Monday, May 12, 2008

Thoughtless atheism

“But to affirm the Bible as the inerrant word of God, as one extreme, is so far removed from a reasonable faith that it just seems incredible for me that any thinking person can believe it.”

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/05/whos-ignorant.html

Unfortunately for Loftus, this accusation is self-incriminating. For Loftus is an apostate. He used to believe it. He used to be an ordained minister in a denomination which affirms inerrancy. He likes to remind us that he studied under William Lane Craig to become a Christian apologist.

So fall all those years, Loftus was not a thinking person. He managed to graduate from a Christian college and seminary in a persistent vegetative state.

31 comments:

  1. Personally, from all the bad arguments that he's presented, I think he's still in a persistent vegetative state.

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  2. Steve, now as an outsider I see things differently. Yes I believed in inerrancy at one time. Now I don't. From my present prespective I think it's incredible that I did at one time. But as incredible as this sounds, I did. I know that intelligent people believe stupid and ignorant things. I once did. I did so because that's all I ever learned. But on this particular issue I am ignorant no more. If you accept inerrancy then you are the ignorant one.

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  3. Loftus,

    You said "I did so because that's all I ever learned."

    Are you not assuming that there is no one out there who believed the Bible was a bunch of made up stories simply because that was all they ever learned?
    For myself, I believe it to be inerrant because on this particular issue I am ignorant no more.

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  4. Loftus:"Such a claim is ignorant on the par of the Holocaust deniers."

    What do you mean by this?

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  5. Yes, there seems to be a bootstrapping problem here. If Loftus wasn't a thinking person when he believed in inerrancy, how did he ever think his way out of it?

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  6. Listen up, if you have ever changed your mind on something significant, then you know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, I guess you just got lucky never to have changed your mind. But even that doesn't mean much. It only means you've never changed your mind, not that you are not ignorant about that which you now believe. It's the equivalent of someone who believes the earth is flat and used arguments to support that view who later learns he was taught wrong. He's still the intelligent person he was before. He just changed his perspective, that's all. Perspective is that which makes the difference, and with a new perspective one wonders how it was possible to even consider some beliefs as true.

    It would be the equivalent of any Christian here who ever converted from being a non-believer.

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  7. It would be the equivalent of any Christian here who ever converted from being a non-believer.

    Or rather, the exact opposite. When one becomes a Christian, they wonder how it was possible to even consider some truths as false.

    Just wondering... if the opposite of ignorance is gnosis, then if one is no longer ignorant does that make them a gnostic?

    Another ponderable: Is it really possible to change your mind? Or is it only possible to have your mind changed? (Thought experiment: Attempt to convince yourself that you *love* to eat pig manure.)

    One final one: If your current thinking is exactly the same as it was before you began, then can it be said that your mind was ever really changed in the first place?

    Talk among yourselves...

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  8. JL: “But to affirm the Bible as the inerrant word of God, as one extreme, is so far removed from a reasonable faith that it just seems incredible for me that any thinking person can believe it.”

    PM: When Loftus believed it either he was or he wasn't a thinking person.

    If the former, then it's not "incredible" for him to see how a "thinking person" could believe it - 'cause he just said a thinking person believed it.

    If the latter, then how could (as James said) an unthinking person think his way out of it?

    If he gave up inerrancy as an unthinking person, then he has a defeater for his arguments against it - as it is the product of an unthinking person.

    If he gave it up as a thinking person, then he was thinking when he believed it and thus he nullifies his incredulity about thinking people believing inerrancy.

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  9. I now find it incredible that I or anyone other thinking person believes in it, okay?

    What's there about what I said that you are unwilling or incapable of seeing it for what it is?

    Sheesh.

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  10. Of course, in Loftus' worldview, the only reason why someone believes in something is because they are 'dancing to their genes' which would, of course, apply equally to those who don't believe it.

    Thus, the believer's 'non-thinking' and the unbeliever's 'thinking' are made on the same basis: a chemical reaction in the brain; neither could help believing or not believing.

    His whole worldview is a self-defeater for his supposedly 'superior' epistemology.

    Silly atheists! Knowledge is for theists!

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  11. Just wondering: Is this actually an argument on whether he was ever able to think? Maybe a better argument would be on whether he was ever spiritually regenerated. Remember that Scripture says there are tares among us. They look and sound the part but they are not of the part and one way to know this is when they actually leave the part. You can't expect ANYONE who isn't spiritually regenerated to believe even though they actually do think about Scripture and recite doctrine and "profess their faith" etc. So instead of saying, "So fall all those years, Loftus was not a thinking person." you should say, "So fall all those years, Loftus was not a spiritually regenerated person." This would give glory to God instead of giving glory to mankind's ability to think his way into truth. Even mentally delayed people can know the truth mentally and spiritually even with their decreased ability to think. Knocking this guy's IQ gets you no where with the atheists and shouldn't our aim be in reaching them even if it is those who are apostates? We are to treat them as we would the tax collector which would be by giving them the Gospel again and again and praying for them. I have found this article helpful when disputing with others. It is sound advice from John Newton.

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  12. Thanks Luvvom, however, my claim is that I was never a Christian and neither are the people here, if by this we mean people who have a relationship to God-in-Christ. Why? Because there is no God and no Christ to have a relationship with.

    S & S said...Silly atheists! Knowledge is for theists!

    This comment could lead us down the same path as I've been down before, but can you not at least follow what I say? Do my words have meaning? When I make an argument can you follow it?

    The laws of logic come from our observations of the world. We see an apple and then an orange and conclude an apple is not an orange. From there we developed more and more rules of inference.

    And would you say that a dog has no knowledge? Can he not conclude that if he poops on the floor he will be punished? Stimulus and response motivates him. He can come to true conclusions about what will happen when he does certain actions, and he can anticipate what will happen if we get our coats one and grab the car keys.

    I don't see why we need a God for these conclusions at all.

    Okay, here it comes. But that's still what I think.

    The Euthyphro dilemma applie to logic as well as to morality and truth.

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  13. Loftus: The laws of logic come from our observations of the world. We see an apple and then an orange and conclude an apple is not an orange. From there we developed more and more rules of inference.

    Vytautas: Since when is it a law of logic that an apple is not an orange? Is it not an observation about fruit rather than a law of logic? Can you get DeMorgan's law by looking at fruit?

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  14. Vytautas, I don't see why not. De Morgan's Law is based on prior laws. We already know that p is not equivalent to q from the example I gave. So it's either p or q. It doesn't take long before we arrive at "not (p v q) is equivalent to (not p v not q).

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  15. luvvom said...

    “Knocking this guy's IQ gets you no where with the atheists and shouldn't our aim be in reaching them even if it is those who are apostates?”

    We’re simply answering him on his own grounds. He made a sweeping claim about unthinking Christians. We applied that claim to his own case.

    “We are to treat them as we would the tax collector which would be by giving them the Gospel again and again.”

    Loftus used to be an ordained minister. His problem isn’t with his ignorance of the gospel, but with his disbelief in the gospel (although his grasp of Christian theology is seriously deficient as well).

    You’re also setting up a false dichotomy between apologetics and evangelism. These are complementary, not contradictory.

    john w. loftus said...

    “This comment could lead us down the same path as I've been down before, but can you not at least follow what I say? Do my words have meaning? When I make an argument can you follow it?”

    I think the point S&S is making is that only Christian theism can ground the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge. Not the psychology of knowledge, but its warrant.

    “The laws of logic come from our observations of the world. We see an apple and then an orange and conclude an apple is not an orange. From there we developed more and more rules of inference.”

    Unless we had some inbuilt classification system, we couldn’t even begin the sorting process. When, for example, you look at two oranges, you don’t see “two” oranges. Empirically speaking, you only see one orange and another orange. The relational property or set of “two” isn’t given in bare sense datum. Rather, the mind must be able to recognize relations.

    “I don't see why we need a God for these conclusions at all.”

    An elementary blunder on your part. You might as well say that since I can use a light switch, who needs an electrician? But knowing how to use a light switch is not a substitute for electrical engineering or the laws of nature.

    The point at issue is not whether human beings (or even higher animals) can use logic. Rather, the point at issue is how to justify the use of logic. Where does logic come from? What makes logic necessary and universal? Why is the human mind capable of drawing logical inferences?

    “The Euthyphro dilemma applie to logic as well as to morality and truth.”

    I’ve critiqued your incompetent appeal to the Euthyphro dilemma.

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  16. Loftus: The laws of logic come from our observations of the world. We see an apple and then an orange and conclude an apple is not an orange. From there we developed more and more rules of inference.

    To *conclude* that an apple is not an orange is to *employ*, not simply derive, the laws of logic. Why can't red = orange? It is only by first thinking logically that one can find the laws of logic represented in observations of the world.

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  17. Loftus: The laws of logic come from our observations of the world. We see an apple and then an orange and conclude an apple is not an orange. From there we developed more and more rules of inference.


    Frege destroys this notion in his Foundations of Arithmetic.

    And, *at best* you concluded that *that* apple was not *that* orange. You, using observational evidence alone, do *not* "see" that "apples" are not "oranges."

    Moreover, what law of logic are you "seeing?" The LNC? But that is A is not ~A. So, ~A is *all* things (or statements, depending on how we want to define things here) that are not A. How did you get *that* from just *one* thing that wasn't A (assuming you could even derive that an orange wasn't an apple by observation, it just might be that you could derive "fruit A doesn't *look like* fruit B" from your observation. But, *that* surely doesn't get you to A is not ~A. Anyway . . .)? All you saw is that that orange is not that apple, not that a banana is not an apple, etc.

    Furthermore, what is the content of the LNC you say you derived? See, a dialetheist could *agree* with what you just said. Agree with your observation about that apple not being that orange. But, he would not say that this should be universalized given that there are some *true* contradictions (cf. the liar paradoxes). Seems this dispute can't be settled by observation, and observation couldn't have told us which one was the correct formulation of the LNC.

    Lastly, why do these laws apply again and again in repeated domains of experience? You must leave open the possibility of future *disconfirmation*. Thus you couldn't be sure that when you came across a contradiction in, say, the Bible it wasn't a report of an actual disconfirmation of your inductively based warrant for the LNC?

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  18. Certainty is impossible, Paul.

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  19. Certainty is impossible, Paul.

    Are you certain about that, John?

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  20. John,

    My post didn't have anything to do with certainty. So your comment fails to sidestep my arguments.

    Anyway, I wouldn't say that philosophical (or epistemic) certainty is *impossible* (cause that's a statement of certainty), just more rare than people think.

    But here's paradigm case of something of which we can be certain:

    [1] I exist.

    How could you not be certain of [1]? What skeptical argument do you (get that, _you_!)
    want to use to refute it?

    Therefore, since we can be certain of [1] with respect to ourselves, then your claim to the effect that, "certainty is impossible, Paul" has been proved false.

    Now that we're done with that rabbit trail, what did you think of the comments in my post regarding logic and observation. Seems to me an odd thing to do to say "we can't be certain" when someone gives arguments against another’s claim. How is *that* a possible rebuttal to what I said? Indeed, it would appear that since you can't be certain that laws of logic "come from" our experience, you shouldn't have a problem with arguments purporting to deny that claim. After all, since you can't be certain why not have an open mind toward my arguments?

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  21. Steve said…I think the point S&S is making is that only Christian theism can ground the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge. Not the psychology of knowledge, but its warrant.

    And I don’t think S&S made his point. Besides, as I’ve said before, since we are not logic machines the psychology of knowledge always come into play when assessing warrant. I don’t think you fully grasp this point. We all hold to mutually exclusive knowledge claims and don’t realize it. “Consistency, thou art a jewel.”

    Steve said…Unless we had some inbuilt classification system, we couldn’t even begin the sorting process. When, for example, you look at two oranges, you don’t see “two” oranges. Empirically speaking, you only see one orange and another orange. The relational property or set of “two” isn’t given in bare sense datum. Rather, the mind must be able to recognize relations.

    Innate knowledge? I think John Locke already argued sufficiently against such a conception. The brain has learned to recognize these relations because it had to do so in order to hunt plant and gather food. If it hadn’t humans would not have survived.

    Steve said...You might as well say that since I can use a light switch, who needs an electrician? But knowing how to use a light switch is not a substitute for electrical engineering or the laws of nature.

    This is non-analogous. We know about electrical engineering. We don’t know about God.

    Steve said…The point at issue is not whether human beings (or even higher animals) can use logic. Rather, the point at issue is how to justify the use of logic. Where does logic come from? What makes logic necessary and universal? Why is the human mind capable of drawing logical inferences?

    Did God create logic or must he abide by it…you know the drill.

    Steve said…I’ve critiqued your incompetent appeal to the Euthyphro dilemma.

    Yes, ouch, that hurts! My claim is that “man is the measure of all things.” Your claim is that “God is the measure of all things.” But no matter where the buck stops there are serious difficulties, not unlike the ones we each face when explaining why there is something rather than nothing at all. I think my answers are better, that’s all. You must begin by assuming way too much. My assumptions are simple and small.

    Paul Manata said...Frege destroys this notion in his Foundations of Arithmetic.

    “Destroys” is a strong word, which is reminiscent of the word “certainty.” If he does then why do many people disagree with your conclusions. I haven’t read it, but then I haven’t read most things. Do you think that if I read it that would change my mind? That, all I need is to read the right books? My claim is that I see things differently. I have a different perspective. I think you can appreciate what I say when I say this.

    Manata said…And, *at best* you concluded that *that* apple was not *that* orange. You, using observational evidence alone, do *not* "see" that "apples" are not "oranges."

    Using David Hume here? Then why not use all of him? Are you claiming a Platonist view of universals to say that we don’t use observation to inductively conclude what we do? You do know about the Aristotle’s “third man argument,” right?

    Manata said…[1] I exist.

    How could you not be certain of [1]? What skeptical argument do you (get that, _you_!)
    want to use to refute it?

    Therefore, since we can be certain of [1] with respect to ourselves, then your claim to the effect that, "certainty is impossible, Paul" has been proved false.


    Bertrand Russell argued that at best, using Cartesian doubt, all Descartes could conclude is not that the self exists, but that doubt exists. If true, isn’t this a strange claim, that the only thing we can be certain of is that doubt exists? I am certain of that. Other than that there is some degree of doubt, on a continuum, with every other knowledge claim.

    Manata said…After all, since you can't be certain why not have an open mind toward my arguments?

    Well, in one way I do. On the one hand there is the view that all truth is to be learned inductively by observation and our reflections upon those observations. On the other hand Wielenberg argues that the laws of logic and morality just exist as a brute facts. I lean toward the first view, but I’m interested in the alternative view. Still, if I understand you correctly, it does not lead to all that you believe by a long shot.

    Cheers, I must do other things today, and I already dealt with the original posting.

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  22. Loftus: Vytautas, I don't see why not. De Morgan's Law is based on prior laws. We already know that p is not equivalent to q from the example I gave. So it's either p or q. It doesn't take long before we arrive at "not (p v q) is equivalent to (not p v not q).

    Vytautas: Usually p and q stand for propositions, but you don't observe propositions when you look at fruit.

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  23. Loftus: "“Destroys” is a strong word, which is reminiscent of the word “certainty.”

    Manata: It's not "reminiscent" of the word certainty.

    Loftus: "If he does then why do many people disagree with your conclusions. I haven’t read it, but then I haven’t read most things."

    Manata: I don't think many people think the empirical justification of logic is the best one.

    Loftus: "Do you think that if I read it that would change my mind?"

    Manata: I don't know.

    Loftus: "That, all I need is to read the right books?"

    Manata: Reading helps. You know, like how you push your book. How you had a post offering a "challenge" to people to read your list of secular books.

    Loftus: "My claim is that I see things differently. I have a different perspective. I think you can appreciate what I say when I say this."

    Manata: I never doubted that you did have a different perspective. I appreciate that people have different perspectives.

    Loftus: "Using David Hume here? Then why not use all of him?"

    Manata: No. And surely you see that's a non-sequitur.

    Loftus: "Are you claiming a Platonist view of universals to say that we don’t use observation to inductively conclude what we do?"

    Manata: No, I'm not. I was speaking about your argument for the LNC. A question isn't a rebuttal.

    Loftus: "You do know about the Aristotle’s “third man argument,” right?"

    Manata: Yes, I do. But this question too fails to address my argument. You answered my argument with three (irrelevant for my position) questions in a row. Surely you can appreciate that that is not a proper way to respond to an argument.

    Manata said…[1] I exist.

    How could you not be certain of [1]? What skeptical argument do you (get that, _you_!)
    want to use to refute it?

    Therefore, since we can be certain of [1] with respect to ourselves, then your claim to the effect that, "certainty is impossible, Paul" has been proved false.

    Loftus: "Bertrand Russell argued that at best, using Cartesian doubt, all Descartes could conclude is not that the self exists, but that doubt exists."

    Manata: Using Bertrand Russell? Why not use all of him? ;-) Like his position on logic and numbers as immaterial entities that do not "come from" observation.

    Anyway, Russell's comment only works if you take Descartes' cogito to be a *deduction*, I, and many others, do not read Descartes that way. Even Descartes! "When someone says 'I am thinking, therefore I am, or I exist', he does not deduce existence from thought by means of a syllogism, but recognizes it as something self-evident by a simple intuition of the mind (Replies 2, AT 7:140).

    And see here for critique of Russell on this:

    http://www.seop.leeds.ac.uk/entries/descartes-epistemology/#4

    As Vallicella points out: "When I enact the Cogito, I do not argue, but achieve a direct insight, an intuition, of my being as a conscious and self-conscious subject."

    And says this of those who use Russell's objection: "Every sophomore knows how to parody the Cartesian dictum with 'I drink/link/stink, therefore I am' thereby demonstrating ignorance of the point Descartes was trying to make, not to mention the sort of jocose insouciance for which the sophomoric of all ages are famous."

    But, leave this aside for now (as your counter-argument misconstrues the cogito), here's another paradigm case of certainty:

    Say I am being appeared to in an appley way

    [2] A mental act of visual perception is now occurring.

    How can [2] be doubted? The existence of an apple can be doubted. It may be that there is no external world. I may be dreaming. It might be a orange that is causing the mental report, but what I can't doubt is *how I am being appeared to*.

    So, it seems [1] and [2] have refuted your claim.

    Loftus: "If true, isn’t this a strange claim, that the only thing we can be certain of is that doubt exists? I am certain of that."

    Manata: But even granting this point, you have refuted your claim. You said, "Certainty is impossible, Paul." But now you say you (there you go presupposing your existence) are certain that doubt exists. So, it is false that "Certainty is impossible, Paul."

    Loftus: On the one hand there is the view that all truth is to be learned inductively by observation and our reflections upon those observations.

    Manata: If this is true, how was it learned?

    Or, how did the truth that your observing with the senses can lead to truth come to be learned? If you stay consistent with your claim about how *all* truth is learned, you'd have to say, "By observation." So how did you sense your senses? How did you observe that your observings were veridical?

    And, say you did. You sense senses, or whatever.

    This would cause me to ask how you came to know the truth that you observed the truth that your observations can lead to truth, are reliable, etc.

    That would be a *new* truth.

    So, how did you learn *that one*?

    To be consistent, you'd have to say that you observed your observations of your observations (or whatever).

    And I can keep going.

    Thus your story leads to an infinite regress. And thus must be thrown away and another, better option, put in its place.

    Loftus: Still, if I understand you correctly, it does not lead to all that you believe by a long shot.

    Manata: I never said it did. I was simply critiquing your claim about where laws of logic "come from." I see you did not offer a single rebuttal (other than ask irrelevant questions) to the arguments I offered to your claims.

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  24. "And I don’t think S&S made his point. Besides, as I’ve said before, since we are not logic machines the psychology of knowledge always come into play when assessing warrant. I don’t think you fully grasp this point. We all hold to mutually exclusive knowledge claims and don’t realize it. “Consistency, thou art a jewel.”"

    I never brought psychology into it. I made the point that your worldview undermines any advantage in terms of epistemic warrant. In fact, it makes any notion of warrant an illusion. Several well known atheists have recognized this:

    “If we are ever to understand the dynamics of cognitive activity, therefore, we may have to reconceive our basic unit of cognition as something other than the sentence or proposition, and reconceive its virtue as something other than truth. … The notion of truth, after all, is but the central element in a clutch of descriptive and normative theories (folk psychology, folk epistemology, folk semantics, classical logic), and we can expect conceptual progress here as elsewhere.”

    “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

    “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that ‘You’, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells, and their associated molecules.”

    “Objectivity nevertheless obliges us to recognize the teleonomic character of living organisms, to admit that in their structure and performance they decide on and pursue a purpose. Here, therefore, at least in appearance, lies a profound epistemological contradiction.”

    “Why is thought being a secretion of brain, more wonderful than gravity a property of matter? It is our arrogance, it is our admiration of ourselves.”


    The only way to dodge this is to commit the self-excepting fallacy and pretend that you are a third-person objective viewer of the universe.

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  25. john w. loftus said...

    “And I don’t think S&S made his point. Besides, as I’ve said before, since we are not logic machines the psychology of knowledge always come into play when assessing warrant. I don’t think you fully grasp this point.”

    i) Don’t worry, John, I’d never mistake you for a logic machine. You’re more like an illogic machine.

    ii) The issue is about the ontology of logic, not the psychology of logic. The fact that human psychology comes into play when assessing warrant is irrelevant. For the point at issue is whether logic has any foundations in a secular worldview.

    Because you can’t give a good explanation, you’re trying to change the subject.

    “Innate knowledge? I think John Locke already argued sufficiently against such a conception.”

    Epistemology doesn’t end with Locke. I didn’t say that all knowledge is innate. But without some innate categories, it’s impossible to organize sensory input. In that respect, acquired knowledge depends on innate knowledge.

    “The brain has learned to recognize these relations.”

    Recognition presupposes prior knowledge. And relations aren’t given in sense data.

    When Big Ben strikes four o’clock, I don’t hear four tones. All I hear is one tone, and another, and another, and another. All I hear are discrete tones. The concept of four isn’t given in the bare sensation. I have to bring that conceptual apparatus to the sensation to recognize the relation. The relation is abstract, not concrete.

    “Because it had to do so in order to hunt plant and gather food. If it hadn’t humans would not have survived.”

    That is not an argument for how a blank slate could learn to recognize relations. And it simply begs the question in favor of evolutionary psychology. You haven’t begun to show that a blank slate can learn to recognize relations. And evolution is hardly the only available explanation to account for the survival of the species. Try creation.

    “This is non-analogous. We know about electrical engineering.”

    Irrelevant. I was distinguishing between know-how and theory.

    “We don’t know about God.”

    A tendentious denial.

    “Did God create logic or must he abide by it…you know the drill.”

    Yes, I know the drill. I addressed your lame argument a long time ago:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/07/euthyphro-dilemma.html

    “But no matter where the buck stops there are serious difficulties, not unlike the ones we each face when explaining why there is something rather than nothing at all.”

    Bad example. Leibniz distinguished between truths of reason and truths of fact. He also invoked the principle of sufficient reason. For him, God doesn’t require an explanation since God is a necessary being. God is what explains a contingent state of affairs.

    “You must begin by assuming way too much. My assumptions are simple and small.”

    This is simpleminded. To begin with, we need to explain whatever there is. A correct and comprehensive explanation can’t be simpler than reality. Reality dictates the explanation, not vice versa.

    Even if monism were simpler than dualism, that wouldn’t make it true. If reality is dualistic, then the explanation must be descriptive of a dualistic reality.

    Second, it's prejudicial to assume that reality is partial to simplicity over complexity.

    Third, there is often a tradeoff between theoretical simplicity and ontological simplicity. A more parsimonious ontology will demand a more complicated epistemology, and vice versa:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/simplicity/

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  26. Loftus said, "Thanks Luvvom, however, my claim is that I was never a Christian." Exactly, because true Christians can never fall from grace. You're spiritually dead and no one can debate with a spiritually dead person on spiritual matters. Spiritually dead people cannot respond to spiritually alive people any more than physically dead people to physically alive people. To debate you concerning God's existence, is to speak of nonessential matters such as what is going on here. Logic is great and very fascinating...I took it in college, but it isn't the bridge into spiritual life which would help you to debate God's existence with accuracy.

    Steve said "We’re simply answering him on his own grounds. He made a sweeping claim about unthinking Christians. We applied that claim to his own case." And this helps your case how?

    Steve said, "You’re also setting up a false dichotomy between apologetics and evangelism. These are complementary, not contradictory." Ok, but I don't see where I have done that...maybe you could point to the specifics of your claim.

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  27. Luvvom said:
    ---
    You're spiritually dead and no one can debate with a spiritually dead person on spiritual matters.
    ---

    That assumes that God doesn't use means to regenerate a spiritually dead person. In which case, proclaiming the Gospel and providing a defense for the hope that is within you (hey, that sounds familiar...must be Poor Richard's Almanac or something) isn't pointless after all.

    By the way, I have to point out that your position seems to flirt dangerously close to hypercalvinism. There's no room in Scripture for the "What's the point in talking to spiritually dead people?" approach to evangelism.

    You said:
    ---
    Steve said "We’re simply answering him on his own grounds. He made a sweeping claim about unthinking Christians. We applied that claim to his own case." And this helps your case how?
    ---

    Suppose it has no help to Steve's argument. It still destroys Loftus's argument. Loftus cannot be intellectually consistent and continue to use his argument now.

    If he does, this is evidence used to show Loftus is clueless. If he doesn't, then Loftus has to spend more time coming up with another objection that we will likewise dismantle.

    All this "helps [our] case" because, again, God uses means to enact His will on Earth. He uses people evangelizing and debating the truth to bring His Elect to Himself. We don't know who they are, so we provide our arguments to as many as possible. God will use them efficaciously with the Elect, and with the non-Elect it will serve to strip away more of their excuses.

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  28. Peter said, "That assumes that God doesn't use means to regenerate a spiritually dead person. In which case, proclaiming the Gospel and providing a defense for the hope that is within you (hey, that sounds familiar...must be Poor Richard's Almanac or something) isn't pointless after all."

    No, I never said that God doesn't use different means to convert people. I said that a spiritually dead person is unable to debate with accuracy the existence of God which is completely different from someone who is telling that spiritually dead person the Gospel. Unless you think that Loftus proved his point that God doesn't exist, you would have to agree and thus throw out your comment to me.

    Peter said, "By the way, I have to point out that your position seems to flirt dangerously close to hypercalvinism"

    You've already decided that I assume using logics is a proper way to spread the Gospel, and that I've decided that since it is the proper way to spread the Gospel I feel there's no sense in spreading the Gospel. Your conclusion then leads to you to labeling me a hyper Calvinist. That's quite a bit of assumption on your part. Engaging in logical debates with other believers for the exercising of your mind is profitable but is unprofitable with unbelievers. The Gospel should be proclaimed as laid out according to the Bible and for God's glory. I don't spread the Gospel for the sole reason of conversion. If that is why any of us spread the Gospel, then we would ultimately be humanistic and would feel defeated most of the time. We spread the Gospel for His glory and let Him do the regeneration. I'll tell a person the Gospel as many times as he wants to hear it and pray that God finds His glory in it...hopefully the person is saved. A hyper Calvinist thinks he is glorifying God, but in actuality he is lazy and haughty. He is lazy because he only wants to tell that person the Gospel one maybe two times. He’s haughty because he’s forgotten the state from which he was saved and has no compassion for the lost, and therefore, spends little time praying for the soul to whom he has just given the Gospel. I might be guilty of this behavior from time to time, but it isn’t a behavior I condone and is a behavior from which I would repent when I did commit this sin. As for the rest of your comment, your basic point of debate is whether Loftus is a "thoughtless atheist". Loftus has established that he can think and can debate in terms of human ability. He isn't void of brain activity. You're debate should have been along the lines of knowing he is spiritually dead and all the evidence pointing toward your assumption. Once you established that thought you could have used that as a spring board to share an accurate account of the Gospel with him. Your job isn’t to convert only to share the Gospel as many times as it takes. I realize he had seminary schooling. This should be an indication to you that he doesn’t need a lesson in logics, but needs to be confronted with the Gospel again. Please receive this as it is given…with charity and a desire to increase both our need to become more godly in all that we do. I don’t dispute with you only to show you where you might rethink some things, but do so to also reinforce how I should conduct my behavior at all times...and because I enjoy speaking with other believers in order to sharpen iron against iron.

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  29. Luvvom said:
    ---
    I said that a spiritually dead person is unable to debate with accuracy the existence of God which is completely different from someone who is telling that spiritually dead person the Gospel.
    ---

    No, you said: "You're spiritually dead and no one can debate with a spiritually dead person on spiritual matters" (emphasis added).

    You didn't say the spiritually dead person couldn't debate; you said no one could debate with that person. That's the opposite of what you're now saying.

    You said:
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    You've already decided that I assume using logics is a proper way to spread the Gospel, and that I've decided that since it is the proper way to spread the Gospel I feel there's no sense in spreading the Gospel.
    ---

    I assumed no such thing. But thanks for assuming what I assumed. Works wonders for conversations.

    You said:
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    Your conclusion then leads to you to labeling me a hyper Calvinist.
    ---

    No, I said comes dangerously close to flirting with hypercalvinism. But don't worry. The next time I see you about to step out into traffic, I won't say "You're about to step out in traffic" for fear you'll accuse me of claiming you already stepped out into traffic.

    You said:
    ---
    Engaging in logical debates with other believers for the exercising of your mind is profitable but is unprofitable with unbelievers.
    ---

    Assuming God wouldn't use logical debates as the means to grace isn't an argument.

    And even if it is unprofitable for LOFTUS that we engage him in debate, who says that our engaging of Loftus is for LOFTUS' benefit in the first place?

    You said:
    ---
    A hyper Calvinist thinks he is glorifying God, but in actuality he is lazy and haughty. He is lazy because he only wants to tell that person the Gospel one maybe two times.
    ---

    No, a hypercalvinist says there's no point in telling the Gospel because God will save whomever He will save and if He hasn't chosen you, well too bad. He doesn't bother to tell the Gospel at all. On the other hand, he often accuses those who do share the Gospel of engaging in pointless behavior. Eventually, they go so far as to run websites called Outside the Camp.

    But again, I didn't say you WERE a hypercalvinist; I said your position flirted with it. If you're going to say that engaging the unbeliever is pointless, then you're only one step away from abandoning evangelism altogether.

    You said:
    ---
    As for the rest of your comment, your basic point of debate is whether Loftus is a "thoughtless atheist".
    ---

    Not at all. A) What we're engaged in here can hardly be called "debate" in the first place. B) The point was that IF LOFTUS'S CLAIMS ARE TRUE, then by logical necessity Loftus must be a thoughtless atheist. Thus, we merely point out that Loftus doesn't believe what he spews forth. If he doesn't, why should anyone else?

    You said:
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    Loftus has established that he can think and can debate in terms of human ability.
    ---

    That's debateable.

    ---
    He isn't void of brain activity.
    ---

    Neither is a sewer rat.

    You said:
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    You're debate should have been along the lines of knowing he is spiritually dead and all the evidence pointing toward your assumption.
    ---

    You mean like by showing him that his thinking is futile?

    Oh wait. That's what we did.

    You said:
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    Once you established that thought you could have used that as a spring board to share an accurate account of the Gospel with him.
    ---

    Once Loftus agrees that his thinking is futile...

    You said:
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    Your job isn’t to convert only to share the Gospel as many times as it takes.
    ---

    As it takes for what?

    You said:
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    I realize he had seminary schooling. This should be an indication to you that he doesn’t need a lesson in logics, but needs to be confronted with the Gospel again.
    ---

    You haven't interacted with him much then. Spend five minutes reading his website and you'll realize Loftus sorely needs many more lessons in logic.

    He doesn't need to be "confronted" with the Gospel. He needs to accept it. He's heard it and he knows what it is; he rejects it. He needs his mind changed. That takes the Spirit, yes, but the Spirit working through means. Those means include people like Steve Hays pointing out the logical fallacies that Loftus falls into.

    God could magically enlighten all His elect. But He didn't choose to do that. Instead, for our benefit, He allows us to engage in evangelism too. But your position woudl limit it to bare proclamation. To be consistent, you would have rebuked Paul for going to Mars Hill. You would have told the Apostle Peter that he was wrong for daring to suggest we be able to present an apologetic for the hope that is within us. Yet they didn't leave it at bare proclamation. They spent time, they argued with the nonbelievers, they debated philosophers of their time, they engaged the culture.

    And when they backslid, Paul had no qualms in speaking harshly. To the Galatians who were falling into Judaism, he called them foolish. He asked who had bewitched them! He pointed out their flaws in thinking. He didn't leave it with that, nor have we left it there with Loftus.

    Loftus has been a steady fixture here for the last two or three years now. We've been over much ground with him. You cannot take one isolated event as the sum total of our interaction with him.

    You said:
    ---
    Please receive this as it is given…with charity and a desire to increase both our need to become more godly in all that we do.
    ---

    As I hope you take my criticism of your views too.

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  30. Peter said, "You didn't say the spiritually dead person couldn't debate; you said no one could debate with that person. That's the opposite of what you're now saying."

    1. I did say that a spiritually dead person couldn't debate (the things of God). Here is my quote to Loftus, "Logic is great and very fascinating...I took it in college, but it isn't the bridge into spiritual life which would help you to debate God's existence with accuracy." In essence, I was telling him that he couldn't debate the things of God because he wasn't of God and cannot know the things of God in order to debate them. Perhaps I didn't word it clear enough for proper understanding.

    2. If you will not accept a poorly stated statement for my defense to ward off your false statement concerning my statement, then consider this: my statements are not opposite in content but opposite in approachment only (sorry, I like to make up words). Think of it this way. I'll put my original statement in quotes then put my second statement in quotes which will answer my first statement. It will be put as a question so that you can see how they differ yet compliment each other.

    Why couldn't "no one (believer) could debate with that person (unbeliever)."? Because "a spiritually dead person is unable to debate with accuracy the existence of God."

    My two statements reveal the same truth even though they are stated differently...so they are not completely opposite.

    Peter said, "I assumed no such thing. But thanks for assuming what I assumed. Works wonders for conversations."

    I took from your statement something you didn't intend to mean? You stated that I was dangerously close to being a hyper Calvinist. On what did you make your conclusion for that claim? Are you not basing it on the fact that I think using logic in the form in which it is being used here (starting with the wrong premise) is unhelpful? You've decided that I am close to being a hyper Calvinist because I desire not to convince someone of the Gospel, right? You did say, "There's no room in Scripture for the "What's the point in talking to spiritually dead people?" approach to evangelism. If this is only a definition for hyper Calvinism, you left your statment undone. By saying this and by the content of this debate, you have assumed... "You've already decided that I assume using logics is a proper way to spread the Gospel, and that I've decided that since it is the proper way to spread the Gospel I feel there's no sense in spreading the Gospel."

    Peter said, "No, a hypercalvinist says there's no point in telling the Gospel because God will save whomever He will save and if He hasn't chosen you, well too bad."

    Ok, they are lazier than I thought! ;o)

    Don't be shy in correcting me if you feel it's needed. I don't retort in order to quiet you only to dispel your misgivings on what I have said. I assume you are doing the same on your own behalf...hopefully we will in the end fully understand what each is saying.

    Peter said, "Assuming God wouldn't use logical debates as the means to grace isn't an argument."

    This statement from you is my fault. I assumed that you knew that I disagreed with the premise of your debate since I had stated in my first comment, "Just wondering: Is this actually an argument on whether he was ever able to think? Maybe a better argument would be on whether he was ever spiritually regenerated." Notice I stated "better argument". I never said that God couldn't use logical debates as a means to grace. You could use a good logical debate if you set up a correct premise. Since you know that I'm not against logical debates...the rest of your comment is rendered moot for my personal use.

    I will try to take your comment as being charitable...written script is often deceptive when it comes to interpreting intent.

    Good day!

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