not checking something out?" How ironic, indeed.

    iii) I claimed the second half from my thrid response to them in the combox of where this thing got started. Why didn't they say, "OH, okay, we all agree." I made my position clear, yet they saw fit to continue to argue with my affirmation of the second, care to show why that was?

    iv) In case you need to know, T-stone's position is the first one, but he says that it *might* be *possible* to have a belief that shouldn't have evidence. I have argued against this out, but I also should point out that this isn't a denial that all belief *should* have evidence for them. He's just leaving the possibilioty open. But, as far as he knows, they all do. he claims it's an inductive argument. but, if you agree with the second you refute the induction! Do you get that?

    Let's say we lived a few hundred years ago. You claim: All swans are white. Okay, let's check it out:

    1. All swans are white birds.

    2. That things in my backyard is a swan.

    3. Therefore that thing in my backyard is a white bird.

    But, much to our chagrin, someone finds black swans in Australia. Hence, P1 is FALSE.

    So, if it is true that *some* beliefs should have evidence for them, then it is false that all should.

    If you read tghe dialogue you'll note that I agreed with the above.

    Anyway, I'd *love* to see your actuall interaction with my arguments. Otherwise I'll have to assume your comments about "checking out the claims" are bogus and show more of your bias against Christians, i.e., only religious people need to check out claims.

    "You ought to just say “Great, I’m glad we agree.” Instead you just will not accept their clarification, and in this way you can convince yourself that you have “won” because this seems to be very important to you."

    I in fact trid to say this numerous times! T-stone wouldn't have it. So, it looks like you haven't read the debate yet you're commenting on it! Indeed, how can you even defend John Loftus since he *flat out admitted* that he "didn't read my posts?" Shouldn't he "check out" the claims?

    Run along, Jon.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Vytautus,

    " I think you are saying that some believes that we have do not need evidence."

    That is exactly what I've claimed from the beginning. They don't need propositional evidence in their favor for the cognizer's beliefs to have the quality of positive epistemic staus, or, be warranted.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Jon: Just like Debunkers, Jews should have checked the facts and decided based upon the evidence if Jesus had in fact risen from the dead.

    Vytautas: After the Jews "checked the facts and decided based upon the evidence" about the Resurection, should they "have checked the facts and decided based upon the evidence" whether the facts and evidence is right?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Paul,

    My basis for theism is my basis for looking at the historical evidence of Christianity (as well as other ideas), which in turn gives rise to evaluating the historic claims of Christianity in light of my own experience.

    Is started right at the bottom for you, Paul? Why is your regress gun not blazing away at these "beliefs" ?

    And this needs a quick comment:

    But above, when I appealed to "sin" and "Jesus" and "the Bible" in my (actually Touchstone's) apologetic, I hadn't "established its [Christianities] validity first."

    So, T-stone's "apologetic" was based on "circular reasoning" and he has yet to "establish" (i.e., not *defend*) it as the case!


    I don't suppose an idea must be *proven* to be considered, Paul. If it's *proven*, then there's no point in deliberating further. Rather, the "validity" speaks to the rationale one uses to place it in view as a hypothesis worth pursuing. The theism->history->experience chain doesn't *prove* Christianity, but provides a rationale (based on the evidence, from cosmological constants to the historicity of Jesus as person, to my own experiences) that provides a basis for its rational investigation, for its evaluation.

    That is something I contrast with presuppositionalism, which doesn't appeal to any of that, but just makes a special plea for attention -- it must be accepted because it can't be otherwise, blah, blah, blah...

    Those are different kinds of commendations for evaluating the case for Christianity, Paul. I don't suppose mine rests on exhaustive empirical conclusions. Far from it. But I do suppose it is based on evidences and observations that support it, as opposed to a "transcendental proof" that simply asserts that things *may* not be otherwise -- full stop.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  29. "Is started right at the bottom for you, Paul? Why is your regress gun not blazing away at these "beliefs" ? "

    just hold your horses, I've seen I must go really slow with you.

    ReplyDelete
  30. T-stone,

    Again, sorry to be such ann intellectual bother, but:


    "You're right, we could go off in all sorts of directions. But I won't let you do this.

    Why do you believe in the Christian God? Why do you believe that Christianity is true? You claim to be a Christian. To believe it. To believe Jesus resurrected for our justification. That we are sinners. Why do you believe those things?

    As I asked above,

    "So, T-stone, answer me this:

    a) do the above (1) - (4) constitute *reasons* for believing in the *truth* of Christianity? If not, are there any and if so, what are they?

    b) Since you *believe* that Christianity is true, and since you *also believe* that one "should" have "evidence" for "all" his beliefs, or else he's not acting responsibly (like a man driving to 7-11 with his eyes closed), then what is your "evidence" for your "belief" in Christianity?

    c) This "evidence" should be consistent with how you defined "evidence" in the other discussions. To avoid a regress, ultimately resting on empirical data.

    The noose will get tighter."

    So, though it would be worth while some time to look at fine tuning arguments, design arguments, and other reasons to believe generic deities - or groups of them! - we're talking about your *belief* in *Christianity* right now.

    Remember, the above was part of your *case* for *Christ.* So, since we have all admitted here that your "reasons" were not good reasons for the *truth* of Christainity. You said what you gave was something of a gospel call. You admitted that (1) - (4) were not positive reasons for people to believe the truth of the Christain God. You wrote: "This would be the second part, but a good offering there, considering its brevity.

    I noticed that you said apologetics has two parts:

    a) defensive

    b) presenting the gospel

    Do you have offensive arguments. Reasons *for* belief? Do you have evidence *for* your belief in Christianity? Evidence of the kind you say must be had in our other discussions?

    So, I know how you must be so tempted to get this discussion off trach, but we just can't let you do that. Perhaps one day we can have a beer together and you can tell me about fine tuning arguments. But today's not that day.

    ReplyDelete
  31. T-stone,

    Furthermore, since John Loftus said "historical evidence" isn't "good" evidence, then you disagree with him here and with the claims he's made in the other posts, correct?

    ReplyDelete
  32. One more thing:

    "That is something I contrast with presuppositionalism, which doesn't appeal to any of that, but just makes a special plea for attention -- it must be accepted because it can't be otherwise, blah, blah, blah..."

    Is lying acceptable in your worldview?

    ReplyDelete
  33. In some places I am, in some places I'm not.

    I think you’re talking to the wrong guy here. It is not my claim that Jesus wasn’t a jerk. I’m not asking you to be like Christ. I’m responding to the argument you made about seeing the fruit of Christians (in terms of love, joy, peace, etc) and I just find that Christians don’t look so great in my estimation. Christ doesn’t either, but it is not my view that he was nice or that you should try to be like him.

    Like what did you have in mind, and how would they have been "checked?"

    Talk to witnesses, see what others with different views are saying. Compare one to another and decide which is more reasonable.

    What's the nature of this "checking?" If I told you that I had eggs for breakfast this morning would you not believe me until you had "checked" this out? Or, would your background assumptions make it rational and acceptable for you to believe what I said without "checking" it out?

    That’s exactly right. The more extraordinary the claim, the more evidence is required to persuade the rational person of the claim. Tell me you ate eggs and I’ll take you at your word. Tell me you ran a 3 minute mile and I’m afraid I’m going to need more than that. But it’s possible.

    But they didn't have a problem with "miracles," they were "God-fearing Jews" who already believed in the miraculous. You guys ask for the miraclulous to be proven, before one could prove a miracle.

    You haven’t seen me argue that. Even a person that doesn’t have a “problem” with miracles should still be hesitant to just accept any miraculous claim hook, line, and sinker. Even if God does act in miraculous ways this doesn’t mean that he does it on a regular basis. Jews of the first century should be hesitant to accept such a claim, just as you should be skeptical of Benny Hinn’s supposed resurrection performances as well.

    You're presupposing that the resurrection is false in your answer, then.

    I do not understand your point here.

    But you're assuming that they believed it was true *just because* it "spoke to them." Care to prove that one, or were you just practicing your skills at question begging epithets?

    Whatever it was that persuaded them it was true, it wasn’t a checking of the facts, which is exactly what it should have been. I’m sure there were other factors beyond just the fact that the message was appealing to them. The persuasiveness and sincerity of the speaker was probably also a factor. You perhaps can think of other things that influenced the decision. My point is simply that what ought to have influenced there decision (fact checking) doesn’t appear to have played a major role, or a role at all for that matter.

    i) Who's "we all?"

    I agree with them on this point.

    Regarding your claim that you’ve shown Touchstone to be wrong, and shown that he held to premise 1, I truly am having a hard time understanding the connections you are making. So I’m afraid I’m not really sure how to respond to any of it. I guess I’ll just run along.

    ReplyDelete
  34. *****
    “...you're simply pointing out that T-stone made two contradictory claims. I proved that they held to the first. If you want to interact with my detailed argumentation for this, be my guest.”
    *****

    Your “proof” is indexed to multiple four line syllogisms which are technically sound (to be sure) but whose truth requires that the reader accept that Paul Manata knows better than TS what TS actually believes or is thinking at any given time. They trade on equivocations, half truths, misrepresentations, and taking your disputant literally even when it has been made clear numerously that that is NOT the intent.

    Such proofs would also work if you take your disputant to be a language machine from which issue self contained, complete, and fully qualified propositions. No need for clarification. No need to account for nuances of meaning (even ones that fall under the umbrella of common usage) or even context. A language machine, being a machine, can not possibly utter a folkism or a colloquialism; use hyperbole, figures of speech or symbolism; be cryptic, colorful or vivid etc. Hence, a statement made by a language machine should always be taken literally, even if that statement would be interpreted in any of the aforementioned ways were a human to say it.

    If you’re actually going toe-to-toe with a language machine here (instead of an actual guy) I guess I’d have to agree that you have, indeed, proven that he (it?) is being inconsistent.

    *****
    “T-stopne is clear as day, "all" beliefs "should" have evidence for them.”
    ******

    Are you serious?? What about his reply to Welty? Why not ask TS about this, instead of conveniently assuming what he believes. Your too busy unleashing your fury to bother asking or *really* listening. Fact is, TS claims he does *not* hold to evidentialism *simpliciter* in his Welty reply but just doesn’t accept the list of PB beliefs you and Plantinga likely would. At that point the infinite regress argument was laid to rest for good and all that remained was to explore the dispute regarding PB, but you keep going with it and ignored the opportunity to really clarify your respective positions.

    And now you’ve got TS on yet another wild goose chase, leading to still more obfuscation.

    ReplyDelete
  35. "I think you’re talking to the wrong guy here. It is not my claim that Jesus wasn’t a jerk. I’m not asking you to be like Christ. I’m responding to the argument you made about seeing the fruit of Christians (in terms of love, joy, peace, etc) and I just find that Christians don’t look so great in my estimation. Christ doesn’t either, but it is not my view that he was nice or that you should try to be like him."

    Those weren't *my* arguments, they were Touchstone's. Glad to see you note his bade arguments, though.

    The "fruit" isn't based on a humanistic theory of love, Jon? Why think that?

    Anyway, you granted my point.
    If Jesus et al. acted like "jerks," and so do some Christians, then they're not not acting Christ-like, now are they?

    The argument that Christians are big meanies and not acting Christ-like is predicated on the fact that Jesus was a big nicey, not a big meany. So, thanks for granting my point. I knew you could grasp it.

    "Talk to witnesses, see what others with different views are saying. Compare one to another and decide which is more reasonable."

    This assumes that they didn't know the widely known fact that Jesus resurrected. This assumes that they hadn't checked with wittnesses. This took place after the resurrection, ya know? You're assuming a lot in the text, importing bagage. Like you think this is the first time these people heard of all this or something.

    So, your argument is predicated upon an argumentum ad ignorantium.

    Furthermore, they took it oin the testimony of Peter. Are you saying that testimonial evidence does not provide warrant? If so, why believe that I ate eggs for breakfast? You might say, 'cause I don't find that problematic. But, why assume that "God fearing Jews" would find the miraculous problematic?

    "That’s exactly right. The more extraordinary the claim, the more evidence is required to persuade the rational person of the claim."

    What is "extraordinary" is assumed by ones worldview. Thus I take the claim: Jesus did not rise from the dead" to be an extraordinary claim, so where's your extraordinary evidence? Furthermore, you're assuming that these people didn't have evidence. Peter's case on the word of God carries more weight than "asking eyewitnesses." Again, because their worldview was determinitive of levels of evidence. And, these people may well have had plenty of evidence to go off. You're assuming that because the text doesn't tell us these things then they didn't have evidence or reason for their belief. That is, you're resting your case on fallacious reasoning.

    " Even a person that doesn’t have a “problem” with miracles should still be hesitant to just accept any miraculous claim hook, line, and sinker."

    You're assuming that is the case here. But these "God fearing Jews" accepted fulfillments from the OT! No one was pushing the claims of some Buddhists teaching that Buddha was born from a slit in his mother's side.

    So, for example, when Jesus returns in Glory to judge the world, I'm not going to run up to him with a lab coat on, forcepts, my beaker and a test tube, and "empirically check him out." Perhaps he's an "illusion?" How would I know? Maybe I'm dreaming? How would I know. Gotta check it out.

    So, when he comes you do your thing and I'll do mine. let me know how your appraoch works out, okay? Point: Something consistent with my worldview doesn't need to be "checked out" before I assent to believe it.

    Anyway, since you admit that people can have beliefs with positive epistemic status, though they don't have propositional evidence in their favor, why couldn't that be the case here?

    "Regarding your claim that you’ve shown Touchstone to be wrong, and shown that he held to premise 1, I truly am having a hard time understanding the connections you are making. So I’m afraid I’m not really sure how to respond to any of it. I guess I’ll just run along. "

    Nice out, Jon. Perhaps we could discuss the areas you were having problems with and I could help? Though this doesn't explain your claims which contradict the facts of the post. Why didn't they "agree" with me? That's odd. I said, "some, not all, beliefs have positive epistemic status without propositional evidence in their favor." Why didn't they end the convo? T-stone replied: "We know some beliefs don't have evidence, but they *SHOULD*, emphasis his."

    Anyway, why aren't you "checking out" your beliefs on this matter?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Chadstone,


    "Your “proof” is indexed to multiple four line syllogisms which are technically sound (to be sure) but whose truth requires that the reader accept that Paul Manata knows better than TS what TS actually believes or is thinking at any given time. They trade on equivocations, half truths, misrepresentations, and taking your disputant literally even when it has been made clear numerously that that is NOT the intent. "

    Okay, so at best T-stone meant "some" when he said 'all" and meant "some people" when he said "all people" and didn't mean that "all beliefs are things that should have evidence in their favor." Okay, so he was saying what I said. When I made this clear right up front, why didn't he say I was right?

    Second, let's say I said:

    "Pigs can fly."

    Then you come in and rightfully bash my ignorance. I then say, I didn't say that, I said "birds can fly." Uh, no I didn't. I said "pigs," not "birds." You're still *assuming* that T-stone back pedaling is actually true of what he actually wrote. My claim is that it's not. I made my case for that, no one has critiqued it yet.

    Actually, T-stone first tried to *halt* the regress. i then showed that he couldn't. So, *at this point* he then changed his tune and said he was making an inductive argument. But, as I've pointed out, the induction is *falsified.* Why can't you grasp this????????

    So, his claim:

    "All beliefs should have evidence"

    wasn't *denied,* he just left open the "possibility" that he "could" be wrong. If he's now saying that he *is* wrong, then he's falsified his inductive argument! Get it???

    See, I had asked: "But, let's let T-stone tell us all about the experience which grounds the universal claim that "*all* beliefs are things that *should* have evidence given for them."


    And how did T-stone respond????? Here is a chance to DENY that he believes the above. Right, Chad? If he *really meant* what you claim, then here was a *perfect* opportunity to DENY my claim that he thought ALL beliefs needed evidence. Got it?

    So, what does he do? Does he DENY it? No. he tries to prove it by pointing to "John Loftus' thousands of beliefs that have evidence for him and help him survive."

    He says,

    "On and on an on... over thousands of tasks and experiences (and I've just been using visual perceptions by way of example here, and haven't even touched on other forms of perception), John accumulates a large pile of experiences that, when reviewed, strongly suggest that evidence represents a means to improve or clarify his model of the real world, as demonstrated by his ability to accomplish his desired objectives.

    That's a solid, empirical basis for the belief that beliefs should have eviddential bases underneath them."


    How could this be any more clear, Chadstone???

    So, I asked for proof that ALL beliefs should have evidence. He then tried to PROVE what I asked. notice I had 'all" in all caps!!!! I even emphasized what I meant!!! He doesn't *correct* me, rather he goes on to give an *argument* to meet my question!

    I then responded,

    "Hmmm, and so particular experiences ground the claim that ALL beliefs should have evidence demanded of them? Come again? How does that follow?"

    So, now what does T-stone do? He says,

    "So, you are incredulous about the extrapolation from particulars to universality."

    See!! T-stone says that his claim is a UNIVSERSAL ONE, it's just "inductive." That is, it has the *possibility* of being false. Got that? We on the same page?

    I THEN SAID in response to this "inductive" claim:

    "(a) I've shown that there are beliefs with no evidence for them, and we are still warranted in believing them. So, this refutes your inductive generalization anyway."

    Got that? Are we clear? Crystal? I said his inductive claim - "all beliefs should have evidence for them" was false since there were beliefs that "shouldn't" have to have evidence demanded of them.

    This means I was saying "some" beliefs are not things that should have evidence for them.

    Okay. We now have another PERFECT opportunity for T-stone to say, "hey, I agree with that." What does he do? He continues to defend the inductive claim. He says,

    "Assuming you mean *John's* [inductive] inference (maybe we should call it that just to keep things straight), I don't doubt there are beliefs that have no evidence. That's not controversial at all, and not what John or I asserted. Rather the asertion is that beliefs *SHOULD* have evidence supporting them, [...]
    That doesn't deny that people can and do have beliefs that don't have any evidentiary support. Examples of this abound."


    Got that Chadstone????? Are you following the bouncing ball? T-pebble didn't say, "Oh, I believe that." He said, missing the whole discussion, "People *do have* beliefs without evidence. I don't deny this. I just say that they *SHOULD* have evidence for all their beliefs."

    But THIS WAS NEVER IN DISPUTE!!!!!n NO ONE denied that people *do* have beliefs without evidence, we were debating whether all beliefs SHOULD have evidence. T-stone plainly agrees that THEY SHOULD!!!!!!

    What should? ALL BELIEFS. I had denied this. If T-stone did, why didn't he agree with me?

    I mean, I can keep going with this painful exercise if you want. I am right. That's not being cocky or bragging. I have done my homework, and despite people's *claims* to the contrary, I have shown what T-stone was defending. That he WAY LATER tried to weasel out of it isn't my fault.

    So, let's say that T-stone and Loftus deny that "ALL beliefs SHOULD have evidence for them." Good. That's what I have been claiming. They agree with me, then. I have shown that their posts disagreed, but if you want to say that they NOW agree, I'll chalk it up to the forceful argumentation. Actually, what we have is a person switching his beliefs because of my arguments. You say he admitted all along that he agreed with my position yet for some reason continued to debate it with me. I say he saw he was wrong and that was his concession without conceding.

    ReplyDelete
  37. anonymous <> Paul6/14/2007 10:35 PM

    Eeeeeps!

    "Chadstone" got "spankedstone."

    ReplyDelete
  38. Touchstone! touchstone stone stone stone sto st....

    Gonna answer? I'm looking forward to this one!

    ReplyDelete
  39. **BUMP**

    T-stone,

    Again, sorry to be such ann intellectual bother, but:


    "You're right, we could go off in all sorts of directions. But I won't let you do this.

    Why do you believe in the Christian God? Why do you believe that Christianity is true? You claim to be a Christian. To believe it. To believe Jesus resurrected for our justification. That we are sinners. Why do you believe those things?

    As I asked above,

    "So, T-stone, answer me this:

    a) do the above (1) - (4) constitute *reasons* for believing in the *truth* of Christianity? If not, are there any and if so, what are they?

    b) Since you *believe* that Christianity is true, and since you *also believe* that one "should" have "evidence" for "all" his beliefs, or else he's not acting responsibly (like a man driving to 7-11 with his eyes closed), then what is your "evidence" for your "belief" in Christianity?

    c) This "evidence" should be consistent with how you defined "evidence" in the other discussions. To avoid a regress, ultimately resting on empirical data.

    The noose will get tighter."

    So, though it would be worth while some time to look at fine tuning arguments, design arguments, and other reasons to believe generic deities - or groups of them! - we're talking about your *belief* in *Christianity* right now.

    Remember, the above was part of your *case* for *Christ.* So, since we have all admitted here that your "reasons" were not good reasons for the *truth* of Christainity. You said what you gave was something of a gospel call. You admitted that (1) - (4) were not positive reasons for people to believe the truth of the Christain God. You wrote: "This would be the second part, but a good offering there, considering its brevity.

    I noticed that you said apologetics has two parts:

    a) defensive

    b) presenting the gospel

    Do you have offensive arguments. Reasons *for* belief? Do you have evidence *for* your belief in Christianity? Evidence of the kind you say must be had in our other discussions?

    So, I know how you must be so tempted to get this discussion off trach, but we just can't let you do that. Perhaps one day we can have a beer together and you can tell me about fine tuning arguments. But today's not that day.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Paul,

    All you are doing here is making the case for pedantry. As I said before, I tell my daughter, as I would tell you, "We SHOULD always tell the truth."

    I know there can be exceptions.

    She knows there can be exceptions.

    *YOU* know there can be exceptions.

    It's understood, Paul, and only a pedant would take the approach you are pursuing here. The rule, as a rule, stands, even in the face of exceptions which I'm sure you or my daughter could point out. The benefits of being honest are plentiful, well known, and well demonstrated.

    So, too, with evidence as basis for belief. It's a sold rule: We SHOULD have evidence for our beliefs. Can exceptions be allowed for? Certainly. Does that change the rule.

    So, winding back to the start of all this nonsense, you asked John to provide evidence for that belief ("We SHOULD demand evidence for all our beleifs"), and made sure he saw you waving your little regress gun around as you asked it.

    I suggested that John's belief was well supported by the evidence -- evidence that shows evidence is a valuable proven basis for formulating true beliefs.

    At this point, to save face face as the tough guy you are, you had only two options:

    a) agree that evidence *is* available in support of the belief that we SHOULD demand evidence for our beliefs, and leave it at that.

    or

    b) Decide that John's claim MUST have meant "all beliefs, in all contexts, without exceptions". That of course, is not what John was claiming, and he said so. Same goes for me.

    So, a) isn't very tough guy, and I suspect that is why we saw b) as the angle you chose. At that point, all the interesting points of debate just got eclipse, subordinated to you need to assert that John's claim, and my support of it, MUST mean "all beliefs in all contexts, no exceptions". When John and I both rejected that as intended or believed on our part, you simply persisted.

    If I had come in here and say "We SHOULD always tell the truth", and you demanded evidence for that belief, and made sure to wave your little regress gun around when you said it, would I retract the statement as unsuported by the evidence? Surely not, for the evidence for this rule abounds, too. But I'm not at all bothered to say that exceptions can, do apply.

    Would you have played pedant in that case, as well? Or is it that you are just sensitive about the "evidence" issue, and when it comes to honesty, you suddenly snap back into good faith reading and interpretation with the rest of the human community, and understand, as my 7yo understands, that it's a solid rule, and even so it doesn't rule out exceptions.

    Paul I say "We SHOULD always tell the truth". What say you to that?

    You've had it pointed out to you from the speakers that your malicious interpretations are incorrect. What you think has been claimed has NOT been claimed, and as it is, this has just become a protacted excercise in pedantic misrepresentation.

    So ask what you want. I took time out yesterday morning that I really shouldn't have to write up the first tier of my "evidence" for my faith, and you simply dismissed it. Fool me once, Paul....

    So, here you can have a brief outline -- enough to transmit the idea, but not so much that it's just a case of "make work" from you like the cosmology commentary. If you want to focus on one or two areas for expansion, that's fine, but know that I'm not a sucker for "make work" for "make work's" sake for you, Paul.

    Evidence for my faith:

    1. Cosmoology -> theism
    2. Historical evidence (resolving (1)
    a. Christianity (insert NT Wright book, even W.L. Craig book here, for short, for now. Paul, reserve right to enumerate exceptions to assertions in either or both of the above... [insert appropriate anti-pedant disclaimers here])
    b. Islam
    c. LDS
    d. Buddhism
    3. Personal history and experience
    a. Raised in fundamentalist YEC home
    b. Discovered YEC was completely fraudulent, dishonest
    c. Decided Christianity was falsified because of it
    d. Science learnings lead to (1)
    e. Review historical evidence for Christianity
    e1. No evidence for exodus in Sinai, problematic
    e2. Lots of evidence for Israeli kings, other events in OT, NT.
    e3. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, no extraordinary evidence for resurrection, but lots of testimonial evidence.
    e4. Jesus' historicity established. Trilemma evaluated.
    e5. Christianity goes "supernova" in first couple centuries, eventually subsumes nemesis -- Roman empire.
    e6. Other "empires" emerged from initial cult - Islam, LDS - so "success" isn't fixed indicator of success.
    f. Evaluation of "moral law".
    f1. Christianity posits final justice, provides dis/incentives for man to be moral, even when "no one is looking".
    f2. "Moral law" appears to be "built in" -- 16 month old son displays sense of virtue, shame, guilt, honesty, along with everyone else. My own sense of moral obligation to *something* or *someone* endures, even after I have decided Christianity is as bogus as YEC. My *experience* in dealing with the world in terms of ethics doesn't shout "Yahwheh" or "Bible" directly, but does suggest persistently there is more to this sense than simply serving my own goals (even altruistically construed).
    f3. Secular morality seems as plausible, but deficient in terms of final justice, psychological guardrails vis-a-vis Christian model. (and militates against (1)).
    f4. Application of Christian morality as hypothesis provides good validation of a) man's nature, b) value of universal principles as bedrock for moral society, behavior.
    f5. "Problem of evil" persists throughout. Either a cognitive dissonance, a demand for rank voluntarism, or a mystery that is beyond my conceptual capabilities.
    f6. Biblical account of man's need of rescue from his sinful nature resonates with conclusions from (f.f2).

    g. Sense of the supernatural.
    g1. Intuitional sense of "right and wrong" since I can remember being conscious.
    g2. Intuitional sense of right and wrong at odd with my experience of my nature, desires, goals.
    g3. Distinct, frequent, subtle sense of... communication outside of my physical senses. *May* be accounted for as some sort of psychological phenomena - emotional projections, etc. - but after several efforts at discounting this sense as such, have rejected it as artificial. Maybe "impressions" is better than "communication" above.
    g4. Senses in (g3) congruent with prayer, contemplation, meditation, worship as part of Christian lifestyle. This experience strongly enforces hypothesis that sense in (g3) is a function of Christian faith, a supernatural manifestation of God's interaction with me, personally, per the scriptures. If this sense *is* just a "psychotic illusion", it's a highly sophisticated, well coordinated one...
    h. Transformation of other Christians.

    Hypocrisy abounds, even more inside the church than without, in my experience. But my experience also suggests that the believers who make earnest and committed efforts to digest and manifest the Biblical message *are* transformed, and transformed in substantial ways, ways that are very hard to account for, even when looking at the remarkable stories that come out of, say, Alcoholics anonymous. Having lived in Utah for a couple years, in a 98% Mormon town, I have the privilege to know many LDS who appear to have been similarly transformed. So, transformation *supports* the Christian thesis evidentially, but there are complicating counter-examples.

    All right, even there, over the time I have now for this. I'm sure there are more things to add, and I note that this is expressly not a proclamation of the Gospel, or a countering of objections -- which are the two wings of an "apology". This is just an outline of the things I appeal to, myself, and to others who ask why I believe what I believe, what evidence I rely on in formulating a framework of belief.

    If that's not wide enough in scope, or enough material for your little regress gun, Paul, then I can't imagine what would be. This outline could easily be expanded into a thousand pages or more of detailing evidences, experiences and their analysis. I'm sure the "make work" effects of your gun are appealing in that respect (keeps the analysis off of *you*!), but know that it won't work; even if I was foolish enough to play along, I haven't the time. Find a couple spots to focus on, and blast away.

    So, find your spot, oil up that nice regress gun of yours, and pip-pip-pip away, Paul. At least this might be a way out for you and the "Touchstone==Clifford" box you are in.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  41. Actually Paul, I agree with you about this. Yes, by all means, read the Bible. Really read the Bible as it was intended to mean. It debunks itself.

    ReplyDelete
  42. T-stone,

    Since you've admitted that you're sloppy with your terms, and in a debate with grownups (not your little kid) you'll fail to be precise, I must ask you a few questions before I respond since if I just respond to intended meaning, and the response is good, you'll say you didn't mean what it appears you did.

    So, does the above constitiute *reasons* or *evidence* for the *truth* of Christianity?

    Are these reasons or evidences objective indicators of the truth of Christianity?

    ReplyDelete
  43. and, would you say that Christianity is absolutely true? And, if so, does the above constitiute evidence leading to the truth of your belief that Christianity is absolutely true?

    ReplyDelete
  44. one more, what is the difference between demonstrating the truth of X, and proving the truth of X?

    ReplyDelete
  45. T-stone, are you opposed to clarification? Or, do you just like to be vague and ambiguous, thus making sure that you can squirm out of any conundrum?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Who knows, maybe T-stone actually has a life away from the computer, Paul?

    You should try it sometime. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Paul Manata: "So Frustrated, you feel like an idiot because you are."

    Wow, what a mature comment.

    Seriously folks, is there any reason to descend to this level of childishness?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Paul,

    Just so you know, I have six kids, three of who play travelling baseball. So June is month with a lot of time spent in small towns in the midwest in a Days Inn with dial-up only, and of course, six kids in the room(s). Occasionally things will just have to wait a bit, but I'm around to respond eventually. On some of these trips, I just leave the Mac at home, and I'm not gonna wax rhetoric typing with two thumbs on my Treo...

    So, does the above constitiute *reasons* or *evidence* for the *truth* of Christianity?

    Yes.

    Are these reasons or evidences objective indicators of the truth of Christianity?

    What's an "objective indicator", Paul? I'm not familiar what you mean here, and given your stance as pedant of late, I'll have to be lawyerly -- grindingly lawyerly in order to minimize the pedantic noise. So tell me what you mean by "objective indicator", precisely, and I'll then be able to answer.

    and, would you say that Christianity is absolutely true? And, if so, does the above constitiute evidence leading to the truth of your belief that Christianity is absolutely true?

    What do you mean by "absolutely true", here Paul? How does "absolute" add anything to "true" as a modifier? And what do you mean by "Christianity" here, Paul? If you're going to "go slow", here, in response to a pedant I'll have to tease out thorough working definitions of the terms you are using. You clearly can't be trusted to discuss in good faith, so let's just be lawyerly about it, and avoid the finger pointing later on about what I meant and what you *know* I meant, even over my stated objections and clarifications.

    So, let's get your terms out on the table here -- fully defined, and we'll go from there.

    And, what happened to your regress gun?

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  49. Sorry, missed this from you, Paul.

    one more, what is the difference between demonstrating the truth of X, and proving the truth of X?

    No idea without some context, Paul. It's a poorly formed question, as it is. I can imagine contexts where they mean precisely the same thing, and contexts where they aren't at all the same thing (demonstration vs. proof).

    As matter of propositional calculus, I see them treated as interchangeable. The Wikipedia entry for "Mathematical Proof" begins thus:

    "In mathematics, a proof is a demonstration that, assuming certain axioms, some statement is necessarily true."

    (my emphasis)

    On scientific questions, "proof" has a different meaning from "cannot be questioned", or "necessarily true". Indeed, the overloading of the word leads to all kinds of confusion. Here's a relevant paragraph from TalkOrigins:

    What is meant by scientific evidence and scientific proof? In truth, science can never establish 'truth' or 'fact' in the sense that a scientific statement can be made that is formally beyond question. All scientific statements and concepts are open to re-evaluation as new data is acquired and novel technologies emerge. Proof, then, is solely the realm of logic and mathematics (and whiskey). That said, we often hear 'proof' mentioned in a scientific context, and there is a sense in which it denotes "strongly supported by scientific means". Even though one may hear 'proof' used like this, it is a careless and inaccurate handling of the term. Consequently, except in reference to mathematics, this is the last time you will read the terms 'proof' or 'prove' in this article.

    That's a reflection of this confusion. Scientific "proof", when it called "proof" means something different than a "proof" does for a mathematical production.

    On inductive grounds then, "demonstration" is a function of one demands. Science is always tentative in its assertions, and "demonstrating" the truth of something in terms of science necessarily brings with it the question of "good enough".

    Do we know, absolutely, necessarily, without extension or alteration that general relativity is "true"? No. Do we have means to demonstrate it's true for our purposes? For most practical intents, yes (NOTA BENE, Paul: the "most" here means there MIGHT BE EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE, pedantic disclaimers apply). The demonstration of GR as a truth is "good enough" for us to rely on to achieve our purposes, or a good share of them, anyway (see disclaimer above, Paul).

    All of which to say, as you have it, there's not enough context to give a functional answer. Wrap that in some epistemological context, and we can make progress.

    -Touchstone

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  50. Dave,

    "Seriously folks, is there any reason to descend to this level of childishness?"

    Yes.

    ~Paul

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi T-stone,

    "Occasionally things will just have to wait a bit, but I'm around to respond eventually."

    So then I shiuld be expecting responses to our conversation on cocepts, Zool, et al? Or, am I just being pedantic?

    "What's an "objective indicator", Paul?

    Is the "evidence" or "arguments" or "reasons" indicitive of the truth of said beliefs, regardless of personal feelings on the matter? The evidence or reasons are thus intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with thoughts or feelings. Or, the "evidence" is not "true for me" but not "true for you." That is, to deny the evidence is to deny the way reality is. For example, an atheist might say that the evidence points to the non-existence of God. Thus, if he's correct, to deny his evidence is for me to deny the way things are. Independantly compelling, without assuming what needs to be proved in the first place?

    "What do you mean by "absolutely true", here Paul?"

    Well, that doesn't matter. What if, you, for arguments sake, said that Christianity, or the Gospel, was absolutely true. If you said that, what would you mean by it? If different things in different contexts, why and name a couple - or if it's just two or three ways then offer the exhaustive list of possible ways you would mean Christianity, or its essence, the Gospel, is "absolutely true."

    If "absolute" is taken to mean something other than, say, Vallicella says,

    "Let the example be the proposition p expressed by 'Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 44 B.C.' Given that p is true, it is true in all actual circumstances. That is, its truth-value does not vary from time to time, place to place, person to person, or relative to any other parameter in the actual world. P is true now, was true yesterday, and will be true tomorrow. P is true in Los Angeles, in Bangkok, and on Alpha Centauri. It is true whether Joe Blow affirms it, denies it, or has never even thought about it. And what goes for Blow goes for Jane Schmoe."

    then why?

    And, depending on your theory of time, something could be "true" while not absolutely true. But, you don't need to respond to that since that has nothing to do with the purposes of my questions.

    "And what do you mean by "Christianity" here, Paul?"

    Take these:

    (1) The authority of the Bible as God’s special revelation to man.

    (2) The Bible is the 66 books of the protestant canon.

    (3) God is a personal being, in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity - the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

    (4) All men are sinners.

    (5) Jesus is the savior of sinners.

    (6) Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross in the place of sinners.

    (7) He rose bodily from the dead, securing their salvation.

    (8) Men must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to have his saving work applied to them.

    (9) This same Jesus who acended to the right hand of his father will come again and judge both the living and the dead. Those who placed their faith in Jesus receive everlasting life, those who did not are sent to hell.


    "And, what happened to your regress gun?"

    Nothing at all, T-stone. I'm preparing a post. You've asked this a few times now, seem a bit paranoid. I've already told you to hold on to your horses.


    I asked: "one more, what is the difference between demonstrating the truth of X, and proving the truth of X?"

    T-stone reply: "No idea without some context, Paul. It's a poorly formed question, as it is."

    Poorly formed like saying "everything" but meaning "some things?" Anyway...

    Let's say, for arguments sake, you said:

    a) I can't prove God to anyone.

    b) I can demonstrate Jesus, at least in part. (and "demonstrate" is different that "proclaim").

    c) If what someone says is correct, it should be demonstrable.

    What would TS mean if TS said those things?

    thanks,

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  52. Paul

    So then I shiuld be expecting responses to our conversation on cocepts, Zool, et al? Or, am I just being pedantic?

    Maybe that's just more in the 'obsessive' category. If you have outstanding questions or issues on those topics, feel free to bring them up. Subject to time limits, I'm happy to respond.


    "What's an "objective indicator", Paul?

    Is the "evidence" or "arguments" or "reasons" indicitive of the truth of said beliefs, regardless of personal feelings on the matter?


    Yes, if we understand truth to mean "corresponding to reality, the actual state of affairs", definition *assumes* the existence of a reality external to and independent of one's perception/conceptualization about it. I'm comfortable with that; a (human) subject does not conform or define reality through the will. The subject conforms to reality.

    The evidence or reasons are thus intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with thoughts or feelings. Or, the "evidence" is not "true for me" but not "true for you." That is, to deny the evidence is to deny the way reality is.

    Per the above, concur. This assumes that the "evidence" is perceptual, somehow, though. Once concept formation take place, the "evidence" is only as good as the conceptual process that construes it as evidence. Raw visual stimuli are "the way reality is", but only as raw stimuli. Conceptualization -- identifying an object in my hand as a cell phone, for example -- introduces the potential for distortion. If we assume, however, that conceptually, we understand whatever evidence you have in mind *is* a reflection of the actual state of affairs outside the mind, then denying that evidence is tantamount to denying reality. But that's a *big* assumption to make...

    For example, an atheist might say that the evidence points to the non-existence of God. Thus, if he's correct, to deny his evidence is for me to deny the way things are. Independantly compelling, without assuming what needs to be proved in the first place?

    Hmmm. I think an atheist would say that's incorrect; atheists I talk to have it reversed from what you have here, a position of which you must be aware: they say thee evidence is insufficient to establish a positive case for the existence of God. As you have it, you are placing a burden of "proving a negative" on them. As I hear it, they reject that burden, and insist that these are not symmetrical propositions; saying "insufficient evidence for the existence of God" is *not* equivalent to "evidence for the non-existence of God". I'm sure you know the aphorism "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". Given that, I'm wondering why you've framed it backwards here?


    "What do you mean by "absolutely true", here Paul?"

    Well, that doesn't matter. What if, you, for arguments sake, said that Christianity, or the Gospel, was absolutely true. If you said that, what would you mean by it? If different things in different contexts, why and name a couple - or if it's just two or three ways then offer the exhaustive list of possible ways you would mean Christianity, or its essence, the Gospel, is "absolutely true."


    Maybe it helps to say that a proposition like "The God of the Bible exists" is either true, or not, in an absolute, mind-independent, objective sense. That's about as "absolute" as I think we can frame it. That God exists is absolutely true, and there aren't any contextual qualifications I can imagine that would change it. That's a separate idea from my being able to *prove* such a proposition, but as I said, my claims, thoughts, and wishes do not have bearing on whether God does or does not exist.


    If "absolute" is taken to mean something other than, say, Vallicella says,

    "Let the example be the proposition p expressed by 'Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 44 B.C.' Given that p is true, it is true in all actual circumstances. That is, its truth-value does not vary from time to time, place to place, person to person, or relative to any other parameter in the actual world. P is true now, was true yesterday, and will be true tomorrow. P is true in Los Angeles, in Bangkok, and on Alpha Centauri. It is true whether Joe Blow affirms it, denies it, or has never even thought about it. And what goes for Blow goes for Jane Schmoe."


    I'm good with that as a working definition.

    then why?

    Why what, Paul?


    And, depending on your theory of time, something could be "true" while not absolutely true. But, you don't need to respond to that since that has nothing to do with the purposes of my questions.

    For temporal events, time *would* be factor (hence the "temporal"!). Won't digress here, though.


    "And what do you mean by "Christianity" here, Paul?"

    Take these:

    (1) The authority of the Bible as God’s special revelation to man.

    (2) The Bible is the 66 books of the protestant canon.

    (3) God is a personal being, in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity - the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

    (4) All men are sinners.

    (5) Jesus is the savior of sinners.

    (6) Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross in the place of sinners.

    (7) He rose bodily from the dead, securing their salvation.

    (8) Men must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to have his saving work applied to them.

    (9) This same Jesus who acended to the right hand of his father will come again and judge both the living and the dead. Those who placed their faith in Jesus receive everlasting life, those who did not are sent to hell.


    OK, we'll go with this as our working definition.


    "And, what happened to your regress gun?"

    Nothing at all, T-stone. I'm preparing a post. You've asked this a few times now, seem a bit paranoid. I've already told you to hold on to your horses.


    Not paranoid, just feel like the brandishing of the gun seems quite remote from its use. I'm waiting to get right down to the "How do you know were not brains-in-vats, or living in a dream-world, or in some permutation of the Matrix" where you regress gun starts backfiring on you.

    I'm going along, but this seems like a lot of diversion away from your pip-pip-pipping that you like to threaten people with.


    I asked: "one more, what is the difference between demonstrating the truth of X, and proving the truth of X?"

    T-stone reply: "No idea without some context, Paul. It's a poorly formed question, as it is."

    Poorly formed like saying "everything" but meaning "some things?" Anyway...

    Let's say, for arguments sake, you said:

    a) I can't prove God to anyone.

    b) I can demonstrate Jesus, at least in part. (and "demonstrate" is different that "proclaim").

    c) If what someone says is correct, it should be demonstrable.

    What would TS mean if TS said those things?


    I wish you'd provided some context previously, as you had me talking about "demonstration" in a sense that is something else, there. Here, "demonstrating Jesus" isn't a logical proof, but just the process of showing by example. I'm demonstrating a new software design methodology this week to a team of engineers where I work. I'm not arguing that it's *true*; rather, I'm demonstrating how it works, and showing by example.

    If I show agape love, if I act in a sacrificial way, I'm *demonstrating* Jesus in my life. That's a different sense of "demonstration" than a "proof", deductive or inductive.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hi TS,

    "Maybe that's just more in the 'obsessive' category. If you have outstanding questions or issues on those topics, feel free to bring them up. Subject to time limits, I'm happy to respond."

    'Obsessive?' Okay, I was trying to find a word that would describe your attitude towards T-blog.

    I have no questions and am satisfied with what transpired. If you'd like to dislodge your foot from your mouth in any of those dialogues please do so and keep me updated.

    "Yes, if we understand truth to mean "corresponding to reality, the actual state of affairs", definition *assumes* the existence of a reality external to and independent of one's perception/conceptualization about it. I'm comfortable with that; a (human) subject does not conform or define reality through the will. The subject conforms to reality. "

    Not quite an appropriate answer to my clarification.

    Does the evidence stand on its own as leading to the truth of said conclusion, or must you view the evidence through presuppositional glasses. Thus the evidence is only indicative of Christianity if you previously accept Christian presuppositions?

    "Hmmm. I think an atheist would say that's incorrect; atheists I talk to have it reversed from what you have here, a position of which you must be aware:"

    Look at the pedantic T-stone.

    Uh, I am aware of the various strains within atheological circles, and so you must be aware that strong atheists (as they sometimes call themselves) would actually say that there is *evidence or reasons or arguments* pointing to the non-existence of God.

    I find it funny that I say, "for *example,*" .... "*an* atheist *might* say."

    See that? See how I can make sure my words express what I'm trying to say?

    So, even when I use qualifiers you assume I'm speaking universally. yet when you repeatedly use universal qualifiers I get called 'pedantic' for assuming you mean what you write.

    This should make it easy: assume that I mean what i write and am careful with my words and thoughts. I'll assume the opposite with you and we should have no further communication problems, mkay?

    I mean, surely *some* atheists would say what I said wasn't indicative of *their* position, but I wasn't talking about them; as my context demands you agree.

    "Why what, Paul?"

    Yawn. Really, TS, pay attention and try not to be so sloppy - that's what gets you into all your trouble.

    I said,

    "If 'absolute' is taken to mean something other than, say, Vallicella says, [snip Vallicella quote], then why?"

    Got it? I was asking if you used 'absolute' in a different sense than Vallicella, "then why?" That is, "why do you use it in a different sense?" Really, this isn't that hard. Perhaps these little errors can help the reader see the types of problems I have with your posts and how your responses always fail to interact with my actual material.

    "OK, we'll go with this as our working definition."

    Okay so those "evidences" are "objective indicators" of, say, the authority of the Bible and the triunity of God. Got it.

    "I wish you'd provided some context previously, as you had me talking about "demonstration" in a sense that is something else, there."

    Okay, so when you say, "I [TS] can't prove that God exists." you mean "you can't mathematically prove it given certain axioms?

    And when you say, "I can demonstrate Jesus" you mean "show his love,", right?

    What about if you said, "I can't prove *anything?*"

    I mean, inductively :-), how do you usually use the word 'proof?' And, how many uses can there be when you use it? Give me a list of the different ways that TS employs that word when commenting on T-blog. How's that for context?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Paul,

    Not quite an appropriate answer to my clarification.

    Does the evidence stand on its own as leading to the truth of said conclusion, or must you view the evidence through presuppositional glasses. Thus the evidence is only indicative of Christianity if you previously accept Christian presuppositions?


    If the evidence points in some direction, then it points in some direction. Whether there's enough accompanying evidence to make the body of available evidence go from "maybe", to "compelling" doesn't change the indicative nature of that piece of evidence.

    And no, I don't suppose the evidence for Jesus as a historical figure -- a real Jewish person in 1st century Palestine -- is dependent on Christian presuppositions. Assuming you mean presuppositions like "The God of the Bible exists" and "The Bible is the inerrant Word of God".

    If the evidence supports the idea that Jesus was a historical figure, a real man who lived in 1C Palestine, or it doesn't, and one need not presuppose the Christian God to admit that evidence into view.

    Look at the pedantic T-stone.

    Fool me twice, Paul, and all that. This is a drag of your making. Don't whine to me about this.

    I find it funny that I say, "for *example,*" .... "*an* atheist *might* say."

    See that? See how I can make sure my words express what I'm trying to say?

    So, even when I use qualifiers you assume I'm speaking universally. yet when you repeatedly use universal qualifiers I get called 'pedantic' for assuming you mean what you write.


    Well, the pedantic part comes from insistence, Paul. If I've misunderstood what you intended, I'm happy to accept a restatement or clarification from you as compensation for my poor reading skills. I'm happy to grant you your declared meanings for the words you write. There's plenty enough problems to worry about beyond that kind of noise.

    This should make it easy: assume that I mean what i write and am careful with my words and thoughts. I'll assume the opposite with you and we should have no further communication problems, mkay?

    I'm happy to let you clarify if needed, Paul. As I said, there are much larger problems to address then the ennui we're dealing with here.

    I mean, surely *some* atheists would say what I said wasn't indicative of *their* position, but I wasn't talking about them; as my context demands you agree.

    Oh, I know some do. My point was that that seems a contrivance on your part. But no matter. As you wish...


    Okay so those "evidences" are "objective indicators" of, say, the authority of the Bible and the triunity of God. Got it.

    Let's keep the subjects and objects straight here. If we agree that "authority of the Bible" is the question at hand, it's "properties of authority" exist independent of my view of the evidence, for or against. Same goes for you or for anyone else. The subject's view does *not* control the actuality of any authority of the Bible, or lack thereof.

    The supportive *value* of the evidence in view for the idea of Biblical authority, however, is not objective. If we consider a codex, it has properties that *are* independent of a subject's view's on it (it's age, media, type of script or ink used, etc.). However, no "objective indication" of the codex's support for Biblical author attaches to the object, at least as far as human faculties are concerned. Subject A may assign it great value and credibility in support of Biblical authority, and Subject B may assign it little value or none. This is just a reflection of the concept-formation and belief formation processes that are subject-dependent. It's not uncommon at all for a broad consensus to form among investigators regarding a bit of (potential) evidence. But "support for Biblical authority value" is not an inherent property of the codex in an objective sense, in the way that the chemical makeup of the ink used is (for example).

    Okay, so when you say, "I [TS] can't prove that God exists." you mean "you can't mathematically prove it given certain axioms?

    Given *certain* axioms, it's trivial to prove God exists, as you should know. If my Axiom (A) is "God exists", my proof for the existence of God just invokes (A). QED, if you are a van Tillian.

    But I think you meant axioms *I* would recognize as legitimate axioms for investigating the question of God's existence. In that case, no, I don't think there is a mathematical proof for God's existence.

    And when you say, "I can demonstrate Jesus" you mean "show his love,", right?

    Right.

    What about if you said, "I can't prove *anything?*"

    That would depend on what is in question. I suppose I can prove the Pythagorean Theorem given Euclidean Geometry axioms. I don't suppose I can prove that gravity behaves the same way everywhere in the universe, or anything else in an absolute sense (no exceptions, anywhere, any time, of necessity), when it comes to physical phenomena. I do suppose I can point to supporting evidence as tentative (but possibly compelling) kind of proof for an idea/theory/model. If we are talking science, or inductive productions, I don't suppose I can achieve proof in the final/absolute/of necessity sense.

    I mean, inductively :-), how do you usually use the word 'proof?' And, how many uses can there be when you use it? Give me a list of the different ways that TS employs that word when commenting on T-blog.

    Well, I've got better things to do than go track down every instance of the word. You're welcome to do that if you think it will help things for you. As I said just above, I can see myself using "proof" as "preponderance of evidence", or as "derived in accordance with reason".

    How's that for context?
    Not good, Paul. I don't use one meaning or another as a matter of "usually"; I use the word applied to a context, a frame for the discussion, just anyone else. Or is there a "usual" meaning of the word proof you want to suggest we hold to as a rule, regardless of the context?

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  55. Most of that is good stuff, TS. Couple last ones, then I can write my post.

    (1) "preponderance of evidence"

    So, would you say that you can "prove" Christianity this way? That is, do the (9) beliefs above, which make up a basic "belief in Christianity" have the "preponderance of the evidence?" That is, do you think you can "prove" Christianity in this sense?

    (2) "Let's keep the subjects and objects straight here...[snip]"

    So, do you have objective evidence for your beliefs or not? That is, you believe X, you should jhave evidence for X, surely 'evidence' can't be 'cause it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy,' and so do you have 'evidence' for all the (1) - (9) above? Objective evidence? You said your evidence was objective. It was evidence for your belief in Christianity (aka, (1) - (9)), right?

    "Oh, I know some do. My point was that that seems a contrivance on your part. But no matter. As you wish..."

    No, it was simply used for an *example* of someone saying that if I deny their evidence I deny the way reality is. That's all. No one's out to "get you" TS. Anyway, you blundered because you chastised and berated me for saying something I clearly didn't say. You do this quit frequently. I'm glad I had the opportunity to help you see what you do. Now the ball's in your court. You have the power to change. You can do it, and I believe in you. Turn around bright eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Paul,


    So, would you say that you can "prove" Christianity this way? That is, do the (9) beliefs above, which make up a basic "belief in Christianity" have the "preponderance of the evidence?" That is, do you think you can "prove" Christianity in this sense?

    "prove" in *what* way Paul? Just by laying out *my* evidence? If that's what you believe, it's possible for that to be convincing, but since a significant part of that evidence is my *own* experience, it can't be directly imparted, or pointed to in an objective way. All I can do is testify to that experience, which may or may not be convincing to the investigator. Given that, as a matter of necessity, no it is not proven. It's convincing to me (although not in an overwhelming sense even then -- I still need a measure of faith on top of all the evidence, even including my own experience), but another investigator doesn't have access to a good chunk of what I'm evaluating (my own experience), except in such terms as I choose to relay it to him/her.

    That doesn't mean investigators can't be convinced without access to my experience; they may consider themselves convinced based on the "shared" evidence -- the evidence that can be evaluated by any investigator -- and in combination with their *own* personal experience, but if so, then it must be noted that the "evidence base" is significantly different for this investigator then it is for me.

    No, it was simply used for an *example* of someone saying that if I deny their evidence I deny the way reality is. That's all. No one's out to "get you" TS. Anyway, you blundered because you chastised and berated me for saying something I clearly didn't say. You do this quit frequently. I'm glad I had the opportunity to help you see what you do. Now the ball's in your court. You have the power to change. You can do it, and I believe in you. Turn around bright eyes.

    I hope to avoid being incorrigible, and am willing to accept corrections as to your intending meanings.

    -Touchstone

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