Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Teapot In Space

Bertrand Russell once gave an illustration that he supposed was analogous to the (non)existence of God. He said:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving around the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

(quoted in Dawkins, Richard. 2006. The God Delusion. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 52)
Russell’s objection has been parroted by many atheists (including Dawkins) ever since, culminating in the concept of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But there are a few rather pronounced problems with the analogy Russell (and, by extension, Dawkins and the new anti-theists) have brought up.

First is the fact that the analogy is impossible to take seriously. What I mean by this is that the only reason the analogy works as an attack against faith is because nobody (granted the exception of a few kooks) would affirm the existence of a teapot orbiting between Earth and Mars on the basis of it being in "ancient books." Such a hypothesis would not be taught "as the sacred truth every Sunday" because reasonable people would never submit to such a stupid idea. Russell’s analogy works because what no one accepts as reasonable (a teapot in orbit between Earth and Mars) is supposedly linked to what the vast majority of people accept as reasonable (the existence of some form of deity). Dawkins uses the analogy to show that simply because we are agnostic about something (after all, we cannot disprove the existence of the teapot without having omniscience), that does not mean we have to give equal odds to both sides of the question of existence of the teapot (i.e. there’s a 50/50 shot it actually exists). Says Dawkins:

The point of all these way-out examples is that they are undisprovable, yet nobody thinks the hypothesis of their existence is on an even footing with the hypothesis of their non-existence. Russell’s point is that the burden of proof rests with the believers, not the non-believers. Mine is the related pointed that the odds in favor of the teapot…are not equal to the odds against.

(ibid, p. 53)
But this brings up an immediate question. Why are these "way-out examples" to be taken seriously in the first place? If "nobody thinks the hypothesis of their existence is on an even footing with the hypothesis of their non-existence" then in what way do these examples cohere to the concept of the existence of God?

Such counter questions are far from trivial. Consider for a moment why no one believes in the teapot orbiting between Earth and Mars. First, a teapot is a man-made object. Very few men have ever been to space, and the odds are that exactly none of them brought a teapot up when they made the trip. Further, even if we stipulated that someone now threw a teapot into orbit, Russell’s analogy requires that it be an ancient belief.

If you do not think the man-made feature of the teapot matters, consider what would happen if I changed the hypothesis slightly. What if instead I said: "There is a rock the size of a teapot that orbits between the Earth and Mars." Suddenly, the analogy (as used by Dawkins) breaks down. The odds that there is a teapot-sized rock in solar system are so high as to be certain. The odds that this rock could be between the Earth and Mars are only slightly diminished—after all, we know of many asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, and it would not be illogical to assume that some of these asteroids meander and could get trapped in orbit between the Earth and Mars.

Thus, if we simply switch from viewing a man-made object to viewing a natural object, the analogy immediately breaks down. While we still cannot prove the existence of said rock, it very well may be "intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it." This is why the analogy must rely on the use of a man-made object. But in this case, we know that no man has ever been between Earth and Mars (except perhaps fleetingly while in orbit around the Earth—a situation that would not be the case for the "ancient books" used in the analogy), and that no one has ever lost their teapot there. The existence of the teapot becomes irrational because the origin of teapots is Earth-bound and likewise bound to humans.

But while this deals with Dawkins’ use of the analogy, there is another point we need to address regarding the original use of it by Russell. Russell claims that the burden of proof is on the believer of the teapot, which is true so far as that goes. After all, there is simply no phenomenon that needs to be explained by the existence of a teapot between Earth and Mars. The teapot’s existence is completely gratuitous; it serves no purpose other than for the analogy. This is why stipulating the existence of a teapot would be so ridiculous—there is no reason for us to believe in the existence of a teapot because there is nothing that needs to be explained by the existence of a teapot.

So we see that we are justified in ridiculing the existence of a teapot between Earth and Mars. The problem is that Russell and Dawkins then want to transfer the ridicule on the teapot analogy toward belief in the existence of God. This immediately fails, however.

God is not a man-made object (note for the atheists: this is not saying that God is not a man-made belief, for indeed all false beliefs of God would be man-made beliefs of God). If God exists, His existence is not due to the existence of man; He exists apart from man. Thus, Dawkins’ use of the analogy immediately shows discontinuity between the teapot and God. We are not speaking of the existence of an object that we know would not normally appear between the Earth and Mars. We are speaking of the existence of an object that would transcend the universe. This is hardly analogous.

Further, there are phenomena that are explained by the existence of God. Most obviously, He fits as the answer to the question: Why is there something instead of nothing? The very existence of the universe screams out for a reason for being. Why does the universe exist at all? While a teapot floating between Earth and Mars answers no questions, the belief in a God does answer questions.

This is why the analogy does not work at all. The (admittedly) bogus analogies are not even in the same ballpark as the question about the existence or non-existence of God. While it is certainly the case that atheists will dispute the necessity of God as an answer to the question of why existence exists, the odds question that Dawkins brings up with his use of the teapot analogy is immediately thrown into disrepute. As for Russell, if God does answer the question of why we exist (as the vast majority of people believe He does) then we have a reason for stipulating the existence of God. This does not even touch the subjective experiences that many people claim to have, which would provide personal reasons for those people to believe. Further, it ignores other evidences (such as classical Christian evidences, like the missing body from Jesus’ tomb, etc.). None of these extra evidences are much relevant to the point that Russell’s analogy and Dawkins’ rehashing of it are in no way coherent to the question of the existence of God.

79 comments:

  1. Hey Peter,

    You seem to forget that "God" is the answer to *all* phenomena. Can you identify a phenomena that *cannot* be explained by an all-powerful, all-knowing deity?

    You are falling headlong into Russell's (and by extension, Dawkins' trap); this is precisely the kind of answer the hope to elicit to make Christianity look foolish when the reasoning gets going.

    How is this paragraph from you:

    Further, there are phenomena that are explained by the existence of God. Most obviously, He fits as the answer to the question: Why is there something instead of nothing? The very existence of the universe screams out for a reason for being. Why does the universe exist at all? While a teapot floating between Earth and Mars answers no questions, the belief in a God does answer.

    logically any different from:

    Further, there are phenomena that are explained by the existence of THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER. Most obviously, THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER fits as the answer to the question: Why is there something instead of nothing? The very existence of the universe screams out for a reason for being. Why does the universe exist at all? While a teapot floating between Earth and Mars answers no questions, the belief in a THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER does answer.

    By your logic here, we have a solid reason for believing the the Flying Spaghetti Monster. FSM can match the God of the Bible answer for answer here, if we suppose the FSM is all-knowing and all-powerful.

    It's stuff like this Peter that suggests Triablogue is a "false-flag" operation of RichardDawkins.com. The very point of Russell's argument here is to demonstrate the vacuity of this kind of response.

    Maybe consider the historicity of Jesus, the factual basis of the Bible as a historical record and testimony to the relation of a people to their God? That's something an atheist can't simply skewer your arguement by pointing out that your argument is JUST AS STRONG for the Flying Spaghetti Monster as it is for God. You're just serving up softballs to Dawkins here, Peter.

    As for the "suppose we switch the analogy..." stuff, you've got to be kidding me. Not even worthy of comment.

    -Touchstone

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  2. Touchstone,
    Very clever--replace the word "God" with the words "Flying Spaghetti Monster" and defeat the argument. Except you need to actually define what the word conglomeration represents. If the (you insert your name here) is postulated as a necessary explanation for existence, it will have to meet certain criteria, and at that point, it is the definition of the thing at question, not the name, which is important.
    But two questions to you (if I may direct the conversation this way)--is God real and knowable though scripture alone?

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  3. Wow.

    I am totally shocked. I predicted to myself that the first person who would respond to this would be T-Stone, and furthermore that he would be against what I said, despite his claims to believe in a God.

    Having thus been proven correct, I can add an addendum to my original post:


    ----

    There is one God Russell's analogy does affect, and that would be the "God" of Touchstone. After all, Touchstone's God does not answer any questions and is not needed in any hypothesis. As such, T-Stone's God would have a horrific time withstanding Russell's analogy.

    ----

    So, T-Stone, care to elaborate on how God actually exists in your worldview? Or could you instead do us all a favor, stop lying, and just admit that you're an atheist?

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  4. By the way, I should also point out that Enoch or Merrilee is spot on too.

    It is one thing to replace the label with something else. It is quite another thing to replace the attributes.

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster does not have the attributes of God, which is why you cannot replace the word "God" with Flying Spaghetti Monster. If God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster have exactly the same attributes, then they are the same being and you do not need to replace the label. In such an instance, it would be akin to calling God by the name Jehovah or Elohim. Both are synonymous because they refer to the same being.

    Thus, replacing the label alone doesn't help T-Stone. He must replace the attributes of God. But, pray tell, T-Stone, how is it that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is actually an answer to anything? What attributes must the FSM have in order for it to actually answer any questions, such as: Why is there something instead of nothing?

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  5. Enoch or Merrilee,

    It's not a problem if we are simply talking about "renaming" the same God. A name is a symbol pointing to a referent -- if the referent is the same, or even constitutionally similar, there's no weight to substitution.

    But my point was not that at all. By Flying Spaghetti Monster, I don't mean to propose just another name for God, or something with the same attributes as God, save for the ability to create. As long as the FSM can *theoretically* answer the questions, he's (she? it?) is just as powerful a *reason* for his existence as the Christian God.

    That is, Peter here is busting God down to FSM's purely theoretical level. He doesn't have to *really* exists. God only needs to exist to provide a theoretical solution to the "crying" need for an answer to why anything exists at all.

    The evisceration of God as an *actual* entity, as a brute fact of reality, according to Peter's argument here: he exists of *theoretical* necessity.

    Which of course, diminishes God right down to the same pathetic "theoretical construct" level of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't have to actually *exist*, you see. He just has to be able to answer metaphysical questions in a *theoretical* sense, as a reponse to philosophical *need*.

    And Peter offers an argument fully interchangeable with an addmittedly made-up fake god.

    You ask:

    is God real and knowable though scripture alone?

    God is real, which is the whole point of my protest here -- Peter is making a solid case for a fake, made-up "God", a construct who only exists as a way to provide answers to "crying" philosophical questions.

    Knowable through scripture alone? Of several ways to read this question, I'll respond by saying God that the Bible is sufficient, in and of itself, to convict and point man to a saving relationship with God.

    -Touchstone

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  6. Peter,


    Thus, replacing the label alone doesn't help T-Stone. He must replace the attributes of God.


    See my comments above to Enoch or Merrilee about "relabeling". My point was a different one entirely.

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the answer to *everything* Peter. Right. All-knowing. All-powerful. He doesn't have to be real -- we know he's made up. He just has to provide an answer! And he does. Since he's all powerful, creating our universe was trivial for him, he did it while filing his nails, or his semolina...

    Oh wait, you say we have to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is *real* before it counts as an answer??? Well, have a look at your post then, and what Russell/Dawkins are saying! It's like you are just *trying* to fall for their tricks Peter.

    You haven't established that God is real as a prerequisite for your argument, any more than I have with a competing Flying Spaghetti Monster. Instead, you suppose -- completely irrationally -- that *because* God answers the question in a theoretical, conjectural sense, that MAKES HIM REAL.

    God is real, but you here have offered a foolish, obviously misgiven rationale for God being real. As I said, applying your logic -- that God is real because his reality would provide answers to "crying" questions -- works perfectly well for the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    A thing isn't real simply by virtue of its ability to provide you an answer Peter. If it was, the Flying Spaghetti Monster would exist as a competitor to God, along with an innumerable crowd of other gods that provide much sought after answers to "crying" questions.

    But, pray tell, T-Stone, how is it that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is actually an answer to anything? What attributes must the FSM have in order for it to actually answer any questions, such as: Why is there something instead of nothing?

    Well, let's just suppose that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has two attributes: a) a "universe creation capability" and b) a desire to create universes. Keep things minimal.

    So there. Question answered, Peter. The Flying Spaghetti Monster has answered your question: the universe exists because the FSM *can* create universes and he *wanted* to. QED, right.

    Don't tell me that it doesn't count that FSM hasn't demonstrated his existence as a precondition here. That's cheating, as you haven't done that, either. Remember, we know God exists *because* he provides us an answer. Well, what's sauce for the goose... FSM exists, too, for the same reason -- because he provides us an answer!

    If you want to say (and you'd finally be on the right track) that God *does* exist in ways that we can understand *independent* of his suitability as an answer for "crying" existential questions, well then, you'd best just scrap your post and start over. But at least you would avoid the FSM as perfect substitute for God according to your arguments.

    -Touchstone

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  7. "Well, let's just suppose that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has two attributes: a) a "universe creation capability" and b) a desire to create universes. Keep things minimal."

    Non-sequitur. That he can "create a universe" doe snot mean he can create *this* universe. You believe that *this universe* is rational and understandable - after all, you're a "scientist."

    So, that a deaf, dumb, and bling kid has the capability to "create" a "bananna split" that does not imply that *this* beautiful bannana split, with all its order and fine tuning, was created by the deaf, dumb, and blind kid.

    Thus by saying that the FSM *only* has those *two* attributes, your argument flops. Indeed, is stretches the limits of credulity to say that this kind of universe which seems understandable to humans, displays order and fine tuning, etc., was created by something that can simply "create a universe" and "wants to do it." I mean, what is the probability that *that kind* of being created *this kind* of universe? Low; or inscrutable at best.

    ~PM

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  8. If we were to replace "The God of the Bible" w/ "The FSM" in the original (ie, not minimalist, but where He is the answer to everythg) way T-stone proposed, then we have no problem at all.
    We have a being who goes by FSM, but who is actually omni-present, -potent, -scient, self-reveals thru the Bible, created the universe, and is the grounds for all logic, rationality, induction, and morality.
    Sounds suspiciously like The God of the Bible, w/ a name borrowed from blasphemous skeptics.
    Only God doesn't like to go by the name FSM; He prefers YHWH or Jesus.

    Thanks T-Stone for wasting 5 minutes of my life. I know some atheists you could talk to if you wanted to do something worthwhile.

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  9. T-Stone said:
    ---
    By Flying Spaghetti Monster, I don't mean to propose just another name for God, or something with the same attributes as God, save for the ability to create.
    ---

    I'd say this is apples and oranges, but you're so dishonest it's more like apples and oranges you've tried to paint red.

    Creative power is not the only attribute the FSM would need to have. He would have to have the ability to create ex nihilo. A being that could create ex nihilo must also transcend that creation, so the FSM must be transcendent as well as creative. Further, since the creation is based on the power of the FSM, the FSM must be more powerful than what he has created (there is no inherent power in the creation; all the power in creation is merely derrived from the power of the creator, no matter what you wish to call him).

    Thus, the FSM logically must be far more than merely a being able to create something, and such is blindingly obvious to any theist who has bothered to actually think about these issues. As for what else the FSM must be, I refer you once again to my previous post dealing with this very issue, A Question of Logic.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    As long as the FSM can *theoretically* answer the questions, he's (she? it?) is just as powerful a *reason* for his existence as the Christian God.
    ---

    Yes, and in your crusade to oppose all things written by Triabloggers, you never noticed that nowhere in this entire post did I reference the Christian God. I was dealing with an atheist's analogy, T-Pebble. And that's the point you're too dense to get.

    It doesn't matter which God you stipulate here: ATHEISM STILL REMAINS UNFOUNDED. Get it in your head, T-Stone. Learn to read for once in your life.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    That is, Peter here is busting God down to FSM's purely theoretical level. He doesn't have to *really* exists. God only needs to exist to provide a theoretical solution to the "crying" need for an answer to why anything exists at all.
    ---

    A) I'm not "busting God down" to anything--you're the one doing that.

    B) It's not a "theoretical solution" solution--it IS a solution. Just because you're too stupid to understand problem doesn't mean it isn't a real problem.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    The evisceration of God as an *actual* entity, as a brute fact of reality, according to Peter's argument here: he exists of *theoretical* necessity.
    ---

    Only if you consider all of existence to be "theoretical."

    Normally, I don't believe in the brain-in-a-vat universe, but T-Stone must have left his in the vat.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Oh wait, you say we have to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is *real* before it counts as an answer??? Well, have a look at your post then, and what Russell/Dawkins are saying!
    ---

    Thanks for putting words in my mouth, T-Stone. Now learn to read what I actually said.

    You don't have to prove the FSM is real. Again, this is merely a label. What you have to prove is that the FSM has attributes that are sufficient to explain the existence of the universe. And that, you dorktard, is what you have not done with the FSM.

    Your FSM is an empty label; as soon as you provide attributes, suddenly you have to assume the FSM is an aweful lot like the God of the Bible. But that doesn't help you any, because then the FSM simply becomes another label meaning the same deity. So you'll leave it as an empty label, all the while forgetting that as an empty label it cannot explain anything.

    T-Stone is in a real dilemma here. Either he acknowledges that the FSM is only a valid response if, for all intents and purposes, it has the same attributes as theists claim God has, or else he has to admit that the FSM is not a valid response. Either way, T-Stone is left with one of the two horns impaling him.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    You haven't established that God is real as a prerequisite for your argument, any more than I have with a competing Flying Spaghetti Monster. Instead, you suppose -- completely irrationally -- that *because* God answers the question in a theoretical, conjectural sense, that MAKES HIM REAL.
    ---

    But that's not my argument at all. I am simply pointing out that the analogy that Russell and Dawkins have put forth is flawed. The analogy of the teapot in orbit is no where near the same type of hypothesis as the belief in the existence of God.

    Thanks for playing, you can get your parting gift on the way out the door. Next time, do try to actually read what you are responding to.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    God is real, but you here have offered a foolish, obviously misgiven rationale for God being real.
    ---

    No, here I have provided a brilliant and obviously correct rational for Russell's analogy being flawed.

    By the way, one other point. T-Stone continually refers to these "crying" philosophical questions, as if putting "crying" in quotes was an argument. As if philosopher's haven't been discussing these very issues for centuries. As if T-Stone can make them go away by "putting" a word "in" quotes.

    Oooh, scare quotes.....

    Shiver me timbers.

    "Touchstone" is a "moron" who is "full of"...well, you know how that goes.

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  10. Hey Paul,

    As I said, I was just trying to keep things minimal. I'm happy to ammend the FSM's creative attribute to "can create any kind of universe, including one like this one", if that's needed.

    I don't think it's necessary to spell it out, but there it is, if you'd like. Doesn't change my point a bit.

    -Touchstone

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  11. Should respond to this as well, I guess:

    Thus by saying that the FSM *only* has those *two* attributes, your argument flops. Indeed, is stretches the limits of credulity to say that this kind of universe which seems understandable to humans, displays order and fine tuning, etc., was created by something that can simply "create a universe" and "wants to do it." I mean, what is the probability that *that kind* of being created *this kind* of universe? Low; or inscrutable at best.

    I think inscrutable is entirely correct. Low is an entirely different matter -- how would you know? I'd be happy to see you sketch out the phase space for extra-universal properties Paul, I really would.

    Show your math, please.


    But, as for inscrutable, so what? It's inscrutable. Peter says we have a *reason* to believe in the FSM's existence just because he can answer the question of "why is there something rather than nothing?". That's all we need to know, given his post here. Which, as I said, reified the Flying Spaghetti Monster with *just* those two attributes perfectly as well as it reifies God.

    Be my guest in lecturing on the probabilities of this attribute and that in the extra-universal domain. I like numbers, so I'm interested.

    -Touchstone

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  12. T-Stone said:
    ---
    Show your math, please.
    ---

    This from someone who has never shown math for anything....

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  13. Rhology,

    No one said anything about FSM revealing himself through the Bible! FSM hasn't made any claims to being revealed through the Bible. He's a different thing altogether, for all we know. All we know, here, is that he is a) capable of universe (like this) creation, and b) interested in creating universes (like this).

    (parentheses added for Mr. Manata's benefit)

    So, now we have two deities reified by Peter's logic as they both answer his "crying" question. Or two separate ones as far as we can tell. We could come up with a third candidate and reify him just as easily if we want, and a fourth...

    Peter's "reason" validates anyone or anything that can answer his question -- a problem, no? There's no way to make all possible candidates be the same entity. Maybe our third would-be, reified-by-Peter's-argument deity has a) and b) characteristics of FSM, but also c) denies the Bible and the existence of the God it reveals, and denies the existence of the FSM, to boot. So now we have the "Great Super Potato", which logically can't be reconciled with God. What do we do, given Peter's argument?

    -Touchstone

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  14. Concerned Christian8/23/2007 6:59 PM

    Peter Pike continues his verbal abuse of T-Stone. In the latest display of what “Anonymous” in another thread called comments that were full of **venom**, Peter Pike writes:

    “So, T-Stone, care to elaborate on how God actually exists in your worldview? Or could you instead do us all a favor, stop lying, and just admit that you're an atheist?”

    So Pike is accusing T-Stone of lying and claiming that he is an atheist who does not believe that God exists.

    Additionally Pike wrote:

    "Touchstone" is a "moron" who is "full of"...well, you know how that goes.”

    In my experience with nonbelievers they use the phrase “full of . . .” quite often. I think that these words are unacceptable for the Christian. Pike attempts to legitimize his use of these words here, by stopping short, but we all know what words he has in mind. Peter attacks T-Stone as a “moron” who is “full of . . .” At this point I am wondering what is stopping Pike from using the same words that I often hear coming from the mouths of nonbelievers? Pike obviously has the same meaning in mind and apparently the same hatred of others as the nonbelievers who use the phrase, (the difference is that they are children of wrath and Pike is supposed to be a child of the light). The bible speaks of believers being children of light (Eph. 5:8) who walk in a manner worthy of their calling, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3). How do Peter’s interactions with T-Stone exemplify these scriptures?

    Concerned Christian

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  15. Pike obviously has the same meaning in mind and apparently the same hatred of others as the nonbelievers who use the phrase, (the difference is that they are children of wrath and Pike is supposed to be a child of the light). The bible speaks of believers being children of light (Eph. 5:8) who walk in a manner worthy of their calling, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3). How do Peter’s interactions with T-Stone exemplify these scriptures?

    Obviously, they don't, CC, for, in context, Paul is talking about interactions with other believers within the covenant community.

    Where we're told to interact with "gentleness" toward unbelievers is over in 1 Peter 3. But that is directed for interactions with pagans who have never heard the gospel.

    TS is not such a person in either case. TS is an apostate, and not only that, he has cultivated a reputation not only here but elsewhere for going after everybody but true enemies of the faith, and Scripture is very harsh in its treatment of them.

    It seem we need to keep this posted:

    Acts 8 (New International Version)

    20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

    1 Timothy 1 (New International Version)

    8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    Hebrews 10 (New International Version)

    26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    2 Peter 2 (New International Version)

    1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

    Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

    13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

    17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

    Jude 1 (New International Version)

    3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

    5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

    8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

    11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

    12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

    14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.



    And it will suffice to say that there are numerous taunt songs in Scripture directed toward such persons. Seeing as how most Calvinists affirm some version of Covenant Theology (and Progressive Dispensationalism agrees with CT on this point), it is hardly unwarranted to apply these OT examples, and nobody would say we shouldn't follow the NT example.

    Now, it's true that it is possible to exercise restraint with folks like TS. It's true that we are told to be merciful; but it is equally true that we are to judge a tree by its fruit, refute the tree, throw the tree out of the garden, to mark the tree, and, yes, even taunt the tree if that's what it takes, particularly if the tree isn't just quietly dying on its own and is attempting to infect other trees around it with its disease.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Once again, I see CC coming to the aid of T-Stone after the poor brickhead gets his arguments utterly vanquished.

    Note that CC never says anything on here other than to defend T-Stone. Perhaps it's because CC is just as fraudulent as T-Stone is. As for me, since CC doesn't bother to address anything other than a defense of T-Stone, and since only T-Stone is dumb enough to defend T-Stone, I propose the hypothesis that CC = T-Stone.

    The only flaw in this theory is that CC actually knows some Bible verses, whereas T-Stone has to Google everything he writes. Granted, that's a tough hurdle to jump; yet the contrary position that there are two T-Stone's in this world seems to be an even greater hurdle to leap. Thus, sticking with parsimony, I shall go with the first hypothesis as being the most explanatory.

    And yes, I think CC and T-Stone are both the Flying Spaghetti Monster in drag. We can kill three birds with one T-Stone now.

    ReplyDelete
  17. By the way, CC did state:
    ---
    So Pike is accusing T-Stone of lying and claiming that he is an atheist who does not believe that God exists.
    ---

    Guilty as charged!

    Whereas T-Stone has never offered any argument for why he believes in any such God, only occasionally invoking the label "God" when he is called into question about the issue, and whereas T-Stone has yet to meet an atheist's argument that he hasn't salivated over, I do conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that T-Stone is not at this current time a theist in any way, shape, or form; and furthermore, because he continues to represent himself as if he were a theist, he is ipso facto a liar and a fraud.

    I maintain that T-Stone may have, at one time, been a theist--but there is absolutely no evidence at all to believe that he is now anything of the sort. He has given no positive evidence for his actual belief in theism right now, but he has offered plenty of evidence that he is not a theist.

    Further, claiming to be a Protestant, he Googles and posts Catholic Answers documents to attack Protestants on this very blog. Claiming to be a Christian, he continually subverts Christian beliefs by tossing the Word of God under his feet and trampling it in front of all of us here. A blind man can see that these are not the actions of someone who actually believes what the Bible says, who actually believes in the God depicted in those pages.

    This is all public, as any fair-minded and objective reading of his comments will demonstrate for the past year and a half.

    I stand by my claim that T-Stone is a liar and a fraud every time he says that he does believe in a God, and he is even less a Christian than he is a theist. He would do better if he would just honestly admit what is plain for everyone to see already.

    ReplyDelete
  18. And just to clear up two other points...

    I enjoy how CC acuses me of attacking T-Stone personally, but everything in CC's diatribe against me is personal. There was no attempt to deal with any of my argumentation at all.

    Secondly, CC asked:
    ---
    At this point I am wondering what is stopping Pike from using the same words that I often hear coming from the mouths of nonbelievers?
    ---

    A) Non-believers use nouns, adverbs, adjectives, metaphors, etc. too--guess we'll have to talk in code now, lest we be lumped up with them. Why, just the other day I heard an atheist use the word "the" in a sentence. He also said, "I want to order a cheeseburger" so I guess I can't be ordering McDonald's anytime soon...you know, lest I be associated with "the world" or something....

    B) I don't believe there is such a thing as a "bad" word. There are, however, other people who are superstitious about such things. Obviously, the fact that I am not such a person does not mean I should lord it over those who are weaker in the faith, ya know. Just because certain words offend certain people because those people are too uptight and think words have some kind of magic property that makes some of them intrinsically evil is no reason for me to use the words here, because that would allow them to avoid the context of the discussion completely and attempt to sidetrack it all the way (you know, like what you're trying to do here). And despite the fact that I think it's a fallacious idea born out of theological ignorance and petty superstition, out of common respect I don't use those words here.

    C) If you thought of the meaning that "we all know was implied" then there was no need for me to actually state the word. Indeed, I could claim a mark in my favor that my sentence was so well constructed that I did not need to spend the time to write the whole thing out. The meaning is conveyed, and that's all that's important.

    Hope that answers your question, CC.

    ReplyDelete
  19. T-Stone "cried":
    ---
    So, now we have two deities reified by Peter's logic as they both answer his "crying" question. Or two separate ones as far as we can tell. We could come up with a third candidate and reify him just as easily if we want, and a fourth...
    ---

    Except that this only misses the point completely. There is no atheist answer for this, and THAT was my point.

    Russell's analogy fails because there is no atheist way to solve the answers, but there are plenty of theistic ways to answer the question. Thus, a teapot is not at all like wondering if God exists or not.

    You're gonna need to run flat out all night long to catch up to the conversation, T-Pebble.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 12:43 AM

    Once again instead of attempting to live out what the bible says, we have yet another Triabloger attempting to justify himself and the others in their repeated verbal abuse of those with whom they disagree. In this case Gene Bridges wants to justify the verbal abuse of T-Stone. Gene says:

    “Obviously, they don't, CC, for, in context, Paul is talking about interactions with other believers within the covenant community.”

    The Ephesians passages that I made reference to, are “talking about interactions with other believers.” Nothing stated by you or anyone else here has convinced me that T-Stone is an unbeliever. You seem to enjoy accusing others of being apostates when the others hold views different than your own. T-Stone has not denied the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by faith alone. He has challenged your young earth creationism, for that you judge him to be an apostate. Have you checked his blog, does he deny the essentials of the Christian faith there?

    Can any of you provide evidence that he has denied essentials of the Christian faith?

    “Where we're told to interact with "gentleness" toward unbelievers is over in 1 Peter 3. But that is directed for interactions with pagans who have never heard the gospel.”

    Gene why do you try to limit the application of 1 Pet. 3? The passage does not stop being in force if the unbeliever has heard the gospel. The attitudes expressed in that passage, ought to be attitudes we all express when dealing with nonbelievers. Francis Schaeffer provides a good role model of how an apologist ought to conduct himself. Francis Schaeffer was very smart, deeply involved in apologetics and truly loved lost persons, and this was obvious in his ministry. Schaeffer properly lived out the bible in his interactions with nonbelievers. You could learn from his example.

    “TS is not such a person in either case. TS is an apostate, and not only that, he has cultivated a reputation not only here but elsewhere for going after everybody but true enemies of the faith, and Scripture is very harsh in its treatment of them.”

    I remain unconvinced that T-Stone is an apostate, from what I have read on both his blog as well as here, he is an old earth creationist, but not an apostate. I have read the interactions that you folks have had with others, who because they were not Calvinists, you then accused of being apostate and said they were hell bound. This seems to indicate a pattern with you, if someone holds a different view, they must be an apostate, they cannot possibly be a Christian who is mistaken or believes differently.

    You then listed some verses dealing with false teachers and apostates. You seem to have no trouble sitting in judgment of other people. What is really sad is that you claim to believe in the doctrines of grace and yet your actions manifest no grace or love or kindness or gentleness or . . . It’s too bad you don’t manifest the character of say, a John Piper, who holds to the doctrines of grace but loves the lost and manifests the character of Christ.

    “It seem we need to keep this posted:

    Acts 8 (New International Version)

    20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

    T-Stone is not a “Simon” who desired the Spirit so that he could have power and sought to buy the power. T-Stone’s comments have not been driven by monetary concerns at all.

    1 Timothy 1 (New International Version)

    8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

    T-Stone professes to be a Christian and has not denied any of the essentials of the Christian faith. Yet you, sitting in judgment, declare him to be an unbeliever, an apostate.

    Hebrews 10 (New International Version)

    26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

    Hebrews 10 is dealing with those who went back to the system of Judaism after professing to be following Christ. What evidence do you have of T-Stone being involved with Judaism or renouncing Christianity?

    2 Peter 2 (New International Version)

    1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

    Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

    13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

    17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

    Gene, is not the Peter passage dealing with false teachers who have become involved in local Christian assemblies? What evidence do you have that T-Stone is teaching in some local church somewhere leading people astray?

    Jude 1 (New International Version)

    3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

    5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

    8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

    11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

    12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

    14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." 16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.”

    Jude is dealing with false teachers involved in local church assemblies. What evidence of T-Stone doing this do you have?

    “And it will suffice to say that there are numerous taunt songs in Scripture directed toward such persons. Seeing as how most Calvinists affirm some version of Covenant Theology (and Progressive Dispensationalism agrees with CT on this point), it is hardly unwarranted to apply these OT examples, and nobody would say we shouldn't follow the NT example.”

    Why don’t you follow the example of Jesus who came to seek and find that which was lost? Where is the compassion of Jesus for sinners in your words? Where are the fruits of the Spirit in your actions?

    “Now, it's true that it is possible to exercise restraint with folks like TS. It's true that we are told to be merciful; but it is equally true that we are to judge a tree by its fruit, refute the tree, throw the tree out of the garden, to mark the tree, and, yes, even taunt the tree if that's what it takes, particularly if the tree isn't just quietly dying on its own and is attempting to infect other trees around it with its disease.”

    So it is your responsibility to throw the tree out of the garden? Didn’t Jesus tell a parable in which the angels who were ready to root out the evil people were told to wait until the final harvest? But I guess you are better judges of character than the angels and you should be allowed to do what they were not allowed to do? Where in the NT are we told to “taunt the tree if that’s what it takes”?

    The NT says a lot about love. Why can’t you love unbelievers and love believers who disagree with you? For people who claim to be saved, where is your humility, graciousness, kindness, gentleness, love, self-control, compassion?

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  21. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 12:56 AM

    Peter says:

    “Once again, I see CC coming to the aid of T-Stone after the poor brickhead gets his arguments utterly vanquished.”

    I have not come to the aide of T-Stone, I have challenged you and the other Triablogers to do better in your interactions with others with whom you disagree.

    “Note that CC never says anything on here other than to defend T-Stone. Perhaps it's because CC is just as fraudulent as T-Stone is. As for me, since CC doesn't bother to address anything other than a defense of T-Stone, and since only T-Stone is dumb enough to defend T-Stone, I propose the hypothesis that CC = T-Stone.”

    I am not here to defend T-Stone, but if he is a brother in the Lord, then your conduct towards him is inexcusable.

    “The only flaw in this theory is that CC actually knows some Bible verses, whereas T-Stone has to Google everything he writes. Granted, that's a tough hurdle to jump; yet the contrary position that there are two T-Stone's in this world seems to be an even greater hurdle to leap. Thus, sticking with parsimony, I shall go with the first hypothesis as being the most explanatory.”

    I do not only know some Bible verses I live them out. Being a hearer of the Word is not enough, we have to do what it says. And while it may be difficult to love enemies or love Christians with which we disagree, we have no option, we are commanded to do so. And if we love the Lord we delight in keeping his commands and his commands are not burdensome.

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  22. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 1:10 AM

    Peter says:

    “I do conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that T-Stone is not at this current time a theist in any way, shape, or form; and furthermore, because he continues to represent himself as if he were a theist, he is ipso facto a liar and a fraud.”

    Have you ever checked out his blog? Can you show statements from his blog in which he denies essential Christian beliefs such as the resurrection of Jesus? I know of false teachers and I can show you their false teachings on their blogs, can you do so with T-Stone?

    “I maintain that T-Stone may have, at one time, been a theist--but there is absolutely no evidence at all to believe that he is now anything of the sort. He has given no positive evidence for his actual belief in theism right now, but he has offered plenty of evidence that he is not a theist.”

    He homeschools his kids, which is usually an indication of a more conservative mindset. And again, show me from his blog or here, where he is denying essential Christian doctrine.

    “This is all public, as any fair-minded and objective reading of his comments will demonstrate for the past year and a half.”

    If it is public and obvious as you claim show me some examples of how he denies essential Christian beliefs.

    “I stand by my claim that T-Stone is a liar and a fraud every time he says that he does believe in a God, and he is even less a Christian than he is a theist. He would do better if he would just honestly admit what is plain for everyone to see already.”

    You are either correct in which case it will be easy to substantiate your charge here and you can continue to gleefully judge him as an apostate, OR, he is a brother in the Lord whom you are judging wrongfully, and God will hold you accountable for this.

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  23. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 1:27 AM

    Peter why do you feel compelled to justify yourself in regards to Profanity? You wrote a common phrase that worldly people use all the time and you stopped short, as if this makes the phrase acceptable. As christians we have higher standards than the world, and that will include in our speech and manner of speaking to people. We don’t try to get away with as much as possible, rather, we seek to do righteousness. Do things in a way that honors God and blesses people. You said:

    “A) Non-believers use nouns, adverbs, adjectives, metaphors, etc. too--guess we'll have to talk in code now, lest we be lumped up with them. Why, just the other day I heard an atheist use the word "the" in a sentence. He also said, "I want to order a cheeseburger" so I guess I can't be ordering McDonald's anytime soon...you know, lest I be associated with "the world" or something....”

    You are playing games here. We are not talking about words like “the”. You nearly engaged in profanity and now you want to justify yourself.

    “B) I don't believe there is such a thing as a "bad" word. There are, however, other people who are superstitious about such things. Obviously, the fact that I am not such a person does not mean I should lord it over those who are weaker in the faith, ya know. Just because certain words offend certain people because those people are too uptight and think words have some kind of magic property that makes some of them intrinsically evil is no reason for me to use the words here, because that would allow them to avoid the context of the discussion completely and attempt to sidetrack it all the way (you know, like what you're trying to do here). And despite the fact that I think it's a fallacious idea born out of theological ignorance and petty superstition, out of common respect I don't use those words here.”

    Oh so you are the stronger brother here because the use of profanity is not an issue for you, but it is for me? The bible says that if you are the stronger brother then out of love for the weaker brother when it comes to neutral things you will refrain for the sake of the weaker brother. But profanity and unwholesome words are not a neutral issue, scripture says not to engage in them. Again, we have a higher standard than the world, don’t we?

    “C) If you thought of the meaning that "we all know was implied" then there was no need for me to actually state the word. Indeed, I could claim a mark in my favor that my sentence was so well constructed that I did not need to spend the time to write the whole thing out. The meaning is conveyed, and that's all that's important.”

    Now you are proud about your use of profanity? Do you really think that your thinking here is pleasing to God, doing God’s will, honoring him, building up other believers, manifesting love and mercy to the lost? Should we be using profanity around our children and in the local churches and justifying it by claiming that it shows us to be the stronger brothers? You need to study the scriptures to see what God says about how we should talk to others, nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise.

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just for the record, I am not "Concerned Christian", and I have absolutely no idea who the person posting as "Concerned Christian".

    I appreciate the principled position you are taking on this CC. I have two reasons to just let the "you're an atheist" stuff slide by, or maybe it's three:

    1) Anyone who cares can look for themselves, just on this blog, if not elsewhere, to see the positions I've consistently affirmed -- the core, essential beliefs of the Christian faith.

    2) Protesting wouldn't do any good, anyway, as they wouldn't be saying these things if they were working from principle.

    3) It's useful in its own right to show what Peter Pike, Steve Hays and Gene Bridges are made of. Fanboys will delight, I'm sure, but thoughtful readers will understand these three to making powerful arguments that they do not realize they are making about themselves. Or if they do, so much the more damning for their credibility as Christian apologists.

    So, I'm happy to have you say your piece, in full, whenever you want to. For my part, though, know that's all just water off a duck's back. I've dealt with far worse than this over the years. Primarily, I'd as soon just skip all the personal "noise", and stick to hard-hitting discussions on the actual points at hand in the post. Obviously I can only control what I post. I've found, per my reasons above, that just bulldogging on the ideas is best, and if others want to resort to what you see from Peter here, well, that's a powerful message that's good for the world to hear about him, too.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello, Touchstone, nice to virtually meet you. I hope you don't mind if I jump in here. I would assume you'd come with the mindset of being ready to be ganged up on though ... it's history and a blog with seven contributors. ; )

    1) According to my impression of the FSM argument, it is *not* equivalent to the God-of-the-Gaps theory, which posits a being to fill the holes of science metaphysically. If it was equivalent to such a theory, surely the atheists who have given it would have said so. But none of them have gone further than calling the two beliefs completely synonymous: If they believe that a FSM EXISTS, it is the same as believing God exists. The argument is not states as being if they believe the FSM explains all relevant phenomena, then it is the same as believing God exists. Rather than being a rhetorical enhancement of the GOTG, it turns out to be a simplistic argument for atheism based on the fact that we can't SEE God, therefore he doesn't exist.

    2) In your argument, though, in which you state the FSM is God if he has the same attributes metaphysically needed to explain the universe, then we are as unjustified in believing in God as the FSM. But in saying this, you are admitting that the arguments for God are convincing in that they produce good reason to believe such a being exists (i.e. his existence is paradigmatically necessary)? Thus, in equating him to the FSM all a theist need respond is, "Yes, I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, except that he is neither flying, nor spaghetti, nor a monster."

    Then we end up with the immaterial, nonphysical God actually believe in by the theist that explains relevant phenomena, INCLUDING phenomena unexplainable by a FSM (such as the historical data mentioned, Jesus; the Bible, etc). And besides believing the being, we have the evidence by which the person believes (beginning of the universe, design, etc.)

    I have noted you're stereotypically referred to by the T-bloggers as the science guru, but I assume you know about a good deal of philosophical issues as well. The idea of intentionality alone should dispel the untenable analogy of the FSM; there is thing that the believer is thinking about, or the 'essence' or a 'something' he is believing in when he believes. The thing believed in could not be represented by a slideshow of beings like the FSM, teapot, Santa Claus, etc; the believer *knows* he is not believing in those things, because he knows the thing he is believing about, which is obviously a different thing.

    -----------------------

    Therefore, it seems like not only are you reading into the argument content that isn't there, but that your equating God with the FSM is an unneeded rhetorical device that ammounts to no helpful conversational input at all.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Very Concerned Christian8/24/2007 6:47 AM

    It is sad to see so called spirit filled Christians filled with such un-Christlike bile.

    Yes, yes, we all have heard it before....your evil simply shows the Bible is true and that you are dirty sinners just like it predicts.

    Lame.

    Repent and believe...live the Word. Love.

    Very Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  27. Touchstone,

    Back to the actual question...

    FSM hasn't made any claims to being revealed through the Bible.

    1) how do you know?
    2) does FSM, as omni-3things deity, like to reveal himself to mankind? If not, you can't say much about him. If so, what did he say and how do you know it? how do you know he DIDN'T reveal himself thru the Bible? And if he did, well then, of course, he's YHWH.

    All we know, here, is that he is a) capable of universe (like this) creation, and b) interested in creating universes (like this).

    Again, he sounds exactly like the God of the Bible.

    Maybe our third would-be, reified-by-Peter's-argument deity has a) and b) characteristics of FSM, but also c) denies the Bible and the existence of the God it reveals

    Except that this would lead to internal inconsistency. To use Douglas Adams' words: He'd "disappear in a puff of logic."

    Finally, even if FSM did exist w/ these characteristics, as PP has already said, it invalidates atheism. And you can't seem to figure out whether that disturbs you or not...

    Peace,
    Rhology

    PS - where have you ever answered the question why you spend so much time going after Triabloggers (not that the interactions aren't frequently very enlightening as relates to the bankruptcy of your argumentation) and not atheistic ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Rhology,


    FSM hasn't made any claims to being revealed through the Bible.


    1) how do you know?


    FSM is made up! Admittedly fictional! He claims whatever I want him to claim. We could use "The Great Potato" just as well, a second fictional deity I cooked up in a comment above. Not concerned with what anyone else's preferences are for FSM. Just saying we can suppose such a thing, and even though he's completely, admittedly fictional, by Peter's argument, he's magically realized by virtue of his accounting for "why is there something rather than nothing".


    2) does FSM, as omni-3things deity, like to reveal himself to mankind?


    Don't know, don't care, doesn't matter for this discussion. We can just understand that his creation of the universe is a de facto revelation of himself to man, if you'd like.

    If not, you can't say much about him. If so, what did he say and how do you know it? how do you know he DIDN'T reveal himself thru the Bible? And if he did, well then, of course, he's YHWH.

    Well, he's any darn thing we want him to be -- did you see the part about the idea of him being made up? He's just imaginary, which, according to Peter, is all he needs be to promoted to a *real* entity, "stipulated" by all.


    All we know, here, is that he is a) capable of universe (like this) creation, and b) interested in creating universes (like this).


    Again, he sounds exactly like the God of the Bible.


    But he's completely made up! Does that make him like the God of the Bible, to you??? I think you are unaware of the comparisons you are making here.


    Maybe our third would-be, reified-by-Peter's-argument deity has a) and b) characteristics of FSM, but also c) denies the Bible and the existence of the God it reveals



    Except that this would lead to internal inconsistency. To use Douglas Adams' words: He'd "disappear in a puff of logic."


    That's the very point I'm making! Peter's argument takes *any* concept of god -- or anything else -- and makes him real, by virtue of satisfying the question "why is there something rather than nothing". This necessarily allows for mutually contradictory deities to be reified, "stipulated".

    The logical conundrum you're looking at is Peter's making, not mine. I'm just pointing it out, as Peter seems to have missed this.

    Finally, even if FSM did exist w/ these characteristics, as PP has already said, it invalidates atheism. And you can't seem to figure out whether that disturbs you or not...


    *if* he existed??? If Peter's argument isn't nonsense, then he *must* exist -- we have a reason for stipulating his existence, remember.

    If Peter's argument is hooey, then we're right back to having to seriously consider what exists, what is real, and how. In that case, the FSM just sits in it's little box as an imaginary being, a rhetorical device. It's only deified by arguments that suppose that supplying an answer reifies the thing.

    As far as invalidating atheism, Peter's argument, if we just trim it back to the basic idea that there must be a deity of some kind because it explains our existence, that's nothing more than pushing the problem back. What explains the existence of God?



    Peace,
    Rhology

    PS - where have you ever answered the question why you spend so much time going after Triabloggers (not that the interactions aren't frequently very enlightening as relates to the bankruptcy of your argumentation) and not atheistic ideas?


    I've been over this responding to Gene more than once here, and did so recently -- my faith isn't shamed and lame arguments and noxious attitudes from atheists. I found this blog originally by way of a colleague -- a real scientist (I'm not a scientist) -- who happened to read Triablogue as a "seeker", and sent me a link saying "fat chance" if this is what passes for Christian thinking. Whoops, he's got a good point, but too bad for him -- his ultimate loss.

    But that's the nutshell. This blog brings shame to Christianity, in a way no atheist can.

    ReplyDelete
  29. CC,

    I do not only know some Bible verses I live them out.

    I'm glad you have your act together. So no working out your faith with fear and trembling then? This simply sounds like a statement dripping with pride. Perhaps some others should jump in and challenge you on this point.

    I do see what you are trying to say but (1) This is a blog not a local, relational church community and (2) If you can show me one article or blog entry from T-Stone, where he challenges any atheistic view I'd be interested. I might even change my mind about him. To date all I have ever seen him 'challenge' are christian blog sites. He has left many questions unanswered. I get the distinct impression that he is an atheist (or agnostic) at heart but holds onto his 'Christian' faith in case there is a hell.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi T-stone,

    FSM is made up! Admittedly fictional!

    Obviously. But, as I was saying above, the way you state his attributes, he ends up as the biblical divinity.

    He claims whatever I want him to claim.

    Ah, there's the rub.
    Then his claims are subject to internal critique. If the differ in any substantive way from the God of the Bible, then FSM stands disproven, and a dumb example.

    Just saying we can suppose such a thing, and even though he's completely, admittedly fictional, by Peter's argument, he's magically realized by virtue of his accounting for "why is there something rather than nothing".

    1) But in that way he's the God of the Bible until you clarify him further.
    2) Once you start to do so, he's subject to the examination I mentioned.
    3) The irony of you, a "Christian", playing this game and making up deities is sickening.

    We can just understand that his creation of the universe is a de facto revelation of himself to man, if you'd like.

    That's biblical though - Romans 1.
    You haven't strayed substantively from YHWH, but you must so we can examine whether your claim holds water.

    He's just imaginary,

    Ooops, OK, so FSM is imaginary.
    YHWH is not.
    The analogy fails.
    And no, PP's argument didn't say that. Please.

    I think you are unaware of the comparisons you are making here.

    1) If I were, that's a dang sight better than being FULLY AWARE of them as you are.
    2) The comparisons are your fault.

    This blog brings shame to Christianity, in a way no atheist can.

    Oh, the criticism is vvveeeerrryyyyy credible coming from you. No offense to you personally is meant. Every offense to your track record is.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  31. "As I said, I was just trying to keep things minimal. I'm happy to ammend the FSM's creative attribute to "can create any kind of universe, including one like this one", if that's needed."

    I know that's what you said. I showed the problem with that.

    So, can the FSM create a universe where the FSM doesn't exist since he can create "any kind" of universe? No? Okay, add "necessarily existing" to your list. :-) (As we whittle away, the statue will come out looking an aweful lot like Jehovah :-)

    And, sinced he created *this* universe, then let's ask some questions: why does man do bad things? How does man get out of his problem? Is there any hope for man? How should we live? What happens when we die? Why think our minds "hook up" to the real world? What is the probability that the FSM is not systematically deceiving everyone in almost all of their beliefs, but is guiding man and the world in such a way that all the false and possibly fatal beliefs and decisions do not result in death, for the most part?

    I dare say that if these aren't answered then it would appear that just on explanitory power alone, Christianity would be preferred over FSM religion. Indeed, without knowing the answer to some of those questions, it appears that the belief that our cognitive faculties are reliable is low or inscrutable. Thus if FSM is true, we should reject it.

    So, perhaps you can "ammend" FSM again? As it stands, postulating FSM comes with some pretty serious defeaters, which Christianity can resolve... or at least *attempt* to. You told Rhology that there was no FSM revelation. Thus your ability to resolve the porblems is epistemically useless. Thus positing FSM is no kind of serious counter to a Christian who posits God in Christ reconciling himself to the world. The problem, as many pointed out to Russell as well as to you, is the major disanalogy.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Phillip M,

    Salutations!

    Hello, Touchstone, nice to virtually meet you. I hope you don't mind if I jump in here. I would assume you'd come with the mindset of being ready to be ganged up on though ... it's history and a blog with seven contributors. ; )

    I'm happy to hear what you have to say.


    1) According to my impression of the FSM argument, it is *not* equivalent to the God-of-the-Gaps theory, which posits a being to fill the holes of science metaphysically. If it was equivalent to such a theory, surely the atheists who have given it would have said so. But none of them have gone further than calling the two beliefs completely synonymous: If they believe that a FSM EXISTS, it is the same as believing God exists. The argument is not states as being if they believe the FSM explains all relevant phenomena, then it is the same as believing God exists. Rather than being a rhetorical enhancement of the GOTG, it turns out to be a simplistic argument for atheism based on the fact that we can't SEE God, therefore he doesn't exist.


    That may be, although if the Flying Spaghetti Monster really is made of pasta, that would seem "visible" enough, at least in principle. But never mind that. I wasn't attempting to unite whatever the current "theology" of FSM, as it exists elsewhere (*if* it exists elsewhere), but rather to use it as just a handy made up construct -- one that was mentioned in the post. Given Peter's argument, just anything we make up that can purport to answer "why is there something rather than nothing?" kinds of questions would suffice. I could just as well have gone straight for my own made-up-on-the-fly deity, "The Great Potato", which appeared in a later comment of mine, and probably should have, in order to avoid the apparent confusion here.

    I'm not looking to import or apply any atheist arguments here. Taken on its own, Peter's argument proposes that a concept that can explain why there is something rather than nothing is its *own* reason for its reality. Here's what Peter said:

    As for Russell, if God does answer the question of why we exist (as the vast majority of people believe He does) then we have a reason for stipulating the existence of God.

    So, I read this, and think immediately: "Bogus" that works for the FSM, or anything else you want to dream up! But hold on, maybe he's just adding that in with the *historical*, evidential arguments for God's existence. Maybe I jumped the gun? Well, read on:

    This does not even touch the subjective experiences that many people claim to have, which would provide personal reasons for those people to believe. Further, it ignores other evidences (such as classical Christian evidences, like the missing body from Jesus’ tomb, etc.). None of these extra evidences are much relevant to the point that Russell’s analogy and Dawkins’ rehashing of it are in no way coherent to the question of the existence of God.

    So much for jumping the gun. Here Peter declaims the attachment, directly. If a thing "does answer the question of why we exist", then we have a reason for *stipulating* the existence of God.

    So my comments here have been aimed at showing how vacuous that argument really is, and I chose the FSM as a concept to fly through the same hole that Peter supposed was just a hole for the Christian God.



    2) In your argument, though, in which you state the FSM is God if he has the same attributes metaphysically needed to explain the universe, then we are as unjustified in believing in God as the FSM. But in saying this, you are admitting that the arguments for God are convincing in that they produce good reason to believe such a being exists (i.e. his existence is paradigmatically necessary)? Thus, in equating him to the FSM all a theist need respond is, "Yes, I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, except that he is neither flying, nor spaghetti, nor a monster."


    Well, it's fine for a theist to respond this way -- one can believe what one wants -- but it's got nothing to do with Peter's argument. God does *not* exist by virtue of his ability to answer the question "why is there something rather than nothing". That's perfectly backwards. If He exists, then He is the reason we are here, not the other way around. So I'm saying that Peter, and I guess you, if you are endorsing his argument here (and it's not clear that you are), are wholly without basis in saying that a thing that *answers* the question thereby *stipulates* its existence. And it doesn't matter how similar or how different you make the FSM and the Christian God. God exists, but not because "He answers the question of why we're here". Something that *doesn't* exist can answer the same question! And you can't stop and say "well of course, I'm assuming He exists when I say that", as that's assuming the very conclusion you are working on.



    Then we end up with the immaterial, nonphysical God actually believe in by the theist that explains relevant phenomena, INCLUDING phenomena unexplainable by a FSM (such as the historical data mentioned, Jesus; the Bible, etc). And besides believing the being, we have the evidence by which the person believes (beginning of the universe, design, etc.)


    Hold on, FSM is made out of pasta, no? Is that an attribute we should also stipulate? He's perfectly corporeal, if so. As for the historical evidence, etc. you'll note that this *is* something important to bring to bear as a way to distinguish God as a reality in a way that FSM certainly is not (see my initial comments to Peter asking him to consider that). Peter, as I quoted above, specifically rejects this as relevant or necessary attachment.


    I have noted you're stereotypically referred to by the T-bloggers as the science guru, but I assume you know about a good deal of philosophical issues as well. The idea of intentionality alone should dispel the untenable analogy of the FSM; there is thing that the believer is thinking about, or the 'essence' or a 'something' he is believing in when he believes. The thing believed in could not be represented by a slideshow of beings like the FSM, teapot, Santa Claus, etc; the believer *knows* he is not believing in those things, because he knows the thing he is believing about, which is obviously a different thing.


    First, I'm not a science guru. I'm a software geek. The sad thing here is that just a passing familiarity with science makes T-blog into a train wreck.

    I completely understand your point on intentionality. But my comments here have not at all been pivoting around the 'labeling' issue, where we get bogged down in ontological distinctions about which entity is really which, and which descriptions are actually pointers to the same referent. My objection here is much more straightforward: the "crying" question of our existence does NOT reify any concept that can provide an answer. It's a completely illogical argument to make, as shown by the idea that the FSM is, by Peter's measure, as fully reified as God is, all with the clear distinction in mind that FSM is not to be confused with God conceptually, simply because we know and affirm upfront that FSM is made up, fictional character.


    Therefore, it seems like not only are you reading into the argument content that isn't there, but that your equating God with the FSM is an unneeded rhetorical device that ammounts to no helpful conversational input at all.


    I think if it can be shown that the FSM, which we *affirm* upfront is something we've just made up on the fly, is reified according to Peter's argument, then the argument is dispatched. It's not a question of confusing the attributes of FSM with the attributes of God. The problem with the argument is that it does not at address the primary problem - the question of justification in believing something exists. According to Peter -- before we have established a thing exists, if that thing can explain "why we're here" type questions, that's a *reason* to stipulate it's existence, *outside* of any hisotrical/evidential analysis (he specifically detaches this from his argument in his post).

    Bogus!

    I think the FSM, as something we all know to be just a rhetorical device, *does* make an important contribution here, as it can't be ruled out as "real" by Peter's argument, despite the fact we just made it up. Any such argument is really just one that is turned back on the Christian, showing that the Christian God might as well be made-up too, because if the made-FSM is reified by Peter's argument, that same argument would cause Peter to "stipulate" God's reality, even if God were purely imaginary.

    Thanks for the comments.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  33. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 11:44 AM

    Hello T-Stone, you wrote:

    ”I appreciate the principled position you are taking on this CC. I have two reasons to just let the "you're an atheist" stuff slide by, or maybe it's three:

    1) Anyone who cares can look for themselves, just on this blog, if not elsewhere, to see the positions I've consistently affirmed -- the core, essential beliefs of the Christian faith.

    2) Protesting wouldn't do any good, anyway, as they wouldn't be saying these things if they were working from principle.

    3) It's useful in its own right to show what Peter Pike, Steve Hays and Gene Bridges are made of. Fanboys will delight, I'm sure, but thoughtful readers will understand these three to making powerful arguments that they do not realize they are making about themselves. Or if they do, so much the more damning for their credibility as Christian apologists.”

    I am taking what you call a “principled approach” because I enjoy lively and intelligent discussions and arguments as long as they do not degenerate into personal attacks and unnecessary verbal abuse. T-Stone I may not agree with your points, but you ought to be treated in the proper way as you profess to be a Christian and have not denied essential Christian doctrine here or on your blog (as far as I can tell, others can show otherwise if they wish to show you are not a Christian).

    In point 1 you invite people to check out your blog. And I say again, if T-Stone is the apostate that some are claiming this should be sustainable based upon comments on his own blog which deny essential Christian belief. In point 2 you imply that some are not operating from principle. If they are Christians they can always repent or turn away from improper actions and do better in the future.

    You also said:

    ”Primarily, I'd as soon just skip all the personal "noise", and stick to hard-hitting discussions on the actual points at hand in the post.”

    This is precisely what I would like to see from all involved in the discussions. I would note that Paul Manata wrote a very good post in which he did precisely this: he skipped over all of the personal noise and simply challenged your points with rational argumentation. **That** is precisely what I would like to see from all.

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Paul,

    "As I said, I was just trying to keep things minimal. I'm happy to ammend the FSM's creative attribute to "can create any kind of universe, including one like this one", if that's needed."

    I know that's what you said. I showed the problem with that.

    So, can the FSM create a universe where the FSM doesn't exist since he can create "any kind" of universe? No? Okay, add "necessarily existing" to your list. :-) (As we whittle away, the statue will come out looking an aweful lot like Jehovah :-)

    I know that's your goal, I've read your schtick on this before. But I'm not adding "necessarily existing". I'm saying that FSM *doesn't* exist, and stipulating that FSM is a made-up, fictional being, albeit one with powerful, fictional attributes. So, the problem here, as I told Rhology, is that you take as input a wholly imaginary being, apply Peter's argument, and voila! you have a *reason* for stipulating it's existence! That's not a logical problem for me; I contend the FSM is fiction from beginning to end, which is why Peter's argument is so ridiculous: it reifies what ever we might imagine supplies a sufficient answer to his philosophical questions.

    The point you are bring up here, then, should be directed to Peter, rather than to me.


    And, sinced he created *this* universe, then let's ask some questions: why does man do bad things? How does man get out of his problem? Is there any hope for man? How should we live? What happens when we die? Why think our minds "hook up" to the real world? What is the probability that the FSM is not systematically deceiving everyone in almost all of their beliefs, but is guiding man and the world in such a way that all the false and possibly fatal beliefs and decisions do not result in death, for the most part?


    Dunno, dunno, don't care, doesn't matter, Paul. You can supply a matrix of made-up deities, reify them by running them through Peter's post here, supposing they each provide a sufficient answer to "why are we here", and have any answers you wan to these questions. If you are concerned about any particular answer to the questions you pose here, you're missing the point. It's irrelevant what the answers are, as Peter's "reifier" will supply reasons for its existence for any and all of them so long as they can answer his question.


    I dare say that if these aren't answered then it would appear that just on explanitory power alone, Christianity would be preferred over FSM religion. Indeed, without knowing the answer to some of those questions, it appears that the belief that our cognitive faculties are reliable is low or inscrutable. Thus if FSM is true, we should reject it.


    No, I'm sure we could come up with a made-up FSM religion that is far more neat and less burdened by questions and explanatory challenges than Christianity. Just make up the most simple, explain-it-all neatly answers you can to life's questions, then label it "FSMism". Now, apply Peter's brain, and lo and behold, you have a *real* God with superior explanatory power, thanks to Peter's "reifier". Cool, huh?

    That's just an exercise in working backwards, Paul, without any obligation to reality. If we just suppose what would be the ideal "answer", without any consideration as to whether it's a *real* answer, we work backwards using Peter's argument, and can know that our just-baked "best answer" made-up God will be "stipulated" as soon as Peter can process our "best answers".

    So, perhaps you can "ammend" FSM again? As it stands, postulating FSM comes with some pretty serious defeaters, which Christianity can resolve... or at least *attempt* to. You told Rhology that there was no FSM revelation. Thus your ability to resolve the porblems is epistemically useless. Thus positing FSM is no kind of serious counter to a Christian who posits God in Christ reconciling himself to the world. The problem, as many pointed out to Russell as well as to you, is the major disanalogy.


    You don't need *any* of those defeaters, Paul, as you have the ultimate defeater built-in: the knowledge, the admission that FSM is "made-up", a rhetorical device. That's what makes Peter's argument so weak; it can't filter out "made up" stuff! Peter's argument fails before you *begin* to look at the analogy, as you can make a think "like" God, or "unlike" God, to taste. Doesn't matter. All that matters is that this made-up idea provide an answer to "why does something exist instead of nothing". As I said above, Peter can't just say "oh, I meant that the thing providing the answer has to *exist*!" That's manifestly *not* a requirement -- it can't be, as that is what Peter is trying to establish.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi TS,

    "Dunno, dunno, don't care, doesn't matter, Paul."

    And,

    "No, I'm sure we could come up with a made-up FSM religion that is far more neat and less burdened by questions and explanatory challenges than Christianity."

    Okay, I think I've demonstrated what I wanted to show.

    FSM isn't anything like a "challenege" to Christianity. When pushed in the corner, those (like Russell) who thought they could mirror the Christian apologist's moves are relagted to "Dunno, dunno, don't care, doesn't matter" and "I could do it if I really tried."

    Thanks for your time.

    ~PM

    ReplyDelete
  36. Touchstone has yet to actually deal with my post. All he's done is continually misrepresented it, despite being corrected on it numerous times.

    In any case, CC needs to read the post I just put on the main page.

    And by the way, your oogling of T-Stone is nauseatingly pathetic. Yes, we know T-Stone can do no wrong in your eyes. That doesn't mean we have to accept the validity of your vision.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Rhology,

    FSM is made up! Admittedly fictional!



    Obviously. But, as I was saying above, the way you state his attributes, he ends up as the biblical divinity.


    Well, if he's made up, I can make him whatever I want. So I say he's got four divine sisters who rule other galaxies, far from here. FSM created all this, but he's got the Hovering Pasta Sisters hanging around as lord of a remote galaxy, each of them. Is that "biblical divinity" enough for you? Well, take that FSM + the 4 Hovering Pasta Sisters, and run it through Peter's argument, and bam! he stipulates they are real!

    Do you suppose that might reveal a problem with the argument?


    He claims whatever I want him to claim.



    Ah, there's the rub.
    Then his claims are subject to internal critique. If the differ in any substantive way from the God of the Bible, then FSM stands disproven, and a dumb example.


    Why? Do you suppose the Hovering Pasta Sisters is a substantive difference from the God of the Bible? If so, how does that idea disprove FSM and the Hovering Pasta Sisters? FSM still lays claim to creating the universe, but he's not the only god, in this made-up view. I don't see how that has even a hint of struggle from an internal critique. Maybe you can explain.


    Just saying we can suppose such a thing, and even though he's completely, admittedly fictional, by Peter's argument, he's magically realized by virtue of his accounting for "why is there something rather than nothing".



    1) But in that way he's the God of the Bible until you clarify him further.

    Ok, tell me what you think of the Hovering Pasta Sisters, above. Remember, I'm just making this deity up as I go along, so I can stretch him as far as you want to be "non-Christian-Godlike" in any number of respects. Just assume your own made up attributes for this FSM guy that will make him ontologically contradictory from God, and go with that.


    2) Once you start to do so, he's subject to the examination I mentioned.


    No, he's not, according to Peter. I *fully* require examination -- that's the whole point of my objection to Peter's argument. All that Peter required was to be able to answer the question "why is there something rather than nothing". For the nth time now, it *can't* be a requirement that that something be known, a prior to *exist*, as that's what Peter is trying to establish.

    I'm happy to "start to do so". That grinds the FSM into oblivion the moment you do that, as he's ADMITTEDLY made up. As soon as you start *examining* this FSM dude, he fails the test, by all accounts. The problem is that Peter doesn't allow for *examination* in his argument. That, of course, is part of what Russell would demand -- examination. The question then reverts back to a subtantial, complex discussion, rather than the vacuous ideas Peter has offered here.


    3) The irony of you, a "Christian", playing this game and making up deities is sickening.


    Why? If God is real as I claim, there should be some way to distinguish Him from imaginary, made up gods, right? My objection here is that Peter's argument just legitimates the atheist argument that the God of the Bible is made up. If I can run the FSM through Peter's argument, and have the FSM be *stipulated*, then obviously that argument isn't worth the bits it takes to transmit it over the wire. And you find my pointing this out to be the problem? I'm incredulous.


    We can just understand that his creation of the universe is a de facto revelation of himself to man, if you'd like.



    That's biblical though - Romans 1.
    You haven't strayed substantively from YHWH, but you must so we can examine whether your claim holds water.


    You can make FSM as close or as far from YHWH as you like, so long as FSM can answer Peter's questions. Once you've gotten to "examining" this deity (for instance, even asking whether we know it's a made up construct!), you're into *substantive* territory, and quite detached from what Peter is arguing.

    He's just imaginary,



    Ooops, OK, so FSM is imaginary.
    YHWH is not.
    The analogy fails.
    And no, PP's argument didn't say that. Please.


    Rhology, what do you think Russell is asserting? Are you aware that Russell, and Dawkins, think that YHWH is made up??? That *is* the point in question here. So Russell says YHWH is *just* like the FSM in that they are both wholly imaginary. The difference you and I see is not a difference that Russell grants -- it's the issue he's pressing, here. So, all your comment here establishes is that you are assuming your conclusion. The question is how we argue that YHWH is *not* imaginary like FSM. Peter's argument doesn't distinguish between them, unfortunately.

    In any case, for dealing with Russell, *assuming* God exists is begging the question he's pursuing. He's an atheist, right?


    I think you are unaware of the comparisons you are making here.



    1) If I were, that's a dang sight better than being FULLY AWARE of them as you are.
    2) The comparisons are your fault.


    Not sure what you mean here... You resent the comparisons being drawn? Why?

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  38. Paul,
    FSM isn't anything like a "challenege" to Christianity. When pushed in the corner, those (like Russell) who thought they could mirror the Christian apologist's moves are relagted to "Dunno, dunno, don't care, doesn't matter" and "I could do it if I really tried."

    These just aren't relevant to the argument. You can bring up any number of immaterial features here, and I'll say "don't care", as it's not germane to what's being advanced. If you want to congratulate yourself in my refusal to be concerned with irrelevant answers (as I said, supply your own, *any* answers will work, which is the very reason Peter's argument fails), be my guest.

    It's precisely *because* I don't need to be concerned with "man's morality" and the like in Peter's argument that it breaks down. If your questions *were* applicable, then Peter's argument could not be advanced.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  39. It would perhaps help T-Stone look less stupid were he to actually read what I said the first time I correct him when he lied in saying my argument required the FSM to be *REAL*:
    ---
    You don't have to prove the FSM is real. Again, this is merely a label. What you have to prove is that the FSM has attributes that are sufficient to explain the existence of the universe. And that, you dorktard, is what you have not done with the FSM.
    ---

    I could repeat myself until I'm blue in the face and it won't do any good at all. T-Stone is incapable of listening. He has gouged out his eyes so that he cannot see. He has buried his head in the sand and started to bellow the Macarana at the top of his voice so that he doesn't have to actually deal with my argument.

    It would be nice if CC would point out that the "professing Christian" known as T-Stone is lying while he continues to attribute something to me that I explicitly argued was not the case.

    I'm not holding my breath waiting for it.

    ReplyDelete
  40. By the way, I should also note that I am, contra T-Stone's reality, actually viewing this from outside my "presuppositional box." I'm actually giving the atheists the benefit of the doubt with the FSM and demonstrating that it still doesn't work because the attributes you must apply to the FSM are, for all intents and purposes, the same that you would stipulate in YHWH.

    Note that T-Stone still hasn't demonstrated how there could be something instead of nothing without the existence of some form of deity. He's just pretending that entire side of the argument that I brought up didn't even happen.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Peter,

    It would perhaps help T-Stone look less stupid were he to actually read what I said the first time I correct him when he lied in saying my argument required the FSM to be *REAL*:
    ---
    You don't have to prove the FSM is real. Again, this is merely a label. What you have to prove is that the FSM has attributes that are sufficient to explain the existence of the universe. And that, you dorktard, is what you have not done with the FSM.
    ---


    I offered that FSM has a) the power to create universes like this one, and b) the desire to create universes like this one. How is that not sufficient to account for the existence of the universe, Peter? FSM has the capability, and the motive to do so, which I think it plenty sufficient to explain why we're here. I'm making the FSM up as I go along (maybe should have used "The Great Potato" instead, so as not to cause confusion of other claims made about FSM elsewhere, of which I'm not familiar or attaching here), so I have all the proof there can be that FSM has those attributes.


    I could repeat myself until I'm blue in the face and it won't do any good at all. T-Stone is incapable of listening. He has gouged out his eyes so that he cannot see. He has buried his head in the sand and started to bellow the Macarana at the top of his voice so that he doesn't have to actually deal with my argument.

    It would be nice if CC would point out that the "professing Christian" known as T-Stone is lying while he continues to attribute something to me that I explicitly argued was not the case.

    I'm not holding my breath waiting for it.


    So, let's be clear then. Does a proposed answer for "why is there something rather than nothing?" require that answer to be verified as a real, actual entity with those verified attributes *before* you consider it a valid answer or not? I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that that *cannot* be a requirement, simply because if you already now that some entity exists and has the attributes you require, YOU DON'T NEED TO PROVIDE FURTHER ARGUMENTS FOR IT'S EXISTENCE. There's no point if offering a *reason* to stipulate the reality of something, if it's already been stipulated before you begin. Maybe you *are* assuming that the answer must be "pre-verified" as real as a prec-condition for building your argument for stipulating that it's real. Either way, what's the deal?

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  42. T-Stone said:
    ---
    So, let's be clear then. Does a proposed answer for "why is there something rather than nothing?" require that answer to be verified as a real, actual entity with those verified attributes *before* you consider it a valid answer or not?
    ---

    Yes, why not rehash the same thing for the fifth time. I so enjoy repeating myself over and over again. It's so much fun.

    Let's make this as simple as possible for you then, T-Stone.

    To make the argument that X (be it whatever X is) is why something rather than nothing exists, X does not need to be real.

    In order for the argument to be true, X would need to be real.

    Atheism has no way to account for an X at all. Therefore, my point (which was limited to a critique of an atheist's analogy, as I stated at the beginning and have continued to repeat to you over and over ever since) still stands: there is no correlation between stipulating a teapot between Earth and Mars and between stipulating the existence of some sort of God, even if you want to label that God as the FSM.

    You preceded this by saying:
    ---
    I offered that FSM has a) the power to create universes like this one, and b) the desire to create universes like this one. How is that not sufficient to account for the existence of the universe, Peter?
    ---

    I never said it wasn't sufficient to account for the existence of the universe, T-Stone. However, I have pointed out that the logical necessity of having the power to create the universe entails a host of other logically necessary beliefs. The FSM must be self-existent, more powerful than that which is created, and transcendent for starters. These are all logical requirements to the sub-set "power to create the universe."

    Do you assert that the FSM is self-existent, more powerful than the universe, and transcendent?

    If so, we can move on to other attributes that are logically required. Of course, we need not go through this process if you just read the link I provided earlier in my comments already.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    There's no point if offering a *reason* to stipulate the reality of something, if it's already been stipulated before you begin.
    ---

    This assumes the reason that you would stipulate the reality of something is for your own benefit.

    As usual, you are assuming an entire argument I did not make and are arguing against that as if I did make it, continually ignoring my repeated attempts to demonstrate to you that you are doing so.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 1:13 PM

    Wlotter said:

    ”I'm glad you have your act together. So no working out your faith with fear and trembling then? This simply sounds like a statement dripping with pride. Perhaps some others should jump in and challenge you on this point.”

    I made my point about knowing and doing what the bible says because unfortunately, and those involved in local church ministry know this sad truth: we have lots of people who know all sorts of things about the bible and yet they are not living out what they know, they are not practicing or living out this bible knowledge that they have. Mature Christians not only know what the scripture says they consistently (not perfectly) live it out in their daily lives. My comments were not meant in a prideful manner. The bible sets out clear character traits and practices that should characterize elders. If we do not live out these verses then we ought not be elders in local churches. To say we are living out these verses is not prideful, because if we are not, then we should not be elders. Regarding others jumping in and challenging my point, we had better have Christian leaders who exemplify what scripture says about biblical elders. For example, a biblical elder will have a good reputation with both nonbelievers and with believers who watch him live out the Christian life.

    WLOTTER went on to say:

    ”I do see what you are trying to say but (1) This is a blog not a local, relational church community and (2) If you can show me one article or blog entry from T-Stone, where he challenges any atheistic view I'd be interested. I might even change my mind about him. To date all I have ever seen him 'challenge' are christian blog sites. He has left many questions unanswered. I get the distinct impression that he is an atheist (or agnostic) at heart but holds onto his 'Christian' faith in case there is a hell.”

    You are correct that this is not a local church, however, what scripture says about how Christians are to interact with one another (and what it says about how we are to interact with nonbelievers), **does** apply on blogs. That is part of the problem in my opinion. I sometimes see conduct on blogs that would never be acceptable in a local church setting. People would not be allowed to speak to each other in the way it sometimes occurs on blogs. Again, in my opinion, some people act on a blog in a way in which they would never act in real life when engaging in face to face interaction. So we should be living out what the bible says as best we can even when we are interacting on a blog.
    Regarding (2) from my reading of T-Stone’s comments he is not endorsing atheism per se. Rather, at times he seems to be saying that so-and-so has a point whether they are an atheist or not.

    You say that you get the distinct impression that he is an atheist who is holding onto his “Christian faith” as fire insurance. That is not my impression. My impression is that he is a Christian who likes science, holds to theistic evolution and enjoys arguing with Young earth creationists (which is why I think he interacts with the Triablogers). I believe that he is wrong about theistic evolution, but if he is a Christian he is to be treated as such.

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi TS,

    "It's precisely *because* I don't need to be concerned with "man's morality" and the like in Peter's argument that it breaks down."

    When you moved it into *this* universe, that when your big problems started. All you've done is simply *posit* that he created *this* universe. But when I try to be the good scientist and test your claims according to the obervable data, which would seem to undermine your claim, you say the questions are "irrelevant." If you don't see your condundrum, I do apologize. I would say, it's not self-congratulating to point out the obvious. Anyway, as I said, you answered my questions and have basically admitted that FSM couldn't be posited to have created *this* world. I mean, it's a "fine, brash hypothesis, but it has died the death of a thousand qualifications."

    ReplyDelete
  45. Peter,

    By the way, I should also note that I am, contra T-Stone's reality, actually viewing this from outside my "presuppositional box." I'm actually giving the atheists the benefit of the doubt with the FSM and demonstrating that it still doesn't work because the attributes you must apply to the FSM are, for all intents and purposes, the same that you would stipulate in YHWH.

    But they're *not* the same attributes for all intents and purposes. See my comment to Rhology about the Hovering Pasta Sister, "peer gods" to the FSM. I think YHWH's singularity is an essential attribute don't you? Wouldn't a "brother+4 sister gods" concept be at practical odds with Christianity?

    I believe it would.

    But no matter. We might as well suppose a committee of highly evolved frogs -- twelve of them to be exact -- created our universe, complete with all the features this one has.

    So now what? There's your answer -- twelve super-frogs acquired over billions of years the technology to create new universes, just like this one, and did so.

    Do I now have a reason to stipulate their reality? If not, why not? And are these twelve super-frogs really the same as YHWH for all practical intents and purposes to you?


    Note that T-Stone still hasn't demonstrated how there could be something instead of nothing without the existence of some form of deity. He's just pretending that entire side of the argument that I brought up didn't even happen.


    Why should we think a deity is *required*, Peter? On what basis do you say "nothing" is the default existential state? Setting aside the anthropic angle on this (if reality *were* 'nothing' you wouldn't be here to wonder about such things, right?), I can't see any conclusions on this as being any more than pure over-reaching speculation.

    For all I know, God is *necessary*, and it could not be otherwise. But maybe it *could* have been otherwise. I don't have any epistemic basis for saying one way or the other, as that's simply beyond the reach of a human brain, conceptually. We don't know what the extra-universal parameters and constraints are, which is why you won't find Manata substantiating his estimates of "low" or any other probability value for the FSM or super-frogs or what-not.

    Why does God exist Peter? Who made God? If every thing that exists *must* have a cause, what is God's cause (surely you must have encountered this problem before!)?

    If you say God doesn't need a cause, then I ask, if God doesn't need a cause, why does anything else need a cause? If God can exist uncaused, as I believe He does, why can't a universe, or an infinite ensemble of universes?

    I don't believe in God because I can't imagine something existing uncaused. I see no basis for that conclusion. My reasons for belief in God derive from wholly different foundations -- see my responses to Manata in the exchange that was, it was thought at the time, preparation for Manatas magnus opus with his regress gun.

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  46. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 1:24 PM

    Peter Pike wrote:

    ”In any case, CC needs to read the post I just put on the main page.”

    I will read your post and will be looking for evidence of T-Stone denying essential Christian doctrine such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by faith alone, the virgin birth of Christ, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, etc.

    Peter now feels the need to attack me personally with:

    ”And by the way, your oogling of T-Stone is nauseatingly pathetic. Yes, we know T-Stone can do no wrong in your eyes. That doesn't mean we have to accept the validity of your vision.”

    So according to Pike I am oogling T-Stone and my conduct is **nauseatingly pathetic”. I never said that T-Stone can do no wrong, nor have I said that I agree with T-Stone on all of his points. Major and clear example, T-Stone espouses theistic evolution, I do not.

    It is too bad that instead of taking what I have said seriously and considering ways in which he could improve his interactions with T-Stone, Pike now just wants to attack me personally and claim that I agree with T-Stone on all of his points.

    I believe that people can have rational and challenging and intelligent and kind-hearted discussions with both Christians we disagree with as well as nonbelievers. And I believe these discussions need to manifest mature and godly character regardless of what others say towards us or how they treat us.

    What’s wrong with aiming for discussions carried out in this manner?

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  47. T-stone,

    So I say he's got four divine sisters who rule other galaxies, far from here.

    But you had agreed he was omnipotent.
    Once again we see your assertion fail when pressed for a few more details. The moment you stray from the God of the Bible's attributes, you end up in internal inconsistency, and this is a perfect example.
    You are trying to posit an imaginary god for THIS universe, as Paul Manata said. Only the God of the Bible, we'll find, is the peg that fits the hole. The FSM won't fit unless he is identical to YHWH, in which case he IS YHWH and is a little irritated that you've been acting like such a clown and taking His name in vain.

    So now you're going either to have to abandon the Pasta Sisters or omni-3things for the FSM. Which is it?

    The problem is that Peter doesn't allow for *examination* in his argument.

    I highly doubt that.
    Peter, what do you say?

    If God is real as I claim, there should be some way to distinguish Him from imaginary, made up gods, right?

    Yes, and when you start describing FSM in more detail, it's easily seen.

    You can make FSM as close or as far from YHWH as you like, so long as FSM can answer Peter's questions.

    But for your point to be valid, you would HAVE to stray substantively from YHWH. But you can't.

    You resent the comparisons being drawn? Why?

    No, I mean that
    1) you are being blasphemous
    2) you are being silly
    3) you haven't demonstrated the ability to make FSM differ from YHWH and still make your case. And you won't be able to. It's pathetic.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  48. Peter,


    To make the argument that X (be it whatever X is) is why something rather than nothing exists, X does not need to be real.

    OK, good. We have this understood, then. This is agreement (A).


    In order for the argument to be true, X would need to be real.

    Whoops! You told us in your post that simply *answering* why something rather than nothing exists provides a *reason* to *stipulate* the reality of the answerer! So, by virtue of (A), FSM is *not* required to be real, but *does* answer your question, which you say provides a reason to stipulate its reality. So, if (A) makes FSM *real*, then it meets the requirement here for 'true', now. Do you see the problem with this?




    Atheism has no way to account for an X at all. Therefore, my point (which was limited to a critique of an atheist's analogy, as I stated at the beginning and have continued to repeat to you over and over ever since) still stands: there is no correlation between stipulating a teapot between Earth and Mars and between stipulating the existence of some sort of God, even if you want to label that God as the FSM.


    Wasn't Russell's point that something 'made-up' gets legitimized by veneration in culture and scripture? I think that was the thrust. While we assert that God is *not* made-up, like Russell, we do believe that, say, the Hindu gods are imaginary, right? Do you suppose that the embrace of the concepts of Hindu gods in culture and sacred texts makes the "made-up" Hindu gods more respectable, believable? I do. I think without the cultural/historical sanction that has been placed on the hindu gods over thousands of years in Hindu culture, the beliefs, on their own, would seem quite ridiculous. A Christian should have no problem affirming that with respect to Hindu gods, so on that level, we can understand Russell's argument. The beef with Russell is just that in the case of Christianity, while culture and veneration of Christian beliefs and texts *does* make them more respectable and popular, it does not change the reality of the Christian God and the truth of the Bible and the Gospel it proclaims. Christianity is exceptional in that regard, in other words.




    You preceded this by saying:
    ---
    I offered that FSM has a) the power to create universes like this one, and b) the desire to create universes like this one. How is that not sufficient to account for the existence of the universe, Peter?
    ---

    I never said it wasn't sufficient to account for the existence of the universe, T-Stone. However, I have pointed out that the logical necessity of having the power to create the universe entails a host of other logically necessary beliefs. The FSM must be self-existent, more powerful than that which is created, and transcendent for starters. These are all logical requirements to the sub-set "power to create the universe."


    Peter, these are not logical necessities! If our universe were created by some *created* entity, then the creator would also be a creature, and *not* self-existent. There's nothing that I can see that requires a creator to be self-existent. He *may* be -- that's the view of Christianity -- but it's not a logical necessity. More powerful than than which is created? Probably. But why is that necessary? I just don't have the rule book you do, I guess on what exactly is required to qualify as a creator of this universe. You'll have to provide some quotes. As for 'transcendent', that's simply definitional; any entity that creates our universe is by definition transcendent to it.




    Do you assert that the FSM is self-existent, more powerful than the universe, and transcendent?


    Sure, he doesn't have to be real, remember (he's made up), so why not? I assert that he *is* self-existent, more powerful than the universe, *and* transcendent, despite two of these three not being necessary so far as I can see, and the third simply true by definition. But whatever, it will work just fine if I assert this.




    If so, we can move on to other attributes that are logically required. Of course, we need not go through this process if you just read the link I provided earlier in my comments already.


    You've already offered me two 'requirements' that are not substantiated as requirements. Please tell me how you establish what is logically required of a creator.




    T-Stone said:
    ---
    There's no point if offering a *reason* to stipulate the reality of something, if it's already been stipulated before you begin.
    ---

    This assumes the reason that you would stipulate the reality of something is for your own benefit.

    As usual, you are assuming an entire argument I did not make and are arguing against that as if I did make it, continually ignoring my repeated attempts to demonstrate to you that you are doing so.



    Set me straight, then! Is an entity (who need not be assumed to exist a priori) that answers your questions entitled to stipulation as real, or not?

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  49. Rhology,

    So now you're going either to have to abandon the Pasta Sisters or omni-3things for the FSM. Which is it?

    FSM remains all-powerful -- although I hasten to add that that isn't a necessary requirement for creating this universe, so far as I can tell (where do you get this requirement, if it *is* one?). The Hovering Pasta Sisters are divine, but they are subordinate to FSM. Remember the comment about ruling their own galaxy? FSM runs the universe, the sisters get delegated authority to a little piece of it.

    No problems for FSM, there. And quite a mismatch with YHWH, at the very same time.


    The problem is that Peter doesn't allow for *examination* in his argument.

    I highly doubt that.
    Peter, what do you say?


    Just quote the part of the post you identify as allowing for that!



    But for your point to be valid, you would HAVE to stray substantively from YHWH. But you can't.


    Having four divine sisters isn't "straying substantively"??? Hmmm. I think that's as fundamentally *different* ontologically as you could get -- it violates Christian monotheism, right?

    Or, consider the "super-frogs" hypothesis: these are created beings! Is that not a "substantial stray" from YHWH -- the creators of the universe being a *group* of creatures???

    Maybe I misunderstand, but it's not hard at *all* to dream up deity-hypotheses that retain all the necessary creative power, but look nothing like YHWH in any number of ontological respects.

    If you're thinking that God exists because of His interaction in your life, and because of the historical evidence, etc. -- good on ya! If you are thinking God exists and we know that because the universe could not possibly be another other way, then I think you have been sipping too much of Mr. Manata's Kool-Aid. That's a foundation made of sand. Imaginary sand!

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  50. T-Stone said:
    ---
    Wouldn't a "brother+4 sister gods" concept be at practical odds with Christianity?
    ---

    Yes, but then polytheism suffers from many logical problems (one of which Rhology pointed out already--the idea of omnipotence). You could not remain logically consistent in asserting there was more than one God.

    This shouldn't be to hard to conceptualize even if you don't immediately grasp it. Do you really think that the "three great religions" of the world would all be monotheistic if polythestic principles were consistent?

    The fact is, as soon as you have more than one "god" you are stuck with tremendous difficulties. Is there a hierarchy amongst the gods? If so, in what sence can the "minor gods" be considered actual "gods"? If there are really coequal gods, then in what sense are they coequal? Would they ever disagree with each other? If so, what would happen? If they always agreed with each other, then what would be the difference between two identical gods doing the same thing and one identical god doing the same thing (other than parsimony, which is your favorite concept anyway)?

    I could go on if need be, but figure why bother? First you won't listen to me, and secondly this is over something you don't even actually believe in.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Why should we think a deity is *required*, Peter?
    ---

    Well, for starters because you can't give me an answer that doesn't require deity.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    On what basis do you say "nothing" is the default existential state?
    ---

    Because if the universe has always existed, then you run into all kinds of logical problems such as the fact that it would take an infinite amount of time to get to where we are now. This isn't that complicated.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Setting aside the anthropic angle on this (if reality *were* 'nothing' you wouldn't be here to wonder about such things, right?), I can't see any conclusions on this as being any more than pure over-reaching speculation.
    ---

    Yes, and we know that reality is only that which conforms to T-Stone's perceptions....

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    For all I know, God is *necessary*, and it could not be otherwise. But maybe it *could* have been otherwise. I don't have any epistemic basis for saying one way or the other, as that's simply beyond the reach of a human brain, conceptually.
    ---

    Only because you're irrational.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Why does God exist Peter? Who made God? If every thing that exists *must* have a cause, what is God's cause (surely you must have encountered this problem before!)?
    ---

    Gee, do you think maybe this is why I mentioned the whole self-existence thing?

    LEARN TO READ.

    Now, are you going to stipulate that the universe is self-existent or are you just bluffing?

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    If you say God doesn't need a cause, then I ask, if God doesn't need a cause, why does anything else need a cause?
    ---

    Because everything else is not God.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    If God can exist uncaused, as I believe He does, why can't a universe, or an infinite ensemble of universes?
    ---

    Because if the universe is self-existent, then you still have to account for the other attributes that the universe would be required to maintain in order for existence to exist, which would in the end make "the universe" another label for "God."

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    I don't believe in God because I can't imagine something existing uncaused. I see no basis for that conclusion. My reasons for belief in God derive from wholly different foundations -- see my responses to Manata in the exchange that was, it was thought at the time, preparation for Manatas magnus opus with his regress gun.
    ---

    If you had put a period after your fifth word, you'd be more believable.

    In any case, I know what your "reasons" for the existence of God are. You get warm fuzzies out of it. Nothing you couldn't get from a cold beer or a hot shower. But you go ahead and think that those are "convincing" reasons.

    It would be one thing if you ever actually tried to argue with them. You know, actually went out there and tried to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Yeah, I'd love to see you in action.

    ReplyDelete
  51. T-Stone said:
    ---
    You told us in your post that simply *answering* why something rather than nothing exists provides a *reason* to *stipulate* the reality of the answerer!
    ---

    This is so tedious as to be boring. You cannot understand simple sentences, T-Stone. And CC, I CANNOT REASON WITH IDIOTS, of which T-Stone is chief.

    I call a spade a spade.

    T-Stone is yet again forgetting the purpose of my post, despite my having explained it to him so many times I've lost count. Providing a reason for something does not entail that it is corresponding to reality.

    My entire point in this conversation has never been to argue for the existence of God, it is to argue that the analogy Russell uses IS FLAWED.

    Until you get this into your dead brain, you will not understand anything else I have to say.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Sheesh, shame on me.
    I was giving T-stone too much credit. I never thought I'd see "Who made God?" from his pen.
    That's pitiful.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Peter,


    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Why does God exist Peter? Who made God? If every thing that exists *must* have a cause, what is God's cause (surely you must have encountered this problem before!)?
    ---

    Gee, do you think maybe this is why I mentioned the whole self-existence thing?

    LEARN TO READ.

    Now, are you going to stipulate that the universe is self-existent or are you just bluffing?


    I'm not the one advance claims for such stipulations, here, Peter. That's role in this discussion. I'm not aware of any basis for stipulating that the universe *is* self-existent, or that it cannot be. That would require knowledge that I do not think human can possess, or at least demonstrate they possess. But I'm still not seeing how God gets assigned "self-existent" status, and the universe does not. Could our universe be self-existent?

    Now, here's an interesting sequence:

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    If you say God doesn't need a cause, then I ask, if God doesn't need a cause, why does anything else need a cause?
    ---

    Because everything else is not God.


    You are on the one hand demanding on the one hand that the universe ("everthing else") is NOT God.

    Then on the other:
    T-Stone said:
    ---
    If God can exist uncaused, as I believe He does, why can't a universe, or an infinite ensemble of universes?
    ---

    Because if the universe is self-existent, then you still have to account for the other attributes that the universe would be required to maintain in order for existence to exist, which would in the end make "the universe" another label for "God."


    You have the universe IS God ("universe" being just another label for God) by definition. The apparent contradiction here notwithstanding, this very much asks the question of what these "other attributes" are that a self-existent universe would be required to have. Is this a case of Manata-ism where you're simply defining whatever features you identify in the universe as being impossible with out the Christian God, in which case, say no more -- that puts it all into a clear frame. Or are there some features of the universe you are familiar with that are not just presuppositional in nature that defeat the idea of the universe's self-existence? I was at a conference in CA a couple months ago and several of the speakers in the science track had outlines for their talks that looked like they were working from the idea of self-existence of the universe. If you're playing the presuppositionalist card here, I'll stop wasting my time. But if you are not, what are these requirements? It's one thing to argue that God exists, based on classic evidential support and personal experience. It's quite another to argue that God is *necessary* because of some physical/logical requirements that thwart the idea of self-existence, even in principle.

    Lastly, you said:
    f you had put a period after your fifth word, you'd be more believable.

    In any case, I know what your "reasons" for the existence of God are. You get warm fuzzies out of it. Nothing you couldn't get from a cold beer or a hot shower. But you go ahead and think that those are "convincing" reasons.

    It would be one thing if you ever actually tried to argue with them. You know, actually went out there and tried to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Yeah, I'd love to see you in action.


    Peter, it looks like from this that the *evidential* case for God isn't very persuasive to you. Is that correct? Are the elements I've outlined -- which are really nothing more than a recapitulation of classic evidentialist arguments *really* nothing more valuable than a "feeling" I might get from drinking a brew. If so, I think that's worth, confirming, and getting out there in the open.


    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  54. Rhology,

    Well how do you answer that question? When someone asks you "Who made God?", how do you respond?

    Do you tell them they're being blasphemous for asking the question?

    And if you tell them God is self-existent, do you also allow that the universe may be self-existent by the same measure? If not, why not?

    -TS

    ReplyDelete
  55. T-Stone,

    God is necessary to cause the universe, b/c the universe needs a cause.
    Why?
    B/c otherwise you have a universe that either:
    1) started from nothing by nothing, uncaused, which is logically impossible, or
    2) has always existed, which is also impossible, since that would lead to an infinite regress, where every second into the future we live, we add to an infinite number of seconds already elapsed. Logically impossible.

    We're forced to the existence of God, at least partially b/c, w/o Him, we have only impossible alternatives for the origin of the universe.

    Child's play, T-stone. I refuse to accept a logically impossible explanation on such an important question when a perfectly logically possible option remains open. To refuse to do so, as I've recently told several atheists (and you could too, you know, rather than wasting our time), is to act like a 3-yr old.

    Peace,
    Rhology

    ReplyDelete
  56. Good grief, you're a dunderhead, T-Stone.

    You said:
    ---
    You are on the one hand demanding on the one hand that the universe ("everthing else") is NOT God.
    ---

    and:

    ---
    You have the universe IS God ("universe" being just another label for God) by definition. The apparent contradiction here notwithstanding, this very much asks the question of what these "other attributes" are that a self-existent universe would be required to have.
    ---

    There is no contradiction there, apparent or otherwise. There is only your inability to grasp things logically.

    It's really quite simple:

    Premise 1: If the universe is not self-existent, then there must be something else that is self-existent (labeled "God").

    Premise 2: If the universe is self-existence, then it would have all the attributes that would otherwise be labeled "God."

    (1) is in no way, shape, form, hallucination, fantasy, delusion, or statement by T-Stone cohered to (2). There is no contradiction because we are looking at two sides of an either/or question. Either the universe is self-existent, or something else must be self-existent.

    To claim that there is nothing that is self-existent is to embrace irrationalism, T-Stone. We are here. Existence exists. This means that something is self-existent. Basic philosophy. Check out a book from the library sometime; it'll do you good.

    As to the other attributes that this universe would be required to have, they would be the same freaking attributes I've been talking about this entire time because I, unlike you, have not been changing the subject every time I write something.

    Furthermore, you can click on the link I provided above and see more argumentation for it then. In fact, you responded to those other comments, T-Stone. Does the fact that you have no clue what was said prove you never read what you responded to (which makes you a liar) or that you cannot remember what you read (which makes you an idiot)?

    Oh, don't worry. I recognize that isn't a valid either/or. There is always the third option that you're a lying idiot.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    If you're playing the presuppositionalist card here, I'll stop wasting my time.
    ---

    Am I reading too optimistically?

    OF COURSE I'M PLAYING THE PRESUPPOSITIONALIST CARD HERE!

    Now go away.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Concerned Christian8/24/2007 3:58 PM

    T-Stone said:

    “Why does God exist Peter? Who made God? If every thing that exists *must* have a cause, what is God's cause (surely you must have encountered this problem before!)?

    If you say God doesn't need a cause, then I ask, if God doesn't need a cause, why does anything else need a cause? If God can exist uncaused, as I believe He does, why can't a universe, or an infinite ensemble of universes?”

    Clearly T-Stone affirms here that God’s existence is uncaused. T-Stone here is affirming aseity. T-Stone is not asking the atheist’s question of “Who made God?” because he is attempting to mock God’s existence. He says about God: “If God can exist uncaused, AS I BELIEVE HE DOES (my emphasis)”.

    Here T-Stone is affirming both his belief in God and a God who is self-existent, not caused by anything else to exist, having aseity.

    And yet in spite of this clear affirmation Rhology seems to have misunderstood this and says:

    “Sheesh, shame on me. I was giving T-stone too much credit. I never thought I'd see "Who made God?" from his pen. That's pitiful.”

    No wonder people like Pike are claiming T-Stone to be an atheist. T-Stone quotes the atheist type question and some then infer from this that T-Stone is himself an atheist! Looks like some are just looking to find problems with T-Stone. So part of what he says is attacked (here the atheist question about Who made God?) and the rest where he affirms orthodox Christianity (that God has aseity, is uncaused in His existence) is ignored.

    Concerned Christian

    ReplyDelete
  58. CC:

    Looks like some are just going out of their way to find ways to argue with anyone who would dispute anything your pretty-boy says.

    You can't read the above exchange and for a minute think T-Stone's question was an honest question. He wasn't intending to get an actual answer; he was intending to further dispute, to strain at gnats in order to swallow his camel, to cause discord not to gain knowledge.

    And you're an enabler of T-Stone. Shame on you.

    ReplyDelete
  59. One other thing to add.

    CC said:
    ---
    T-Stone quotes the atheist type question and some then infer from this that T-Stone is himself an atheist!
    ---

    Yes, because T-Stone does nothing BUT quote "the atheist type question[s]"

    ReplyDelete
  60. Peter,

    Premise 2: If the universe is self-existence, then it would have all the attributes that would otherwise be labeled "God."

    OK, so I'm thinking of attributes we associate with "God". How about "personal"? Would a self-existent unvierse then necessarily have "personal" as one it's attributes?

    -TS

    ReplyDelete
  61. Also Peter (had to go upthread a bit to find this):

    How do you resolve these two:

    By the way, I should also note that I am, contra T-Stone's reality, actually viewing this from outside my "presuppositional box." I'm actually giving the atheists the benefit of the doubt with the FSM and demonstrating that it still doesn't work because the attributes you must apply to the FSM are, for all intents and purposes, the same that you would stipulate in YHWH.

    and, more recently:

    OF COURSE I'M PLAYING THE PRESUPPOSITIONALIST CARD HERE!


    This is response to those same attributes for the FSM that you were NOT playing your presuppositionalist card on, above.

    The first quote is one that makes me think a reasonable discussion can be had. The latter quote makes it pretty much impossible. Which holds sway here in your arguments, Peter?

    ReplyDelete
  62. T-Stone said:
    ---
    OK, so I'm thinking of attributes we associate with "God". How about "personal"? Would a self-existent unvierse then necessarily have "personal" as one it's attributes?
    ---

    It depends on how you define "personal." Is there such a thing as my own personal universe? No. We all share the same universe. I perceive it personally, but it remains objective.

    But I doubt this is what you're asking. More like the idea of a personal God, which implies consciousness of that God.

    It's amazing how I was able to predict that very question on my "A Question of Logic" post, which I only linked to above and referred to three times already, and in which I said:
    ---
    But even if someone does not like the above, we can always turn the tables and use some empirical evidence (which, following induction, cannot be known for “certain”). Assuming that our perceptions are valid, that we see the world as it really exists, etc. we know the following. All consciousness we have ever observed has come from previous consciousness. There is no evidence that consciousness can come from non-consciousness. Since I am conscious, whatever the source of my being is would logically be conscious as well, for we have no warrant to believe consciousness could have ever come from non-consciousness--there is no proof, no evidence, no observation of this ever.
    ---

    So, yeah, until the non-believer can show how "personness" can arise from "non-personness," I'm gonna have to stick with what we have seen: all "personness" comes from previous "personnesses." Therefore, the burden of proof is on the one who would assert "personness" from "non-personness" to prove this. It is not my job to disprove it.

    Anyway, as to your complaint about presuppositions, no in these comments I have purposely refrained from presenting a presuppositional argument. Not that I couldn't do so--and indeed, we will need to go there soon if you keep on denying basic Christian foundational principals that you claim to accept.

    I could start by pointing out you are presupposing presuppositional arguments are irrational. ¿Y tú?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Peter,


    But I doubt this is what you're asking. More like the idea of a personal God, which implies consciousness of that God.


    Um yeah. I was not supposing a "personal universe" as in "everybody has their own". But your quote from a previous post doesn't answer the question.

    I'll ask it more precisely:

    Is a self-existent universe necessarily going to have the attribute of being "personal" in the sense of awareness and will?

    Again, you stated that a self existent universe *would* have the attributes we identify in God, so I'm just asking about this specific attribute; God is personal (as in aware, has a will), so by extension of your argument, a self-existent universe *must* also be personal (as in aware, has a will).

    Correct?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Touchstone,

    Alright, your response to me turned up the house lights on your position, so that I am fairly close to understanding what you are trying to say, (which by the way is NOT what Russell was trying to say.)

    The main point, if I collect it correctly, is that it is a non-sequitur (in a way) to state that "[Being A] explains attributes of the universe A,B, and C, therefore it MUST exist."

    Insofar as I understand you, I agree that it is not logically necessary for a being to exists that fits a thought experiment where it exists. But this is only reclining to say that it is possible that God does not exist, although he explains this phenomena quite nicely.

    However, I think we have coupled a discussion about what something logically proves with what we are justified in believing. I have accepted that it is not completely and utterly logically required for the classical conception of a monotheistic God to exist from the {non-historical) evidence; BUT I think that it is perfectly reasonable and justified to believe in him nontheless from said evidence, given a epistemological principle.

    The principle states that the greater the explanatory power of a being, the greater the probability it is that it exists. Along with the intentionality of the concept being the monotheistic God, we now have a person who is warranted in believing that God exists from the universe's characteristics. Thus, even if the evidence does not reify the being, it still provides reasons to believe in the being, that, when collated with intentionality, excludes the other beings (FSMs) that could be arrived at through the evidence.

    Thus, the evidence indeed does not reify Being A, or any other Being. But, the phenomena explained for the being can still count as good reason to believe that a being does exist, the one left standing from your intentionally believing in it.

    Tell me what you think,

    Philip

    ReplyDelete
  65. T-Stone said:
    ---
    Is a self-existent universe necessarily going to have the attribute of being "personal" in the sense of awareness and will?
    ---

    Can something be conscious without awareness and will?

    If not, then how did I not already answer this question? If so, demonstate it.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Phillip M,


    Alright, your response to me turned up the house lights on your position, so that I am fairly close to understanding what you are trying to say, (which by the way is NOT what Russell was trying to say.)


    OK, if you read my first comment, I pretty much disregarded the "analogy analysis", as it we're going to say "How about we switch the teapot to a rock?" then that particular argument can't be saved. So my objection was primarily (solely, even) to the "existence of God" argument.


    The main point, if I collect it correctly, is that it is a non-sequitur (in a way) to state that "[Being A] explains attributes of the universe A,B, and C, therefore it MUST exist."

    Insofar as I understand you, I agree that it is not logically necessary for a being to exists that fits a thought experiment where it exists. But this is only reclining to say that it is possible that God does not exist, although he explains this phenomena quite nicely.


    Right on. God explains *all* phenomena, perfectly!


    However, I think we have coupled a discussion about what something logically proves with what we are justified in believing. I have accepted that it is not completely and utterly logically required for the classical conception of a monotheistic God to exist from the {non-historical) evidence; BUT I think that it is perfectly reasonable and justified to believe in him nontheless from said evidence, given a epistemological principle.


    Sure. God fits all phenomena, so just based on a "fitting" basis, it's a go. I don't intend to be *disproving* what I believe (God as the answer to why something exists), so hopefully that is convincing in affirming that I think we *can* be justified in that belief. It's not a pure *basis* for stipulating that God exists, but it certainly is congruent with it.


    The principle states that the greater the explanatory power of a being, the greater the probability it is that it exists. Along with the intentionality of the concept being the monotheistic God, we now have a person who is warranted in believing that God exists from the universe's characteristics. Thus, even if the evidence does not reify the being, it still provides reasons to believe in the being, that, when collated with intentionality, excludes the other beings (FSMs) that could be arrived at through the evidence.


    Sure. And the "collation" is very much the point I was stressing upthread about the utility of historical/empirical evidence in dispatching the FSM, and other more difficult competitors than ideas I've made up on this thread. Peter's argument doesn't filter out even ridiculous ideas like the FSM (as you have noted above) in terms of stipulation just from answers provided. So it's broken, badly. But I've got no problem with your formulation here -- "could be arrived at through the evidence" being declared irrelevant for Peter's argument, by Peter's words.


    Thus, the evidence indeed does not reify Being A, or any other Being. But, the phenomena explained for the being can still count as good reason to believe that a being does exist, the one left standing from your intentionally believing in it.

    Tell me what you think,

    Philip


    I think that's eminently reasonable!

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  67. Peter,
    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Is a self-existent universe necessarily going to have the attribute of being "personal" in the sense of awareness and will?
    ---

    Can something be conscious without awareness and will?

    If not, then how did I not already answer this question? If so, demonstate it.


    Demonstrate *what*? That you did *not* answer something? Think about what you're asking, there.

    Why not just answer the question, directly, Peter. It just looks evasive, as it is.

    I do not see how a thing can be conscious without awareness, as I define consciousness *as* awareness of one's surroundings. Having a will is another matter...

    But just there, to me that means 'no' the universe CANNOT have the attribute "personal" if we understand the universe as it we know it to be self-existent.

    Given that, it breaks your requirement, namely that a self-existent universe will have the same attributes as God -- "personal" being the example attribute being looked at here.

    So, are your requirements now broken?

    -Touchstone

    ReplyDelete
  68. T-Stone said:
    ---
    Demonstrate *what*? That you did *not* answer something? Think about what you're asking, there.
    ---

    Again, LEARN TO READ.

    T-Stone said:
    ---
    Why not just answer the question, directly, Peter. It just looks evasive, as it is.
    ---

    No, what looks evasive is your continuing to ask the same questions over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and God knows I wish I was emebellishing right now over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    I demonstrated that we have observed consciousness come only from other conscious beings. We have never observed it from non-conscious beings. Therefore, the proper conclusion is that all consciousness derives from previous consciousness, and the burden of proof is on the one who says this is not the case to demonstrate consciousness from non-consciousness.

    You said, "No I was talking about awareness and will, not consciousness." AS IF THERE'S ANY DIFFERENCE.

    Can there be consciousness without awareness or will?

    If not, then I have already answered your petty objection. The burden of proof is on the one who stipulates that awareness and will come from objects that do not have awareness and will, not on the one who stipulates that awareness and will comes from objects that already have awareness and will.

    If you are going to say that awareness and will are not found in consciousness, then you must demonstrate this.

    What now, T-Stone? Shall we change it to "thoughts" and "desires"? Will THAT help you out any? Oooh, maybe we can change it to "concepts" and "urges." Yeah, we can keep this up all night and go exactly nowhere. Isn't it so much fun!

    Oh I wish I were apostate like our Touchstone
    Cuz apostasy would let me piss and moan.
    Oh I wish I were apostate like our Touchstone
    Cuz everyone would then leave me alone.

    ReplyDelete
  69. T-Stone said:
    ---
    But just there, to me that means 'no' the universe CANNOT have the attribute "personal" if we understand the universe as it we know it to be self-existent.
    ---

    By the way, T-Stone just said here that you can't have a self-existent, personal being.

    Lovely of him to so explicitly deny the existence of God for us all.

    I'll assume he made a mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  70. (By the way, should T-Stone now say, "No, I meant that the universe as we know it could not be self-existent and personal" then he will have provided his answer to his question: "If God can be self-existent, why can't the universe?"

    Do you think he'll get it?

    Me neither.)

    ReplyDelete
  71. Touchstone,

    Sounds good! But it looks like it might take longer than a two-comments-each exchange to clear the issue up with the Triabloggers. ; )

    Cheers,

    Philip

    ReplyDelete
  72. Peter,

    “I demonstrated that we have observed consciousness come only from other conscious beings.”

    What would be an example of a *real-world* observation of a conscious being “coming from” a conscious being? No one has ever observed this to my knowledge. Surely you don’t mean childbirth, which clearly wouldn’t work.

    “We have never observed it from non-conscious beings. Therefore, the proper conclusion is that all consciousness derives from previous consciousness.”

    Well, you’ve certainly not “demonstrated” it in the sense of a formal proof. But here you seem to claim it is the “inference to the best explanation", which is ironic given your apparent skepticism regarding the scientific method.

    So, do you actually mean to say you can’t demonstrate your claim via syllogism from obviously true premises, but, rather, that it can be “demonstrated” empirically (somehow)?

    I’d sure like to see either the formal proof or the list real-world examples of conscious beings begetting conscious beings.

    ReplyDelete
  73. "What would be an example of a *real-world* observation of a conscious being “coming from” a conscious being? No one has ever observed this to my knowledge. Surely you don’t mean childbirth, which clearly wouldn’t work."

    Obviously it wouldn't work because some anonymous poster said it wouldn't work therefore it wouldn't work.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Mr. Dixit,

    Childbirth won't work because it is not a creative act undertaken by the parents. They are merely catalysts for a complex, natural process of cellular formation the final result of which is a sentient being. So the analogy breaks down at the critical point of comparison.

    I think you'd agree that God was no mere catalyst for a process He did not ultimately govern.

    The phenomenon of childbirth may serve as a key ingredient in an argument from design because of its *intuitive* appeal, but it plays no part in establishing the logical necessity of "only a Being can create beings".

    And so Peter's (your?)use of terms here like "demonstration", "prove" etc. is just hubris.

    MK

    ReplyDelete
  75. funny, i do not see any fora,blogs,message boards, dedicated to debating the minutia of this "teapot in space". I also see very few atheists over on the islamic message boards or the budhist/hindu/rastafarian forums. It is with much wry academic amusement that I notice the strange finatic fixation that ahteists have on attacking that curious breed of "superstitious idiots" known as "Christians". Now, of couse they will say they fixate on Christianity because we are trying to create a theocracy(lol) or they lose sleep because of manger scenes with baby jesus in them on public property,

    somehow, none of these ring true with me, something else , much deeper, must be troubling these atheists!

    ReplyDelete
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